A few years ago my boyfriend and I made homemade jam (with DIY jar labels) as Christmas presents for friends and family. A lot of people kindly returned their empty jars to us (no doubt hoping for more jam), but last Christmas we decided to do something a little different with them – homemade jar candles!
You will need:
- Hobbycraft hexagon jars (in the home baking section)
- Wax pellets (or old candles that you don’t mind melting down)
- Candle wicks (all of my candle bits came from a House of Crafts Creative Candle Making Kit)
- 2x saucepans (one should fit inside the other), and a hob
- Sticky labels, a pair of scissors, and a printer
This DIY is incredibly simple, and doesn’t take long at all. Start by melting your wax over a saucepan on the hob, in much the same way as you would melt chocolate. The wax should never be over direct heat, so lay your saucepan of pellets (or old candle wax) into a bigger saucepan with boiling water in the bottom.
It’s best not to leave the wax unattended, and not to let it get too hot, so keep an eye on it at all times, stirring occasionally. While your wax is heating up, prepare your jars – make sure they are clean and dry. Add your weighted wick so that it stands up in the centre of your jar, cutting it to the desired height.
Once all wax lumps have melted on the hob, remove the pan from the heat. If you are adding a colour or fragrance, now is the time to do so, but mine were just plain, resulting in a white wax. Whilst molten, pour your wax into your jars to the depth desired. Once poured, leave to cool and set on a flat surface.
Don’t worry too much about the wax going on any surfaces by mistake (though you can cover them in newspaper if you wish), as, once dry, you can pick it off without much trouble. While my candles were setting, I set to work on my jar labels, using InkScape – a free, downloadable design programme.
I really liked the hexagonal stickers that we made for the jam jars last time, as they matched the shape of the jars, so I decided to modify my previous designs to come up with something new and festive for the candles, changing the background colour to a deep blue, and adding italic Christmas slogans.
I downloaded my font for free from DaFont.com. My favourite slogans were things like ‘Wish upon a star…’ and ‘Mistletoe & Wine’. I also made faux bar code labels (using a font) to give the impression that the candle was purchased, when actually the bar code reads ‘Jelly Shack’ – a combination of our names.
Whilst the jar candles were just plain wax, I decided to do one experimental one using a candle mould in my set, adding in cinnamon sticks for extra effect. What I didn’t take into account is that the cinnamon sticks would of course fall into the centre, so I ended up with a slightly flammable, if pretty, candle.
Far from being deterred from giving this as a Christmas gift, I decided instead to make a spoof ‘Fire Hazard’ sign so that it could become a comedy gift, as it still looked pretty cool on the outside! Again, all this involved was a slight modification to the initial design, adding a red background and bold font.
Once I was happy with my designs, I printed them onto label paper, and cut them out with a pair of sharp scissors, before sticking them on. For my ‘Fire Hazard’ candle I also tied a piece of string around the centre, as weirdly, just a little bit of string can help make things look more premium sometimes.
I really enjoyed making these candles, and they’re very easy to personalise. Rather than going for Christmas slogans, you could add the name of the person you want to gift it to for a personalised touch, or add the year and make them New Year candles. You can also gift them individually or as a set.
As expected, the Fire Hazard candle did get a lot of laughs, even if it was a fire hazard… so it just goes to show that you don’t have to create something perfect every time (though maybe just check that your recipient has a working fire alarm…). Hope you like this festive DIY and give it a go this Christmas!
Thanks for reading. Have a fantastic Christmas and a Happy New Year!