How to Make a Shabby Chic Candle in a Teacup

by Dagmar Bleasdale on April 27, 2012

I love the shabby chic decorating style and find myself drawn to vintage china in thrift stores or at tag sales. A while ago I saw candles in shabby chic teacups and knew I wanted to make them myself.

So I raided the local thrift stores and finally made them. Here is my step-by-step, how-to tutorial of how I made my soy candles in vintage teacups.

It’s actually really easy to make them — all you need is the supplies and some patience. These candles make wonderful gifts and can be customized to any person’s taste. Not into shabby chic? Why not make a candle out of a coffee cup with a fun saying?

What you will need to make your own candles:

Teacups: use Grandma’s vintage teacups or buy any teacups you like. I into shabby chic, so I went to the thrift store looking for cute teacups with flowers on them. I also found a few little coffee cups, all for less that $10.

Waxed wicks with metal tabs: from the craft store. Make sure you buy them long enough; you can always cut them shorter.

A cup to melt the wax in: I bought an aluminum measuring cup for $2.99 at Home Goods, but crafts stores sell ones specifically for candle making for much more.

A big pot: you’ll fill this with water and melt the wax in the smaller pot in it.

A thermometer: I had an unused meat thermometer from the dollar store I used for the first batch, but I ended up buying the candle-making thermometer because I liked that it has a hook that secures it to the pot.

Soy wax: from the craft store. I only wanted to make soy candles because other wax gives off unhealthy fumes.

Fragrances (optional): I didn’t add them because I’m very sensitive to smells and not a fan of fragrances, but stores sells all kind of oils you could add

Heavy glass dish: I needed this to weigh down the small pot with the wax because it kept floating up in the water and turning sideways even with the wax in it.

Two pot holders: that water, the wax, and the pots get very hot, so be careful.

Wax paper: I lined our kitchen counter and put the teacups on top of it, just in case some wax dripped on it.

My friend Viktoria, who makes candles and fragrances for a living, gave me three great tips for candle making:

  1. don’t cut the wicks too short
  2. glue the wicks to the bottom of the cups with a little bit of wax before you pour the wax
  3. the more you let the wax cool before you pour it, the nicer the candles will be

I’d make sure the kids are not in the kitchen so they don’t accidentally get burned.

After the soy wax melted, which takes a while, I put the wax pot on a plate on the counter to let it cool down.

Then I took the end of a spoon, dipped it into the wax, and dripped a few drop to the bottom of the cup to secure the wicks.

I didn’t fill the cups all the way because I wanted the flower on the inside to peek out.

It takes about 30 minutes for the wax to harden again. My first batch of candles turned out like this – the surface was “muddled.”

And a few were smoother but had these little indentations.

There had to be a way to get them smoother. So I reached out on Twitter and was told I can fix that by either using a hair dryer or by warming up the candles in the oven.

I didn’t do either, although both ideas sounded logical. Instead, I let the wax cool down more, to less than 120 F before I poured it. And that really made a difference and resulted in a much smoother top surface.

See how great the next batch turned out? And I fixed some of the first batch by adding a thin coat of the cooler wax.

I made these teacup candles for my girlfriend’s Artists’ Open House and also made tons of gift baskets.

It took me hours to wrap everything and attach cute gift tags to them, but this is my idea of fun – I loved it.

I couldn’t stop myself, see?

This is what some of the teacups looked like.

How sweet is this little vintage jewelry box I made into a candle?

I found these four heart-shaped cookie cutters for just a few dollars and though they made a cute Mother’s Day gift with these two coffee cups. These handmade candles don’t have to have a saucer to look cute.

The candles were a hit at the Open House and with friends and family. I’ve been asked if I’m going to open my own Etsy store and sell them.

What do you think, should I?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

pilar October 8, 2013 at 7:16 PM

I love your candles, I am making also, and they came out beautiful. It is a little tricky to work with soy wax, but I think they are amazing.

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Janice Emery May 22, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Very adorable! I love stuff like that too. I made homemade body scrub for Mother’s Day gifts.
Many, many moons ago I made homemade candles and ran into the problem that the wax “fell” into dips around the wick. I had remedied that by poking a hole in the coolish wax and it filled in. But mine were of a larger scale than tea cups. Maybe waiting for the wax to cool more would have taken care of it.
Now I am going to have to try it again!

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Lauren @ Hobo Mama April 28, 2012 at 9:22 PM

How cute and chic are these! I love them.

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Dagmar April 29, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Hi Lauren, thank you for commenting! How have you been?

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Dear Crissy April 28, 2012 at 12:08 AM

I LOVE this idea, and the finished products look so cute.

My mom makes candles (just a hobby), and I know she had to experiment with a lot of different techniques before getting them perfectly smooth, etc. Looks like you mastered it in the end!

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Dagmar April 28, 2012 at 5:39 PM

Hi Crissy, thanks for stopping by! I’m sure I still have a bit to learn, but I was happy with the first few batches. Does your mom sell them? I’m really tempted to open an Etsy store.

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Sally April 27, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Yes you should those turned out beautiful!

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Katja of Skimbaco April 27, 2012 at 2:42 AM

I think you did fantastic job and no wonder they were selling like hot cakes! I especially love that you used vintage and flea market finds and turned them into something amazing. Thank you for an awesome tutorial, and I really want to try making some candles now… or maybe I’ll just wait that you’ll open that Etsy store.

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Dagmar April 27, 2012 at 8:39 AM

Hi Katja, thanks for your kind comment! I’m kind of tempted to open that Etsy store. How is life in Sweden? :)

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Katja of Skimbaco April 27, 2012 at 8:42 AM

I think you should!!! Life in Sweden is great, I can’t believe how lucky we are to have this opportunity.

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Dagmar April 27, 2012 at 8:48 AM

That’s wonderful to hear. I must keep up with your adventure and beautiful blog. Going to email you about the campaign in a bit, gotta run help out at my son’s school :)

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