Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Homemade Christmas Gifts - One More Great Idea

Yesterday’s post was getting a little long so I thought I’d share this idea in a separate post. It is certainly a great enough idea to deserve its own space.

Along with the hand bound journals I gave my girlfriends soy wax candles in recycled jars. I came up with the idea of making my own candles a few months before Christmas. Sometime back in September I purchased several of these $1.99 candles from IKEA. For $1.99 they come in decent scents and the ugly label peels off cleanly. Once the candles were all used up I hated throwing away the perfectly good glass containers even though they were so cheap to replace. I’ve never made my own candles before so I headed off the A.C. Moore and bought a package of microwaveable soy wax, some wicks, and cinnamon essential oils. How hard could it be right? Well, it took a bit of trial and error. Turns out I bought the wrong type of wicks for soy wax (a pretty inexpensive mistake) and you should not try to microwave wax in a plastic container since you are attempting to get the wax to reach about 160 degrees. Lessons learned. Even with the wrong wicks and melted wax all over the inside of my microwave, my first attempt at candles making turned out fine. The candles melt pretty evenly and certainly smell like cinnamon.

I don’t know too many chicks who don’t like candles so I knew my friends would love to receive some as gifts. A few weeks before Christmas I started saving jars instead of tossing them in the recycling bin. If I had started collecting them earlier I might have ended up with jars that were about the same size but instead everyone ended up with a different sized candle. I’m sure they didn’t mind. I went online and started researching better candle making supplies. Once again I found these items at A.C. Moore to be a bit pricey. The initial package of wax that I bought at the craft store was 2 lbs. and probably cost me about $9. I was able to find a 10 lb. bag of soy wax or $18. At the same site I found the right kind of wicks and chose pomegranate sage as my scent since it sounded Christmassy. The only downside of buying supplies online is not being able to test the scents first so I was at the mercy of the online reviews.

With all supplies in hand it was just a matter of melting the wax (in a double boiler on the stove this time), adding my scent, and pouring (carefully) into the jars. Allow to cool overnight and add a pretty label. It’s amazing easy to make container candles (pillar candles are a whole other animal but I doubt I’ll be attempting that anytime soon). I have a crummy inkjet printer so instead of making my own labels, I used holiday stickers that I bought to use as package labels. I plan on investing in a decent printer soon so I can’t wait to design my own labels make a many more candles in the future.

cinnamon soy candle

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