This year I decided to introduce the boys to a project I used to do with my Mother (and she used to do with her mother!) for gifts this time of year: Ice Candles! For about $50 we bought all the supplies to make, wrap & tag about 75 candles, which makes this project a very economical one, especially when you start to think of gifts for friends at church, horseback riding coach, piano teacher...if you are spending even just $5 on each person it can really add up. Another bonus is that all the candles can be made in a few hours or so, then "wrapped" in goodie bags in an hour or less. That's way less of a time and $$ commitment than baking cookies (which is something else that, of course, we love to do for people!). Also, many ladies in particular are really watching their waistline these days, and are thrilled to be given something inedible during a season in which they are bombarded with temptation.
After posting photos of our project on Facebook, I received multiple requests for instructions on making these cute little gifts. So, here you go! Enjoy! And Merry Christmas, everyone!!
How to Make Ice Candles:
- paper cups (the kind with wax coating inside), or clean, dry milk cartons
- candle wax with low melting point (try your local craft store - or you can even use Gulf Wax from the canning section of your grocery store)
- small tapered candles (or birthday cake candles if making short candles)
- coffee can(s) (one for each color you plan to make)
- ice cubes
- saucepan or dutch oven
- dye chips and/or fragrance chips (optional)
- Make a double boiler by putting a couple inches of water in a saucepan, and setting a clean coffee can upright in the water. Fill coffee can no more than halfway with chunks of wax.
- Set the heat to medium-low and melt the wax in the coffee can
3. Meanwhile, set out your first batch of cups (we found it easy to make 6-8 candles in each batch). Set out the cups, fill them with ice, standing the small taper candle or birthday candle upright in the center of the cup, supported by the ice.
4. Once the wax is melted, add dye chips to color as desired (Wax typically cools to a less intense color than it appears when melted. To test your color, place a few drops of melted, colored wax onto a piece of white paper and place in freezer for a few minutes then check the color)
5. Carefully pour the melted wax into the paper cups on top of the ice
6. Allow candles to cool (we found it best to let them cool overnight so all the ice would be melted when we removed them from the cups)
7. Pour out the water, and tear away the paper cup
8. Ta-Da!! Allow to fully dry before gift-bagging or attempting to burn
Caleb designed gift tags for ours, and we tied them in plastic goodie bags from the craft store.