Friday, June 26, 2015

Ikebana - Japanese Flower Arrangements

Ikebana - Japanese Flower ArrangementsIkebana stands for bringing together different elements and creating a unified composition. The art of flower arrangements has deep roots in Japanese philosophy, providing the proof that in simplicity lies beauty and clarity. It takes just a glance into Japanese culture for someone to understand that it's governed by the concept of minimalism, striving for a connection with its surroundings, for a connection with nature itself. The Japanese apply the principles of Zen philosophy in order to intertwine aesthetics with function, creating harmony in all that surrounds them. It's about emphasizing clear lines, shapes and textures. It's about creating equilibrium.

This is the Japanese aesthetic principle of "Ma", enhancing the usefulness of empty space. It's a minimalist approach that allows one to acknowledge and better appreciate the qualities of an object, as it stands alone. Through its simplicity, it will embrace the surrounding space and harmonize with it. It won't demand attention of the observer, but gently attracts it. "Ma" is tranquility and equilibrium, and it's applied in Japanese culture, from architecture to Ikebana.

What is Ikebana?

The word "ikebana" is derived from "ikeru", meaning "to keep alive", and the word "hana", meaning flower. It represents the Japanese art of flower arrangement, the way of flowers.

"Ikebana is born from the encounter of nature and humans... a clear example of perfect harmony between man and nature... Just as musicians express themselves through the language of music, Ikebana artists must use the language of flowers" - Sofu Teshigahara, The book of flowers.

Ikebana is not merely a flower arrangement, it goes beyond that. It's an exploration. In Japanese culture, flowers have their own spoken language, carrying a deeper meaning than just their presented beauty. One must search to understand the object of this art, its symbolism, its shapes and colors, its patterns and rhythm, and the relationship between them. Only then can the principles of composition be employed.

Exploring the history of Ikebana

The art of Ikebana has been practiced for over 6 centuries and its long history began with the introduction of Buddhism in Japan. It developed from the Buddhist ritual of laying flowers on the altar, in order to honor Buddha.

One of Buddha's teachings says: "If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change". Ikenobo Senkei, a Buddhist priest, has not only seen the miracle of one flower, but the possibilities of combining more. Ikenobo is the creator of Rikka. Rikka, meaning "standing flower", was a flower arrangement consisting of seven branches that depicted elements of nature, such as valleys, mountains and waterfalls. In addition to creating the Rikka, Ikenobo also brought his contribution to the development of the flower arrangement art, by founding the first school of Ikebana.

A more modern version of Ikebana art was created by the genius of Sofu Teshigahara. In his "Book of flowers", he states that "Ikebana will fail if its ultimate goal is imitation of nature... One takes a piece of nature and adds something that was not there". Sofu founded the avant-garde Sogetsu School, that revolutionized the traditional style. In order to stand the test of time, Teshigahara believed that Ikebana had to be ''always fresh, vital and dynamic.''

History and Forms

Ikebana goes back over 500 years and finds its origins in Buddhism. Buddhist monks used to arrange flowers to decorate the altars and temples. That's how the first form of Ikebana - Kuge - started. Kuge is a simple form that consists of just a couple of flower stems and some green branches.

Rikka is the next form and is still practiced today. Rikka means "standing flowers" and was a way for Buddhists to express the beauty of nature. The key to this style are seven branches that each represent an element of nature like hills, waterfalls and valleys.

When the tea ceremonies started to become popular in the 16th century, a new form of Ikebana emerged: Chabana. The word itself literally means "tea flower" and focuses on rustic simplicity to complement the tea ceremony. One of the most visible styles to emerge from Chabana was Nageire - a non-structured and classic style typically consisting of a tight bundle of stems that form a triangle.

Seika or Shoka evolved from Nageire and is a lot simpler, it typically consists of 3 branches representing earth, heaven and human. It emphasizes the uniqueness and beauty of the plant in its own natural form. Vases are typically symmetrical.

