Introduction: Candles for the Gifted in Years

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My Grandfather recently celebrated his 78th birthday, and while joking with the family about the size of the cake required to hold that many candles, I hit upon a really simple and fun way to have 78 flames going without ruining the cake or endangering anybody nearby.

I believe in simplicity, so this Instructable is very simple and easy to change, improve and make more interesting and fun.

Step 1: Materials

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You will need

Matches (quite a few)
Masking tape

Step 2: Masking Tape Base

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The first step is to place a 20cm piece of masking tape sticky side up on your work surface (the length of tape will change depending on the size of the candle you wish to make).  To keep it in place, fold the edges backwards and stick them onto the surface.

Step 3: Adding Matches

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Now comes the tedious step.

Press matches down onto the tape, taking care to maintain an even height and spacing between each.  The idea is that lighting the first match will light the second and so on, so don't make them more than two or three millimetres apart.

Place as many matches as you want.

Step 4: Securing

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Now we tape the thing up.

Place a strip of tape sticky side down over the matches, sandwiching them between the two tapes.

Now you can remove the lower tape from your work surface and tear off the extra tape.

Now we strengthen the base.  This  is a bit of a matter of taste.  I usually wrap the bottom 3 or 4 times, just to give it some rigidity.

Step 5: Test! (and Test Again)

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At this point, if you are like me, you want to see something burn.  So, here are some photos of the small one in action.

Step 6: Improve

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Just for fun, I decided to colour in some of the matches for my grandfather's birthday.  Each coloured match represents somebody in his family of that age.  So the 14th match represents his 14 year old grandson etc.

Alternatively you can experiment with the heights of each match to make patterns.  Just make sure they don't get too far apart or they won't light each other.

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