Jewish Journal

Thrifty gifts: DIY candles in a cup

by Julie Bien

November 11, 2013 | 11:50 am

With birthdays, housewarmings and various celebrations sprinkled throughout the year, it's always good to have an easy-to-make/easy-on-the-wallet gift to give.

This gift is most cost-effective when done in bulk (at least 4 or 5 candles) but it's not expensive if you only want to make one. The trick is to use as many repurposed things as possible (old teacup without a saucer? great! half-melted candlesticks that live in a drawer? perfect! essential oil that you use for baths? toss some in!)

This is also really easy--don't let the number of steps intimidate you. I just wanted to break it into little bits so it's easy to follow the instructions.

Supplies per candle:

-1 old ceramic mug, mug-like-thing, or porcelain teacup

(you can find them for $1 at most Goodwill or Salvation Army stores)

-1 candle wick with metal tab base

(available at places like Michael's in bulk)

-1-2 cups broken candles, leftover wax, or candle-making wax bars

(mine were salvaged from the depths of my boyfriend's closet while he was moving)

-scented oil (optional)

-1 wooden spoon you don't mind donating to the cause

 (they become nearly possible to clean after doing this craft, so I wouldn't recommend using them for food afterwards)

-1 double-boiler

(or, if you're like me and don't have one, MacGyver one out of a big pot filled about 1/3 of the way with water, and then another pot nested inside---the nested pot just can't touch the bottom of the bigger pot, otherwise you risk setting things on fire.)

Step 1.  Add water to your double boiler and put it over medium heat on the stove.

Step 2.  Chop your candles, wax, and candle bits into 1 inch pieces. Don't worry if you're using old candles and bits of the wick are left in--those will easily fall out when you melt the wax.

Step 3. Toss the chopped wax into the warmed double boiler. Turn the heat to medium low, and stir often. The wax should begin to melt relatively quickly.

Step 4. Once the wax is mostly melted, add the scented oil (this is optional)

Step 5. Now that the wax is fully melted, dip the metal tab of the candle wick into the hot wax and quickly place it in the center of your mug or teacup. It will cool quickly, "cementing" the wick in place.

Step 6. Carefully pour the hot wax into the cup until it's a little more than an inch from the top (making sure to keep wick bits out of the candle). You should have some wax left in your pot--we'll use the leftovers in a bit.

Step 7. Prop, the wick in place with any long object. I used a knife, but a pen, spoon or chopsticks will work equally well. Let it sit for about an hour until it's set.

Step 8. Once the initial wax has set, the candle will have an indentation in the center. Now you can reheat the leftover wax that's still in the pan, and top off the candle until the hot wax is about 1/2 inch from the top. Once again, let it cool. This should take a little less than an hour.

Step 9.  Finally, trim the wick until it's between a 1/4" and 1/8" long. That's it!

Now you have a lovely candle for yourself or to give as an affordable gift.

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Hi. I’m Julie Bien.

I’m a writing, blogging, coffee-drinking machine.

I also have a thing for sustainability, organic gardening, cooking, and easy crafting. I’m like Martha...

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