Thoughts & things about design, travel, and lettering.

May Your Days Be Merry & Bright (pt. 2)

I started this project almost six months ago and it is finally, finally done. Looking at the results is sort of a bittersweet mix between "that's it?" and "YEAH, that's it!". In the beginning I feel like I had so many other ideas and options to explore. On the bright side, I still have those ideas tucked away and I'm sure this is going to be an annual quest (see last year's here, and here) to make the perfect candle packaging. Right now though all I want to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the warm glow of my candles.

There are plenty of tutorials online to get started in candle making. First I started saving empty jars (after thoroughly washing and cleaning them) that had minimal permanent markings, preferably with a gold cap. Next I ordered A LOT of wax off of Amazon. As I said before, this is something that I want to keep doing so buying in bulk was the way to go. (Expected reactions from friends & family: "Oh wow! Lauren made me another candle... great..."). I also took the lazy route and got pre-tabbed wicks, because last time it was a bit of a nightmare trying to jab the wicks into their sockets and did not do well with my short attention span. Buying the components separately is cheaper, but the convenience for me was worth the extra money. 

Next you rig up this rather awkward looking apparatus to boil down your wax. Ideally you should get a wax thermometer to make sure it's the right temperature to hold your scent, but I skipped that step :) See above: short attention span. 

After that comes the fun part - pouring! This was where my expert class at candle making from Candlefish gave me some awesome tips (that I actually remembered!). At first I poured each of the candles to about halfway, then poked holes in each of them after they started to develop a "crust" - a hardening white wax layer at the top of the soft layer. That released the air bubbles formed as the wax cooled, preventing future bubbles and cracks later on. Then I poured the candles almost the rest of the way up; straightened the wicks; repeated the process; and topped them off with a final layer of wax. 

Definitely check out one of the awesome classes from Candlefish for all of the technical terms and correct procedures (did I mention it's BYOB?). 

After letting them sit on my kitchen table for a couple of weeks and glaring angrily at them, I finally decided on a direction I wanted to pursue for the labels. Sticking with the metallic theme that developed during my jar collecting days I set about with some shiny copper paint and ink. I also used gold embossing power on top of copper ink, which produced a nice blend of both. 

As for the design of the labels I always knew I wanted something hand done. After exploring a few options I stuck with one brush script for hanging tags that I could easily replicate with a consistent look. I also created an abstract icon system out of letter stamps to identify each of the scents. For ease of use I created a label that wrapped around from the lid to the side, intending for the user to rip it upon opening. The icon would remain on the side of the jar, and the name up top. Then I broke down and got a heavy duty hole punch, whipped out some twine and strung up the labels; wrapping it all with a neat bow. Viola! my candles were ready for their journey as holiday presents. Check out the final photos here. Only two months behind :)