Clementine Candle

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How To Make a Clementine Candle

Make a cheery natural candle using a clementine or orange.
Make a cheery natural candle using a clementine or orange. mer Fuat Eryener / EyeEm / Getty Images

Are you looking for a safe and practical fire project? Try making a clementine candle!

You don't need a wick and wax to make a candle. All you need is a clementine and some olive oil. The clementine acts as a natural wick for the oil. A candle works by vaporizing the wax so that it burns via a chemical reaction to produce water and carbon dioxide. It's a clean process that also yields heat and light. There's nothing magical about the fruit or the oil, so feel free to experiment with other materials. Here's what you do...

Also, you may wish to watch a video showing how to make a clementine candle.

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Clementine Candle Materials

All you need in order to make a clementine candle is a clementine, olive oil and a match.
All you need in order to make a clementine candle is a clementine, olive oil and a match or lighter. Anne Helmenstine

Making a clementine candle is extremely easy! All you need is:

  • clementine (could try another citrus fruit)
  • olive oil (again, you could experiment with other vegetable oil)
  • a lighter

Theoretically, you could use a match to light the clementine candle, but I strongly recommend using a long-handled lighter because it can be tricky lighting the candle the first time.

Now that you've gathered your materials, let's make a candle...

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Prepare the Clementine Candle

Pour a small amount of olive oil into the base of the clementine shell.
Pour a small amount of olive oil into the base of the clementine shell. Make sure the white region is saturated with the oil. Anne Helmenstine

The steps for making a clementine candle couldn't get much easier:

  1. Hollow out the clementine.
  2. Pour a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of the rind.
  3. Light the candle.

Cut the clementine in half and carefully peel away the fruit, leaving the white part, called the pericarp or albedo, exposed. The pericarp consists primarily of pectin, which is a plant polymer like the cellulose you would find in an ordinary candle wick. You may also be interested in learning that the pericarp is high in vitamin C. If you are skilled, you can peel the clementine to get to this part... whatever you prefer. Your goal is to have half of the fruit peel intact, ideally dry. If you made a mess with the juice, dry your rind.

Once you have the rind prepared, pour a small amount of olive oil into the "candle." Use "a small amount" because it really doesn't take very much, plus you want your "wick" to remain exposed and not drowned in oil.

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Lighting a Clementine Candle

This natural candle consists of a clementine rind with olive oil.
This natural candle consists of a clementine rind with olive oil. Anne Helmenstine

Once you have a clementine candle, all you need to do is light it. It might light right away or it could take a few tries. If your pericarp "wick" chars rather than lights, then rub a bit of olive oil into it and try again. Once the candle lights, it burns very cleanly. The bottom of my candle did not get hot, but you may wish to place the candle on a heat-safe surface, just to be safe. My candle went out on its own once it exhausted its oil, so it seems to be a self-limiting fire. Don't get crazy and leave it near curtains or on a blanket or anything, though.

You may wish to clean out the other half of the clementine and place it on top. If you do, you'll want to cut a hole in the top of the rind so that the candle can get sufficient oxygen. Cutting into the rind is a nice way to add a decorative flair to the project, too.

More Fire Chemistry Projects

Easy Citrus Sparks and Flames
Burning Money Project
Handheld Fireballs
Make Green Fire

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Clementine Candle." ThoughtCo, Oct. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/clementine-candle-project-607513. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, October 3). Clementine Candle. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/clementine-candle-project-607513 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Clementine Candle." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/clementine-candle-project-607513 (accessed November 23, 2017).