Inspired by Kirstie’s Homemade Home and an increasing cynicism about the annual Christmas cycle of shopping-presents-landfill, I decided to get crafty and make my own Christmas presents this year.

Teacup candle

Teacup candle

The first step was a lovely afternoon spent trawling charity shops for teacups, which left me with quite a selection…

Teacups

Teacups

Next I ordered a candle-making kit from www.makingyourowncandles.co.uk which included everything I needed and detailed instructions; the first of which was to fill a saucepan to a third of its volume with water. Then I cut the wicks a couple of centimetres longer than each container was deep…

Wicks being cut to 2cm longer than teacup is deep

Wicks being cut to 2cm longer than teacup is deep

and threaded each wick through a wick tab, leaving about a millimetre showing underneath, and then pinched the collar of the wick tab with  pair of pliers to hold the wick in place.

Pinching the collar of the wick tab to hold the wick in place

Pinching the collar of the wick tab to hold the wick in place

Next I cut the wax into small blocks and put them into a small saucepan floating in the larger saucepan,  which was simmering gently – once melted the colour and fragrance were added.

Melting the wax

Melting the wax

I poured a tiny amount of the melted wax into each cup, which I allowed to cool; holding the wick tab and wick in place at the centre of the bottom of the cup.

A small amount of wax holding the wick tab and wick in place

A small amount of wax holding the wick tab and wick in place

Then I poured the rest of the wax into the cup, taking care to keep the wick straight up through the centre of the candle, to ensure it will burn properly.

Pouring in the rest of the wax

Pouring in the rest of the wax

The next bit is quite fiddly, but it’s important to keep the wick in that position while the candle sets. I used cocktail sticks for the small cups and pencils for the larger cups and a little bit of Blu-Tack to attach the wick to the cocktail stick / pencil and the cocktail stick / pencil to the teacup.

Keeping the wick straight while the wax sets

Keeping the wick straight while the wax sets

Then I just left the wax to set for 12 hours and trimmed the wick to about 1cm above the level of the wax…

Teacup candle

Teacup candle

… et viola, a Christmas present made largely from things that might have ended up as landfill, turned into a gift that (hopefully!) won’t. Kirstie would be proud!

Further reading for the especially geeky:

  • http://www.channel4.com/4homes/design-style/how-to-guides/how-to-make-candles-gallery-09-04-21_p_1.html (Kirstie’s Homemade Homes)
  • http://www.themakelounge.com/workshops/detail/62 (Teacup candle making workshops at the Make Lounge)
  • http://www.teacupcandles.co.uk/ (teacup candles)
  • Crafty Reuse: Ten Ways to Repurpose an Altoids Tin (craftingagreenworld.com)