Saturday, February 2, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day: Candles

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It's February! And that can mean only one thing: Valentine's Day is nearing.

I always tend to be of the opinion that Valentine's Day is a silly holiday, but that's not to say I don't appreciate making a good handmade gift, garland or sweet card covered in little pink and red hearts. I mean, when you find a boy that brings you flowers on the reg (documented hereherehere and here), you kind of have to laugh at the idea of needing a holiday as an excuse to be extra nice.

But if you happen to be celebrating Valentine's Day this year, why not put some elbow grease into a gift for your sweetheart? These candles were made as a Christmas present for my boyfriend's mom, but it'd be easy to jazz these up with some hearts, pink glitter or red wax.

What you'll need:
Votives
Glitter paint, spray paint or paper and decoupage
Wax (we used palm wax and to the environmentalists: it was eco-friendly)
Scented oil (we used cranberry spice for the holidays)
Candy or wax thermometer
Wicks

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I bought these votives at Hobby Lobby. Don't make the same mistake I did: wait until the candles are made to paint the glass. I thought the paint would cure in the oven before pouring the wax, but it actually just sort of melted.

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Put your non-painted votives in the oven on the lowest heat setting to warm the glass and prepare them for the wax to be poured. If your glass is too cold, it may crack.

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For melting the wax, you need a double boiler, or you can do what I did and make your own by setting up a large pot filled with water underneath a smaller pot (make sure it can hold all your wax). I used an old pot for the wax and that was a smart move because I was never able to get it totally cleaned off and ended up throwing it away. You can also buy reusable wax-melting materials at Hobby Lobby or other craft stores.

Heat your stovetop to medium-high and wait patiently by your wax (seriously, don't leave it unattended), stirring occasionally as it melts. Once melted, pour in your scented oil and stir. We used three half ounce bottles for a one pound bag of wax. Your wax will be ready to pour when it reaches about 190-200 degrees.

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Remove your votives from the oven and set your wicks. We taped the wicks to pens and pencils and rested them on top.

Scoop wax into a glass measuring cup that is has a lip for pouring and pour slowly into the votives. Center the wick and set on a flat surface to harden.

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The beautiful thing about palm wax is that it dries to look crystallized. If you use another type of wax, you may want to add some color, but I liked the look of the palm wax for these.

Untape your wicks and trim.

And this is about where I started to peel off the paint.

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These are taped on the bottom because I ended up spray painting them gold. I originally wanted sort of a glittery ombre look where the gold was darker on the bottom and thinner towards the top, but that's harder to accomplish with spray paint.

I loved how these turned out and the scented oil smells great when the candle is burning.

There are so many variations you could do with these! For Valentine's Day, I might cut a bunch of hearts from paper and decoupage them on the sides of the glass after the candles are done.

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