Easy Homemade Candles

img_6048

It’s the holiday season and the time for giving. I’ve always been a fan of providing homemade gifts along with store bought goodies to really show some extra thought and appreciation to those in your lives. A few years ago I decided I was going to try my hand at creating homemade candles, and it was a success. Every year since, my family looks forward to receiving a candle in their favorite scents. Since candles are always a safe gift idea, I wanted to create a simple 7 step how to guide on how to make your own candles so that you can give a little something extra this year.

img_6007

Supplies:

  • Wax pouring pot (4lb)
  • Wax (Soy) – Soy is easier to find and has great scent throw.
  • Wicks
  • Wick stickers
  • Wick tabs
  • Metal Wick Bars
  • Jars
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Scents
  • Scale (you can use a food scale)
  • Wooden Spoon

Optional Supplies

  • Dye/Color chips for your wax

Where to buy candle supplies:
You can find candle making supplies all over the place, from craft stores, ebay, Amazon, and everywhere in between. Most of my supplies have come from a small company in Massachusetts called Candle Chem. They’ve gots tons of dyes, wicks, jars, scents beyond your wildest imagine and every other supplies or accessory you could ever need for candle making. They’re great and I highly recommend them! For fast wax supplies, I use Amazon.

Making your own candles:

Step 1: Begin by prepping your jars. I’ve picked up some mason jars from the Christmas Tree Shops and little glass jars with lids, typically used for candies, at the Dollar Tree. Wash the insides of your jar with a damp paper towel and let dry.

Step 2: Prep your wicks. If you don’t buy the already put together wicks, you’ll need to fasten all the pieces together. Cut your wick into 6-7 inch pieces for mason jars, and 4 inch pieces if you’re using the Dollar Tree glass candy jars. You want to leave extra room so your wick doesn’t fall into the wax.

Thread the wick through the metal wick tabs and leave a little extra at the bottom.

img_6012You’ll now cover that left over wick string with a wick sticker that will attach your tab and wick together, and it’ll keep your wick in place inside your candle.img_6009

Step 3: Place your wick into the center of your jar and use your wooden spoon to stick the tab into place. It can be tricky to get the wick right in the center. It’s ok if it’s not perfect, it won’t make your candle any less pretty or less functional!

img_6010

Step 4: Slide wicks through metal wick bars to keep the wicks in place. If you don’t use something to keep the wick in place, it’ll move all around the heated wax and have trouble staying upright. If you don’t have metal wick bars, fear not – use a straw and some tape!img_6013

img_6020

Step 5: Measure out your wax. I use a little portable food scale. Since the wax fills up my container pretty quickly, I usually fill the scale up twice with around 7 oz of wax each time for a standard mason jar. I recommend always having a bit more wax than you expect because you never want to pour and then realize you don’t have enough wax to fill your container.

img_6014

For other containers, a great trick for figuring out how much wax to use is to fill the container with water and then weigh it to see how many ounces you’ll need.

Step 6: Melt your wax. I use a 4lb wax pouring pot that you can get at craft stores and online. I usually work with 1 lb at a time because I like to make small batches of scents. Use your wooden spoon to stir and help melt the wax quicker.

img_6016

Each wax will be slightly different, but in general soy wax should be heated up to 155 degrees fahrenheit, ensuring all wax chunks are completely melted down, no one wants to pour a lumpy candle 🙂 I recommend using a infrared thermometer for keeping track of your wax’s temperature, plus it’s kind of fun pointing it at random things and seeing how hot they are.

img_6018
Time to cool down this wax to 155.

Once your candle is around 155 degrees fahrenheit, it’s time to add any dyes and scents you want. I occasionally color my candles, trying to match the scents I’m working with (i.e. Apple = red or pink), but it’s easier to just use the natural wax color giving you a beautiful white candle. If you used a colored jar there’s no need to dye your wax. If you add a scent or color, I recommend stirring them in for a minute or so until everything is fully blended. It’s recommended to use 1 ounce of scent for every pound of wax.

img_6017

Cool the wax down to around 125 degrees fahrenheit before pouring it into your jars. I typically set the pot on the counter to cool down, stirring every now and then.

Step 6: Gently pour wax into your jar. Be careful not to bump the wick bar.

img_6023

Step 7: Let your candle cool for 24 hours and try not to move it so it settles correctly.

