DIY: Homemade Candlemaking Tips from Urban Thrift

DIY homade candle making from calgary thrift store itemsUrban thrift has tons of glassware, jars and vases. These are great not only for holding spring bouquets but for a fun upcycling project: homemade candles.

The basic premise behind candle recycling is incredibly simple: melt down the wax from old candles, pour it into a mould or dip the wick into wax repeatedly, depending on what you’d prefer. However, there’s a surprising amount of things that can go wrong, and a few simple ways to make the whole process simpler.

First of all, when melting down the wax, try to make sure that the candles are similar types and consistencies. That is to say, mixing beeswax candles along with synthetic ones might not yeild a candle that burns well. Some go so far as as to say not to mix different brands of candles, and while we haven’t seen any terrible problems resulting from this, it’s something to bear in mind if your creations haven’t been burning properly.

When heating the wax, use a double boiler, or if you’re melting down the remnants of a jar candle, put the jar in a hot water. Heating the candle directly over a burner can burn the wax or stick it to the pan. Furthermore, whenever possible, try to avoid heating the wax in the microwave. As anyone who’s ever tried to warm up soup knows, something heated in a microwave can seem just right in one part but boiling hot somewhere else. If the wax isn’t being heated evenly, melting the candles properly can be very difficult.

Once the wax is heated, you can pour it into a mould, such as a cup or mason jar. . It’s useful to recycle old candle jars, mason jars, or other thick glassware for candles (teacups work too!). In terms of putting a wick in a jarred candle, the simplest thing to do is to cut enough string to reach to the bottom of the jar, plus about an extra inch. Wrap the excess wick around a pencil, and sit the pencil across the top of the jar. Then, pour the wax around the wick. Leave the candle like this until the wax returns to room temperature, then unwind and trim the wick. Sometimes, a dent will form in the cooled wax around the wick. You can solve this problem by reserving a little bit of wax and then pouring it into the dent. It’s important to ensure that the glass is thick enough and will not crack. Other containers, such as ceramic can also be used. It’s easy to burn the candles in the jars. However, if you want to remove the candle from the jar, an easy trick to use is to wait until it cools down and then put it in the freezer.

The other option for making a candle is to repeatedly dip the candle wick into the wax. Trim off the bottom of the candle to make it flat.

Some other more advanced things to try are adding various aromatic oils to the candle wax to create your own scented candle, or if you’d like to go completely DIY, you can make your own wicks with tutorials like this one: http://www.ehow.com/how_7161760_make-tea-light-candle-wicks.html Tutorial to making your own candle wicks. You can also experiment with layering different types and colors of wax.

Finally, for a little inspiration, check out this impressive process of making intricate, handmade candles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36f5RfpCvL8.

What do you think?

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