Friday, November 27, 2009


Grad school has made me rather thrifty. This year for christmas I decided I wanted to make my female relatives (aunts, mom, stepmom, grandma) candles. Since I've had some time off to relax, and I had multiple coupons for JoAnns, I decided to try my luck at making candles today.

Last weekend I collected some old canning and jelly jars from the salvation army to make the candles in. I decided to get them there so they were not all the same, and I got some pretty ones. Different shapes, sizes and patterns.
I got wax, wicks, dye and scent, and set to work. I don't have a fancy double-boiler candle maker thing, so I improvised. I read online that a coffee can would work, but I didn't have one of those either. I did, however, have a can of mandarin oranges. So I had a little snack, cleaned the can and started cooking! (kind of..)
I took action shots.
My high tech set up...

Three jars in various stages of getting ready: you have to put in the wick and then keep it standing while the candle hardens. They probably sell some fancy tool for this, but since I was using a can of mandarin oranges for melting the wax, I went with the low-tech "use a spoon" method. It actually worked out quite well.

I poured the tallest jar first, then I had to melt more wax to pour the next two. You can see the taller one is lighter than the smaller ones, and the wax continues to lighten as it cools.

This is about 30 minutes after pouring. You can see the wax is even lighter.

I used french vanilla scent and brown dye. Brown really wasn't my first choice, but Joanns had a limited, strange selection of colors. Lavender, yellow and brown. OK? I guess "french vanilla" lends itself to a brown color, so that's ok.
Since I wasn't sure how this was going to go, I only bought 1 pound of wax, which I used up. Tomorrow I will probably go to another store (Michaels?) to scope out their selection, and get some more wax. As the wax is drying, it settles, so you have to "top it off." I didn't plan well so I didn't have any wax left with which to do this. And I have many more candles to make.
I'm hoping to find one more color and maybe another scent. I don't want to get too complicated-- I have a limited supply of cans in my cupboard in which I can melt wax.
The best part about this is now I know how relatively easy it is. My new question, instead of "would this look good on my head?" will be "can I make this into a candle?"

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