Friday, March 7, 2014

Girl's Night: Candle Making Party

Last Friday, since Chris was out of town for a ski trip, I decided to have some girls over for dinner, wine, and crafts. I had always wanted to try making container candles, so after scouring the local craft stores for all the supplies I needed, we were ready to get melting.

Let me preface this first picture by saying candle making is MESSY. There are a lot of supplies you need, and wax gets everywhere, and of course that wine bottle is essential too. Just want to make that clear in case you're thinking of trying your hand at this fun craft. It's really cool and I definitely recommend trying it, but be prepared to make a mess of your kitchen!
Kristen and Rhonda brought some cute vessels to fill with wax and we all basically just figured things out as we went.
There are plenty of online resources for making candles, so I won't go into the full details. But basically you have to use a double boiler to melt the wax. A little tip if you don't have one or don't want to get wax on your good pots and pans - buy a couple metal pans or bowls from a thrift store to contain the wax. That way, if the pans don't come clean, you can just throw them out or save them for candle-making use only.
To keep the wick straight, we used chopsticks. The wicks had metal in the center, so we just had to wrap it around the chopstick a couple times for it to stay.
Another tip - if you don't have a doctor around that got stuck at work way too long who wants to take out her aggression on a solid block of wax, I recommend trying to buy the wax chips or wax shavings. The solid block was a lot of work to break apart.
It was pretty fun to see how the wax dries and how different amounts of dye and types of wax ended up different. In the picture below, Rhonda was trying to get the two candles to be the same shade of lavender, but as they were drying, it looked like she hadn't used enough dye on the one on the right.
But once they were dry, they were almost the exact same shade of lavender. That yellow looking one in the mason jar ended up looking like a nice, opaque cream color.
I ended up buying about 10 pounds of wax and we probably used 6 pounds to make 15 - 18 small/medium-size candles. I still have a lot of leftover supplies, so I'll be able to make a bunch more sometime too.
I even filled a wine glass that my sister-in-law gave me for my bachelorette party. Seemed appropriate for this girl's night. :-)
One thing that was interesting was that some of the wax ended up dipping down in the center after the candle dried, but some didn't. The ones that had a slight dip still looked fine, but I had a couple that had a huge gaping hole around the wick. So the next morning I had to melt down some more wax and pour it on top. This fixed it for some (although it was difficult if I had already trimmed the wicks) but two of them got even weirder. Although now those green ones are perfect for Halloween. They look like zombie brains. haha
I tried making one coffee candle in a mug. It looks awesome but I haven't burned it yet, so I don't know how strong the smell will be. I used actual coffee beans and grounds, which stayed at the top and look really sweet. I think I added a little vanilla and cinnamon scents to give it a boost, as well.

If you have the time, I recommend buying supplies online. I had a hard time finding scents and color blocks to dye the wax at our local craft stores. A lot of them were out of stock or had very limited supplies. Also, I really liked the soy wax chips, which were not at Michaels or JoAnnes (I found them at Hobby Lobby, but they were more expensive than you could find online).

All in all, it was a lot of fun just to hang out with my friends and play around with the candles. But I also think this could be a really neat idea for personalized gifts for friends and family. Just pick out some really neat vessels and the recipient's favorite scent or color and it's a really thoughtful present.