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Lights, calendar, action

Think about the year ahead and carve a candle to show what you’re looking forward to.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Knives
  • Spoons
  • Pillar candles
  • Cones or markers to put on the floor

Before you begin

  • For your craft to count for the Scouts Craft Activity Badge, you’ll need to spend around six hours on the project.
  • If you want to extend this activity so it takes six hours, think about what else you could do with your candles. For example, you could paint the outside of a jar to hold your candle – as it burns, the candle will cast shadows of whatever’s painted on the jar. You could also create a shadow puppet theatre using the light of the candles, or create more candles for other occasions or to give as gifts.
  • Large pillar type candles are best for this activity – they’re easier to carve and burn OK afterwards. Stick candles won’t work – they’re likely to break while people are handling or carving them, and there’s not much space for a design.

Create a floor calendar

  1. The person leading the activity should put 12 makers along the floor of the meeting space using masking tape, rope, chalk, or cones.
  2. Everyone should stand at the first marker. This represents the month they’re in now. The other 11 markers represent the next 11 months.
  1. Everyone should write some important dates on scraps of paper. They should write one date or occasion on each piece.
  1. Everyone should put their scraps of paper in the right month on the floor calendar. They should keep adding things until their calendar looks busy.
  2. Everyone should gather together and look at their full calendar. Do any dates or occasions appear more than once? Which things are people looking forward to? Are there any things people aren’t looking forward to (for example, exams)?
  3. Everyone should decide how they’ll remember their calendar – they may want to take a photo, write down the highlights, or even stick the scraps of paper up somewhere.

Light the way forward

  1. Everyone should choose one date, event, or month they’re especially looking forward to.
  1. Everyone should think about how they could represent their chosen occasion using symbols, pictures, or short words.
  1. Everyone should sketch their ideas on a piece of paper.

Make your mark

  1. Everyone should use the ideas to develop a design for their candle. They should think about how much space they have and how their ideas could fit together.
  2. Everyone should transfer their design onto their candle. They could either draw it straight on by pressing lightly with a pen or pencils, or they could tape their paper onto the candle and draw over the lines firmly to make feint marks in the wax. They may need a bright light to make these lines out.

Carve the candle

  1. Everyone should think about how deep they want to carve each part of their design. Which bits do they want to stand out above the rest?
  2. Everyone should start to slowly carve their candle using modelling tools, a spoon, or a table knife.
  1. Once their candles are finished, everyone should take it in turns to show the group their candles. Can anyone see symbols or design features that make it obvious which occasion the candle’s for?
  2. Everyone should save their candle and light it during (or after) the occasion they designed it for. They could use it to celebrate special events or remember the fun they’ve had.
  3. Everyone who wants to complete the Scouts Craft Activity Badge should plan how they’ll extend this activity (if they need to) so they spend six hours crafting.


This activity gave everyone the chance to think about being happy. Everyone reflected on the future. Was it easy to find things to look forward to? What sort of things were people looking forward to? How does it feel to have things to look forward to?

This activity may also have helped people boost their wellbeing. What sort of things do people think make their life worthwhile? What can people do to make sure they feel satisfied with their life?


Sharp objects

Teach young people how to use sharp objects safely. Supervise them appropriately throughout. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

All activities must be safely managed. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.