It’s February. Here in Michigan that means it’s bitterly cold, and most days are gray. Snow, ice, and temperatures in the single digits make socializing out-of-doors a challenge. For those who are unvaccinated, socializing indoors is tempting, but it’s certainly a risk. So, how do you make staying home more tolerable?
Instead of railing against the cold weather, why not embrace it by adopting Hygge. Think fuzzy socks, warm beverages, comfort food, candles, and anything else that helps you feel warm, cozy and content. Hygge is lovely. It can change your perception of Winter from something that has to be endured, to something truly enjoyable. Embracing Hygge is a good start, but I encourage you to take it even one step further.
Combine Hygge and Makerspace to Make it Even Better
When I’m at home, one thing that takes my mind off things (like the fact that my freshly washed, still damp hair – froze – when I stepped outside for half a second), is immersing myself in a project. If you aren’t already in the middle of a project, consider starting one now…and pick a project that embodies Hygge. Maybe for you that means knitting a pair of fuzzy socks, cooking a pot of soup from scratch, or building a rack for your wood pile from repurposed lumber. For me, it means making hand-poured candles scented with essential oils. If you’d like to give this a try, I’ve included step-by-step instructions below.
How to Make Hand-Poured – Essential Oil Scented – Container Candles
What You’ll Need
- Heat resistant containers (mason jars, jelly jars, coffee mugs or tea cups)
- Glue dots for bottom of the wicks
- Wax (I used soy natural candle wax flakes)
- Something to hold the wick straight (bow tie clip, tongue depressors or craft sticks)
- Stainless steel pouring pot
- A second, bigger pot, to create a double-boiler
- Essential oils
- Long stirring spoon
- Oven mitts
- Food scale
- A Tablespoon measure
- A stove or hot plate
- Baking soda (in case of fire)
- Fire extinguisher
Note: You can buy most of these materials, fairly inexpensively, as part of a candle making kit. Wax flakes and essential oils may need to be purchased separately.
Weigh your stainless steel pouring container on your food scale. Make a note of how much it weighs when empty. Add a pound of wax flakes. If you don’t have a food scale, you can just eyeball this by filling your wax pouring container until you have about 2-3 inches of space at the top.
Next, set up your heat resistant containers. Make sure you have several containers prepped. I found that a pound of wax filled about 4 jelly jars. Start by attaching a glue dot to the bottom of the wick.
Use the other side of the glue dot to attach the wick to the inside, center, of your candle container. Secure the top of the wick to your bow tie clip, tongue depressors or craft stick, to make sure it stays straight when you pour in the wax, later. Place your prepped containers on top of a towel to catch any wax drips.
Create a double boiler by placing the wax pouring container into a larger-sized pot, with a few inches of water inside the larger-sized pot. It should be enough water that it won’t all boil off while you’re melting the wax, but not so much that water will pour over the side of your wax pouring container and into your melting wax.
Place your double-boiler on top of the stove top or hot plate, and turn the temperature up to medium-high.
Keep an eye on your melting wax at all times. Make sure you have the baking soda and fire extinguisher within reach. You can’t use water to put out a wax fire. Baking soda or a fire extinguisher will work. Stirring the wax with a long spoon will help it melt more quickly. Once your wax is completely melted, remove your wax pouring container from the double boiler and place on a towel.
If you’re using wax with a higher melting point than 130 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to wait until the wax cools to 130 degrees Fahrenheit before adding in your essential oils, or they can burn off, leaving you with a lightly-scented, or unscented candle. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can also just add the essential oils once the side of your wax pouring container is still warm to the touch (but not so hot that it burns your hand) and the wax is still liquid.
Measure out 1 Tablespoon of essential oil (this can be just one scent or several blended). Pour your essential oil into the melted wax, a little at a time, continuing to stir the wax as you’re adding the oil. This is the part of candle making that my kids liked best, they really enjoyed coming up with recipes for the candle scents. One of the completed candles ended up smelling a little bit like bug spray, so we named that one “Summer Nights”. If you want better control over the scent, you might want to stick with just one essential oil.
Pour your wax into your prepared containers, leaving about 1/2 -1 inch of space at the top.
Once your wax has cooled enough that it’s solid, remove your popsicle stick (or whatever you used to secure your wick). Using scissors, trim your wick to 1/2-1 inch above the top of the wax.
Good luck! Stay safe. If you have a maker project that’s also Hygge, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.