Last year, when my Great Nan very sadly passed away, my parents cleared out her house and found various adorable little china tea sets. I thought they were absolutely lovely, but we had no use for them, and nowhere to store them. In my house we are much more of the giant mug filled with steaming tea or coffee type of people – not a dainty cup & saucer family by any means. We thought about donating them to charity shops, or old people’s homes, but they seemed to be inundated with china tea sets and wouldn’t accept anymore. We didn’t want to just throw them away, since they once belonged to my Nan, but we didn’t know what else to do with them.
That was until I had a brainwave and remembered seeing the most gorgeous cup & saucer candles on Pinterest. I got straight onto eBay, ordered a load of candle making supplies, and about a week later me and my mum had created a batch of about 15 adorable cup & saucer candle sets. We wrapped the cups in cellophane and attached little ‘handmade’ labels that included the scents of the candles, and gave them away as Christmas gifts. They went down an absolute treat, with every single person that we gave a candle to (from young to old) completely loving them. We gifted some of the candles to my family that were also related to my Great Nan, and they were all so impressed with our ‘recycling’ efforts, and the fact that the cups once belonged to my Nan made them extra special.
At the time of making these last year, I was on quite a long blogging break, so I never documented the process here on my blog. However, when I then got a personalised cup & saucer from #AnAfternoonAtAscot, I knew I could turn this into my very own candle, and show you guys exactly how you can do it for yourself! They’re really simple to make, pretty quick, super cheap and make lovely gifts whatever the occasion!
- Tea Cup & Saucer
- Glue Gun, Super Glue or similar
- Wax Flakes
- Fragrance Oil
- Pre Waxed Candle Wicks With Sustainer’s
- Wax Dye Colouring Flakes
- Glass Jug
- Cardboard strips, lollipop/kebab sticks or similar
Other than the tea cup and the bits I had around the house (e.g. Glass Jug, Cellotape), I bought everything I needed from eBay last Christmas, and used the leftovers to make this single candle. I originally bought a 2.5KG bag of Soy Wax for £5, which was a complete bargain! You can buy either Soy or Paraffin wax, but I went with Soy as it’s natural, renewable, non-toxic, biodegradable and burns more evenly, for longer and without smoke. You can easily get a bag of wax from eBay like I did, or craft shops such as Hobby Craft usually sell a whole candle making kit so you don’t have to round up the supplies separately. Along with the Soy Wax, I also purchased a few little bottles of fragrance in different scents, such as Magnolia Vanilla, and various wax dye colouring flakes for a couple of pounds each. The last thing I ordered from eBay for this project was a packet of 20 pre waxed candle wicks with sustainers for under £2! I would definitely recommend buying wicks with the sustainers, as these are the little metal bits at the bottom, that keep the wick down, otherwise you have to apply them yourself, which is just unnecessary hassle!
As I mentioned, charity shops are always inundated with vintage cups and saucers, so you could pick up some gorgeous ones for super cheap, or you could always order a specific cup that you know someone would love! In total I spent just less than £20 getting my supplies but ended up making 18 cup and saucer candles, as well as a load of little tarts, so I definitely got my moneys worth! Obviously if you were only planning on making one or two candles you’d need a lot less than what I bought but I reckon you could easily make one of these cup and saucer candles for around £2!
1. Firstly, you will need to gather all of your supplies, and make sure that your cup and saucer are completely clean and dry, so that the wick and wax will stick properly.
2. Once the cup is dry, you can then stick the wick down in the cup. To do this I’ve used a glue gun, but super glue or similar would work just as well. Simply dot a bit of glue onto the wick sustainer, and stick to the centre of the bottom of the cup.
3. To ensure that the length of the wick stays in place whilst pouring in the hot wax, you’ll need to create some supports. The first time I made these I used lollipop sticks, but this time I’ve used cardboard which I cut into strips (as pictured). Anything that is longer than the width of the cup will work perfectly, including kebab sticks. You’ll need to tape together the two lollipop/kebab sticks at one end, and slide the wax wick in between the two. You should then clamp the opposite ends and tape them together, so that the wick stays firmly in place.
4. The next step is to melt the wax flakes down to a liquid. You can either do this with a double boiler on the stove, or in the microwave. The first time I did this I used the double boiler method, but I’ve found that using the microwave is much easier, and the outcome is the same. For both methods I would recommend using either a glass bowl or jug, as it doesn’t interfere with the consistency, and is much easier to clean afterwards! If you’re using a microwave to melt your wax flakes down, heat for a minute, then stir and repeat until the flakes are totally melted. On the stove, use the bain-marie method on a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
5. Once the wax has completely melted down, and there are no lumps left (as shown in the first picture above), it’s time to add the fragrance and/or colouring. I bought colouring flakes from eBay (here) but you can also buy candle dye drops, although be careful with the drops – they’re as potent as food colouring and will stain! The wax will look a lot darker when it’s a liquid, but once it’s completely dried, it will lighten up a lot, so it’s worth remembering this when adding your dye. As you can see from my final photos, my candle is a light turquoise colour when dried whereas as a liquid it definitely looks like a deep green! If you’re adding fragrance, I would recommend adding a little at a time and giving it a sniff until it’s your preferred strength.
6. Once you’re happy with the colour and scent of the wax, you can go ahead and pour it into your cup. You’ll need to avoid the wick itself and the supports across the top so try and pour it slowly! I would recommend placing your cup down where you’ll be leaving it to dry, then pouring in the wax, so you don’t have to move it afterwards. Otherwise it’s likely the candles surface will be uneven when it’s dried, and the wax may splash up the side of the cup.
7. Leave your candle to dry for around 3 hours, or until it’s completely set. Trim the wick down, then decorate if it’s for a gift, or light and enjoy it if its for you!
If you’ve got any wax left over and no cups left to use, I would recommend using a muffin/cupcake baking tray, filling it with cupcake cases, and pouring a inch of wax into the cases. Allow the wax to dry completely, pick the cases out of the tray, and carefully remove the wax from them. These make perfect sized wax tarts to use in a burner, and can be packaged beautifully as another gift!
What do you think of this little DIY project? Would it be something that you’d like try? As always, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments, and thank you so much for reading!