Monday, December 3, 2012

Candle Luminaries

I love making Christmas presents.  My husband would say the reason for that is that I'm "tighter than a tick's ass", which is true, but mostly because I love getting homemade gifts and I especially love giving homemade gifts.  They're unique, they take time and I always think about that person while I'm making their gift so it becomes personal.  I found these candle luminaries online and I'm so glad I got started on this project early.  Most of my readers know how much I love crafts and I especially love trying new crafts, but this one......  it took a high rating on the patience bar.  Sorry, family and friends.  You're probably not getting these this year.  There's not enough time in the day to get enough of these done. 
So here's what you do:

  • Melt wax in a double boiler.  180 degrees is optimal temperature.
  • Fill a balloon with barely lukewarm water.  The best size is about a tennis ball size, (which will eventually look like the far left side in the above picture).  Try to get as much air out of the balloon as you can before you tie it.  The middle one was full of water.  The far right one... well, the balloon was goofy and it had a weird shape when I filled it with water.  You can try to blow up the balloon to stretch the latex and then fill with water to get a more round shape.
  • Slowly dip the balloon in the hot wax, but be careful not to dip above the water level or the balloon may break.
  • Lift the balloon and repeat 2-3 times.
  • Place on a cookie sheet or plate to flatten the bottom of the balloon.  Allow to cool for a minute or two.
  • Repeat this process at least several more times.
Here's the tricky part:  You have to try your best to dip the balloon each time to the same level at the top.  If you allow a few layers to be super thin, you're luminary will rip towards the end of this project.  The top line of the melted wax must be just as thick as the rest of balloon.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  We'll fix that later. It just needs to be thick.  The black balloon is a good example.  It didn't make it because the top line wasn't thick enough.  Also, don't hold the balloon in the hot wax for more than a few seconds.  The wax will stick to the balloon and it won't survive the next step.
  • Once I got the thickness I wanted, I placed the balloon in the freezer for a few minutes.
  • Take a skewer, pin or toothpick and carefully pop the balloon in the sink.  You WILL get wet!  It's best to pop the balloon quicker, rather than slower for a couple of reasons:  A small, slow hole will squirt water a lot higher and farther than you'll be prepared for, and if the wax stuck to the balloon, it will make your luminary fall apart.  Here's another important tip:  manipulate the little air bubble to the top in the balloon and pop a hole there.  Much quicker, more efficient and you'll get wet.  Just sayin...

  • Now we'll perfect the top.  I used a glass pie pan and placed it on a very, very low heat on the stove.  Set the top of the luminary on the warm plate until the edges are even.

Voila!  Place a battery-operated tea light inside and you've got yourself a very cool luminary.

These luminaries were a pain in my bee-hind to make.  I used a 2-pound block of wax, 11 balloons and I only got 3 luminaries in two days.... all for one of the kids to poke a side in and ruin my one and only best luminary (it was my 11th one I made).  These babies are super fragile but oh-so-neat.  The good thing about this project is that if you screw up, put the wax back in the double boiler and use it again.

So there you have it.  A super cheap and easy craft to make for Christmas gifts, but only if you plan on spending a lot of time over a hot splattering stove.  Once I can get more balloons, I'm sure I'll be back to make more.  I'm obsessed over this because I can't end my project like this.  I will work on it until I perfect the darn thing. 

No comments:

Post a Comment