Contemporary Ikebana

The most recent from of Ikebana is Jiyuka or simply Freestyle. Freestyle focusses on the creativity of the creator. There is no restrictions on the type of flowers or the materials being used. The most important school practicing this form is Sogetsu. They put a lot of focus on creative expression and experimentation and most creations use either a tall, narrow vase or a flat open dish.

Like contemporary art, freestyle Ikebana closely resembles abstract art. There is a strong focus on the lines formed by all the elements of the arrangement. The modern Ikebana creator is still driven by the desire to work in harmony with nature, but will often include other non-natural elements into their creation with the goal of emphasizing the beauty of all things.

General Principles of Composition

Ikebana molds perfectly to the saying of Issac Newton: "Truth is ever to be found in the simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things". The Japanese love for minimalism came from Buddhist monks as well. They rejected material possessions in favor of the strict necessity.

Minimalism is one of the most important traits when composing a flower ornament. One has to choose plants that will enhance each other's properties. Also, colors, patterns and shapes that will complement each other must be chosen. A delicate flower will work wonders combined with a plant that possesses an intricate foliage. The contrast between simple and complicated creates a balanced composition. It's the duality that attracts, same as the Ying-Yang symbol.

Implement the aesthetic principle of "Ma". The empty space in a composition is as important as the used space. "We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move. We work with being, but non-being is what we use."- Lao-Tzu

Asymmetry should dominate the Ikebana. An asymmetrical composition is dynamic. It will engage the eye and invite for closer exploration.

Today's Practice

There are plenty of schools and organizations that work to keep the tradition alive. Ikebana is as popular today as it was 600 years ago, and it won't lose that popularity any time soon. It signifies Japanese culture and tradition, being a pure expression of art. It provides relaxation and awareness. Silence is an important spiritual aspect when practicing Ikebana. Silence makes the mind focus and engage on the beauty of the living art. Ikebana is happiness, according to a Japanese proverb that states "Happiness is to hold flowers in both hands."

We live in the era of speed and technology, totally disconnected from the beauty surrounding us. Practicing the art of Japanese flower arrangement induces a state of meditation. The oasis of peace it provides is beneficial for both body and mind, connecting us with nature, and reconnecting us with yourselves. It is the escape we need, in such troubled times.

Getting Started

You can get started with Ikebana with just some basic materials and equipment. Find a lot more information and everything you need to know to get started on the Ikebana Flowers website.

James X Watson has been a Ikebana aficionado for many years and loves writing about his hobby.

Article Source: Ikebana - Japanese Flower Arrangements

Thursday, April 09, 2015

How to Make Gel Candles Bubbleless

Gel Candle
Learn how to make gel candles without bubbles, and you will soon be turning out crystal clear creations that garner oohs and aahs from all who see them. This wax always produces bubbles, of course. It is in its nature as surely as it is in the nature of champagne. As champagne without bubbles is just wine, so this wax without bubbles is just mineral oil mixed with a polymer. I know of no one who wants to remove the fizz from champagne, but there are chandlers who want to know how to make gel candles bubbleless.

Some people protest that having a lot of those shining little globules obviously adds to the inner beauty of the wax. They pour their wax in a way that is guaranteed to produce the greatest amount of fizz. Others consider it just as obvious that an abundance of fizz or globules or whatever you want to call them hinders the inner beauty, but... to make gel candles bubbleless? That isn't so obvious.

My personal search for a solution to the problem produced four very different possibilities. Some seemed easy. Others seemed far beyond my reach. I think you will agree, however, that all four are interesting.

Which way would you choose?

1. Pour the Way a Bartender Pours

This is the most common answer I got to my question of how to make gel candles bubbleless. I was advised that you have to pour the same way a bartender pours beer. Hold your glass container at a 45 degree angle. Gently pour the hot wax down along the inside of the tilted container, making sure it hits the side of the glass and not the bottom. This will avoid a "head" on your luminary. Alright. That reduced the amount of fizz, but it certainly did not give me a definitive answer on how to make gel candles bubbleless.

