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Sure you can stock up on a basket’s worth when they go on sale at a home goods store, but scented candles actually make some of the best do-it-yourself gifts—easy to craft, extremely affordable, and speedy, too. Learn how to make candles in an afternoon, and you can customize the perfect fragrance from essentials oils and spices and mold the mixture in a creative container of your choice. Any upcycled glass jar (one that is heat-resistant), enamel cup, coffee tin, or ceramic planter can appear simply charming when filled to the brim with wax and a wick!
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Wax flakes
- Metal or wooden spoon
- Old pan
- Glass, metal, or ceramic containers
- Pre-waxed candle wicks
- Metal collars
- Popsicle sticks
- Nutmeg powder
- Ground cloves
- Kraft paper or newspaper
- Decorative tags
Drop the wax flakes into a pot. The amount you’ll need will be double the volume of the container. so use it as a scoop to be precise, so if you use a mug as candle container, you need to melt two mugs’ worth of wax flakes.
Place it on a stovetop burner set to medium-low heat, and stir the melting wax with a metal or wooden spoon—preferably not a utensil that you will use later to cook food.
Thread a long, pre-waxed wick through the metal collar, and use pliers to squeeze the metal shut to hold the wick in place. This metal base prevents the flame’s heat from damaging—even breaking—the bottom of the container once the candle has burned completely.
Wash and dry your container of choice, then add a few drops of wax to its bottom and place the wick-threaded metal on top of it. Let it set a few seconds to cool. Extend the wick taut (but not so tight that you rip the metal from the bottom) and wrap it around a Popsicle stick that rests across the top of the container in order to prevent the wick from falling into the jar when you pour the melted wax in.
Once all the flakes are melted, turn off the stove and stir in the spices. For every 2 cups of wax flakes, we’ve added 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1 tablespoon of nutmeg, and 1 one tablespoon of ground cloves to create a very wintry scent.
Alternatively, as you gain practice making candles, you can experiment to find what scents you like—some using only cinnamon and others playing with essential oils, like peppermint. Just beware that some essential oils are very flammable and should not come into contact with an open flame; read the packaging closely and heed any warnings before you try out any oil combinations.
Protect your work surface with some paper (brown kraft paper or yesterday’s newspaper pages work just fine), then proceed to pour the melted wax slowly into your first container.
After you’ve filled the container three-quarters of the way, check that the wick is still centered and adjust if necessary. Let it partly cool and solidify, then poke a few holes a toothpick in order to remove eventual air pockets. Pour the last quarter of mix in, and let set for several hours.
Repeat this step to make candles out of whatever wax remains.
Once the wax is set, trim the wicks to be a half-inch long each.
Finally, use a cord or some twine to wrap a decorative tag around each of your candle holders. These will dress up the plain canisters (like our white ceramic planters) and even double as a gift tag should you need a place to write “to” and “from.” Display them on your mantle all season long and, when you’re ready, light the homemade candles to enjoy their sweet spiced fragrance.
Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.
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