Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Handmade Christmas Gifts- Part 1

I'd like to share some handmade Christmas gift ideas with you over the next 2 months as I make them for my own family and friends.  Today's idea is pinecone fire starters.

I made some fire starters (the white ones) and some just fire scents (red & green).  The firestarters have wicks, which slowly burn down to help start the fire.  The fire scents are just wax covered pinecones with no wick, that are just thrown in an already lit fire for a nice smell.  Read on!


Wax (I used paraffin wax, but any kind will do, including old candles)
candle scent (liquid or solid)
candle coloring (liquid or solid)
aluminum can and old pot
an old towel and old potholder
wicks, if making firestarters
twist-ties, if making fire scents

Before beginning, cover your work surface with an old towel.  Dried wax is a pain to clean off your stove and countertops, trust me!

Next, make in improvised double boiler (so you don't get your good one all waxy).  An aluminum can in an old thrift store pot is the way to go.  Add about 2 inches of water.  Chop up the wax and add to the can.  If you want to work on more than one color or scent at a time, add more cans as needed.

As the wax is melting, add wicks or twisties to your pinecones. 

For the firestarters, wrap a wick around the pinecone in a spiral as if you are putting lights on a Christmas tree, bottom to top, and make sure to leave a tail at the top (about 2 inches)

For the fire scents, just wrap a twist tie at the very top.

They should look something like this:

After your wax is melted, add some coloring and scent.  There's no exact science to this, but I tend to make them more scented than candles.  If you're using a solid color or scent, use a sharp knife or razor blade to cut some flakes off the brick and add them.

I did mullberry with the red, spice with the green, and winter berry with the white.

 Stir until your colors and scents are dissolved (a chopstick works great).  With a potholder, remove the HOT can from the water and let it set for a few minutes to thicken.

Give your pinceones a dunk, let them drip, and set them on aluminum foil on your towel to cool.  As the wax cools, it will thicken significantly.  If the wax cools enough to form a film on the top, that's ok.  Just skim it off or stir it in and keep going.  Cooler wax makes thicker layers, so you don't have to dunk it as many times.  If you are not seeing a noticeble difference between dunks, wait a few more minutes and try again.

Sprite helped too.  Just make sure your helpers know not to touch the can.  It stays hot!

After you're happy with them, go ahead and cut the twist ties off as low as you can.  For the firestarters with wicks, trim them to about 1/2 inch.

 With the leftover wax, I made a candle by pouring it into an empty candle holder and adding a wick.  After it cools completely, you will need to add a little more wax because it will shrink down in the center. (You can see a white firestarter cooling in the background.  Somehow the white ones were camera shy).

Now they just need to be wrapped up all pretty!


Jill said...

These look so pretty!! I think I might just make them to have around and smell nice!

Etcetorize said...

These will make great Christmas add on gifts. Thanks for the tutorial!

DANA said...

That is awesome! I would love for you to come link that in my Strut Your Stuff Party! http://danajeanward.blogspot.com/2010/11/strut-your-stuff-party.html

Maggie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine said...

They're beautiful! I can see these gathered in a basket near the fireplace, so lovely.

craftymamablog said...

I love these, I can't wait to make some of my own!
I did a small feature on my blog, feel free to grab a button!

Kathy Shea Mormino said...

Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/Clever-Chicks-Blog-Hop-12.html

I hope you can make it!


Kathy Shea Mormino

The Chicken Chick

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