2. Maintain High Temperatures

Asking a traditionalist how to make gel candles bubbleless, I learned that you can do it by keeping your wax hot for an extended period of time. This will allow a certain number of those pesky little globules to rise to the top and burst. It doesn't answer the question of how to make gel candles bubbleless, but it does help reduce the number of bubbles you get.

3. Bake Your Creations

One of the largest manufacturers of this type of wax gave me a third idea. Preheat your oven to 65 degrees Celsius (150 degrees Fahrenheit). After pouring at the high temperature of 90 degrees Celsius (200 degrees Fahrenheit), set your creation in the preheated oven - and hope for the best. Well - this, too, failed to answer my question of how to make gel candles bubbleless. Hope does not burst shiny globules, and although you can reduce their density this way, you are not going to eliminate them.

4. De-Air Your Luminaries

A chandler who wanted as badly as I did to know how to make gel candles bubbleless got in touch with a scientist who taught her to de-air her creations with a vacuum device. She explained to me that she adds her dye and fragrance, mixes it in very well, and then puts her very hot wax in a specially-created vacuum device (see caution below). Finally, this was how to make gel candles bubbleless. She had not one bubble!

You can learn how to make gel candles bubbleless. You can learn how to create them with a reduced amount of fizz. Personally, I'll just forget the struggle, think of those shimmering little globules as though they were in fine champagne - and enjoy them immensely.

Do not try this with a household vacuum cleaner. The chandler's vacuum was specially designed for her use.

Scented Candle Making Secrets

Scented Candle
Scented candle making is among the most enjoyable of chandler crafts, especially if you like to experiment with scents. I love vanilla, old English rose, and lavender. I was about to say they were my favorites - and then I remembered plumeria, coconut, and other tropical scents. There are secrets to successful scented candle making, of course, just as there are with other fantastic crafts. Scent must be added at just the right time, in the right way, and in the right proportions. Once you learn those and other secrets, this craft becomes even more satisfying.

You will find that scented candle making is not only great for personal enjoyment, but is also wonderful for fragrant gifts, for craft sales, or for personal experiments in aromatherapy. There's a perfect scent for everyone, it seems, even for those who are usually allergic to them.

Begin at the Very Beginning

Scented candle making begins as does every other luminary craft: with preparation. You will want to assemble equipment, and your choice of the following, depending on what type of project you plan.
  • fuel - paraffin wax, beeswax, soy wax, oil, etc,
  • wick - cotton, hemp, tabbed, etc.
  • molds, jars, or containers
  • dyes - chips, blocks, buttons, or liquid
We do not have space here for instructions on the basic creation of luminaries, but let me give you two secrets of scented candle making.

The Secret of Selecting Scents

Our first, and perhaps the biggest, secret of scented candle making is to work with the natural scent of the wax. Every wax has some scent, even those we consider odorless. In some, the natural scent is difficult to cover, and many chandlers prefer to leave it as is. Others insist that perfume can be added to any wax if care is taken.

Scented candle making is most successful, however, when you stay within fragrance families.

1. Beeswax has its own sweet honey scent. If you are using beeswax, you need no additional scent, but you could add a light blossom scent to go with the honey. The scented candle making secret here is to keep the scent light. Picture a bee flitting from flower to flower, and keep the scent clean, sunny, and pleasant.

2. Soy wax also has a natural scent, although it is not as distinct as beeswax. What goes with soy? The scents of rain, field grass, or bamboo are good. Look for earthy fragrances. Soy wax started its life as soybeans growing on farms. Keep that in mind when choosing fragrance.

3. Paraffin wax has a slight chemical odor. This is one time when you might not want to stay within the fragrance family. This wax calls for scents that will mask the chemicals. Most scents work well with paraffin, but I would choose distinct fragrances.

We could consider every type of wax or oil there is, but I think you get the idea. You can choose from hundreds of scents. The secret in scented candle making is to choose carefully.

The Secret of Adding Scents

Once you have selected the best fragrance for your scented candle making project, you will want to add it at the right time, in the right amount, and in the right way.

Add scent when the wax has completely melted, and has reached the recommended temperature. If you are adding dye, it should be stirred in completely before you begin to add fragrance.

