Gifty Creativity

12finalThis blog is going to be a celebration of creativity of all forms, not just ‘formal’ art. I think there is an artist deep inside everyone and it expresses it self in many different ways!

I get the urge at Christmas, as many do, to try to make something to give as a gift. Whether its a portrait of someone’s beloved fur-baby or a plate of cookies, there is satisfaction in giving something you have created.

This year I combined my environmental side with my crafty side and made candles. The receptacle was the ‘green’ side…aluminum cans and the decorative yarn…yard sale find!

This was my first time making candles so please consult other sources for the basic how-to’s and safety guidelines.

Selecting the Wax

I wanted these candles to be eco-friendly to burn as well as make. I chose a soy wax and metal-free wicks. I did choose3waxbag fragrances to add, however, but no dyes. I bought all my supplies from the friendly folks at Southwest Candle Supply in Mesquite, Texas. I went into their shop and they gave me a lot of tips on what to buy and how to use it!

Setting up the Containers

1straw
Use a straw to center and press wicks into containers.

As I mentioned, I used aluminum cans for the containers (most were BPA-free, a few I was unsure of) as well as some glass tea lights I had bought and then cleaned after burning the original candles. I set up the can by putting a wick-sticker on the bottom of the wicks and using a straw to firmly push it down in the cans (one of the nifty tips from the Southwest Candle lady!).

Another handy tip was to use hair clips to hold the wicks in place during the pour and cool. I found the larger, plastic ones at Wal-mart and the smaller, metal ones at a local grocery store. Note: Do NOT pull too firmly on the wick to straighten after you have poured the wax…the hot wax can get under the sticker pretty quickly! I learned (and re-learned) this the hard way!

Melting and Pouring

To melt the candles, I measured about 2.5 lbs of wax into an aluminum pitcher (bought with coupon at Michaels). Since I have a glass, flat-top range, the 7meltcandle lady said I could put the pitcher straight on the burner. The thought of that made me nervous so I used a pot with a couple of inches of water in it. I also read a trick to put a metal cookie cutter in the bottom of the pot to elevate the pitcher and make it more like a double-boiler.

4readytopourAfter the wax was completely melted, about 5-7 minutes, I waited for the temperature to reach about 180°. Then I removed it from the heat and added 1 oz. fragrance for each pound of wax. I used a clean paint stick to stir the melting wax and stir in fragrance. After stirring in fragrance, the temperature drops enough to pour immediately.

Dressing it Up

I kept the labels on some organic Pumpkin cans and filled it with…you guess it…pumpkin spice. The plain cans I filled with either pumpkin or creamy vanilla. Decorating was the creative part! I had found a box of specialized and decorative yarn at a yard sale the previous summer. It was mainly just little balls or leftovers. I decided that was the perfect dress-up to the plain, aluminum cans.

I simply used a glue gun to squirt a short line of glue in the middle and wrapped yarn tightly around the cans. On some cans I added another layer to the center of that yard. I then raided my buttons and small, seashell supply and glued those on top of the yarn. I’m pretty pleased with the results, had a ton of fun making the 9finalcandles and got a lot of positive feedback from the gift recipients. Added bonus…I learned a new creative skill…candle-making!11final

Did you do any creative gifts this past Christmas?