Every year as the holiday season approaches, I get excited about the endless possibilities of wonderful things I can make that put everyone in the Christmas spirit.
Creating things from scratch is one of my favorite hobbies, for so many reasons. I love filling my family’s home with beautiful things like candles, paintings and ornaments. I don’t think there’s anything that can make people feel some holiday cheer more than Christmas decorations. And when you make them yourself, you can feel proud every time you look at them.
I also really love giving Christmas presents I made myself to my friends and family. The process of making things by hand is something I’ve always really enjoyed: baking and decorating cookies, making wreaths and stringing lights through them, or even knitting someone a special pair of mittens. There is so much more love shown through taking the time to create something that was made especially for the person, and you’re free to make something that perfectly fits them.
My all-time favorite thing to make for others is candles. I love burning them myself, and I know most other people do, too. Candles gently light a room with a warm glow and fill the air with a soft scent – they are the perfect gift. And as long as you’re careful, making them in your own kitchen is not hard to do.
- Choose Containers. Start by choosing your containers. I always go to my local thrift store and have fun finding all kinds of small buckets, glasses and vases. I can always find nice, seasonal things there. Try canning jars, neat mugs and vintage teacups, too.
- Melt Your Wax. Make a double boiler by filling a wide skillet or pan with 2-3 inches of water and putting it on the stove, getting it to a low rolling boil. Place a medium sized pot inside the water. Then, take a piece of wax and put it in the pot to melt. I use scented, soft 1 1/2 lb blocks of paraffin wax from Lehman’s and break them in half, using just one of the halves at a time.
- Pour wax into container. Once the wax is melted down, use an oven mitt to lift the post and pour the wax into your container. If you want to make striped candles in clear jars or vases, which always looks amazing to me, just make sure to wait until the layer below has fully hardened before pouring the next. That is, unless you want your stripes to run together (which honestly looks kind of cool!).
- Add wick. Take pieces of candle wick with small weights on the bottom ends and wrap the top ends around a stick, pencil or wick bar and set them on top of the candle, to the wick is centered and reaches the bottom of the container. (Note: You can also prepare your containers with wick before you pour the wax (as shown above).
- Add scent if desired. I like to pour a little fragrance oil or essential oil into the liquid wax to enhance the scent of my candles. Once that’s done, just wait until they harden completely (this can take up to 24 hours), then cut the wick, leaving about a 1/2 inch.
- You’ve got your own homemade candles! They’re perfect gifts, as well as great additions to your own home.