The label or instructions that came with your fragrance oil will tell you how many drops to add. Most seem to suggest one ounce of oil to one pound of wax. Don't add too much. It is easy to add more, but impossible to remove what you already added. Too much fragrance overpowers a room when the luminary burns. It can also make your light burn less efficiently.

Finally - and this is our second secret of scented candle making - stir and stir and stir until you cannot imagine the tiniest molecule of fragrance remaining unblended. This will ensure that the scent permeates your wax completely, and makes the air of your room fragrant.

Remember those two secrets, and you should get fragrant results on every project.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Should You Learn to Make Your Own Candles?

These days, there are as many candle companies as there are candle scents to choose from. Some companies have wonderful products, while others are less than desirable in both product and service. With decent candles available at local department stores and online, why would you want to make your own candles? Candle making is a fun and affordable hobby. Candle lovers spend hundreds of dollars annually on ready made candles, so why not learn how to make them yourself and perhaps not only save some money, but learn a new skill and develop a pleasurable past-time?

We are all familiar with the basic paraffin wax candle. There are, however, many different types of candle waxes that can be used to make candles. Beeswax, soy, and other vegetable blend waxes are available on the market that make candle creation easier and healthier for everyone. Natural waxes such as soy are safer not only in the fact that the wax does burn when touched, but also because when burned it does not emit toxic fumes into the air. There are also many decorative and useful containers that you can use to create candles in. Mason jars are a very popular candle container. You can also learn how to make decorative candles that look and smell like food and desserts. Your choices are really limited only to your imagination and ability level.

Some basic information about candle making is to have a safe area in which to make candles. Especially important when you're first learning, a safe and ventilated area will ensure you learn the process correctly from the beginning and will not cause harm to yourself or your home. If you have a wax spill, just make sure to clean it up fast so you aren't risking getting hurt from falls or having a big mess afterward.

Most people begin learning how to make candles with the simple votive candle. These useful little candles are easy to make and you can experiment with colors and scents. You can use this learning time to see what you like, what works and what doesn't and also learn different wax temperatures and cooling processes. By starting off simple, you can enjoy learning and not risk getting frustrated and quitting before you become good at making candles.

Learning to make your own candles at home will save you money and give you a relaxing hobby once you have the process down pat. Don't get frustrated if your first efforts at candle making are less than what you expected. Like anything, practice and patience will pay off with a beautiful, useful product that you can proudly display in your home or perhaps even turn into a profitable home business.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

How to Turn Your Handmade Crafts Hobby Into Cash

Handmade Craft
If you enjoy creating handmade crafts and you always hear people telling you that you should sell your creations, it may be time to journey into the world of selling your crafts for money.

Like starting any type of home-based business, entering the world of selling handmade crafts should be carefully planned out.

There are many websites and venues where you can sell your crafts both online and off.

Before jumping right in to sell your crafts, whether locally through an online website, be sure to take some time and do research first. Ask yourself the following questions as you think about the idea of selling your crafts:

Will People Even Want To Buy My Items?
This is the most important question you have to ask yourself. If there is no target market for your products, you will have a hard time trying to sell your crafts, not because your items aren't nice, but they may not be in demand.

Who Is My Potential Target Market?
This is a continuation of the question above because you need to know who to advertise to and how to successfully draw your target market to your items. It would be a waste of time trying to sell baby clothes, for example, to those who do not have children.

What Will I Charge For My Craft Items?
Pricing is an important strategy. All too often, people underprice their crafts, forgetting to take into consideration the time and materials that go into a product. Make sure you account both the cost of the materials as well as the time and effort you put forth to create your goods.

Also be sure not to overcharge. You may find that your items don't sell because they are over priced.

Where Will I Sell My Items?

Sell Your Crafts Online
Online websites are plentiful when it comes to selling handmade goods. There are websites such as Etsy and Artfire who only allow the sales of handmade crafts or the supplies needed to make them.

eBay is also another popular venue to sell handmade goods. Be aware though, that you will be competing with the other goods that are not handmade and may be cheaper. A good description of the item and its benefits is always a good idea.

