DIY: Holiday Candles on a student budget!

The holidays are fast approaching and every student is now trying to gather every last penny they have to buy Christmas gifts. I personally have a small (or large) obsession with candles, so much so that I have started creating my own to use as gifts. In this post I am going to share 2 different candle ideas that would make great gifts for everyone this year without breaking the bank!

Version 1: Mason Jar Candles

Supplies Needed:

  • Mason Jars
  • Paint and modpodge (If you want coloured mason jars)
  • Wax (I used paraffin wax)
  • Candle wicks
  • Candle fragrance (if you want your candle to smell)
  • Crayons

Step 1First thing I did was colour my mason jars. To do this I cleaned out a few mason jars, put a small amount of modpodge (glue), and a small amount of paint inside then carefully turned the mason jar around so the glue/paint combination would cover the entire jar. This give the effect of a painted mason jar without having to paint the outside of the jar. The end product is shown on the right.

Step 2Once the paint is dried, the next step is securing the wick into place. I got these wicks from Michaels, but if you are on a budget it’s possible to get cheaper wicks from eBay, although they may not be the best quality. To secure the wick I put a small amount of hot glue on the bottom of the wick then held it in place until it dried. In order to make the wick stay up straight I held the wick between two Q-tips that were held together by a bobby pin.

Step 3Now it’s time for the wax! I used paraffin wax that I got from Michaels, depending on how many candles you are looking to make you may only need a small amount. This type of wax can’t be melted over direct heat. I melted my wax by using a candle pouring pot I got from Michaels (Starting to think they should be sponsoring me!). This can also be done by using a double boiler. Start by adding a small amount of wax to the top pot, adding more until all of the wax is heated. I did this four times because I wanted four different types of candles, but if you are making the same type of candle you only need to do this step once. The wax should never be hot enough to the point of boiling.

Now time to add colour and scent! There are many ways to add colour to your candle but the easiest and least expensive way is to use crayons. Crayons are essentially wax, making them perfect to use. Just choose some crayons the colour you want, take the paper wrapping off of them and put them in the wax to melt. After they melt and you give them a good stir, it should give you a good idea of what colour they will be. You can keep adding crayons until you get your desired colour. The amount of colour added won’t harm the candle at all, so just keep at it until you’re happy! Next, you can add your choice of scent. Today, you can get almost every scent imaginable for your candle. Once again, Michaels is a great place to get candle fragrances. The typical fragrance ratio is 1 ounce of scent to 1 pound of wax.

Step 4The last step is to pour your wax into your mason jars. I would suggest leaving these candles to solidify for at least one day before attempting to light them. Once they are solid candles you can remove the wick holders, put the lid back on (leave out the centre part of the lid) and enjoy your new candles!

Optional: If giving these as a gift you can add fabric, beads, or gifts tags to the jars to give the candles a little more of a person touch!

Candle #2: Hot Chocolate Candles!

I got this idea from my friend Teri (she also blogs here, check it out!). These are also my favourite ones and are so simple to make, making them the best gift idea for the holidays!

Supplies Needed:

  • Wide-mouth mugs
  • 1 can of Crisco
  • 1lb of soy wax
  • Candle wicks
  • Candle fragrance (if you want your candle to smell)
  • Crayons

Step 1These candles start of the same as the first ones, so get those wicks glued down! Shortening is very dense so instead of using a sigle thin wick, it is a good idea to ethier buy a thicker wick, or make your own by twisting two-three together. This prevents having a tiny flame that looks like it will die out.

Step 2Next, it is time to make the base for the candle. I used Crisco as the base (Fun Fact: did you know Crisco used to be use for candle making before the common light was invented?) if you stuck a candle wick in a can of Crisco it could burn up to 48 days in a row! I just put the contents of the can in the microwave to melt since it didn’t take too long. Once it was liquid I added a couple of brown and black crayons to make the shortening look like hot chocolate. Now is also a great time to add in any scent you would like in your candles.

Once your base is ready you can go ahead and pour it into your mugs (I used cute Christmas themed mugs from Michaels). Now let the base cool until it solidifies. To make the “whip-cream” portion of your hot-chocolate candle, start by melting some of your soy wax in the microwave only until the wax is able to be molded. Then just pour the partially semi-liquefied wax on the top of your candle. Once this solidifies, you will have cute hot-chocolate mug candles!

Step 3I finished off these candles by sprinkling some crushed peppermint candy-canes on top to make them look a bit more festive 🙂

Enjoy your new candles!