Ingredients: Old candles that are nearly run down, an old saucepan, a pretty teacup from a charity shop, some scented oil (I used lavender).
The Big Sell: Make a thrifty pretty thing for someone you love!
Strategy: This idea comes hot off the press from the recent Channel 4 programme ‘Super-scrimpers’ and was the only tip I was tempted to try out. I visited a nearby charity shop to pick up some pretty tea-cups and enlisted the help of my husband with the messy bits. It would be an ideal exercise to do with a teenager who wants to make a unique gift for a friend or relative.
1) Melt down some nearly-run-down candle stubs by placing them in an old bowl suspended over an old saucepan of simmering hot water. [TOP TIP: do use an old saucepan if you can, we used our everyday one and it was covered in splashed wax which took ages to clean off]
2) Take out the wick and glue this into place on the bottom of your tea cup with a little melted wax. [TOP TIP: If you don’t have enough wicks to make all the candles you want, cut off a length of a new candle the same length as you want to fill your tea cup and glue this to the bottom instead – we found this worked really well]
3) Once all the wax is melted, add a scent of your choice and pour the mix into your tea cup nearly to the top.
4) Leave to harden, add pretty wrapping paper, and give to someone special (in our case, our lovely Mums for Mothers’ Day).
The verdict: I love the fact that this gift looks very ‘of the moment’ and reuses something for which its hard to find another use. I think an enthusiastic teen could get a good production line going and make a ton of Christmas gifts for little cost and time, but with fantastic results.
Catchphrase: Rejoice for upcycling!
Left wanting more? Another arbitrary use for old candle ends is to create an old fashioned seal to adorn envelopes! Make your own stamp by carving into the end of a cork with a penknife, melt a blob of wax onto the envelope and dip in the stamp. Particularly effective with red candles and perfect for young boys obsessed with all things piratey!