Sell Your Handmade Crafts at Craft Fairs
If you choose to sell locally, you can set up a local craft fairs. Craft shows are usually just a one or two-day local sale where you rent space or a table for the day. Other crafters will be there too so you can sell to the visitors and sell to other crafters.

Partner with a Local Store
Check with local stores that sell handmade crafts and see if they'd be interested in displaying some of your crafts on consignment. Be sure to get all of the sales terms in writing, especially if the store owner will be taking a type of commission.

It is very possible today to make some good money selling your crafts. With some work and planning, your handmade crafts hobby may even turn into a full time income source and you'll be able to "quit your day job."

Saturday, March 21, 2015

How to Make Your Own Artwork

Your Own Artwork
People, at least once in their life, think about what it would feel like to make something unique and made from the heart. Usually, people seek help from professionals especially if they want to make it as perfect as possible.

There are also those that take the risk and try to make whatever they can. If you want to create a metal artwork, you must seek sculptors or artisans since they know how to make this.

For starters, you can sketch your design on a piece of paper so that the artisan will know how to start the project. Before getting hands-on experience, observe how the person makes the artwork. You might have to carry out this too when the need arises. More so, ask questions so that you can fully understand what it is like to make the artwork. Listen attentively to what he will teach and tell you because you will do most of the work. He will only be there to guide you and correct the wrong procedures that you are doing.

After that crash course about metal artwork, you still have to prep your materials. If you will use fire, make sure that the source is already ready to use. You must also ensure that the other materials like the metals, alloys and the likes are also within arm's reach. Instruments such as tongs, scissors and others are also important because it will spare your hands from too much work and pain. You have to remember that if the artisan does not provide your materials, it is your duty to buy and find them. You can ask the help of others for you to get the best of the best materials for your artwork.

Once you get everything prepared, it is now time to start creating the artwork itself. Let the artisan start it for you so that you will be able to know what will come next. If you are uncertain, it is always good to ask for help. Trying to pretend that you already know what to do might end up only in disaster. Accepting one's flaws and shortcomings is one of the things people need to practice. Not everyone can tell the other person that he is not knowledgeable about something.

Just try to have fun while making your very own metal artwork. Despite the sore arms and legs, try to keep in mind that after you made this, you will feel truly proud of yourself. You must also be thankful for the artisan who helped you out in completing this task. Surely, this is an experience worth remembering so make every second count. Do not think about how many more hours you have to make this or the money you spent for the materials. The newfound knowledge and the artwork are two things priceless. No one can put a value on this one-of-a-kind experience that you undergone. More so, you can now tell your friends about this road less taken. This is something worth cherishing forever.

Jewelry Making Resources

DIY Beading Club - A membership site dedicated to jewelry making and beading.
More info here

Wire Crochet Tutorials - In these Ebook and Video Tutorials, you will find everything you need from the beginning, clearly explaining step by step, with pictures and graphics.
More info here

About the Author:
This article is written by Alyssa Davis, who writes for Metal Wall Art.

Article Source: How to Make Your Own Artwork

Advantages of Making Your Own Art Pieces

Your Own Art
When you go to the malls or in shops, you would find ready made pieces. You do not have to endure any pains in making your art pieces since you can easily buy what you want off the rack. Of course, people want practicality so they opt to buy what they want in the stores. However, there are those that want to make their own items to make it more personalized. A simple iron wall art will suffice as long as he is happy with the outcome.

Some consider the making something that they can do part time. With a full day job and being a parent every day, it can be hard for people to take a break and just have fun whenever they want. In addition, you just have to experience this because it is not every day that you brush up the chance of telling your folks and friends that you actually have an art piece under your name. That is something to be proud. Even though you are not too confident about your artistry skills, surely you will be able to polish them with a little practice.

