Tag Archives: diy

DIY Vintage Teacup Candles

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candles

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
  • Thermometer
  • Scale
  • Essential oil (your choice!)
  • Clothespins
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • 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.

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candles

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.

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

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.

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

The cups on the left have the wicks glued to the bottom; in the cups on the right I’ve used clothespins to keep the wicks straight.

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.

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

Step Five:  Put your pot of wax into your simmering double boiler and stir as it melts.

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

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.

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candles

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.

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

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.

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

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!

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

Red House West//DIY Vintage Teacup Candes

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!

DIY Friday Vol. 7

Hey everybody, and welcome to the seventh installment of our DIY Friday series!  One Friday a month we do a roundup of DIY projects from around the web that we’re dying to try.  You can check out previous DIY Friday posts, as well as some of our own DIY ventures, here.  Now for this month’s inspiration!

From Katie:

Oh man do these color-washed plywood tiles over on Marion House Book make my heart go pitter patter.  I love the colors, the design, the scale – all of it!  It looks like a straightforward project, and pretty inexpensive to make.  It’s gorgeous over her mantel and I can also imagine using the tiles on a headboard or a small accent wall.

Marion House wall tiles

Marion House wall tiles 2

Another wall art DIY I’m loving is this painted cross stitch.  I like the way it tricks the eye, and it could be a really fun and playful element.  Mera could even take her love of irreverent cross stitch large-scale :).

From Mera:

When I was a kid one of our neighbors had an elaborate geometric painted door that sparked my burgeoning interest in design and style at a really young age. Since then I have had a thing for decorated doors and this one, covered with leather scraps and nail heads, makes me swoon:

Red House West||DIY Friday

In between realizing that our chaise wouldn’t fit through the playroom door and remembering that we have an old captain’s bed stored in the basement I did some internet searching for daybed DIYs. I came up with a really detailed tutorial to make this daybed that I’ve bookmarked for future cabin use, or as backup in case we can’t squeeze the captain’s bed into the playroom after all.


source (the website appears to be under construction right now, but hopefully the tutorial will be back up soon!)

Have a great weekend everyone, and come back on Monday for another post from Katie!

DIY Oil Portrait Coasters

Red House West//Oil Portrait CoastersThe other day I was casting about our living room looking for a place to put a dripping glass of ice water.  When I set the glass on the floor because I was worried about marring the surface of the teak end table, I realized there was a problem that needed fixing.  So I started daydreaming (as one does) about making some coasters. Practicality was the initial motivator for this project, but it was when I started thinking about quirky little pieces of art scattered around the room that I began to get excited.  These (functional) little portraits were easy and inexpensive to make, and are making me super happy!

I downloaded the portraits from the National Gallery of Art, which has images that are in the public domain and available for free download and public use.  I had a lot of fun browsing the collections, and my brain is now teeming with ideas for other projects using this resource.  I liked the idea of mixing the portraits with a floral print, so I also used some of the  Rifle Paper Co. gift wrap leftover from my hutch project.

These took less than two hours –  plus drying time – to make (though I think it would go faster now that I’ve done some troubleshooting and if I weren’t constantly stopping to take photos for the blog).  I had most of the supplies on hand, but even the ones I had to buy (Mod Podge and cork) were inexpensive and easy to find at our local craft store.


  • Printouts of images – I used Microsoft Word to make each image 4″x 4″ and to put them in a grid of four
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam brush
  • Cork Board ($3.99 a sheet, I used three sheets to make about 35 coasters)
  • Utility knife, ruler, and a cutting surface

Step One:  Cut the white space off of your printouts (but leave them in their grid).  Apply Mod Podge to the back of your paper and also the cork board.  Use your fingers to spread out any wrinkles or bubbles and allow to dry completely (I left mine to dry overnight).

Red House West//Oil Painting Coasters

Red House West//Oil Portrait Coasters

Step Two: Use your utility knife and straight edge to cut off the excess cork and then to cut your images into individual squares.  Make sure your blade is super sharp or it will tear the edge of your paper!

Red House West//Oil Painting Coasters

Step Three: Use your knife and straight edge to cut the corners off of your images.  This step is optional, but I think it gives the coasters a more polished look.Red House West//Oil Portrait Coasters

Step Four: Apply Mod Podge to the edges and top of your images.  Allow to dry completely (I left mine for a couple of hours).

Red House West//Oil Painting Coasters

Red House West//Oil Painting Coasters

And that’s it!  Seriously simple, and I love how they turned out!

Red House West//Oil Portrait CoastersThat high-browed profile of the 15th century Franco-Flemish Lady is really giving me a lot of joy.  I’m planning to give some of these away, so I made a couple stacks and tied them together with baker’s twine.  These would make a great holiday or thank you gift!

red house west//oil portrait coastersI will definitely make these again.  The top coat of Mod Podge seemed to give them a good seal, but if they do get ruined fast I might try applying a spray-on sealant the next time I make them (if I do, I’ll make sure to update here).  I also think it would be fun to paint the edges of the cork in a bright color – it would probably work best to do it before applying the top coat of Mod Podge so the glue doesn’t repel the paint.

And lest you think I’m not giving these puppies a thorough testing, worry not!  This glass of wine and I are putting them through their paces, and so far so good.

red house west//oil portrait coastersThanks for reading along and I hope you’re having a wonderful week.  Check back in on Friday for a new post!