The wedding DIY, that is.
My bridesmaid proposal candles were the first official wedding DIY project I took on. Luckily, it turns out that candles really aren’t that hard to make (which is contrary to the typical outcome of the “How hard can it be?” question). In fact, probably the hardest thing about the project was figuring out what size jar to order for the candles (I wound up ordering 9 oz jars from Specialty Bottle).
So after a bit more googling, and a little bit of waiting, I had 5 pounds of soy wax, 6 glass jars with lids, a set of candle wicks, and a bottle of knock-off fragrance.
You know the smell when you walk into an Anthropologie store? It’s Capri Blue Volcano. For years, this has been my favorite candle. I’ve certainly spent far too much money on them (they often come in gorgeous mercuried glass jars – swoon).
Well, it turns out that there is a fragrance company out there that has cracked the formula for the Volcano scent – and sells bottles of the fragrance for candle-making. It’s legit. I couldn’t tell the difference between my real Volcano candle and the fragrance I got from Aztec.
And so I turned my kitchen into candle-making central. Using my hot glue gun, I first glued the wicks of my candles into the jars. Depending on how wide your jar is, it can be a little tricky to get your hand in there. A hollow ballpoint pen tube can be useful here – thread the wick through the tube to give yourself something rigid to use to insert the wick into the jar. In my case, I didn’t have a pen that would easily come apart, but I did have a cover for my meat thermometer that functioned perfectly.
Once your jars are wicked, you’ll want to pop them into the oven at 125F (or the lowest your oven will go – in my case, 140F). This is because you’ll want the jars to be warm when you pour the wax, or else the wax could pull away from the sides of the jar and cause bubbling.
Next, set up a double-boiler to melt your wax. I used a thin stainless bowl over a pot – not the fanciest set-up, but it works. If you’re adding fragrance to the wax, you’ll need to not only melt all the wax, but heat it a specific temp before adding the fragrance – in my case, 185 F. The temp will vary between waxes. If the wax is too hot when you add the fragrance, it will evaporate; if it’s too cold, it won’t mix properly.
Once the wax reaches 185 F, take the bowl off the double-boiler and add the fragrance. The maximum amount of fragrance you can add to a wax will also vary. In my case, the maximum was 2 oz per pound (a kitchen scale if helpful here). I like very strong smelling candles, so I added the max fragrance.
From here on out, it’s a waiting game. The pour temperature for my wax is 125 F, so I simply had to wait for it to cool sufficiently before pouring into the jars. Once it got to about 130 F, I pulled my jars from the oven, and then poured the wax into them at 125 F. You’ll need to use something to keep the wick straight and centered in your wax as it hardens. There are apparatuses for this, but I just used pens with clips. I attached the wick with a bit of tension into the pen clip, and rested the pen across the jar. Fancy.
Eventually, the candles harden, and you can go about slapping a snarky proposal label on them (I broke out my mad Illustrator skillz to make these).
I made one for each of my bridesmaids and Tait’s female attendant (referred to as his Groomsmaid).
For my sister and Matron of Honor (from here on out, Maid of Honor, because she thinks “Matron” sounds old) I also bought her a Dammit Doll, as I can’t promise that I won’t drive her crazy. We also decided that we wanted her husband to officiate our ceremony, so we included a proposal card for him as well.
Then it was just a matter of getting some boxes and packing materials, writing out some cards, and trusting them to the United States Postal Service.