I'd like to think that wedding planning had made me smarter and more knowledgable. I used science(!) to cut the glass bottles and then we were off to explore candle-making territory.
I did some reading online and decided that I wanted to use soy wax. They say it burns cleaner and is a slower burning wax than other types. Ok.
Then I read about candle wicks. I had no idea that there were different types of wick sizes and materials. I found the website, CandleScience, that had a Wick Guide. It asked for the diameter of my glass and then it suggested what wicks to use. I chose ECO-6 6" Pretabbed Wicks.
The first thing that I needed to do upon commencing the candle-making, was to do a burn test. Since these are going to be used for our reception, I wanted to make sure that it would stay lit for the entire 6ish hours. You also want the wax to melt all the way to the edges after about two hours. If it doesn't do that, then basically you need a different wick size.
The shortest glass size was the one that concerned me the most. I made two of those, lit them and took notes for the next six hours. Thankfully, the candle burned well and was still lit 6 hours later. I deemed the test run successful and set off to mass produce candles.
1. I started off with my 56 pre-cut glasses:
2. I took each wick tab and placed a glue dot on the bottom of it. I then centered the wick tab in each of the glasses and pressed down hard.
3. Now, you'll need something to steady the wick once you pour the wax in it. You can buy wick holders, but I was too cheap for that. I rubber banded markers together and sandwiched the wick in between them. It wasn't perfect, but it did the job fairly well.
4. Now it's time to heat the wax. I used a Presto Electric Fryer and turned the temperature to 200 degrees (which is the lowest besides "warm"). I heated it just long enough for all of the wax chips to melt (about 175 degrees).
5. Once it was all melted, I poured the wax into a metal pitcher and kept my thermometer in the pitcher. You want the wax to cool to 135-145 degrees before you pour it into the glasses. It has something to do with the cooling/setting of the candles...sure.
6. Once it's cool enough, pour! I highly suggest laying down newspaper wherever you're working. Soy wax cleans up super easy if it's wet, but it only gets more difficult the cooler it becomes. It took about an hour for the wax to harden all the way to the top. The glasses were still warm, so I let them cooler for several more hours before moving them around.
7. And after you've poured 40 of these, ran out of wax and had to wait for 10 pounds more to be shipped, and made the last 16, you have centerpieces that look something like this:
I haven't quite decided on the arrangement here yet. They're both clearly very similar and this is quite a trivial thing to spend brain cells on, but these are my two winning options.
And now we're officially done with centerpieces! Hooray!
Overall, this was a seemingly a never-ending task that took the span of several weeks. I would heat eight cups of wax up at a time which would make about one complete centerpiece with seven candles. Waiting on the wax to be cool enough was the big time consumer. Also, some of my candles turned out with some problems which meant that I had to get the heat gun out and melt the entire top of the candle so that it could re-set smooth.
I'm glad that I embarked on this candle-making, glass-cutting journey, but I must say that I'm even happier to be done with it. Now I can focus on getting those durn invitations started on!