During this process you may notice some of the sides of the candle seem kind of frosty, this is known as frosting and happens due to crystallization and is typical in soy candles. It doesn’t affect the candle at all, and can be avoided by making sure you don’t pour your wax at a high temperature. I’ve learned to embrace frosting when it happens and it usually goes away after burning the candle during use.

After your candles are fully cooled and have sat for 24 hours, cut the wick and enjoy your creation!

img_6049

Continue Reading

DIY – Watercolor Flamingo

I’ve been big into watercolors lately. During my spare time on the weekends, or after a long stressful day at work, I love to pull out my Koi Watercolors Pocket Field Sketch Box and paint. I’ve been working on a personal series of paintings for my apartment, focusing on “under the sea” as a theme. I’ll be sharing a bit about that in the near future.

When my mom saw my sea life paintings she fell in love with them, and wondered if I could make her a flamingo painting. Flamingos are my mom’s favorite. I don’t know why or how they came to be her favorite, but they are. I’ve never created a flamingo before, so here’s to a new challenge!

Let’s start by drawing out the shape of the flamingo’s neck and body with a wet brush, no paint.

IMG_4604

Once we have water down on the paper, it’s time to add some color. I mixed red with a lot of water to dilute the color.

IMG_4605

Continue to add paint to the body of the bird, adding in some feathers with deeper hues of red or purple. Once you’re happy with the body and neck of  the flamingo, it’s time to add legs. Flamingos are known for standing on one leg, so that’s how we’ll make our flamingo stand.

IMG_4606

With a neck, body, feathers, and legs, our flamingo is almost complete! You’ll notice in the picture below that I haven’t given the flamingo a face yet. I wanted the paint around the face to dry before I brought in a harsher color for the beak and eye.

IMG_4597

Mix purple, blue, and a spec of black together, adding in a bit of water to make the color not so harsh. Then, slowly create an outline for the beak, avoiding the pink parts of the head.

IMG_4607

Add an eye with a fine point brush – just one small dab will do, and you should end up with the following.

IMG_4600

After adding in my beak, I felt the face was a little too skinny, so I added a little more pink to provide fullness to the face. And with that, under 15 minutes you have a pink flamingo ready for framing!

IMG_4602

Happy painting!

Continue Reading

DIY: Paper Succulents

I love succulents. I’ve been pinning them and staring at etsy creations featuring them for a couple of years now. You can’t deny their beauty. What’s great about succulents is that there are so many varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes – literally something for everyone. Even men love succulents, a great alternative to flowers. They’ve taken off in the wedding world, and something I’ve considered using for my one day future wedding.

As I was scrolling through the Michaels website, I decided to check out classes being held at my local store. One of the options scheduled for June was a session creating succulent artwork out of paper! Yes, paper! I’ve already bought a teeny tiny succulent plant from Michaels, and have been contemplating buying more to spruce up my desks at work and home. But why buy plants when I can make something cute myself (with the help of Michaels still).

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 1.19.13 PM

What you’ll need (I didn’t purchase everything in the above materials list):

  • Bazzill Basics Cardstock (2-3 colors) – .79/each
  • Artminds Unfinished Wood Frame – $1.00
  • Ashland Moss Variety Pack – $8.49
  • Glue gun
  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers

Instructions:

Draw different sized leaf shapes on a paper plate and cut them out. You’ll use these as your template to cut out your leaves in your selected card stock. While the example from Michaels has three different succulents, for this tutorial you’ll only be making two succulents.
IMG_4480

Use your templates to trace your leaves onto your cardstock. Then start assembling your leaves in a shape of your desire. Once you’re pleased with the design, start hot gluing the leaves together, overlapping. You may find using smaller leaves in the center of the succulent is more visually pleasing.

IMG_4496

I then rolled a small leaf up to create a little center bud.

IMG_4497

After you’re happy with your first succulent, create a second.

IMG_4500

You may find the hot glue goes all over the place, leaving stingy pieces everywhere. Don’t fret! Just use a pair of tweezers to remove excess glue.

IMG_4499

Next, we’ll want to cut a piece of cardstock that’s slightly bigger than the picture frame’s hole.

IMG_4501

Once that’s measured, start placing your succulents on the paper (don’t glue them!) to get a sense of where things look best. You’ll see in the picture below I cut a couple leaves out and added them to the bottom of each succulent with my hot glue.

IMG_4502

After you know where you want your succulents to go, it’s time to start playing around with our moss. This is where things get messy! The moss bits tend to break apart a bit, especially if you cut them into smaller pieces, which I recommend doing for this project.

