A combination of cold weather and the coming holidays has me crafting like a madwoman. This last week I decided to try my hand at candle making and, because I will never forgo an opportunity to do a little thrifting, I decided to make them in little vintage cups and bowls.
I’m always drawn to the shelves of delicate teacups at thrift stores, but I usually refrain from buying them. I try to keep knick knacks to a minimum, but now that they have a function? You can’t hold me back. I gave myself a $2 limit for each cup and spent about a month assembling a little collection.
I love candles, but I’m pretty picky about my candle scents – a traumatic visit to Yankee Candle when I lived in Massachusetts left me with seared nasal passages, a wicked headache and a lifelong aversion to the smell of “spiced apple.” For this project I used the sharp, clean scents I love: bergamot, lavender and rosemary.
I bought all my supplies at an amazing local store called Glorybee (they also have a great online store where you can buy all the supplies I used). I made 18 candles and the final cost break down was just over $2/candle, which ain’t bad.
- Teacups or small bowls
- Pot with pour spout or metal pitcher
- Larger pot to use as double boiler
- Soy container wax – $29 for a 10 pound bag. I used just under five pounds to make my candles.
- Wick rope*
- Wick tabs
- Essential oil (your choice!)
- Glue gun
- Baking pans to use as water baths – having the cups closer in temperature to the wax helps keep the candles from getting craters and cracks
* The kind of wick you use varies with the type of wax and size of container. This size is for this project specifically.
Step One: The first order of business is assembling the vintage containers for your candles. At last! An excuse to comb thrift stores for pretty little things! Before you begin making your candles, make sure the containers are clean and dry.
Step Two: Cut lengths of wick – mine were roughly five inches – and use your hot glue gun to affix them to the wick tabs. You’ll be trimming the wicks later so they don’t need to be uniform in length, but they do need to be long enough to clear the top of your cup by an inch or two.
Step Three: Glue wicks into the center of the bottom of your cups. When the glue is dry, lay a clothespin across the top of each cup and use it to keep the wick centered and straight. Arrange the cups in the baking dishes or whatever you are using as a water bath.
Step Four: Measure out your wax. My pouring pot held about one and a half pounds of wax. I had to do three batches to fill all my containers.
Step Five: Put your pot of wax into your simmering double boiler and stir as it melts.
Step Six: Use your thermometer to measure the temperature. Heat the wax to 180 degrees then remove from heat and cool to 140 degrees. While the wax is cooling, heat water and add it to the pans you’re using as water baths.
Step Seven: When the wax is 140 degrees, stir in your essential oil. I added about half an ounce of essential oil for each pound of wax. Carefully and slowly pour wax into your containers.
The wax will become cloudy as it hardens. In the photo below, the two yellower candles in the upper right were from the second batch I made so the wax was still translucent. The other candles had been poured about half an hour before, and the wax had already become white and opaque.
Step Eight: Let the candles sit for 24 hours, then trim the wicks to about 1/8 inch in length.
And you’re done! Now package them up to give as gifts and place a few around your house to make it smell (and look) glorious!
This project took me most of a morning, though much of that time was spent assembling supplies and waiting for the wax to cool. Overall it was a straightforward process and I will definitely do it again. Please let me know if you have any questions! Come back on Wednesday for a post from Mera!