I’m currently working on a book about teachers, which means that I am thinking about mugs (a.k.a. the very last thing the teachers in your life want from you) more than the average bear.
I’m not particularly overextended in the mug department myself, but teacups are another story. My mom – like many, many moms out there, apparently – has always collected teacups, and over the years she’s passed off a handful to me as “gifts” (a.k.a. “things she has too many of and no room for”). Which means I, too, now have a lot of teacups. Some of them are family heirlooms and belong safely tucked away in my china cabinet, but others are just…teacups. I have no special attachment to them, but they’re not the kind of thing you toss in the garbage, you know?
Enter my friend Mollie’s grandmother, Shotzy (which, if you’re wondering, means “Darling” in German, because of course it does). Shotzy loved having a perfectly matched table, so whenever one of her teacups broke, she passed on the rest of the set to one of her granddaughters.
(Is all of this not the most charming thing you’ve ever heard?)
Anyway, this is what Mollie came up with to do with Shotzy’s teacups – transform them into sweet little candles that remind her of her grandmother every time she lights one. I think this is such a lovely way to take a collection out of the china cabinet and have it actually get used – and if you’re thinking, “But I don’t have a Shotzy in my life!”, that would be where Goodwill comes into the picture. (Seriously, if you want to make these in bulk – as a favor for a shower or a birthday party, or as decor for a wedding or garden party – please go to Goodwill; they virtually always have a cute selection of mismatched teacups.)
What You Need:
- Assorted tea cups (vintage or otherwise, and really, any glass or ceramic cups you have laying around work for this)
- Wax blocks (you can either buy these at your local craft store, or you can just melt down old candles)
- Wicks (the wicks with the metal place holders at the ends are easiest to use and can be found in craft stores, but string also works)
- A double boiler (if you don’t have one, a small saucepan and a heatproof bowl that’ll fit snugly on top are a fine substitute)
- Chopsticks or pencils (one per teacup)
- Optional: Essential oil in your desired scent
What You Do:
Start by boiling water in the bottom of the double boiler (or bringing some water to boil in a small saucepan).
Put the wax blocks into the top of the double boiler (or into a heatproof bowl that fits snugly on top of your saucepan), and stir the wax every once in awhile, until it’s fully melted.
If you want to make scented candles, this is the point where you’ll want to stir a few drops of essential oil into the liquid wax.
Meanwhile, tie your wicks (one per candle) to your chopsticks or pencils.
The point of this: to keep the wicks in one place while the wax cools down and hardens, so you don’t have to stand there holding a piece of string, perfectly still, doing the candle version of watching paint dry.
Pour the wax into the first teacup, and position the wick in the center of the cup.
Rest the chopstick or pencil across the top of the cup.
Repeat with remaining wax and teacups…
…and walk away. (See how great the chopstick hack is??)
Once the wax has hardened, cut each wick to your desired length.
Then just light, and revel in the adorableness.