Sono-Ma Crafts: Waldorf Inspired Walnut Candles Sail in for St. Valentine’s Day


There is something utterly enchanting about walnut shell candles.  I’d never seen such a vessel for beeswax until Grandma Mary led our Blossoms group (a Waldorf Parent Toddler Group at Summerfield) in a closing ceremony, which centered around lighting and passing these candles.  The unusually large, caramel colored walnut shells she used were particularly striking.  Later, I found out Grandma Mary gathered these shells from a heritage tree on our friend Judith’s farm…  I, too, searched through the fallen leaves and green walnut peels on Judith’s farm to collect a few shells to make my own candles.  Then St. Valentine’s Day gave me an excuse to finally fill them.

Gathering Supplies

Bryles and I collected all of the chips and bits of wax about our house (including all the burned downed candle stumps) and dumped it all into a Revlon hand and foot hot wax bath.

Then we set about finding interesting pink, pearly, glittery, and otherwise love-struck-looking craft supplies that captured our fancy.  The pink mushrooms – likely from Meyer Imports – are my special favorite.  (Thank you to Apron Thrift Girl who gifted us vintage ribbons, sequins, German Glass glitter, and some old wool felt!)

We took a quick trip to our local all-things-bee store (Bee Kind in Sebastopol, CA), where we purchased ready made votive wicks (with a handy metal disk on the bottom to keep wicks upright) and a bit more beeswax.

Bee Kind offers a wealth of supplies for candle makers and wax crafts.  Take a quick photo tour, and get inspired to do your own future crafts!

Candle Making

We decided to get the wax melted and just wing it from there.  Maybe not the best idea with hot wax and a small, active child!  For precise instructions, please visit my friends at Magic Onions who offer a very clear tutorial on making walnut shell candles.

It didn’t take much wax to fill 10 walnuts (much less than half a pound), so we decided to keep playing.  Using a cookie cutter to mold our wax (see instructions here), and a bit of hand molding to form a stand, we created this fun candle.  The hot wax helped to seal in the glitter, which created a radiant look.


So…how to make walnut candles connect with Valentine’s Day?  It’s all in the embellishments!  Bryles thought the walnut shells looked like sail boats (his symbol at his Waldorf preschool being a sail boat!), which gave me the idea to make heart shaped sails. One small slit with a crafting knife, and suddenly your card stock can stand up with the wick as a very competent mast.  The red and white butcher’s twine looked nautical to me, so I tied on a small “flag” for fun.

Download the sails now to create your own “love boats.”

Miss Teapot introduced me to the idea of banners, and the poet in me loves an opportunity to add a bit of prose in unexpected places.  We dressed up some of our smaller, more humble walnuts with a bit of vintage German Glass glitter (Meyer Imports), a pink fresh water pearl, and banner sails sporting sweet nothings like “On this day of joy and love, cupid is singing in the clouds above!”

Happy Valentines!


This post was first shared in 2011…but it still offers great ideas for today!

Cloverleaf Ranch Summer Camps

5 Responses

  1. Mary Bowen

    Posted: February 5, 2011 at 5:28 am |

    Oh Holly…How wonderful …you really took off on that idea! I had completely forgotten that we had walnut shell candles the day of our closing ritual! Thank you for the reminder….what lovely projects! You are amazing! Love, Mary


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