Monday, April 7, 2014

DIY Beeswax Tart Candles

I've been working on some craft ideas that would make cute little gifts lately (you know, wedding season is fast approaching). These cute little candles fit the bill! I used mini tart pans from the kitchen goods store in my neighborhood (about 50-60 cents a piece) as the containers for my candles. The wicks, wax and honey almond scent are from Bulk Apothecary, they aren't paying me for saying that- I just really like ordering my candle making/lotion making supplies from them, they have all kinds of awesome stuff.

To make these candles at home you will need:

Beeswax (If you can find it in the tiny pellets, I recommend it. Grating whole blocks of wax is tedious)
candle wicks
containers (I used mini tart shells)
Fragrance oil (optional) Beeswax does have a subtle scent on its own, and you certainly don't need to scent your candles if you prefer them to be more plain
Glass bowl* (to create a double boiler)
stirring utensil* (I use a plastic spoon)

*I always recommend that you use a bowl and spoon for making candles/beauty products that you do not eat with. I got a pack of plastic spoons as well as a glass bowl at the dollar store. I always hand wash these items and keep them separate from the dishes we eat with.

To start, I measure out my wax pellets. I wanted my tart shells to be pretty much full, so I filled each tarts hell I was using so it was heaping with pellets and dumped them into my glass bowl. I then added a couple extra Tablespoons of pellets just in case any got spilled when filling my candles.

I had ordered a large quantity of 3" long wicks, so I trimmed them a bit before placing them in the tart pans (to about 1.5"). Once the candles are done, you can trim the wicks further if needed.

Place your glass bowl of wax over a pot of simmering water. This will slowly melt the wax. You will want to stir the wax until it is all melted and then add any fragrance if you wish to do so. I added about 12 drops of fragrance for my 3 small tart candles, but if you like a stronger fragrance you can add more.

Once the wax is melted and the fragrance has been stirred in, you can start to fill your candles. I always place the objects I am filling on top of some freezer paper and/or an old towel in case I spill any wax while pouring. Cleaning wax off a table or counter top is a huge hassle. If your candle mold is small, like mine, you may want to use a spoon to spoon the hot wax into your mold (I also found some measuring cups that have a little spout on one side that work well for pouring the wax--again, I do not use these for any other cooking). I always fill my molds up to the top, as the wax settles just a tiny bit when cooling.

Once the wax has cooled and hardened, I trim my wicks so they are about 1/4" long. You are ready to wrap these up as a gift or use them around the house! These would be a great wedding or baby shower favor, and the materials can be bought in bulk online.

What are your favorite little gifts to make yourself?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Make Your Own Felt Raccoon Mask

A gal I work with volunteers at the Audubon Society every week and they were having a fun activity last week where all the volunteers were supposed to dress up like their favorite animal. She asked if I could help her create a Raccoon mask for her costume and this is what I came up with. It is super easy, inexpensive, and can be whipped up in about 30 minutes!

To make your own Raccoon Mask you will need:

Felt sheets: Grey, Black and White
pen/pencil for tracing
fabric glue or needle and thread
Elastic or string/ribbon
Raccoon Mask Pattern

Start by printing out the pattern and cutting out the pieces. Arrange them on your felt squares and trace with pen; or pin them down to the felt and cut around the pieces if you find that easier. To make a true to life looking raccoon the base piece should be grey, the middle piece should be white and the eye/nose banding should be black. You can jazz it up for the kids and make any color of raccoon for them though - I think I might make some to send my nieces and nephew for Easter!

Once you have all of your pieces cut out, sandwich them together so the eye holes match up. You may have to do a little extra trimming to get the edges of the eyes nice and neatly matching up. Pin all 3 pieces together and stitch the outline of each eye. This will hold all of the pieces together so fewer pins are needed when stitching around the outer edge of the black and/or white pieces. If sewing isn't your thing, use fabric glue to stick your pieces together. Allow plenty of time for your mask to dry before wearing.

Once you have stitched the pieces together, it is time to add some elastic or ribbon so it can be tied on and worn. You could also make an adjustable strap using more felt strips and some velcro. I opted for some bright ribbon, I just think it looks cheery and fun :)

Then you are ready to show off your new mask around town. These are easy enough to whip up as party favors for your child's next birthday, but still look nice enough to be part of a special costume. If raccoons aren't your style, don't forget to check out my pug mask here, modeled after my Cousin's pug, Tottie.

Happy crafting!