This past holiday season, I challenged myself to make oil burning candles out of nothing but garbage finds and found objects around our home. My husband and I started a journey last year to lead a more sustainable life, so it was important to create something that would be re-usable, cheap, readily available and would burn safely.
While I used this idea to create a display for the Festival of Lights, these will also work to create oil candles any time of year and for any occasion. Why not try a version out for Valentines Day, for instance? There's nothing more romantic than the glow of candle light!
Step 1: Upcycle a Shot Glass for the Oil Burning Candle
A few years ago my husband found an entire box of shot glasses in the garbage. He was going to donate it to our local thrift store, but kept forgetting to drop them off. Luckily he mentioned it to me because the shot glasses were a great starting point for my oil burning candles. Although the glasses had advertising on them, I knew I could still work with them.
Step 2: Hide a Logo
I used 9 glasses in total for my holiday display. If you're going to do this project, and you don't already have some shot glasses on hand, pick some up from your local thrift store. It doesn't matter what they look like, because we are going to fix that (as you can see in the side by side comparison of the before and after)!
Step 3: Decorating the Shot Glasses
I wanted to add some sparkle so I incorporated metallic elements onto the glass - and hid the advertising in the process!
To add alternating squares of silver and gold, you'll need to gather up some:
- Clear double-sided tape
- Rub-on silver and gold foil
- Painters tape
- A pencil
- Paper cutter
- The glossy paper backing from a sheet of labels or self laminating cards.
Place a piece of 1/2" painters tape over the glossy side of the lable backing and mark 1/2" increments on the tape with a pencil. The green tape is only there to help see where to mark it since the glossy side is too slick and the reverse side is pretty busy.
Step 4: Make a Mask
Cut the strip of tape into 1/2" squares with the paper cutter and peel off the green tape.
Step 5: Cut Foil Strips
You'll end up with the white squares shown in the picture. Use the scissors or the paper cutter to cut some strips of silver and gold foil slightly wider than 1/2".
Step 6: Use Double Sided Tape As Your 'Glue'
To prevent the glass from rolling as I worked, I used a curved piece of wood I had, but you could also nestle it into a towel to keep it steady.
Measure a piece of the double-sided tape to the length of the graphic you want to cover; 2" was perfect for my shot glasses so I could create four 1/2" squares with the foil. Apply the double sided tape right over the graphic on the glass. If you're piece is too long, trim it back to 2" using an X-acto knife. You can see right through the tape, but not for long!
Step 7: Use Squares to Space and Mask
Take the square pieces cut earlier and apply two of them to the clear tape - glossy side down - leaving a 1/2" space in between (you can use one of the squares as a spacer as shown in the picture). The squares will stick temporarily to the tape and act as a mask where you don't want the foil.
Step 8: Apply First Colour of Foil
Apply the silver foil (dull side down) to the first exposed square and rub it well to adhere it to the tape. Carefully peel it back to expose the foil that's stuck to the double-sided tape. Move on to the next exposed square with the same colour of foil and adhere it in the same way. If there are any spots that were missed, you can rub a fresh piece of foil onto those areas to fill in, but it doesn't have to be perfect!
Step 9: Add Second Colour of Foil
Once the first two squares are done, remove the white squares that are still covering the tape. Apply the gold foil to those remaining squares. You'll end up with alternating silver and gold metallic squares.
Step 10: K-cup Wicks
Watch the attached a video to make sustainable wicks out of K-cups for these candles. Soak the wicks in oil first. Add water and 1/2 teaspoon of oil into each shot glass. Insert the wick and light.
Step 11: Suitable for Any Occasion!
This is an upcycle that you can use over and over in conjunction with the wicks (but of course, you'll need to replace the cotton string for the wick each time). Don't forget to soak the wicks in oil first before you light them and only use a metal snap. The picture above shows how my final display looked this past holiday season in celebration of the Festival of Lights. The glow of the oil burning candles is pretty isn't it?
Like I mentioned earlier, these candles would be stunning for any occasion. Valentines Day is coming up: you could even arrange your shot glasses into a heart shape!