Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Fragrant Christmas Stars

One of the main reasons I love to read craft blogs are the tutorials. There are so many talented people out there who are generous enough to share techniques and ideas with the rest of us, I especially like the ones with lots of photos so its hard to go wrong. In the spirit of Christmas and general thanks, here is my little contribution to the Free Internet Tutorial Canon, as it's known (in this house, anyway).

Fragrant Wax Stars. They smell of vanilla, honestly.
 I love candles, but I hate chucking out the remains of expensive fragrant ones. This is my solution. Obviously this involves sharp knives and hot wax, so all the usual safety precautions apply. Take your time, don't get the kids to help you, you know the drill.

You will need:

  • The remains of one candle
  • Baking tray lined with tin foil
  • Canola/Sunflower/Vegetable oil (anything with very little colour or scent)
  • Bain-Marie - a heat-proof mixing bowl placed over a barely simmering pan of water
  • Spatula
  • Cookie Cutter
  • Darning needle
  • Letter press set, or whatever you choose to imprint a design on the wax

Line the baking tray with the tin foil and brush with oil. Make sure you use a tray with sides and that the foil lines these as well, or you will have wax all over the place which is a b****r to clean up, quite honestly.

Break up the candle. Remove the wick first, you can usually just pull it out from underneath along with its little metal plate.  Now this bit is tedious, but check all the pieces you are going to melt are clean and free of burnt wick and other dirt etc. A quick wipe with a clean linen tea towel is good enough. 

 Melt the wax in the bain-marie, just like chocolate. And just like chocolate, leave it to do its thing and melt down slowly without too much poking and stirring (When cleaning up use a little rubbing alcohol to get rid of waxy residue on your bowl and wash in very hot water).

When the wax is liquid, pour it carefully onto the prepared baking tray, which you lined and oiled earlier. Did'nt you? It will start to solidify straight away.

 After about 30 seconds or so the wax should have cooled enough for you to work with it. Treat it like cookie dough - use the cutter to get as many shapes as possible and the darning needle to make holes to hang them with. I had initially planned to make a garland out of these, spelling 'Happy Christmas' If you want to use letters too make sure you imprint extra as they break easily when stringing (as I found out later, when I had no extras. Tragedy).

While the wax is still pliable use the spatula to lift away the excess - just like cookie dough! Instead of getting rolled out again, this can go back into the bain-marie to get re-melted until you have enough shapes for your design.

Ta-Da! Festive and fragrant, ready to be strung into a  garland or used as individual decorations.

1 comment:

  1. I love these! Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have made Christmas decorations (sometimes as gifts - sometimes to just change things up a bit :) But I was at a loss this year for what to try - I am definitly going to make a batch of these! Thanks for the tutorial! And have a happy holiday!