If you really want to go homemade this Christmas, think candles. They’re warm, they’re pretty, they smell good, and flame is comforting. Since you can buy candles $2 for a dozen at your neighborhood Wal-Mart, a regular old candle isn’t so much the way to go. Instead begin to think of what could be holding the candle, and that, my friends, is fun that could go on all year. Here I have included my two favorites, which are the reason I began thinking candle crazy in the first place.
The first container I chose is a light blue Earl Grey Winter White tea tin – fantastic. Or, it would have been, if I didn’t try to melt down a little red candle with a big green one. That equals brown. So included with the Earl Grey tea tin is my handy chisel, which with the help of a hammer is the best way to convince stubborn wax to regroup. Before trying to remove wax from an old container, put it in the freezer first.
The second holder, my favorite, is the tiny teacup. I found this at Goodwill for .59 cents, chipped handle and waiting for me! Also at Goodwill and the like is a good source of wax – old pillar candles. Sometimes they smell good, sometimes they don’t, but a scentless pillar can be combined with the endingsof an old Yankee Candle Co. candle or similar that has a really quality scent. Wal-Mart can also come to the rescue here with a few .25 cent scented votives to put into the mix.
Wicks – this is the only thing I recommend buying new, because an old wick is not strong enough to withstand the hot wax and gets curved. Then when you try to light the candle, the flame can’t follow the curve (can you tell I am speaking from experience a’la my tea tin?). Secure the wick at the bottom of your container with a little dab of hot glue.
Finally, you need an old pan from a second-hand store, because as easy as it is to wipe out a warm waxy pan with paper towels, there’s always the chance that your roommate will catch you.
Making the candles:
Put 3 inches of water in a large pan and bring to a boil. Then place the secondhand pan containing the wax chips into the large pan of water. In fancy kitchen land this is called a double-boiler. Reduce the heat to low, and patiently let the wax melt. It will take longer than you expect and then suddenly be as thin as water, so don’t leave it unattended and burn your kitchen down. Once the wax is liquid, pour it into the containers! With larger candles, pour in stages, letting layers harden before pouring more. If you don’t, the wax does this weird thing where it caves in at the center and then up around the wick, so it looks like a giant bellybutton. Not really the idea.
Light and enjoy!