Monday, July 24, 2017

How to Make a Beeswax Candle in an Upcycled Container

You know that I've been obsessed with my found vintage Coca-Cola bottles, right? I'm pretty sure that I'm not going to be happy until I've figured out a hundred ways to upcycle them.

Here's my latest creation, and the project that I'm currently the most excited about:

Why, yes, I DID turn a vintage Coca-Cola bottle into a candle!

Here's the best way to clean your old glass bottles. Cutting, grinding, and polishing the bottle is a whole other skill set that I've been learning, and I'll tell you all about that another time--although I HAVE found the perfect technique for it all, rest assured!--but for now, let's just talk about how to pour a beeswax candle into an upcycled glass or metal container, as that on its own is an awesome skill set to have and it makes an awesome candle.

Here's what you'll need:

  • beeswax and a way to heat it (I prefer a crock pot, which is dead simple to find dirt cheap at any thrift store)
  • upcycled glass or metal container, such as a Mason or jam jar (I am not responsible for making sure that your container can handle heat--use common sense, Friends!)
  • candle wicks. If your candle sucks, it's pretty much always because you used the wrong diameter of candle wick. Wicks have specific diameters for specific diameters of candles, so do your research.
  • hot glue gun, hot glue sticks, tape, and a pencil with an eraser.
  • heat gun or hair dryer
1. Set up the candle wick in the container. Put a generous amount of hot glue near the end of the wick, then use the eraser end of the pencil to help you push it into the middle of the container and center it at the bottom:

Don't do this immediately before you pour the hot beeswax; the hot glue needs a little time to cure, or it will melt and set your wick free when the melted beeswax hits it. If that happens, put an oven mitt on your hand and just pour the melted beeswax back into the crock pot, ready to start again.

Wrap the wick a few times around the middle of the pencil, which you're going to set on top of the container. Get the wick nice and centered, then tape the free end to the side of the bottle:

Your wick will stay stable and centered, and you won't have to cut it at this step and waste it.

2. Melt the beeswax. If you melt beeswax at too high of a temperature for too long, it will darken, so keep your crock pot on low and turn it off when you no longer need the beeswax.

3. Pour the wax into the candle. I spilled a lot of beeswax before I decided to stop trying to pour around the pencil and just pour into the middle of the container, right over the pencil. You can clean the wax off of the pencil later, or it can just be the pencil that you always use in candlemaking.

I poured a little too much wax into this candle--

--but I did a better job with this bottle after I realized that I should mark a line on the bottle to pour to rather than eyeballing it:

4. Fix your mistakes. Let the beeswax harden, then cut off the wick and check out all the places on your candle that suck. I had a lot of dribbles and spills, and with that Coca-Cola bottle, especially, I had a LOT of air bubbles, especially against the sides of the bottle, messing up the whole look. And I had those marks on the amber bottle candle where my excess wicking was touching the top of the wax.

To fix all of your mistakes, what you do is get out your heat gun or a hairdryer, and remelt the beeswax. Don't point it at just one spot so that you don't crack the container, but melt all around the bottle and at the top so that air trapped against the sides of the bottle can get out, and new wax can flow in from the top. You can even melt more beeswax in the crock pot and pour it over the top, although you'll have to do the heat gun step again after that wax cures, too, probably:

After you've evened out the wax and gotten all the air bubbles out, your candle should look pretty dang awesome! Light it, love it, and don't leave it alone.

P.S. Now that I no longer have Crafting a Green World's Facebook page to handle, I miss the interaction that social media brings. Please come hang out with me at my Craft Knife Facebook page instead! It's fun!

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