DIY Tea Cup Candles.
First gather all of your supplies.
Necessary: Wax (I used Soy wax), candle wicks (you can get little bags of them as most craft stores), two pots, one that fits inside the other (I recommend getting some pots just to use with wax as I find it near impossible to completely clean them. You could find some inexpensive ones at Big Lots or Family Dollar or something.), and (not pictured) something you want to make into a candle, in my case thrifted tea cups! I got my candle making supplies at CandleScience. The site has a ton of useful info and plenty of types of wax and extras to pick from.
Optional: Thermometer, scent, coloring, wick holders, some small container to pour excess wax into. I used the little bathroom water cups for this because I could then peal away the paper and remelt the wax. Yes scent is optional, soy makes the prettiest white candle, and you may just want to use them for ambiance. I used lavender and sweet orange essential oils for my scent, but you can use fragrance oils as well. They come in so many flavors and pretty much any scent you can think of, but once you get used to essential oils, fragrance oils start to smell fake and chemically. If you want colored candles, DON'T use regular food coloring like I show pictured! I'll show you how that turned out later, but just believe me, buy colored wax chips or use crayons.
1. Measure out your wax and melt it. Knowing how much wax you're using can be helpful as far as ratios of color and fragrance goes. I ignored any such ratios! Wee! Living on the edge! Different waxes melt at different temperatures, its best to start on a medium heat and just bring the water to a simmer. You don't want a full or even partial boil under there!
2. Now you can mix in any additives, fragrances, color, etc. You don't want to heat the wax too far past its melting point. Essential oils start to evaporate at 185-200F and then you are just wasting oils. I used about 5-10 drops of each of my two oils, for a half pound of wax. My little pot could only really hold a half pound at a time. (UPDATE: I really should have used 15-20 drops of oil. They ended up being very faintly scented. But play around and see what you like.)
3. Once you add the additives and stir it so you think that are all incorporated. (If you add wax color chips it will be obvious when all the color is mixed.) Remove it from the heat, and stir a bit more. I let mine sit for about 10 minutes before pouring. Wax has a melting temperature (mine was about 115F), a temperature to bring it to incorporate additives (about 175F), and a pouring temperature (about 135F). It took me about 10 min to get it down to pouring temperature.
4. Set up your containers while waiting for it to cool. I precut my wicks, just to make them stand up straight under their own power. I trim them again once the wax is fully cooled. You can drip a bit of wax into the containers to keep the wicks in place, but it just melts when you put more wax in so I didn't worry about it.
5. Pour your wax! If your pot has a little spout it makes it easier, but you are still probably going to make a giant mess so accept that. The dried wax just scrapes up and you can add it to your pot to remelt. You may need to help your wicks stand up. I used wooden skewers cut in half but you could use pencils or popsicle sticks.
6. Don't touch it now! I don't recommend moving your containers after pouring. I just left mine on the counter overnight. The containers will be uncomfortably warm and may be covered in spilled wax too.
7. Take a nap, then admire your craftiness!
8. Clean up! You will probably end up with a counter of spilled wax after all this. Scrape it off and mix it back into your wax! Very little waste.
9. What I did wrong! Now, for this tutorial I was going to make some colored candles too. So I grabbed my food coloring out the pantry and added it to my tin jar candle. This happened... As you may have realized, food coloring from your pantry is water based, and water and wax do not mix. Not even a little bit. The first picture is me adding the coloring. Second is after stirring A LOT! And the third is after it dried. It does look kinda cool, but obviously not the overall color change I was looking for. I have no idea what its going to do when I light it. I'll update you when I find out! (UPDATE: It doesn't do much. The water in the coloring evaporated pretty quickly.) If you want to add color, use colored wax chips or crayons.
There you are! Now go forth and fill your home with lights and pretty smells!