'Tis the season #5: beeswax sheet candles tutorial


My house looks like a bomb has hit it, but I'm almost ready for Christmas now. Parcels are on their way to England, there's one present left to buy, just a couple of handmade presents to put the finishing touches to and the Christmas cake is made (but not yet iced). I no longer feel like striking the people that had already sent me Christmas cards in the first week of December off my Christmas card list...

For teacher gifts, my kids made these beeswax candles. They are ever so easy, if you want to give it a try.

You need:

- beeswax sheets (I bought mine here, but you can find them at some craft stores, candle supply stores or some health food stores)

- wick (I used 1/0 square waxed wick)

The sheets that we used were 16" x 8". To make 2" tall votive candles, I cut them into 16" x 2" strips. Next I warmed them up slightly with a hairdryer, to make them a little more pliable, as my husband is still trying to maintain Arctic-like conditions in our house. Then I handed them over to my 5 year old.

First lay the wick across one end of the strip of wax. We leave extra wick hanging out of both sides, so that we can choose whichever side is neater to be the top of the candle. Gently bend the wax around the wick and push it down to secure the wick in place:

Roll the wax around the wick fairly firmly, keeping the edges even. Try to keep the roll as round as possible - you can push the wax in a little to reshape it as you go, but do this before the last roll, so that you do not ruin the honeycomb texture of the sheet.

When you get to the end, press the end edge of the strip down firmly against the candle to secure it. Chose which end is to be the top of the candle and trim the wick to 1/4" at the top and trim the excess wick off the bottom. You're all done.

A bit of ribbon, some French-seamed drawstring bags, a wee box of English chocolates from the Import store and homemade cards for the teachers and we were done. Then I put in some money to the class gift of a gift card or two, as our teachers need a lot more spoiling than that...

I don't go too crazy over trying to make handmade gifts for Christmas - I'm never too sure if people appreciate them or not. I tend to only make gifts either when I can't find what I am looking for in a store or when I think that I can make a better version than what I have seen in stores. Still, not everyone escapes with a store-bought gift. I've made a couple more reversible totes:

and attempted a gathered clutch using this tutorial.

You can only see half of the gathers in this picture - I should have angled it the other way - but, while the tutorial was fine, this was one of those projects that just did not go as planned. My sewing machine starting having funny spells with the tension. I should probably confess that I gave it a slight tap in frustration. That's when the light went out and it stopped working. Oh, the guilt - and the horror... After a few minutes of praying and apologising to my machine, followed by begging it to work again, I noticed that I had kicked the plug out of the socket...

It was one of those days. Earlier in the day an elderly chap had rolled his car into the back of mine while I was stopped at the traffic light (rather worryingly he mentioned that that 'kept happening lately' - and his driver license does not expire for another 5 years, when he's in his 90s....). Still, after unpicking a few seams and re-threading the machine, I got a gathered clutch finished and it does what it was intended to do: hold a bar of chocolate...

Ok, I had better get going and finish the kid's presents. I promise that I'll be nicer to my sewing machine, too.

Translation of the day:

UK English: Christmas cake = a rich, dark, MOIST fruitcake, covered with marzipan and royal icing, eaten at Christmas. It is nothing like the dry re-gifted fruitcake of American jokes, but my American in-laws still refuse to try it, so I usually get about half the cake to myself. That's not a bad thing - one of the advantages of living over here...

26 comments:

  1. Your kids teachers are really lucky. Those gifts are fab. I can't believe your in laws haven't tried Christmas cake yet. Do they not understand how much booze goes into these beauties?

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  2. Lucky teachers!

    I've lost count of the number of times I've thought I have killed my machine in a fit of pique. One of these days it will really start to sulk ... probably in the middle of the traditional Christmas Eve sewing panic.

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  3. The clutch bag looks lovely, regardless of the sewing machine panic!! I hope you have a lovely Christmas! :)

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  4. The clutch bag looks lovely, regardless of the sewing machine panic!! I hope you have a lovely Christmas! :)

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  5. That looks like a lot of homemade goodness to me! I didn't know those beeswax candles were so straightforward to make - and so classy too! Thanks for the instructions.

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  6. The reversible totes are really lovely - I'd be happy to escape with one...

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  7. I might have to give those candles a go. Thanks for sharing. Those totes are cute too but what I really had my eye on was that english chocolate ... just sain' ;-)

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  8. The kid did a great job. The candle tutorial is quite simple but the end product is so beautiful.

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  9. Those candles are the perfect child-made teacher gift! And I think anyone would love your totes - they are beautifully made.

    Good luck with your sewing machine =)

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  10. Love the candles - you make it look so easy, as usual!
    I just wanted to stop by and say that I often pop in to find out what you've been up to, but don't leave a comment. However, as I'm about to post your fabric house to my best friend's little girl, I thought it only polite to say thank you! I hope she enjoys playing with it as much as I enjoyed making it! There are pictures of it on my blog and on Flickr (I'm embarassingly proud - can you tell?!)
    We're bracing for snow here in Old Blighty, so enjoy the sun and have a very merry Christams and a happy 2011!
    Thanks again!
    a-m x

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  11. what? Beeswax candles are that simple? I had no idea, thanks for that! Merry Holidays!

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  12. Love the candles... and a box of 'Roses' too! Lucky teachers! The folk receiving your tote bags are very, very lucky! Happy Christmas!

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  13. I love both bags that you made. I think I bit off more than I could chew this year, and I have tried to make "something" for everyone in the family... I'm still going!
    Interesting about the icing on the Christmas cake. In Australia, we leave them un-iced, but decorate them in other ways... like this:
    http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/15039/christmas+fruit+cake
    And this:
    http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/2102/christmas+cake
    You get the idea :)
    I wish I taught at your kids school!!! Actually, where I used to teach I did get some quite lovely gifts :)

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  14. I so enjoy checking in on your blog! I wish I was on your Christmas list! Your reversible bags are just lovely-perfect for a knitting bag!! Do you have a tutorial or pattern for those?
    I used your wonderful pattern for making the crochet hats. (you posted it awhile back!) One for my daughter, one for a niece-both excitedly received and worn! Thank you for sharing!
    Happy Holidays. Renee

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  15. just wonderful ideas for those last minute gifts. Happy Holidays

    http://annh-annsp.blogspot.com/2010/12/merry-christmas-to-world.html

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  16. such pretty bags !! and i love love the pouch !!
    i wish we could find beewax sheets over here... but i've never seen any... maybe online... your candles are lovely !
    I happily eat the British Christmas cake, well should say "ate" because now I unfortunately have to be gluten-free... maybe a small slice ?!!
    Happy Holidays to you & yours xo

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  17. ah yes, the pre-Christmas fun...

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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  18. I love the candles that you and your 5 year made. It is so cool! Might try and make some with my 6 year old. :D

    The bags and purses are lovely too, I'm sure the recipients will love them.

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  19. You are on a roll and gearing up for the holidays in a couple of days!

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  20. wonderful candles and tutorial. I love your totes...just wonderful!
    Handmade gifts are the best :-)

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  21. Milka chocolate! I'm addicted after my first trip overseas to Austria. Did you perhaps find it in the States somewhere? Anytime I travel, I buy it in the airports. Great clutch!

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  22. Rebecca, I don't have your e-mail. I found the Milka chocolate at a Cost Plus World Market Imports store.

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    ReplyDelete
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    Nice blog on Sheets of beeswax
    .
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    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete