Category Archives: Magical Activities

Pumpkin Candles

This is a lovely seasonal activity.

They are really simple to make and these little munchkin pumpkins make for the most wonderful, natural, autumnal decorations.

It’s a little tricky for younger kids, but they will most certainly enjoy the prep part, scooping out the seeds!

You can use these instructions for making any kind of candle, just use little jars or moulds instead of pumpkins of course.

These will last a few days I would imagine, the pumpkin will begin to go old and mouldy after that, so I would advise to make and plan to use them rather quickly.

I am in no way an expert in candle making, but this is a simple activity that takes just a few supplies to make, I have no candle making equipment and I’m assuming you don’t too. If you have a double boiler I’m envious, ha!

I’m sure you will have all the tools you need quite handy (bar the beeswax and wicks)

Here is what you will need;

• 1lb of Natural Beeswax, or an alternative (soy wax) I bought mine on eBay for £7. This is enough to make 6 small pumpkins.

• Candle Wicks

• Munchkin Pumpkins

• Large Pan

• Jug and spoon for pouring wax, I have an old jug and spoon I use every time I make this, they take a little cleaning if you want to use them for food again!

• Tin can, cleaned and ready for use. Only heat wax in metal. Plastic or glass will melt or shatter.

• Food Thermometer

• Pencils/Sticks

• String

• An old tea towel is handy, if you are quite messy like me. Use this to sit your pumpkins on when pouring.

Now that you have everything together, here is how you make them;

1. Prepare your pumpkins! Cut the tops off, and clean them out.

2. Take a wick, sitting it at the bottom of the pumpkin. You need to keep the wick steady and central in the pumpkin. I use two pencils and some string to do this. Have all your pumpkins ready for pouring.

3. Take a pan and and add approximately 2 inches of water and bring to the boil. Add your beeswax to the tin can, and stand this in the pan. You will need to do a few batches of wax, unless you use a large tin.

The trick to melting beeswax is low and slow! Keep the pan of water at a steady simmer, stirring the wax.

Don’t leave this unattended, it may take around 10-20 mins to melt.

I use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax. It should melt around 62-66 Degrees Celsius.

Don’t allow it to pass 77, it will discolour and loose it’s lovely odour.

4. Your wax is ready to pour. I transfer it to a glass just to make it easier. Pour into your pumpkins! The pencils should hold your wick steady.

5. Leave your pumpkins stand for at least one hour, to let them set. Then cut the wick, removing the pencils.

Tada! You can make a few variations to this if you wish. You could add fragrance oil, imagine pumpkin spice! I rather like the simple smell of the beeswax for the pumpkins.

You can add dried herbs if you wish. I’m going to be keeping my old jars and I’ll be making these as Christmas gifts.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, I’d love to know if you make them!

Thank you for reading!

Amy 💖

Natural Dye Cloths

Being eco and zero waste really shouldn’t be about buying more stuff, although it’s hard when you first start off on the journey to zero waste to not be pulled in. Of course there is so many great new things to try and at first it may seem like your buying one thing after another to replace items that have ran out. I try and stick to the famous slogan ‘Make do and Mend’. I am having fun at the moment trying to make everything from scratch.

I have been looking at pretty rolls of unpaper towels, but it’s something I don’t absolutely need, and I had a large stash of old muslin cloths lying around, so I thought I would give them a new lease of life with some natural plant dyes.

They look lovely in a basket, in easy reach, for all kinds of uses, napkins, mopping up spills etc. Anything you would have used paper kitchen roll for these can easily take over the job.

All you need is some old cloths, cut up muslins etc. You will need to pop a hem on them so they don’t fray.

Now to the dyes, I had every intention of making all the colours, but as you can see I got carried away with pinks and purples, all the colours are included below for you to try.

Natural dyes can be made from so many natural goodies, berries, leaves and flowers.

Here are some muslin cloths I dyed last year to use as play cloths, these were made using berries and avocado seeds.

Here are some produce bags I made using old muslins and tumeric and onion skins as a natural dye.

You can use most fabric, cotton, silk, wool and linen will take to dye well, other fabrics also, but the outcome may be lighter with synthetic fabrics.

Before you dye you fabric you will need to prep it. It’s really simple;

Firstly you will need to wash the fabric, leaving it wet. Now you need to prepare your fixative. This ensures the fabric will hold the dye more easily.

For berries salt is used, for any other plant material/powders white vinegar is used.

Measurements are as follows.

Salt: dissolve ½ cup salt in 8 cups cold water

Vinegar: Mix 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts cold water.

The fabric needs to soak in this mix for 1 hour. Rinse with cold water only, it’s now ready to be dyed.

A quick google of natural fabric dyes will have you inspired in no time, below I will include the dyes I have tried and tested with great results.

Beetroot – Bright Pink

Raspberries – Red/Pink Colour

Brown Onion – Brown/Orange

Tumeric – Yellow

Matcha Tea Powder – Green

Blueberries – Pinky Purple

Avocado skins and seeds – Peachy Pink

Red Cabbage – Purple

You can have so much fun with this and discover a variety of materials to play with.

A little word of warning before you begin. You may want to cover your work surfaces, wear gloves and use old pans. Obviously I’m adding this after I’ve created mess on a devastating scale and dyed everything, worktops, hands and pans!

Here is how to make the dye.

Place the natural material in a large pot/ pan.

Fill the pot with twice as much water as plant material.

Let this simmer for an hour or so, or until you see a nice dark color.

Strain the plant material and return the liquid to the pot.

Place your fabric in the dye and bring to a slow boil. Simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally.

Check your fabric, bearing in mind it will be lighter when it dries. The longer you leave it the darker it will go, so you could leave it to soak overnight if you wanted a really dark hue. All of mine were soaked for an hour, I’m impatient.

Take out your fabric and wash in cold water. The colour will run and fade slightly.

Dry as usual.

You should now have a stack of eco friendly, pretty reusable cloths! Yay! I hope you have enjoyed this, I’d love to know if you make some.

Thanks so much for reading,

Amy 💚