toothpickology child prodigy (part two)

Daily Prompt: puncture

In part one, you discovered the onset of my life as a Toothpickologist.

Now, I continue discussing the effects of burning a toothpick.

BEWARE, for when you dipped the toothpick in the melted candle wax, it burns a whole lot differently! At first, you believe it is too wet with wax to burn. And then comes the moment, when the flame bursts forth !

The toothpick can become a raging fire, as it is intensified by the bubbling wax.
And as you hold the end of the toothpick, you can watch as the hot wax races to stay ahead of the flame. In turn, the toothpick becomes extremely hot to hold, due to the excessive moisture.

Last year, while still in Michigan, I bought a box of toothpicks. Even though the box said ‘wooden’, they burned, smelled and acted like plastic.

Recently, I bought a box of toothpicks in California. Even though the box said ‘wooden’,  they do appear to be more ‘wood-like’ than the Michigan toothpicks.

When the toothpick is set afire, then blown out, the hot red ember is slow to extinguish, remaining hot for a long time. An extremely long time, causing it to be more of a potential fire hazard.

The ash is an odd brown/sick mud color residue that more resembles an insect casing. than a toothpick ash.

The smell of these burnt toothpicks is similar. … with a hint of petrol…… or maybe sadness.

…. and the toothpicks today are smaller in length, thinner, lighter in color, weaker and quite splintery. Not the ideal item to be picking ones teeth with.

I was a fortunate child indeed!

My older brother made candles for his business. We always had his ‘rejects’ for playing’ experimenting with.

One of my favorite “rainy-day” activities was burning a large candle. Using toothpicks and fingers as my tools. I explored the flame and melting candle for hours.  I would channel the melting wax thru my newly crafted canals.

As the candle burned, the wax melted and pooled at the base of the wick.

The longer the candle burned, the softer the candle became, making it easier for ‘sculpting’.

Using a toothpick with precise angled guesstimations, I would:

  • puncture a hole for drainage avenues
  • build bridges
  • create barriers
  • etch designs and
  • just about anything else I could imagine.

This would allow the hot flowing wax to escape its pool of containment..

Not too fast, didn’t want a ‘ wax flood’ that could ruin the design.

As the hot wax seeped forth, my fingertips and toothpicks crafted exterior canals and various tunnels and chambers, as the candle burned on and on and on.


photo by ren

Have you ever dipped your fingertips into melted wax?

As a child, I did it quickly, I knew it would burn at first. …dip, dip each finger tip. Then blow to cool & dry.
I repeated a few times, to build up layers.  When the wax dried, I gently rubbed my fingertips together, I had no sense of touch…. and yet, I did. Such an intriguing sensation.

photo by ren

And once the wax cooled on my the fingertips, I enjoyed peeling it off.

I can’t wait to find that next perfect candle…….


for reading,



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