Friday, September 20, 2013

Crisco Candle Does Work, But Still Not the Best Idea



Ah, yes, the Crisco candle. I've had a lot of people send me this asking about it. Does it work? Yes, it does. It's also easy enough to make: just take a tub of crisco, use a stick or skewer to pierce a hole through the center, and insert a wick. I know, I usually do Good Idea Fridays, but this one is a mixed-results post; since it does work, I didn't feel it qualified as a bad idea, but there are some risks involved that I think everyone should be aware of. 

First off, the container the shortening comes in? It's a foil-lined cardboard tube. So, where as this can burn for something like 45 hours, as the pin suggests, I would never in a million years suggest doing that. If left to burn long enough, the melted oil of the crisco can make it's way into the paper, making it perfect fuel for fire. Also, as with all things like this, Crisco CAN catch fire (so can wax and other oils that are used in candles and oil lamps). Please, if you try this, DO NOT let it burn for too long. It's not something you just light and walk away from. 

The truth is, this is something I would only ever use in a last case scenario. There are much better options out there that would work better, but if you find yourself in a cabin in the woods in the middle of the night with no electricity and the batteries in your flashlight are about to go out, then something like this will work. But for everyday home use when the power goes out, anything from candles to a battery powered lantern would still be preferable. The truth is, with a bit of wick and pretty much any oils, you can make a candle or lantern out of anything from kerosene to tallow to paraffin or lard. But they all come with a high flammable risk, so be careful.

19 comments:

  1. Anonymous3/12/14

    Because, you know...you can't possibly take the Crisco out and put it into a tin can or anything.
    #FailLogic

    ReplyDelete
  2. I put my Crisco into mason jars before wicking. I use pint size jars (one can will make 3-4 candles) and they do burn forever. I leave about a 1" headspace so even if the Crisco caught fire, which it never has, there is a high glass rim around the flame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous6/4/15

      Denise, I was hesitant to try making a candle from Crisco and couldn't find anything definitive about fire risk. I am glad I saw your post and I will try making one.

      Delete
    2. I wonder if you could put in baby food size jars with food color?

      Delete
    3. Ok first of all you aren't supposed to use the Crisco can that's just strange you melt the Crisco add coloring and scent pour into a candle container of your choice something glass or metal is best and then place your wick. All candles are a fire hazard cause guess what, they are on fire. What people don't leave any kind of candle burning when they are not around only ignorant people do that then they blame the candle. It it not ever recommended to leave the Crisco in the can though, that would be a very dangerous idea you are right.

      Delete
  3. I've had a few different kinds of candles ignite- tea lights, votive candles and the kind that come in little jars with lids. I'd heard that tea lights from some foreign makers use unknown substances to make the 'wax' and some of these can be toxic... and have been known to ignite once the pool reaches a certain temperature, like the temperature most of them reach when they're in a potpourri container melting a cake of scented wax to give a lovely aroma to a room. I was using one on a cold fall afternoon, had it on the dining room table, and was making dinner. I heard a cracking sound and as I looked over at the potpourri 'boiler', the tea light was one big flame and was cracking the ceramic holder for the melted wax cake. I made the terrible mistake of trying to blow it out. Wax and whatever was in the tealight cup spread across the table in an area about a foot long and all of it was a big flame! I ran into the kitchen, grabbed a dish towel, dipped it into my dishwater, back to the table and threw it over the potpourri device. The flame went out. Whew! Very little damage but had I not see it when I did, or it had cracked open and spread that flame without my knowledge, a dishtowel might not have handled it.
    The same sort of thing happened with a votive candle in a thick glass holder... the wax ignited, cracked the holder in half,and the flaming wax dripped from our mantle down our fireplace bricks to the hearth. Again, soaked dishtowel to the rescue but I had an extinguisher nearby too. I'd never seen a votive candle ignite like that before.
    I never thought the candle in the jar would ignite either,but it did... no, it wasn't from Yankee Candles but some dollar store brand that came from another country. The jar was small- about 2 or 3 inches high, and had a lid. It was scented which was why I bought it.
    I've heard that the materials used in the US are different than what's used in other countries... I don't know if this is really true, but these accidents never happened in our home with items I know were made in the US.
    If I were to make a crisco candle, I would start with something small enough to put out in a hurry,like a short tin can, and would place it in a fireproof pan or baking dish, I would make sure it wasn't under a cabinet or any other thing that could catch fire from a rising flame.
    Yes, your life does depend on it. I lost three good friends in a fire caused by a large homemade candle on their kitchen table. It was left unattended and the best guess is all three died of smoke inhalation after the candle that was made of many candle stubs and scraps, and had 4 or 5 wicks somehow ignited and set the ceiling on fire. No smoke detectors and everyone had gone to bed...
    I plan to make firestarters out of egg cartons and their scraps, and crisco. I won't use candles unless I have nothing else and then I will only use tapers. D-lights makes solar lanterns that stay lit 8 hours or more, do not require any batteries, charge even in indirect sunlight, and are totally safe around kids and lifestock, They throw enough light to do most anything you need to do and if you need more light, there are brighter settings and you can use 2 or more but we don't normally need more than two to light a room up enough to see.
    If I decide to make a Crisco candle, I will stay small and be quite careful with it given our history!.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks for all that info! Ironically, today was the first time in my 71 years that I left my house with a candle burning. It was a little, very fragrant Yankee Candle sitting on a fireproof tile. I thought it would be so nice to return home and smell that delicious apple-cinnamon aroma. Having read your comment, I will not tempt fate again.

      Delete
    2. The wax in candles is commonly made of different petroleum products which have widely varying flashpoints. The tea lights are more prone to running away from you due the their small volume therefore it is easier for the comparatively small flam to bring the wax to flashpoint. Multi wick candles are also prone to this considering there are more flames heating the melted wax. Best bet with any candle is to stick with larger single wick pillars and beeswax. As for crisco it's flash point is relatively high and as long as you only use a single wick I don't foresee too much trouble. Still a good idea to keep an eye on things

      Delete
  4. When making a crisco candle can you mix soda with it to get that soda scent?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dies it crackle alot ?? And does it mold up or spoil ?? Please anyone know b4 I do this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. They are super easy to make and easy to colar. My only problem is they don't stay lit. They will burn for a few minutes the go out. Thinking I may need a thicker wick. Any sugestions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just made some Crisco candles in small screw top mason jars. I added essential oils for scent and a bit of shredded crayon for color. The issues I have: they don't seem to solidify as much as I thought they should. They only burned for a few minutes (as others have noted) and go out. I was disappointed and will find another use for these duds. The point about the possibility of them catching fire & "burning" as noted should be taken very seriously.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous5/4/17

      I melted the crisco in a old pot, added a little bit of crayon for color and a bit of peppermint and used a mason jar to use outsite to keep mosquitoes away. I lit the first candle...within 5 minutes or so the crisco melts and smothers the wick and put out the flame. I dont see how everyone says it works! No it doesn't!!!

      Delete
  8. Same problem as above...burns for a bit then goes out. My 3 girls were dissappinted. No clue how to correct this either.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Same problem as above...burns for a bit then goes out. My 3 girls were dissappinted. No clue how to correct this either.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous29/4/16

    I had same issue, wick burning too fast and drowning in the melted wax/oil. I braided the wick to make it thicker and it seemed to work better. I have also heard that tightly rolled paper for a wick works better in these type of candles, but am yet to try that.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous8/9/16

    the paper works ty sweetie this is awesome i thought i just wasted everything cause i couldnt get the wic to stay lit but please be sure to make them super tight and well really skinny and cut off the excess so u dont get that burnt paper smell instead u get the pretty smells from your candle :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I've noticed people using these new wooden wicks. They're made from that thin balsa wood which they also stabilize in a metal grommet thing to hold them. These are very important for safety as they prevent the wick from falling into the wax or oil. The wood is first soaked in olive oil then placed in the candle before pouring. I agree it's not good to leave candles unattended. It's also good to know what you're burning and what you're burning it in. Cheap candles are often not in a heat proof glass, but not all cheap candles come from overseas. Just because it's a glass container doesn't mean it's safe. This, plus the wick used are what will determine how well and hence how safe it burns. Wicks with a core do not burn well and cause lead and other chemicals to be vaporized and breathed in. Making your own is definitely better and healthier, but again the wicking material is key. The ones having trouble with the Crisco are likely finding that their wicks are drowning. I had thought of that immediately when I first saw this Crisco candle idea. But that's most likely why the wooden wicks came to be. They would also give stability (but still need a metal base (the grommet) so they don't fall over when the crisco melts. Candles are safe when you know what you're doing but I find most people don't know how to burn a candle (keeping wicks trimmed, burning them in a heat safe holder, even keeping the wax trimmed on a pillar candle). Burning a candle isn't as simple as just lighting a wick. It never ceases to amaze me that people expect to buy cheap candles, know nothing of what they're burning and how to burn them, then blame the candle, as someone mentioned. Its like with everything else in life - you do need a bit more intelligence than just the ability to light a match or flick a lighter. Knowing what you're doing with candles will keep you and everyone else safe and allow you to enjoy your candles fully. It's a win-win.

    Hopefully more people will go online and read up and I sincerely hope we can start avoiding more tragic stories about candle burning gone wrong.

    God bless.

    Mony

    ReplyDelete