When it comes to choosing gifts for friends and family, if you are on a budget, or are just looking for that little extra something to complete a gift, sometimes £10 just will not go anywhere near buying something which they will like, enjoy or need. That is why making something yourself can be that extra bit special. I myself am not very creative, with little experience (well, being honest, no experience!) of crafts of any kind. I did art at GCSE and that’s about the last time I created anything. So although I wanted to make something as a gift this year for Christmas, I wasn’t quite sure whether this would be possible. That’s when I came across teacup candles – this looked like a great idea for a beginner and all my friends are very much fans of shabby chic and vintage inspired decorations for their homes – so it was a perfect fit for my friends.
Here’s my guide at how to make them
Firstly I looked up a few different methods online, to understand the theory and whether it was something I could manage with my beginners skills. It all looked pretty straight forward so my next step was to get in the supplies.
I bought some vintage style china teacups, with different patterns and colours to suit my friends’ interior design. These can be picked up in charity shops, jumble sales, car boot sales or on ebay, for a reasonable price. I then needed to order wax and candle wick. I visited an online craft shop and bought clear paraffin wax and also picked a candle making specific scent – I went for a Christmas spices one to be festive. I decided not to bother with colouring as I felt clear would work better in the teacups.
My first mistake came when I ordered the candle wick. I ordered the candle wick on a roll and when it arrived I soon realised that getting it to lie straight in the tea cup to give a clean burn would be far beyond my skill set! Likewise the wick needed to be pre-waxed – all a bit too complex for me. I decided to instead opt for some pre-tabbed, pre-waxed candle wicks – these had a metal base to hold the wick straight and in place.
Now I had all the bits I needed, it was time to get melting…
I began by placing a candle wick in each teacup, then trimming the wick to just above the size of the cup.
It was then time to melt the wax. Being a novice I didn’t have a proper wax melting pot, so used a method recommended in my online research of; one saucepan being placed inside another larger saucepan of boiling water on the stove (similar to the common method of melting chocolate for cooking). This stops the wax getting too hot and becoming a fire risk. I would recommend using an old pan to place the wax in, as I found it difficult to fully remove the wax after use.
Once the wax has melted (which did take longer than I expected) you can add your essence and dye (if using either).
Now pour the wax carefully into each teacup. This was another area for error on my part – as soon as the hot wax touched the wick, the wax on the wick melted and the wick collapsed. I improvised and used some metal skewers over each teacup to hold the wicks upright, until the wax had set. I also managed to pour wax onto my kitchen benches, so I would recommend putting something down to protect your surface. Our Blue Floral Plastic Tablecloth would be perfect.
Leave the candle wax to set. I just left them out on my kitchen bench and they began to set quite quickly. Once fully set I trimmed the wicks further down, so they sat about a centimetre above the wax. I then added some little ribbons to the handles for decoration.
My friends were all delighted with their teacup candles, and I enjoyed the feeling of giving them something which I had spent time making myself, so would certainly recommend this as homemade gift idea.