Monday, August 11, 2014

DIY Soy Teacup Candles

I love candles. I know that almost everyone enjoys candles but I seriously love them, almost to a fault. I have a stock of hundreds of tealights - which I tend to light almost everyday in the autumn and winter - and several larger jar candles scattered throughout my room. I'll find a jar candle with a scent that I enjoy and then I'll stock up on them and be hesitant to burn them too long because I don't want to run out. See? There's the fault.

Anyway, today's craft is a fun little idea I cooked up for a friend's bridal shower. She's one of my favorite people in the world and she's super classy and cool so my fellow bridesmaids and I had quite the task on our hands. We decided on a garden party theme with tea sandwiches and macarons with tons of flowers. We thought afternoon tea would also be elegant and since we were purchasing actual tea cups for the occasion that would never be used again, I thought it would be fun idea to repurpose them into candles so that everyone could take them home as party favors. This was also an economical choice for us, since we had a limited budget to work with and I already had all of the materials for candle making.

Because I didn't want to go into the activity blind, I thought I should do a test run. And the test run was a success, duh, because I'm sharing this today.
You'll need:
cute teacup (I bought mine from Christmas Tree Shops for $3)
soy wax flakes (available at craft stores but it's so much cheaper on Amazon.com)
fragrance (I used coconut)
double boiler and metal container with lid (or a container specifically meant for melting wax)
stirrer (something disposable like a wooden skewer)
wick
hot glue
tape
tag & marker (optional)
Start by cleaning the teacup. You don't want any residue on the cup that might end up either floating in the candle wax or preventing the wax from sticking to the cup.

Measure out your wax. I like to just overfill the vessel with the wax flakes and then throw in another small handful for good measure. There are ways to figure out the weight of wax required to fill a certain volume but honestly, the eyeballing method works well for me. You just need to make sure you add in a little extra wax to account for the fact that there's air space between the flakes and also that some of the wax will burn off while it's being melted.
Create a double boiler. Place the lid of your tin in the bottom of a pan and fill with water. Heat over low and then place the tin full of wax into the water. The lid on the bottom of the pan is there so that the tin of wax isn't touching the bottom of the pan. The flash point of wax is just slightly higher than the temperature of boiling water so it's important to keep the temperature of the wax under 200F so that it doesn't burst into flames.

Most tutorials emphasize the importance of thermometers. Honestly, for this project, it's such a small quantity of wax, I think all you need to do is heat the wax just long enough for it to completely melt and then remove it from the stove. Let the wax cool slightly.
While the wax is cooling, use some hot glue to press the wick into the bottom of the cup.
After the wax has cooled a few minutes, check the consistency by taking the mixing stick out and if the wax on the stick solidifies in under 10 seconds, it's ready. This is when you can add your fragrance to the wax. You don't want it to be too hot or else the smell will burn off.
Carefully pour the wax into the teacup. If you're having difficulty keeping the wick straight, use a few pieces of tape to support it. Then, let it harden. You can pop the candle in the fridge to speed up the setting time.
If you're giving this as a gift or looking for a lovely presentation, you can add a cute little tag.
Trim the wick to about 1 cm. Allow your candle to cure for at least one week before burning it. Curing the candle will allow the scent molecules to meld to the soy molecules so that there's a better scent payoff when you actually burn the candle.
Cute, right? I think this is such a fun, simple, and impressive project. These ended up working out so well for the shower and I think everyone enjoyed them.
xoxo.

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