Did you know that Mother’s Day is celebrated on different days in Great Britain and the US? My husband and I were just discussing whether this entitles me to two Mother’s Days, given that I’m a British Mum who happens to be doing my mothering in the US 🙂
Incidentally, he was firmly against the idea. But I think that’s more to do with the fact that the responsibility currently falls on his shoulders. My two girls (at three years old and two months old) are still just a tad young to be making me breakfast in bed!
In any case, since Mother’s Day is coming up at the end of this month in Britain, I’ve been thinking about gift ideas. One thing’s for sure – we all love to receive a gorgeous bouquet of flowers, don’t we? And chocolate of course. Lots of chocolate. But I think that sometimes it’s nice to add a little personal touch too.
I recently stumbled upon a tutorial for making a homemade candle. I actually had no idea that it was so easy! So I decided to give it a go, and am quite pleased with how it turned out.
I found the awesome mug in Target. Not only do I love the size (I don’t really do small cups of coffee) but the sentiment is spot on for so many of the Mums I know (including my own!).
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Wax (I chose paraffin)
- Glass measuring jug
- Fragrance oil
- Coffee mug or other heatproof container of your choice
Step 1: melt the wax
Put the solid wax into your glass measuring jug, and then place the jug into a saucepan filled without a few inches of boiling water. Ideally, you would use a double boiler for this part but since I didn’t have one to hand, I had to improvise!
A quick note on the wax – I chose to use paraffin because it’s more easily scented than other types, but this can certainly be substituted for natural options such as soy, palm wax or beeswax.
If the wax comes in a large block as mine did, you can cut it up into smaller chunks first, which will help it to melt more quickly.
Try to ensure that the temperature of the wax remains below 170 degrees (you can use a kitchen probe thermometer to check). If it gets much higher, just remove it from the heat for a little bit.
I used about one pound of wax to fill my gargantuan coffee mug (!) and it took almost an hour to melt completely.
Step 2: attach the wick to your container
Next, use a dab of the melted wax on the metal tab to adhere your wick to the center of your container. I decided to use wax, rather than glue, so that once the candle has been used it will be easy to remove the wick and the mug can then be used for its intended purpose!
It will just take a minute or two for the wax to harden, at which point the wick will be fixed.
Step 3: add your fragrance oil
When the wax is completely melted, add your fragrance oil. You can find fragrances especially designed for candle making in most craft stores, but I decided to use the essential oil I already had at home. I added about 1 oz per pound of wax.
Simply pour the fragrance into the measuring jug and stir for a minute or so to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed throughout the wax.
You could also add a dye at this point if you wanted your candle to be a specific color. I just happen to like the look of plain white candles!
Step 4: pour the wax into your container
After you’ve added your fragrance, remove the wax from heat and let it cool for a minute or two. Apparently the optimal temperature for pouring and setting wax is somewhere between 130-140 degrees.
Here’s a great trick I learned: to help the wick stay in place while you’re pouring the wax, you can loop the end around a pencil and lay it across the top of your container.
Finally, carefully pour the wax into your the container. And watch out, because the handle of the measuring jug will be hot!
Step 5: top off and trim the wick
After the wax has cooled for a little while, you may notice a small sinkhole around the wick. If this is the case, you can simply add a little more wax (being careful not to add too much!) to top off the candle and fill the hole.
Last of all, cut the wick, leaving about 1/4″.
And there you have it… a lovely homemade candle, that would make a great gift for Mum! I wish that you could all smell it too, because the fragrance is divine!
It would seem that the only real downside to making candles at home is the mess. Wax can stick to everything… but never mind that! And now that I know how easy it is, I’m thinking up all kinds of ideas for cute containers I could try. What would you use? Let me know!