Wednesday 6 January 2010

A Jolly Jar for January

These cold, dark January nights have their advantages. Warm stodgy puddings, log fires, and cuddling up in the candlelight. If you have had the satisfaction of making the candle holders yourself, it's even better.
I know one or two of you might have thought I might have lost the plot when I mentioned the Jolly Jam Jar Project... but wouldn't this look lovely on your mantelpiece. It's fun to take something ordinary and everyday and transform it in to something pretty and useful. If you would like to make one of these, please read on.
What you will need for your candle jar
An empty jam jar or honey jar - a wide opening is best for this project.
Some trim for the top of the jar
Access to a laser printer or laser toner copier
Clear sticky backed plastic
option 1. a light coloured pillar candle that will fit inside the jar.

option 2. candle making equipment.


Using your computer, make a black and white design. I found some appropriate quotes on the Internet and then used desktop publishing software to design my labels. Make sure you make them the right size for your jar. If you want to be even more creative, you can draw a design, scan it into your computer and print it out on a laser printer - or photocopy it. Don't make your drawing lines too thin, or they won't show up so well. The bolder the better. I know that many of my readers are very talented artists, and I am sure that you will get a thrill from seeing your own artwork on your candle jar.

You cover the designs with your sticky backed plastic and cut them out. I have seen this technique done using packing tape, but I wanted something with a better finish and I did not want to be limited to the size of the packing tape and so I thought I'd give it a try with the plastic. It worked a treat, and this means I can produce almost any size of transfer I like. I think the finish is smoother and it is much stronger and easier to work with. So this technique is now called...sticky backed plastic transfers.

Now you need to soak your design in a bowl of lukewarm water for a few minutes. Gently rub away at the paper, keeping your design wet, and you will see that the paper will rub off leaving your toner ink on the clear plastic. Keep working at it until you have removed all the paper.
Place your label upside down to dry thoroughly. Once dry, it should be tacky. If not, you can always use a suitable clear drying glue to affix your design to the jar. You might notice when it is dry that you have missed some bits of paper. Just wet the label again and work on the bits that you missed. It's one of those things that requires patience. If you want to make a bunch of labels in advance, keep the backing paper from the sticky backed plastic, and once the labels are dry, stick them back onto the paper until you are ready to use them.

If you are going to go for option 2, then you might want to leave trimming the jar until your candle has been poured, but if you are just inserting a small store bought pillar, then go ahead and get sticking. When your design is ready carefully stick it to the jar, smoothing out any air bubbles from the centre outwards.

Now you can stick a nice piece of trim to the top of your jar. A chunky trim tends to work better than ribbon here, because the trim helps to hide the bumps. If you don't have any trim, why not cover the rim with a suitable glue that dries clear and wind some jute twine around the top a few times for a stylish finish. I use fast tack glue which dries clear and seems to have a good strong grip.

Option 2.
For a container candle.
What you will need.

Candle wax - there are a huge variety of different waxes available to the candlemaker nowadays. Soya wax is particularly environmentally friendly. Different waxes come at different melting points, so do check with you supplier for the melting and pouring temperatures. For my recycled jar project, I used old candle stubs so that even my wax was recycled.
A Double boiler for melting the wax. This is essential so that you do not heat the wax too much.
Wick sustainer, small metal discs for holding the wick in place in a container candle.
Suitable sized candle wick, please check with your supplier for correct size,
or if you want you can buy pretabbed wicks ready to stick into your container.
Wick holder - I use a bamboo skewer cut in half and held together with two elastic bands.
glue gun for sticking the wick retainer in place in the jar.
wax dyes and scents if you want to get really fancy. Essential oil for a natural frangrance.
For this jar you need to keep the candle colour light so that the black design is shown off to it's best.
There are so many sites out there with instructions for container candles, I didn't think I needed to make another one. I know it won't take you long to find out how. Here is one example at this great website.
If you make one of these, then please drop me a link so that I can see your wonderful creations. I hope this has inspired you to try something new. Have fun!


  1. Thank you for this!! I love burning candles, and these are wonderful. They would make good gifts too! I think I might give this a try!!

    Stay warm!!

  2. Oh, I bet these would sell on your etsy site too!!! :)

  3. thankyou Mary. I might just try sell some candles soon.

  4. wonderful, thank you for sharing x

  5. This looks soo fun!!! I want to do this too!


Hi there, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Thanks for dropping by. I enjoy reading all your comments.