Tuesday, May 18, 2010

when you go down to the beach .......

For some of us it is even too cold to imagine spending time on the beach but for others it is time to do just that......for all those beach loving people who like me when walking along its shores are impelled to pick up a shell or two or three.........okay maybe a wet, sandy pocket full.....and then come home and wonder what shall i do with them.....here is the answer
I came across these instructions and thought i would share them with you all so that you could bring a bit of beach life to your place.......

All these images and instructions are taken from the website of NZ House and Garden.......from the section called Home Life.....this is a gorgeous magazine that comes out each month showing some of New Zealands beautiful homes and gardens......and i will be doing a giveaway of one of these magazines next month so watch this space...

When poet John Masefield wrote, "I must go down to the seas again, the lonely sea and the sky," his wandering spirit yearned for a life on the ocean waves and completely overlooked the joy to be found on the sandy shores.
Collecting shells is one of lifes purest pleasures and going on shell hunts at the beach is a childhood pursuit that has brought happiness to generation after generation. But where once you may have washed your haul of beach bits in a bucket of sea water then transferred them to a glass container, usually destined for display in the bathroom, there are many more elegant ways to use these gifts from the sea, the decorative possibilities of the humble shell are endless, and now we are going to make sand candles...

You will need: Sand, a child sized bucketful will do, shells, 500g wax pellets (for a candle 9cm in diameter x 10cm high, available from spotlight here in nz) 20cm wick, metal wick holder, twigs.

1. Wash and dry a used tin and squeeze the top to make a spout. Fill it about three quarters full with wax pellets and put it in an old pot. Pour hot water in the pot and heat it on a very low heat. Keep an eye on the wax until it has melted. Keep it warm in the water. (shown above)

2. Make a hole in the sand (use a glass or bottle if you like) Press shells into the sides of the hole quite firmly (if you wish to see the face of the shell, push the shells into the sand face first). Tie a knot in the wick and thread it through the metal wick holder. Tie the other end around a straight twig or kebab stick. Balance the stick with the wick on two forked twigs. Centre it over the middle of the hole and make sure the wick touches the bottom.... (above)

3. Slowly pour the wax into the hole, right to the top. Adjust the wick if necessary. (Above)

4. Wait at least an hour for the wax to cool and harden. When the wax is hard, pull the candle gently from the sand, loosening the sides first. Dust off any excess sand with a soft paintbrush.
Safety note:Wax is highly flammable. If it catches alight, smother it with the lid of a pot or a wet towel - not water. Sugar, baking soda or a chemical extinguisher may also be used.

I hope you enjoy making these candles, there many more ways to use shells just by using your imagination.......Frame them, make a necklace, attach to edges of cords for curtains, jug or sugar bowl covers can have a circle of shells and they make charming votive candle holders......and if like my daughters the shells with the hollow centre became very fashionable rings!!!


  1. Hi Wendy! What a lovely candle you made. I would love to do this with the kids...
    I've been away from the computer for about 1 1/2 week, but now I'm back.
    I hope you are having a lovely fall with your family. It looks gorgeous the autum in NZ!

  2. ohhhhh wendy!!!! thank you so much for sharing and posting this! i am out in california, i think i told you right before i left yesterday. i'm staying with my dear friend joyce, and tomorrow we are headed to her lovely beach house where you can step out onto the back patio, then right down into the sand. i'm going to ask joyce if we can make some candles while we are there - such a lovely thing! i can see doing this with lovely beach glass as well, can't you?! xoxo

  3. That's so neat...I've never seen anything like it.

  4. Hi Wendy
    Early 2011 my best friend and I collected hundreds of little shells from a place called Point Leo in Victoria, Australia. Amy is the kind of girl that has everything she wants so I took your above recipe for a candle and created my very own vanilla & nutmeg soy wax sand shell candle! It turned out amazing and she absolutely loved it :)
    Have been meaning to let you know and email you a picture - I will definitely be making another :)