Inspired by Kirstie Allsop’s Handmade Home and an increasing cynicism about wasteful commercialism, I decided to get crafty and make my own teacup candles, rather than buy new ones.
The first step was a lovely afternoon spent trawling charity shops for teacups, which left me with quite a selection.
Next I ordered a candle-making kit from www.makingyourowncandles.co.uk which included everything I needed and detailed instructions, the first of which was to fill a saucepan to a third of its volume with water. Then I cut the wicks a couple of centimetres longer than each container was deep. I threaded each wick through a wick tab, leaving about a millimetre showing underneath, and then pinched the collar of the wick tab with a pair of pliers to hold the wick in place.
Next I cut the wax into small blocks and put them into a small saucepan floating in the larger saucepan, which was simmering gently. Once melted the colour and fragrance were added.
I poured a tiny amount of the melted wax into each cup, which I allowed to cool, holding the wick tab and wick in place at the centre of the bottom of the cup.
I then poured the rest of the wax into the cup, taking care to keep the wick straight up through the centre of the candle, to ensure it will burn properly.
The next bit is quite fiddly, but it’s important to keep the wick in that position while the candle sets. I used cocktail sticks for the small cups and pencils for the larger cups and a little bit of Blu-Tack to attach the wick to the cocktail stick / pencil and the cocktail stick / pencil to the teacup.
Then I just left the wax to set for 12 hours and trimmed the wick to about 1cm above the level of the wax.
Et Voila! A wonderful gift made largely from things that might have ended up as landfill, turned into a present that (hopefully!) will not. Kirstie would be so proud!
Further reading for the especially geeky:
- http://www.channel4.com/4homes/design-style/how-to-guides/how-to-make-candles-gallery-09-04-21_p_1.html (Kirstie’s Homemade Homes)
- http://www.themakelounge.com/workshops/detail/62 (Teacup candle making workshops at the Make Lounge)
- http://www.teacupcandles.co.uk/ (teacup candles)
Katie Treggiden has been writing her blog, confessions of a design geek at www.confessionsofadesigngeek.wordpress.com, since April 2010. Just six weeks after she started writing it, it was nominated for the mydeco Design Democracy Blog Awards and in September 2010 won Best Interior Design Blog in the UK. Kelly Hoppen MBE described confessions of a design geek as “a wonderful example of how blogging should be” continuing; “she is clearly passionate about her subject and her writing conveys this enthusiasm to the reader. A great mix of architecture, interiors and creative resources. All in all, a great read” While Brad Ford described it as “beautifully designed, consistent, thoughtful and (with) a very distinct point of view.” In 2010 Katie was one of the Official London Design Festival bloggers for mydeco and LDF and continues to write for the LDF blog and other design publications. www.confessionsofadesigngeek.wordpress.com
Teacup candle – using green and white vintage porcelain tea cups.
Tea cup hoard from the charity shop.
Here the wicks are being cut 3 cm longer than the depth of the teacup.
Melting the wax in a saucepan.
Placing the wick in place, centrally
Pouring in the rest of the wax.
Keeping the wick straight while the wax sets.
The finished teacup candle.