Thursday, December 16, 2010

My hands made this for you... Six

Day 6: Candles

You've got two options here, either mix and pour wax into your own containers, which can be almost
anything, or just upgrade some store bought pillars with a festive approach. Both are fairly simple and inexpensive, and make nice gifts (the useful kind when the power goes out.)

Handmade Wax:

Re-using old candles that burned incorrectly and/or left a lot of unused goods on the sides when the wick went out, you save a lot of money and use something that would otherwise be trash. All you need is an old pot that you don't plan on using again (if you don't have one, get it at a thrift store for a few bucks), and a package of
new wicks, found at any craft supply store. The size of the containers you want to use will determine the size of the wicks needed, so you'll need to have that figured out beforehand. If you are making votives, you can also just use tea light sized candles by removing the metal bottom and just using the wick and wax.

The containers can be just about be anything, Martha Stewart uses tea cups, but I've seen shells, coconuts, acorns, etc. Even if you have purchased a candle in a decorative glass container, you can reuse it placing the container in the freezer until it's frozen. Then use a butter knife to wedge the wax out, it should just pop out
evenly. If needed you can wash the glass out, but this method is way easier than trying to scrape wax!

Once you have the materials, you will want to break up the used candles into smaller pieces which will be easier to melt. Put into the pot and simmer on low to medium heat until blended, slowly stirring the whole time. One thing to consider when using a variety of different colored waxes, when blended together it will turn into a blackish color no matter what. If you are blending different whites together the mix usually turns out a slightly darker, almost beige color. You can also add oil to the mix to give it a new scent, but I've noticed often times the original flavors when mixed together come out smelling great naturally.

Next, place the wick with the metal anchor at the bottom of the container. You will need to hold the wick upright as you slowly pour the mix in. You can also affix a flattened paperclip to the top of the container to hold the wick if it's easier. Allow the wax to dry and harden with about an inch of the wick sticking out. You can also decorate the wax with glitter or flower petals while it's still wet for a little sparkle.

For decorative pillars:Unscented candles are usually less expensive and come in basic colors. For the holidays you can upgrade their look by attaching cinnamon sticks to their exterior. Just use floral shears to cut the sticks to the height of the candle (works best with a candle at least 3 inches in diameter) and attach to the sides with a hot glue gun. Make sure the first one is securely on there before adding the next, which will go right up next to it. I think it looks best with just basic white candles, but brown or beige would look nice too. Make three at various sizes for a rustic table centerpiece, or give individually with a coaster to protect the surface it will be burning on.

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