Craft Away the Sad Part 4: DIY Soy Candles

Congrats dear readers! You’re about to finish up with the Craft Away the Sad program. I have one final *fancy* craft for you!

You can have the best smelling apartment in quarantine with DIY Soy Candles 🙂

Do you smell coffee??

I taught myself how to make candles after receiving a homemade candle as a gift from a friend. My curiosity was piqued, and one candle making kit later, I have all the soy candles I could ever want.

To get started, it might be easiest to buy a candle making kit as a baseline. But in case you want to pick out your own items, here’s what you need:

  • Pouring pot (a metal pot with a lip for pouring)
  • A Stock Pot that you will only use for candle making
  • Something to stir such as a knife or spoon that you will only use for candle making
  • Infrared Thermometer ($15 from Amazon)
  • Soy Candle wax ($25 from Amazon or CandleScience)
  • Fragrance Oil (Around $2-5 from CandleScience)
  • Tins or Jars ($20 from Amazon or Uline)
  • Pretabbed Candle Wicks (Around $2 CandleScience)
  • Clothespins
  • Newspaper/paper towels for spills
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Scale that will mesaure in ounces
  • A few glass bowls for measuring
  • A cooling rack
  • Optional: dye

Candle making itself is easy, but the tricky part is proportions and temperature. Depending on the diameter of the jar, the shape of the jar, the volume of the jar, etc, you need a different wick. To save you the hassle and keep things simple, I’ll tell you exactly what I buy.

  • 20 glass jars with a 3″ diameter, 8oz
  • 100 Eco 4 6″ Pretabbed Wicks
  • 10 Lbs of 464 Golden Soy Wax
  • 1 oz of fragrance oil per lb of wax

You’ll have some extra wicks, but that’s okay. They’re cheap and then you can make more candles in the future! Since each jar holds about 7.5 oz of wax, you can make around 20 candles with a little wax left over.

When I want to make candles, this is what I do:

Using the scale, measure out around 29 oz of wax into the pouring pot. If I were making these to sell, I would be super consistent. Since they are just for me 28.92 ounces is close enough!

Fill up the stock pot a little over half way with water. Set the pouring pot into the stock pot so it floats. Put the stock pot onto the burner and turn on to medium high.

Using the hot glue gun, glue one pretabbed wick (per jar) to the bottom of 4 jars.

Clamp the wick from the side using the clothespin (so the wick will stay centered while you pour wax).

I’m using 3 8oz jars and 2 4oz jars #math

Put newspaper under the cooling rack and set the jars on top of the cooling rack.

Periodically check on the wax while it is melting. If it bubbles, it’s too hot and you need to turn the stove down to medium or medium low. Resist the urge to stir- this will cause air bubbles and your wax will ‘cave’ when it’s poured into the jar. Basically, it creates an undesirable sink hole in your candle 🙂

The brown swirl is dye that I forgot to add earlier 🙂

Check the temperature with the infrared thermometer. Once it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit, take the pouring pot out. Add 2 ounces of your candle-safe fragrance oil and dye if you’re using any. Using your stirring device of choice, gently stir in a figure-eight motion and try not to create air bubbles. I usually stir for about 30 seconds.

A little extra fragrance oil is A-okay! Just check the side of the fragrance oil bottle for safe proportions 🙂

Now, let the wax sit until the temperature cools to around 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit. Now you may pour it into your jars!

Some more tips:

  • Try not to wiggle your table or do jumping jacks while these are cooling or it will create a weird texture
  • Once you start pouring your wax, do not stop until the jar reaches the lip. Resist the urge to ‘even the candles out’ or add more wax. Pouring more than once will create sinkholes. You get one chance per jar to pour the correct amount! But you also don’t want to pour too quickly or too slowly 😉

Voila! Around 4 hours later, your candles will be hard-ish. I wait about a day before trimming the wicks to about 1/4″ using a scissors. Wait 3 days before burning, and for best results use within a year or keep it covered with a lid. So fancy!

What are your favorite fragrance oil scents? Mine are coffee and orange!

Craft Away the Sad Part 3: Bath Bomb Edition

Hello everyone! Quarantine has gone on far longer than probably any of us expected. Or is it just me?

Even though I am struggling to fight malaise, I keep blogging and crafting to stay entertained. It’s tough to keep going even though it feels pointless (how will anyone use all these bath bombs??! Where did all my blog readers go since quarantine??) but it’s the only way I know how to stay sane. I have a few more crafts up my sleeve, so I’ll be here as long as you’re still here!

Let’s up our bath game and make some DIY bath bombs. Alleviate boredom and relax in one fell swoop!

After much experimenting via various recipes off the internet, this is a recipe I concocted that worked best for me. I prefer enough coconut oil to hold my bath bombs together, but not so much that my tub becomes a pain to clean. Here it is!

