Wax & recycling
So Wax play got me off to the start of the new year.
Basically, I put things on pause for a year with covid and such. Had it, took two months to get over it, now I'm a super human and life is getting a bit more social. I have a very fun toy and still have my service boy boots as well as still running the podcast. It appears I have a knack for some wax fun which I took to trying new years day ten mins after midnight with the bruised canvas. This is not going to be an entry on how to wax play but more an idea for recycling as well as some fun with electrics during the scene.
Wax is fun, its messy but can also cause burns and fires. When using wax be aware of your surroundings, where the naked flames are as well as keeping in mind the sensitivity of the canvas you are using.
One of my pet hates with bigger candles is the ridge you get around the candle from the wick burning down. If you are not constantly using your candle for the wax play this happens. Thinner candles don't tend to have the same issue however with thinner candles you can not leave the flame to cause a little pool for splashing or pouring. Therefore you have pros and cons. What can you do with this though?
Well, candles used for play are mainly soy wax. It has a lower melting temperature than paraffin and therefore is a safer temperature to use on skin. The higher you drop it also controls the cooler it is. Paraffin wax candles can be used for those after an extra sting but to keep in mind you are more likely to cause skin burn with short height drops.
The great thing about wax, in general, is you can re-shape it as many times as you like.
Here are the candles that need some attention...
Now from the above image #1, you can see an array of candles and some new pouring molds as well as my wax pan.
From left to right. Three white paraffin wax candles, two soya candles red and purple. A pan I use for melting wax that is Teflon lined. This makes pouring the way very easy and less stays in the pan. I then also have a set of smaller plastic pouring molds. I also have some pre-made waxed wicks for convenience in this circumstance. Buying pre-waxed wicks just make it a bit easier to position them in the pouring molds. For bigger candles, I just use a roll of jute string as the wicks.
You can see from image #2, That I used a sharp knife to cut the excess wax from the two soya candles. I melt these together to make up as much of one or two new pouring molds. If I find one is a little short ill add a few pieces of the melted paraffin wax. I mention a sharp knife as a blunt knife is more likely to split the candle more than needed. Adding a bit of paraffin wax won't make a massive difference in the melting temperature if only a small amount is added to make up the size, but can make the difference between a 5 cm candle and a 6 cm candle being available with the recycled wax.
When melting wax use a low heat and gently move the pan in a circular motion to keep the wax mixing to stop any potential burning to the pan. Once the majority is melted turn the heat off and let the temperature of the pan finish the melting process. This will mean the wax will cool quicker in your mold and be safer to pour into the new shapes with minimal splashing.
TIP: When breaking up paraffin wax candles, ensure you cut out the remaining wick or you going to get black carbon bits in your wax pour. These can heat up a lot during play and cause little burns. If in doubt pour your melted wax through a wire mesh sieve. I'd also recommend you keep this in a bowl of boiled water prior to the pour to ensure it is hot enabling the wax to pass through more easily.
You can see here how far down I cut the soy candles and how thick they actually are. There was enough soya wax to make one full smaller candle. I added paraffin wax to make two smaller 50/50 candles and I had enough paraffin wax to make two small candles.
They have sunk in the middle slightly as I poured them too quickly, air was trapped in the bottom. When pouring, to avoid this angle the mold slightly and pour a little slower than I did to ensure no air is trapped at the bottom.
The wicks needed a little help with a lollypop stick to keep them upright during cooling.
Once they go from a clear liquid to a solid colour, the wax contracts and therefore pops out of the pouring mold easily with a little tap. If it's being stubborn place in a fridge for half an hour to make the wax contract further and shrink slightly.
So now it's a case of let's take these bad boys out for a test run, here is a little snap of them with the smaller candles I already have in the play box. Note the darker colours also means the hotter the soya has to get to meaning darker candles usually drop hotter wax compared to lighter colours.
With the recycling I have obtained 5 new smaller candles I don't mind using up with longer burns.
Leaving the flame for longer will make pools of wax for pouring and splatting.
This danger sign is a laminated A4 sign I made to enable better visitability for the wax scene. I remember from previous public play scenes people interrupting or not noticing something going on. Therefore I thought to make it very obvious of any potential danger.
When doing a public scene it is best to think that everyone that's public is clueless and will probably be a walking hazard. This sign made my intentions pretty clear for people to be aware of what is going on. I did not want someone walking by and potentially setting their clothing on fire saying, " I did not know there was a candle"
Image #4 Is the layout I had at the play scene I was doing with my service lad the pup. For safety, you can see a number of things going on with this image. The surface the candles are on is sturdy, heat resistant, and free from any obstruction that could potentially catch fire. It is not near any curtains or hanging garments.
My lighter is not in the middle of the candles. A hot lighter can pop with a bang. I have a drink that also doubles as a just in case throw onto any fire or if the wax canvas suffers any major discomfort I can pour on the cold drink.
The fire extinguisher is fairly good common sense on my half. It is a small travel one that is suitable for a wide range of fire tasks. This tray on wheels I had against a wall away from anyone being able to walk past which was convenient. However, you never can be too careful playing with open flames and whatever can be done to lower the risk is a positive outcome.
The wax knife is a none sharp aluminum knife-shaped object for scrapping the wax back of the wax bottom and I also have a pinwheel or two to hand as well if the mood takes my fancy.
An hour later I have the wax bottom well underway with the wax scene. I took away his vision and muted the hearing, causing the skin to react more sensitive to the wax. I also added an electrical e-stim system for added fun.
You can see from image #5, the long drifts of wax are from the new smaller candles I made which I allowed to burn and pool for around 15 minutes giving me a good amount to drift over the body. The wax play itself is what you make of it. Can go on for any period of time but keep in mind the clear-up will also add to the total scene time. I personally aim to keep pouring the wax for under an hour and expect around a 30-45 min clean-up with wax scraping and clearing. Longer times are up to you but laying still for a long period of time also has its challenges.
The recycled candles did the trick and also stopped other candles from being used up. Reusing old candles is will something I will continue to do and make use of keeping the costs down and the use of wax-up. Something I could improve on I would consider would be to dot a pattern on the skin with a felt tip pen and see if I could wax out a drawing or recognisable pattern just for the fun of it.