Making Candles From Leftover Wax


IMG_4564I love candles on the mantlepiece and is why I will most likely resist putting a TV here as long as I possibly can.  When they are all lit up, it makes the room very cozy, especially when the hubs has lit a fire.  And it smells good too!

I haven’t been making any art for quite a long time, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been creative, so I will tell you what I have been up to.  I have been cooking and trying out new recipes.  I have been moving furniture around.  I have been de-cluttering. I have been knitting.  I haven’t knitted for years and one of the ladies at work inspired me to take it up again.  I have knitted myself a hat (never done that before), scarf, and fingerless gloves.  I shall do a blog post on that soon.  I also made candles from leftover wax.

I had a few weeks off before Christmas and was really not in the mood to do any painting.  I was hooked on watching Kirsty’s Christmas and other craft inspired TV programmes.  So, I knitted myself some items all before Christmas.  It is amazing how quickly you can make something when you have the time!

So, lets talk only a little bit about candle making (because you can find out how to do it on the internet, like I did).  We were already saving leftover wax to melt down and dip pinecones into to make fire starters (hub’s idea), but I wanted to take that a step further.  Unless you can easily get to Ikea, purchasing pillar candles elsewhere is not cheap. I managed to buy a shedload the last time I was there.  But what do you do with the wax when the candle is finished (and there is a lot of wax!)? There is so much information on the internet and on you tube about how to make candles.  I watched loads.  I don’t want to sell them.  I just want to re-use the wax and re-use some of the nice glass containers that candles come in.  I am big into recycling.  I also scoured my kitchen and discovered a whole bunch of glass containers that I could re-use to make candles.  It is amazing what you can find in your house that  you could use to make a candle.  Jam jars make particularly pretty containers, especially the French ones.  All I had to purchase were wicks (there is a whole thing about the type of wicks that made my head spin) and I also bought some inexpensive aromatherapy oils to try (but not used yet).  A note on containers:  Make sure they are heatproof.  Most glass food jars are heatproof as the temperature to process food in them is quite high.  Teacups.  Make sure they have a saucer to go under them.  I have seen people use pretty cups and saucers to use as candles, but I wouldn’t guarantee that they wouldn’t crack or get too hot at the bottom without a saucer underneath to protect your surface.

IMG_4562This is a collection of candlewax.  The pot is aluminum with lips for pouring.  I also have an aluminum jug (I thought I bought the large one, but no. Cheap Pyrex is just as good.) that I strain the wax into (old tea strainer) so the sand from my candle holders and other debris stays out of the new candle.  I have to say that the first time I did this I made a right old mess.  Thankfully I have a lovely retired husband who cleaned up all of the wax that I managed to get all over the backsplash.  I will never live that down.

I got all of my containers and glued in the wicks.  You really do need to do this first.  I had some bamboo skewers that I broke in half to wrap the wicks around to hold them in place.  I had traditional cotton string wicks and some fancy wooden ones that supposedly crackle when lit, all purchased off of E-bay.IMG_4566Here we have a small glazed bowl I never used (which I gave to a friend from work), some old candle jars, and some glass and ceramic containers that desserts came in.  (You can see some of the mess I made on the stove.)  I had saved the glass dessert containers to put votives in when outside (but never did), and I think that this is a better idea as I will really use them now.

Some of these came out really well and some came out very strange.  You see, wax can have a life of its own when it cools down and gets hard.  There was a fair amount of ‘tunneling’ (a wax term), so I just had to buy a heat gun (it will come in useful for other things) to melt the wax on the candle so it would look nice and burn evenly.  My friend liked her candle so much that she wants to buy others from me to give to friends as presents.  Now I have to think about what to charge her for recycled products! 🙂

I think it is worth recycling the wax if you use a lot of it, or give it to someone who you know is crafty if you don’t want to try it yourself.  My daughter made some scented candles with her boyfriend as part of a ‘date’ night and we were lucky to get one as a Christmas present.  According to Google, it takes 2-6 weeks for wax to biodegrade on a landfill site – but if it is buried, it could take years, so why not re-use it?  Here is another top tip (and a very cool one too):  you know those lovely jars that some candles come in (like Yankee Candles and other scented ones) – the jars are so nice, but how do you get the wax out?  Pour boiling water in the jar on top of the wax as high as you can and then just watch the wax melt and rise to the top.  It is what is used in lava lamps!  Once the water has cooled, you should have a hard disc of wax that you can pop out, and if you still have some wax left in the jar, just repeat the process.  So, what do you think? 