  • 2c Baking Soda
  • 1.5 c Citric Acid
  • 1 oz Coconut Oil
  • 1oz of a skin safe Fragrance Oil of your choice
  • 1c Epsom Salt
  • Spritz of Witch Hazel
  • Bath bomb molds or a silicone muffin pan

With the exception of the fragrance oil, you can get all these ingredients at the grocery store. The fragrance oil is totally optional if you don’t want to shell out shipping $ for something you’ll only use once. I understand how it is, I got your back 😉

Step one: Combine baking soda, citric acid, and epsom salt in a bowl. Mix with your hand or a spoon.

Step two: Melt coconut oil in a glass bowl. If you’re using fragrance oil, allow the coconut oil to cool before combining.

Step three: Add the oil mixture to the dry mixture. Mix thoroughly with hands, use glove if needed. Spritz with witch hazel until the mixture has the consistency of wet sand. It should just barely stick together and not be too wet.

Step four: Depending on your mold, there are a few different ways you can do this. If you have a true bath bomb mold, just scoop the mixture using your mold and pat it down firmly (much like you would if it were brown sugar). If you have a silicone mold, grab a handful of the mixture and squish it together in your hand, then place into your mold and squish down firmly. Just a heads up: the silicone mold method is a little messier, but most people have muffin pans and may not have bath bombs lying around 🙂 as always, I have a designated muffin pan I use for bath bomb making.

This is what it looks like when it’s TOO DRY. Learn from my mistakes while I enjoy my bath bomb powder 🙂

Allow this mixture to dry over night, and pop out the next day!

Bath bombs can be a little finicky, so don’t be discouraged if your bath doesn’t turn out. You can still use it! The humidity of the air will make a huge difference. If your bath bombs seems crumbly, add more coconut oil. You can tell if your house/apartment is humid if your bath bombs look bubbly/and jagged. Again, they are still usable, they just won’t be as pretty 🙂

Good luck and have a great bath!

Throwback Illustration Time

I thought it would be fun to show you my drawing progression over the last 9 months since I took my illustration class to quarantine!

This cat drawing is from when I first purchased an ink pen and Copic markers. I didn’t really know what to do with the markers, how to blend them, and I was using the wrong kind of paper. I also didn’t have many colors too work with, so I don’t blame myself too much for the choppy shading.

This one is a top to bottom comparison of how much my cat drawings have improved! (with bonus wizard hats thrown in). The ink lines on the ‘gamer’ cat aren’t very confident yet, and I was still figuring out how to blend and create marks. At least for this cat drawing, I was using marker paper and experimenting with blending more.

This bird drawing is from the beginning of quarantine when I started drawing more.

And these cuties are from a couple weeks into quarantine. Shading is smoother and the lines are more confident 🙂

I hope this shows how big of a difference 9 months can make in improving a skill. You can do it!

Craft Away the Sad Part 2: Embossing Greeting Cards

I have another craft distraction for you!

When looking at the greeting card aisle, did you ever wonder how they make cards glossy and shiny? Well, I did. So I learned how to do it myself and bring my greeting card game up to 10,000.

It’s called embossing!

If you want to impress literally everyone with a deceivingly easy yet extremely fancy craft, embossing may be for you.

To get started, head over to Paper Source and order:

  • Heat gun
  • Your favorite color embossing powder
  • VersaMark stamp pad
  • Your favorite stamp
  • This blue thing that collects extra embossing powder
  • Some blank greeting cards and matching envelopes!

That will run you around $50, but you probably won’t need to get supplies ever again (unless you want more stamps, more colors to emboss with, and more greeting cards!)

I like gold

First, I put my blank greeting cards in the blue thing. As you can see, the blue thing as a funnel on the left, so you can liberally sprinkle your card with embossing powder, then pour the rest back into the container when you’re done.

Here’s the blue thing

Next, I put my stamp on the VersaMark stamp pad- unlike your typical ink, the VersaMark pad is colorless and is an adhesive for the embossing powder.

My stamp

Next, stamp your greeting card and pour the embossing powder over it. You’ll have something that looks like this:

Dull and grainy right now, but glam and shiny later!

Lastly, you’ll run your heat gun about 4 inches above the embossing powder for like 10 seconds. It’s super hot and it goes super fast, so be careful!

You’ll see the powder magically turn shiny right before you eyes, so once you do, you should stop before it smells like burning 🙂

Wow, shiny and gold!

As you can probably tell, my card is a bit messy. Here’s how you can avoid that:

  1. Buy better stamps (not the weird cheap rubber ones from Amazon. It’s ideal if the stamp has a back and is actually a stamp)
  2. Run a dryer sheet over the greeting card before stamping it to prevent the powder from clinging. I don’t actually own dryer sheets (sorry mom). So I skipped this step and now have some cards that give me double vision.

I can’t wait to see your beautiful cards!