pretty crafty: mary's can-dles


When I found some fun vintage tin cans at an estate sale, I got inspired to make candles for the first time in my life. I’m thrilled with my freshman effort, especially a vanilla candle that’s just SWEL. Click here to see more photos at Flickr and read on for tips on candling up some cans of your own.

the how-to
1. Measure your containers’ circumference—this determines what size wick you’ll use. Also, do the math on how much wax it will hold. I skipped that step, bought two pounds of wax, and needed an additional four.

2. Read the wax instructions before you buy. I had to open the package in the store to check the instructions, but good thing I did—I learned that soy candles wouldn’t burn correctly with the wire wicks I had in my cart.

3. My wax had microwave instructions, but I used a double boiler with a candy thermometer. I’m a lot more comfortable when I know exactly when something flammable should be removed from heat.

Click through to the next page to read the rest of the CAN-do.

4. Dipping the wick in wax makes it easier to twist around the stick (or chopstick, in my case) that you’ll use to suspend the wick in the can.

5. Pouring hot wax was much easier than I expected. (I kept a lot of towels handy, just in case.)

6. When the wax has set for about a half-hour, you poke holes in the candle to release air bubbles, then finish off with more hot wax. Don’t move the candle again until it’s completely set, or you’ll end up with a lunar landscape on top.

Okay, now get off your can (sorry, I couldn’t resist) and hit the estate sales. Or, of course, check on eBay: Try this link.

Mary T. Sheely is a Cincinnati writer who’s about to move with her husband to Seattle. Potential employers, please visit her at

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to do: vintage candles « nesting notes

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[…] a tin can is so much more than a tin can, sharing some crafty ideas from HGTV. (We’ve repurposed tin cans of our own in the […]

What a really neat idea for “re-cycling” old tins. As an additional idea you could perhaps match fragrances with the can label, such as pineapple, peaches etc – time to start experimenting!