November 1st – All Saints’ or All Hallows’ day. No matter how we call it, in most of Catholic Europe it’s the day when we remember the deceased. The most common way of paying tribute to those who are no longer with us is by lighting the candle at their grave. Our family is no different. Ever since I can remember the 1st of November consists of lunch with an extended family and obligatory pilgrimage to cemeteries and lighting of the candles. For a while now I’ve been thinking about the enormous quantity of grave candles in a plastic housing that the Slovenes leave at the graveyards every year around the 1st of November. This year I’ve had an early start and made my version of a grave candle that is better for the environment – glass grave candle.
My glass grave candle is made from an old canning jar that is painted with acrylic paints. I’ve reused an old plastic grave candle lid that I found on the graveyard. Inside is a plain common candle that can be bought without any packaging. The best part about it is that when the candle burns out it’s easily replaceable without the need to replace the glass housing as well.
So as I said before – to make a glass glave candle you will need a canning jar, acrylic paint, a lid from an old discarded plastic grave candle and a good old plaint candle without housing or wrapping.
Choose the canning jar which shape you like best and let’s start making our candle. If you wish, you can cut different shapes from masking tape and paste them on the jar or you can just paint the whole jar.
If you decide to go with different masking tape shapes I would suggest that you place the masking tape on a cutting board, draw the desired shape on it and cut the shape out with a utility knife.
Use a sponge for painting the jar. I’m using an old kitchen sponge but you can also get new ones on Amazon and in craft supply stores. Dip the sponge in the acrylic paint and press it gently on the jar. Make sure that the color doesn’t cover the glass completely. This way the light will reflect nicer on all sides of the jar once the candle inside is lit.
When you have finished painting the jar, wait for at least four hours for the paint to dry a bit. If you used different cut out shapes on the jar, remove the shapes from the jar after four hours. Next place the jar in an oven and “bake” it for 30 minutes on 160°C.
Once the jar cools down, place sand, rice, beans or any other loose material on the bottom of the jar. This will help to hold our candle in place. Place the candle in the jar and push it slightly in your loose material at the bottom so the candle sits in it nicely.
Cover the jar with a lid from an old plastic grave candle (you can probably find plenty of them on your local graveyard).
Place the glass grave candle on the desired surface before you light it. The easiest way to light it is by using a long match or a stick.
After you cover the lighted glass grave candle with a lid make sure to not touch the lid because it will become very hot (the same as with the regular plastic grave candles).