Making Pink, and Purple

I am still working on my Pink WIP.  It is slow going and looks nothing like how I started it.   I am now finished with work and so I do have some time to work on it a little each day.  The open paint medium added to the paint makes it take a long time to dry in this colder weather though.  I may need to start on something else while the paint dries!

I wasn’t happy with the transparency of the paints and decided to make them more opaque.  So I made some paint samples and made a chart.

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This is my starting point.  The open medium made the paint quite glossy.  The photo looks better than in real life.  I love the colors, but not the way they are.  The painting looks nothing like this at the moment and I am hesitant to share it right now.

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Here is my paint chart.  I didn’t use all of my reds, only the ones that I knew would make a pink, rather than a salmon color, so no cadmium or pyrole red.  As you can see, some reds go more pinky and brighter than others and that is because of the blue hue in them.  In my top photo, I used the paint straight out of the tube or bottle.  Pretty much a no-no, but I like the vibrant colors.  When white is added, you get a more opaque and lighter color.  I also had some ready made purples that I added white to also.  The ultramarine violet goes quite grey and pale and some of the others are on the pink side.  I think the best purples are made when mixing the reds with ultramarine blue.

IMG_4537 (1)My palette.  Almost a work of art in itself.

10 Reasons Why I like Canvas Boards

IMG_4526 (1)This is a canvas board, 10×12 inches.  It is not wonky, just how my camera takes photos!  Perspective is not it’s thing. Canvas board is canvas glued to heavy cardboard with gesso on top to make it water proof.

10 Reasons why I like Canvas Board

  1. It retains the look and feel of canvas when painting.  I like the texture of canvas and how when you drag your brush it skims over the canvas allowing some of the color underneath to show.
  2. Unlike stretched canvas frames, canvas board is sturdy, like a board.  There is no bounce to it.  This makes it perfect for adding pastes as they won’t crack as the substrate is not really flexible.  This is also great for collage work.
  3. They are inexpensive.  I do not see why people need to spend a shedload of money on art supplies if they want to take up painting.  As with decorating your home, you need to know where to spend your money.  If you are buying an expensive work surface for your kitchen, buy cheap tiles for the back splash.  Once they are up, you won’t be able to tell the difference and you will be happy to have saved some money.  So, spend the money on good quality artist paint and spend less on substrates and brushes.  Also, just because a substrate is cheap, it doesn’t always mean it is bad.  A lot of the time I will add an extra coat of gesso (or 2) onto my substrates to add more texture or to get rid of any flaws.  If I really mess up a painting and can see no way of improving it at all with more paint, I won’t feel bad about throwing it out.
  4. I use them when doing an online class.  Do I really need to say more about that?  Why waste good money on an expensive substrate when you are not sure about what you are going to do and how it will turn out?  I made that mistake with some cradled wood panels, not to be repeated.  Luckily I was able to turn things around.
  5. They fit perfectly into picture frames.  I purchase inexpensive black or white frames, pop out the mount (I use them for other things) and the glass and then pop in the canvas board.  Canvas boards to not need to be framed behind glass and when you remove the glass and mount you make space for the board.  Viola!  I tend to buy 10×12 inch canvas boards as they are a good size for landscape and portrait style painting.  Even the 5×7 inch canvas boards fit nicely into a 5×7 inch photo frame.  With the variety of inexpensive frames on the market, it is easy to have something that you can hang up straight away.IMG_4397
  6. This size is easy to ship.  You can even ship with the frame as they are relatively small and you don’t have to worry about glass breaking during the shipping process.  This also keeps the costs down on postage and means your customer has something ready to hang.
  7. They are great for trying out new ideas.  I don’t sketch.  I love the idea of having a sketchbook, but I don’t do it.  It’s not my thing.  The ideas are in my head until they come out onto the substrate with the paint.  Its more of a feeling for me especially if I am painting an abstract.  If I like how something turns out, I can always go bigger on a different substrate.  Interestingly, the paint moves differently when painting on canvas or cradled board so you will never be able to replicate a painting exactly.  In both sets of paintings below the one on the left is canvas board 10×12 inches and the one on the right is 24 x17inches stretched canvas.

    The feel of the brush on the stretched canvas is so different than on the canvas board, but I had a starting point and was able to work organically.  There is also more texture on the stretched canvas.  I can also use what I like from the smaller painting and disregard or change things I wasn’t crazy about.  In the photo on the lower right, I added paste with beads in some parts for more texture.

  8. Taking into account the reasons above, you can easily create a series that won’t break the bank while trying new things.
  9. You can use most any type of media on canvas panels and they are great for mixed media work.
  10. I just learned that you can use them for water color painting!  You just need to get some water color ground to prep them first!  Some more on that once I’ve tried it out!