Another advantage of making your own iron wall art is that you can do whatever you like with it. No one can tell you that you are wrong here because it is your vision. This is your creation that you tried to make so hard. You can ask help from people who have been doing this for the longest time so that you can learn some tricks and technique. Nevertheless, if you want to make this on your own, it is your choice.

Making your own art takes time. You cannot rush these things because you have to meticulously inspect and think on what to do with the materials that you have now.

A single piece in that work of art can make or break what you already have so you have to choose wisely. It is a recommendation that you sketch out outline what you want to see in your piece so that when it is time to patch things together, you will know how far you are from completion.

As long as you are happy with the outcome of your iron wall art, that is all that matters. You cannot constantly breakdown what you started if you do not feel like completing it any more. Patience is the key here for you to make something out of nothing. If you do not have inspiration yet, do not force yourself to finish the project. You have to let loose of everything that you think about when you are making this. Customizing or doing the art piece yourself will enable you to understand the aesthetic qualities in art. Not because you find it beautiful, it means that everyone who sees it will agree with you. The bottom line here is that you enjoyed the experience. If you think that you are ready for another dose of wall art making, do so. Think of it as something that makes your mind relax for a moment.

Jewelry Making Resources

DIY Beading Club - A membership site dedicated to jewelry making and beading.
More info here

Wire Crochet Tutorials - In these Ebook and Video Tutorials, you will find everything you need from the beginning, clearly explaining step by step, with pictures and graphics.
More info here

About the Author:
This article is written by Alyssa Davis, who writes for Metal Wall Art.

Article Source: Advantages of Making Your Own Art Pieces

Decorating Ideas for a Vintage Wine Barrel

Decorating Ideas for a Vintage Wine Barrel
Vintage décor is quickly becoming a fashion trend, as we find beautiful and stylish pieces that suit our modern tastes or discover great bargains that just cannot be passed up. There are many different ways that a great find like this can be incorporated into your modern décor, without taking away from the natural beauty or hiding it behind something more modern. Here are five decorating ideas for a vintage wine barrel that are simple and affordable.

1. End Table

A vintage wine barrel makes a very attractive end table next to a sofa, love seat, or armchair in your living space, and can be a great addition to the living room, den, or family room. Lightly sand and use a normal wood stain or paint to improve the look of the barrel if you wish, but be very careful not to damage any insignia or mar the bands holding the barrel in shape. Restore the look of the bands with very light sanding and some black paint.

2. Stool-Style Seating

With the addition of a bit of padding on the seat, a vintage wine barrel makes a unique seat for the kitchen island or in your home's living space. It is also a great seating idea for the outdoors, just be sure that the padding you use is geared for outdoor use before you add it to the vintage wine barrel. Make sure that you measure from the inside of the lip of the barrel instead of simply stretching the tape measure across from side to side to ensure a snug and comfy fit, and then simply set the cushion in place on the barrel.

3. Sturdy Table

For a vintage rustic look, use two or more barrels to create a table that looks great indoors or outdoors. You can use the same type of barrels to design a unique bar for your home as well, especially if the vintner's label is still legible. This creates Old World charm and can easily become a focal point in the room. Just be sure that the barrels are the same height so that your table or bar is sturdy.

4. Unique Storage

If you cut a hole into the side of the barrel and add some simple shelving, you can create a unique form of storage for any room, and it takes up very little space so it is perfect for small rooms or apartments. Use the cut out to design a door for a cabinet look, attached by simple hinges on one side. For a great finishing touch, add a vintage cabinet door handle or drawer pull.

5. Interesting Sink

Finally, you can create a focal point for your bathroom, bar area, or even outdoors with your vintage wine barrel. Cut the top of the barrel to hold the sink basin and attach the plumbing hardware, and cut the side of the barrel to create access for adding plumbing and for some storage space. For a sturdier sink, replace the top of the barrel with plywood or more durable material.

Jewelry Making Resources

DIY Beading Club - A membership site dedicated to jewelry making and beading.
More info here

Wire Crochet Tutorials - In these Ebook and Video Tutorials, you will find everything you need from the beginning, clearly explaining step by step, with pictures and graphics.
More info here

About the Author:
This article is written by Alyssa Davis, who writes for Metal Wall Art.