IMG_4505

Once you have some moss down, it’s time to attach your first succulent. Having moss below your succulents adds a 3D effect.

IMG_4510

Continue to add moss around the first succulent, and then add your final succulent to the cardstock square. Once the square is completely filled, and you can’t see any of the cardstock beneath, it’s time to glue your creation to the frame. Add a thin line of hot glue around the frame’s opening, and press very lightly down with your cardstock. Within seconds the glue will be dry and it’s time to add the peg to the back of the frame and display your creation!

This creation would be great for a cheap centerpiece, desk decoration, or wall art.

IMG_4511

IMG_4512

Continue Reading

Watercolors for beginners: Lupine Flowers

 

IMG_4405

I’ve been meaning to try watercolors lately since the last time I recall using the medium was when I was a small child in art class. For my first watercolor post I wanted to share a very basic, safe for beginners, watercolor painting of Lupine flowers – a beautiful wildflower.

What you’ll need:

  • Water color paints (easily found at Amazon.com)
IMG_4411
This Koi Water Colors kit comes with everything you need, including a water color brush that you fill with water!

IMG_4410

  • Watercolor paper (easily found at Amazon.com)

IMG_4412

  • A paper towel – great for wiping up extra paint/water
  • Cup of water

Lupine flowers are kind of coned shaped with a bigger base of buds at the bottom with progressively smaller buds as you move up the flower, forming a point at the top.

To get started we’ll pick a color and make imperfect tear dropped or oval shapes.

IMG_4415

Continue making ovals and teardrops, moving up the paper creating a cone shape. Consider adding a second color to your buds to add a little depth or movement. The color will disperse throughout the bud since the blue paint is still wet. Let the paint do it’s thing! Perfection is not needed with watercolors.

IMG_4414

Once you’ve created a cone shape, create a light colored stem to bring your Lupine together.

IMG_4416

If you’re like me you still have some gaps to fill in around the stem. Simply add more buds.

Once you have one Lupine flower, add additional ones to fill your paper and create a nice landscape. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but adding different colored Lupines is recommended.

IMG_4409

Once you have 3-4 Lupines, add some grass at the bottom of your painting. Optional, add a blue background/sky by wetting the paper extensively and smoothing a blue paint across the paper, watering down the color so it’s pale and almost translucent.

And voila! Before you know it you’ve got a simple watercolor painting completed!

IMG_4424

Continue Reading

DIY – Painted Wooden Vase

IMG_4287

For the past few months I’ve been interested in home decor, sprucing up our apartment, and finding creative ways to add color and something unexpected to our home.

One piece that would always catch my eye is a painted/dipped wooden vase. Instead of paying $40+ on a painted wooden vase, I challenged myself to make my own. It’s a simple and fun activity you can do at home cheaply.

Here’s what you’ll need:

IMG_4250

  • 2 wooden vases (different shapes/sizes recommended)
  • 1 paint brush and 1 sponge brush
  • glue
  • 2 paint colors of your choice
  • 2 glitter colors that match your paint choices
Remember to bring along a furry friend/helper to add to the fun.
Remember to bring along a furry friend/helper to add to the fun.

For my vases, I decided to go with gold and pink as my colors, one of my favorite color combos at the moment. Begin by choosing how far up the vase you want color. I wanted to show some of the natural wood color with my vase, so I painted everything but 1/3 of the vase gold.

IMG_4251

Let the paint dry on your first vase before adding any desired glitter, and start on your second vase.

IMG_4261

My second vase features both colors. I recommend painting one section at a time, starting from the bottom. Make use of the vase opening to paint the different sections without getting paint on your table or accidentally sticking your fingers in the fresh paint.

Once all is dried, it’s time to glitter! Make a glue + water mixture as we did in the sprinkle post, helping you easily smooth on glue with your sponge brush. Then sprinkle on the glitter.

IMG_4262

One trick I discovered was to use the little foam covers that are inside the lid of the glitter container to help control your glittering. Not only does this help minimize the amount of glitter you get on you (and we all know once it’s on you it’s there forever) but it’s a great guide to ensure your glitter doesn’t go on the wrong colored sections.

IMG_4281
Viola! There you have it!

cropped-IMG_4272.jpg

If you’re interested in using the same neat shaped wooden vases for your own project, I purchased everything at my local Michaels.

  1. Large “rtf wd geo-shape” vase – $4.99
  2. Small “rtf wd geo-shape” vase – $3.99
  3. Glitter stacker – $3.99
  4. Multi service paint – $1.49 each

 

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Continue Reading