Friday, 11 February 2011

Teacup candles the EASY way!

So, I know this goes against some unwritten law of blogging (like saying the Cath Kidston shop makes my eyeballs bleed) but honestly, I think tea is Satan's own wee. Really people, it's grim. This is a shame, as I can totally appreciate the appeal of a cute teapot or a chintzy teacup, and I'd really like to have a proper excuse to fill the house with art deco teasets. Teacup candles to the rescue! It gives me a reason to buy pretty china, and they make great girly presents as well. I was always a bit put off by talk of double boilers, wick pins and crimping tools, but yay - none of these are necessary.

Also, if you make one and aren't happy with it, you can just chop up the wax and use it again, even if you've already started burning it. Here is one I hacked up again after practising in a cup that was missing its saucer.  
They don't need a saucer, but it will protect your surfaces and gives somewhere handy to put matches.

To be completely thrifty you can even melt down old candle stubs, but do try and remove any blackened bits of sooty wick, or the finished result isn't going to be that pretty. You can get starter kits on eBay which include wax, retainers, a length of wick, and a wick pin. The one I bought came with dye as well, but I prefer natural coloured wax.

You will need
  • Wax - I used soya wax as it is eco friendly and burns cleanly. It also washes easily out of the teacup when you've finished burning it.
  • Wick sustainer (the little metal thingy that supports the wick)
  • Cotton wick
  • Skewers or pencils
  • Pliers. Fine nosed craft ones are probably best, but I just raided the toolbox.
  • Candle fragrance or essential oil (optional)
  • Saucepan
  • Pyrex jug
  • Glue - hot glue gun if you've got one/can be bothered, but I've used glue dots before now. Actually, I've also used blue-tac but I am supremely fond of the easy option. There are probably dire warnings somewhere regarding blue-tac and naked flames.
  • Pretty teacup

What to do
First weigh your empty teacup. Then fill it with water and weigh it again. The difference is approximately the weight of wax that you'll need. Put the wax into the jug, and the jug into a few inches of  just boiled water in a pan over a low heat on the stove. Keep an eye on it, as obviously wax is flammable. Stir around with a wooden spoon as it begins to melt.


Meanwhile, get a length of wick and poke one end through the hole in the sustainer. Some instructions will tell you to 'prime' the wick first by dipping the length into the melted wax. It doesn't appear to be vital, but you can if you like. Use pliers to squish it together and hold the wick in place. Use glue to attach sustainer to centre of teacup, and then skewers or similar to hold wick straight. You could tie the wick around the skewer to keep it upright, but you do waste more that way. It should look something like this:

Once the wax is molten add any fragrance as per the instructions on the bottle. I was a bit gung-ho with mine and just sloshed it in until it smelled nice, but this is probably not advice to follow. Then carefully pour into the cup - making sure the wick remains central - and leave to set overnight.


The two above are going to be presents, so in true Blue Peter style - here's one I made earlier.

The cup above cost £1.00 from Oxfam, and the total cost of the wax including postage was £9.25. However, this made 6 candles in total. Alternatively, you could go to Liberty and pay £36.00!

This project also forms part of my submission to The Felt Fairy's Monthly Make challenge for February.


  1. You brave girl, you've said the unsayable about Cath Kidson. Good for you!
    Love your blog. I'll be a regular follower from down here in New Zealand.

  2. Thanks Maureen, glad my blasphemy hasn't scared you off!

  3. I love that idea! Ever since I moved to Australia I got a lot more British. I really want to like tea, I have tried so many times but I agree-its horrible and I feel ashamed as a British person to say that. Just wish I had a day off tomorrow as going to scrape out my fancy scented candles with destroyed wicks and finally use my teacup collection! Thanks for the great idea!

  4. Oh they are fab! Thanks for the tutorial- I'd been wondering how it was done and I have a few old cups hanging about that would be perfectly suited.
    The mugs you were asking about say:
    Fine Tableware
    Staffordshire, England
    on the bottom. Hope that helps! Laura x

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  6. Hmmm. A girl can go off someone you know!

    First, tea is the devil's wee?!!! How very dare you!

    Second, I suspect you and everyone else who makes these lovely candles are the reason I can no longer find any pretty teacups in charity shops!

    Thanks for the tutorial. I actually have all the bits and bobs as I've been meaning to give this a go for ages. If only I could find a damned teacup!


    *first post deleted due to appalling late night spelling. 2nd post probably no better :0)

  7. These are fab, I love them> I keep meaning to go to the charity shop for cups n saucers to make a cake stand and really want to try these too now.

  8. I dont drink tea either but am a complete horder of tea sets - and yup I got a shed load of tea cup candles knocking about when I went on a candle making frenzy before xmas but no enough people to palm them off onto :o) Scarlett x

  9. This is a great post and finally a crafty idea that I think is useful, pretty and not too hard!! I may have a go for a mother's day gift, and some for christmas! thanks you!

    PS I love tea :-)

  10. I've wanted to try this for ages, but I'm loathe to part with any of my teacups!

    Have you ever tried Indian chai? It's a black tea (usually darjeeling) steeped in milk, which gives it a stronger flavor to start off. Then it's liberally sweetened and spiced with some variety of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and sometimes black pepper. The best tea there is, in my opinion.

  11. I got into drinking tea while living in Sydney (I neeeeded hot drinks in winter, and there is only so much coffee a girl can consume before jittering herself off the couch!), and I love the *idea* of teacup candles, but I need someone to offload them onto, cause they will never have a place in my own house. :p

    BTW...I melt my wax in recycled cans for candlemaking...that way I have no container to clean out after..I just chuck it. :D


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