Article Source: Decorating Ideas for a Vintage Wine Barrel

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

How to Make Your Own Tea Light Candles

How to Make Your Own Tea Light Candles
A great idea for a gift or party favour is the highly effective and functional tea light candle. They are cute, handy, and great for all homes whether in the kitchen, the bathroom, or any room in the house for that matter.

Not only are these a good gift idea, but they are also a good craft project for people of all ages as well as a practical item for daily home use and decorating.

Tea light candles are great for any home, especially for those homes where people love to cook. Lighting up a tea light candle is a great way to dissipate those harsh vapours that can cause people to tear up when slicing onions. They are also great to deodorize the home from the doors of fish, oil, and other cooking ingredients.

Tea lights bought from the shop are not that expensive. However, you can still get them cheaper by making them yourself, which is a good idea if you need to get them in bulk for party favours or other occasions.

Additionally, by making them yourself, you can also customize them with your own colours and scents.

These candles are very easy to make and it only takes a little bit of knowledge, imagination, creativity and patience to make them. But before doing that, make sure you are prepared.

The first thing to do is to bring all the necessary equipment into one area. Then get all the usual materials for the candle making. Get the plastic or aluminium tea light cups. All these can be bought at any grocer or craft store in the area. If not, then they are available on-line as well. There are some candle making kits available which will be cheaper to buy and easier to mix together.

There are also some essential oils which can be mixed into the melted wax to make it scented. Add some crayon chips to change the colour. Try to colour coordinate the scent with the colour: yellow for lemon scent, orange for orange scent, and so on and so forth. Use the imagination!

The tea light cups can be pre-wicked or pre-tabbed, or the wicks can be placed in the cups manually. Secure the wicks with a hot glue gun prevent it from moving around when the wax is poured. Make sure to place the cups on a level surface before pouring. Use protective gloves when doing this and to use an apron. Carefully pour the wax into the cups and let cool.

After they have cooled, they are ready for home use, or you can make these into little gifts or party favours. Set them aside or place them in a nice box or bag. The box can be personalized or customized with the name of the gift recipient or guest of honour. Add some ribbons to tie around the tea light cups for added decoration. Embellish the box with ribbons or a cute butterfly on top of the box. You can actually decorate the item with any charm or trinket that suits the occasion or party theme. Hand out the tea lights to your guests. They will be sure to love your simple home made gift.

About the Author:
Criss White writes about arts, crafts, and baby shower topics.

Article Source: How to Make Your Own Tea Light Candles

Baby Food Jar Craft Tips

Baby Food Jar Craft Tips
You have dozens of baby jars stored in your kitchen cupboard. Making beautiful decorative items out of them will give you the chance to have fun and to turn those useless jars into something cute or practical.

Sounds great and you are already feeling enthusiastic. The big question is: what exactly can you make out of baby food jars?

Some baby food jar crafts are excellent for beginners and demand little preparation and creative skills. You can even come up with your own creative ideas. In case you are looking for inspiration, keep on reading to discover some effective and fun ideas.

Spice Jars
If you want to organize your spices and herbs, you can easily turn baby food jars into spice jars.

The simplest way to do that is to add a label to each baby food jar. Use a beautiful decorative font and print the labels on stickers.

Another option is to turn the jars into something more decorative and aesthetically pleasing. Use paint to transform the baby food jars. Paint on the outside so that the herbs and spices inside remain fresh and safe.

Candle Holders
A baby jar will make a beautiful candle holder. If you feel like it, you can create gel wax candles.

A simpler option is to use a tea candle. The jar itself can be painted so that the light of the candle becomes colored. Use pebbles, seashells and dried leaves. Pour some water inside the baby jar and gently place the tea candle inside.

Animal Figures
Have fun together with your children. Turn the baby food jars into cute animal figures. A bunny is one of the easiest things to make together with your little ones.

Cut the ears out of cardboard and stick those to the top of the jar. You can either leave it transparent or have it painted white in advance. Once the paint dries, you can continue decorating.

