Christmas Gifts

DIY Xmas Gifting Series: Scented Soy Wax Candles by Tash South

Next up on my DIY Xmas Gifting Series are these heavily-scented aromatherapy candles. I do really love the posh ones in the shops though – you know the ones I mean... intensely scented and lovely (and not cheap!)

Not always in a position to be able to purchase the fancy ones as gifts – I decided to experiment to see if I could create something similar at home.

Cire Trudon candles are a favourite of mine.

So here's my Three-Step guide to make your own posh soy candles at home. These are really easy (but still impressive) gifts to make and soy wax is awesome, not only is it much better for the environment, and your health, because it burns cleaner, but it's also so easy to clean up afterwards.

Artificial candle scents are available, and the fragrances are much more concentrated, but I used only essential oils – and suddenly a perfumer – I decided I would create my own Christmas mix! Eucalyptus is one of my favourite scents, I love how fresh and bracing it is, so I used mostly Eucalyptus oil, but I also added Pine, Lavender, frankincense and myrrh to make them all Christmassy.

I bought the soy wax from Amazon in 1kg bags, and to make things simple and to save measuring, I worked out that I could make to make four 300ml candles out of 1kg of wax.

To make Four 300ml candles, you'll need:

  • 1kg Soy Wax Flakes (I got mine here from Amazon)
  • Candle wicks (I got mine here from Amazon)
  • Glue dots to hold the wicks in place
  • Essential Oils or fragrance (per 1kg bag of wax, I used 5 Tablespoons of Eucalyptus, 3 Teaspoons of Pine, 1 Teaspoon of Lavender, and 2 teaspoons of a frankincense and myrrh mix.
  • Containers for your candles (I bought 300ml glass tumblers in packs of 4)

What you'll need

STEP ONE

Put all the soy wax flakes into a bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water, when melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and let it cool for about 10/15 minutes before adding the oils or fragrances (If you have a thermometer, the wax should be no more than 185F before adding the oils). If you add the oils when the soy wax is too hot, the scent will evaporate and your candles will loose their scent.

STEP TWO

While the wax is melting and then cooling, fix the wicks into the glasses with the glue dots and measure and mix your oils.

To hold the wicks upright, I pegged the them to skewers laid across the glasses, like below.

I used this trick to hold the wicks upright.

STEP THREE

Add the oil mix to the wax and stir very well to make sure the oils are mixed through, then carefully pour into the glasses and leave until set (a day or two).

And you're done!

I've been burning some of the candles to test them out, and I'm really pleased with the results. Hopefully the recipients of these gifts will like them too! I've made eight so far, and have eight more to make, but now I have the recipe nailed, it's really easy and, I can have them completely done in about half an hour!

I printed some simple labels in a modern font to finish off the gifts.

 

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DIY Xmas Gifting Series: Personalised Papercut Baubles by Tash South

My DIY Xmas Gifting Series continues with these personalised baubles. I love making these for friends who have kids – I'll put their child's name inside, and they absolutely love it - and it's a gift that keeps giving – as they remember you fondly each year when they get the Christmas decorations out. So if you're looking for some serious gifting kudos this year, I strongly recommend that you make some of these!

And it's not just for parents, you could add any message you like – a marriage proposal at Christmas perhaps?

Once you have all the materials together, these are so easy to make. You can easily buy a wide variety of little charms in packs on Ebay and Amazon.

Here are the step-by-step instructions.

Gather your materials

You'll need:

  • Glass Baubles for craft (I got these 80mm ones from christmastimeuk.com)
  • Nylon/invisible thread
  • Small Scissors and a scalpel (nail scissors re really good for cutting out the small details)
  • A needle – for threading the nylon string through the papercut name and charms
  • Various charms in gold or silver dependent on your colour theme
  • Shaped table confetti dependent on your theme (I used stars)
  • Ribbon or string to form the hanging loop

You'll also need a small piece of metallic card to cut the name out of.

Step One. Cut out the name.

This is the trickiest bit, so once you have this nailed, the rest is pretty easy.
If you have a lovely handwriting, you can do this free-hand, but I don't, so I find an easy way to do this is to:

  • Go on your computer ( a programme like Word),
  • Find a nice font that has the letters close together (or allows you to adjust the letters to be close together).
  • Type the name and then print out.. I add a rectangle, which touches the name and that will act as the hanging tab – before I print it out - but you can easily just draw this on once printed. Remember to measure the name when printed (and before it is cut out) to make sure that it fits inside the bauble.
  • Place your printout on top of the metallic card, then using a pen or pencil trace around the name firmly, leaving an impression on the card.
  • Then cut carefully around the name with the nail scissors. Use the scalpel or craft knife to cut out the holes in the 'e's and 'a's' for example.

The impression left on the card will make cutting out easier. You'll need to leave a tab to the left of the name to hang it from.


Step Two. String it all together.

Remove the metal cap from the glass bauble - you'll see there is a hole in the top of the cap. Thread the needle with the nylon thread and pierce it through the top of the tab on the name cut-out, then pass it through the hole in the metal cap, from bottom to top, then tie the threads in a knot to the metal loop at the top of the cap to secure.

Continue to do the same with the charms, remembering to keep the name and charms you want inside the bauble, underneath the cap, and any charms you want outside the bauble, tied to the top metal loop of the cap.

Threading the name and charms to the metal cap.

Step Three. Assemble.

Place some confetti inside the glass bauble, then very carefully ease the papercut name into the bauble and refix the cap onto the bauble.
Tie on a length of ribbon or string to form the hanging loop.

The fully assembled bauble. You can see that I've placed a small star charm inside the bauble as well.

And you're done!

These really are one of my favourite DIY gifts to give. Your friends will not believe you made it yourself!

You can make these baubles even simpler – if you feel the cutting out is too tricky, you could use letter stamps or stickers to create the name onto a strip of card, or you could even just use an initial letter charm to make it super easy!

 

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