Draw the eyes. You can use pepper grains or other black spheres to make the eyes. A cotton ball will turn into a beautiful rabbit tail. Draw the mouth of the rabbit and make the front teeth of cardboard. A pom pom will get transformed into the rabbit nose.

Potpourri Jars
Potpourri jars require little effort and can become wonderful homemade gifts for your dearest friends.

To make potpourri jars, you will need your favorite type of potpourri, ribbons and baby food jars. You will need the jar lids, as well. Get any other items that you will need to get the jar decorated.

Get your potpourri of preference inside the jar. Have several wholes cut into the lid and close the jar. Cover with lace, colorful paper or any other type of permeable material. This is important, as you would want the smell to be emitted in a delicate way.

Use the ribbon to tie the 'membrane' and decorate in any way that you find appropriate and pleasing.

Snow Globes
A snow globe can be made out of a baby food jar. These snow globes will decorate your home or will turn into beautiful Christmas gifts for your friends and dearest relatives.

Get the baby food jars cleaned and color the lids. Place decorative object inside - pebbles, plastic snowflakes, seashells. If you want to keep objects inside static, stick those to the bottom of the jar. Add a tiny bit of glitter. Fill the jar with water and close tightly.

Your snow globes are ready. Now you can either decorate the glass of the jar or you can keep the design clean and minimalist.

About the Author:
Criss White writes about babies and party topics, like baby shower crafts and other baby shower ideas. Criss enjoys arts and crafts when not writing.

Article Source: Baby Food Jar Craft Tips

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Candle Making Basics For Beginners

Candle Making Basics For Beginners
Candle making is an old age craft which has been in existence for so many years. Candles were first made to satisfy two purposes of providing heat and as a source of light for seeing and appreciating our environment.

The above stated reasons for inventing the candle remain the same even thousands of years after.

The methods of making candles have changed considerably over the years from the earliest method of making candles from twigs tied around a stick to rags tied around a stick and dipped in a flammable liquid to the present wax candles.

Over the years there have been different products that have been used for making candles, such as one of the most recent, gel wax. Gel candles have proven to be very popular as they can be made to look so beautiful given some practice and with the various embeds they can be made to be very personal as well.

One word of caution though, is that all wax that is being melted on an element needs to be done with care. Candle wax has a flash point and if the temperature is not controlled with a thermometer a serious fire can be caused.

When starting out making candles it is important that if the melted wax methods are going to be used that the hobbyist takes the time to learn about:
  • What equipment is needed
  • How to melt wax, safety precautions
  • How to prepare the molds
  • Other parts of candle making before they start their new hobby
Two other parts of the candle making technique which a beginner candle maker needs to learn about before starting is the adding of color and candle scent. These also need to be done with care and it is best to remove the wax from the heat before adding them and to stir them in with a wire whisk as this mixed them through the best.

Some popular candle types that beginners can make are:
  • Pillar candles (round or square)
  • Ball candles
  • Votive candles
  • Floating candles
  • Ice candles
  • Beeswax candles
Generally speaking, votive candles are the easiest to start with as they are small and not a lot of wax has to be used to get good results. It is possible to buy a set of molds in a silicone tray and this does a great job or otherwise an investment in six single molds would work well.

When a beginner starts out they do not need to invest a lot of money in molds and can start making their first pillar candles in waxed milk cartons and these work really well. It is just a matter of peeling the wax carton away when the candle is set.

Beginners need to do a little experimenting to start with and the great thing is that all wax can be remelted so nothing is wasted. I hope these candle making basics have helped you get a picture about starting candle making and that you enjoy your new hobby.

Candle Making Tips For Beginners

Candle Making Tips For Beginners
Candle making has become not only a very popular hobby, but a very popular home based business opportunity with many using candle making as their vehicle of choice to work from home.

It would be hard to estimate the number of homes in the modern world that have candles in them in one form or another but I imagine it would be well over 85%. They would be there for the purposes of a light source, for aromatherapy, for religious purposes and to create atmosphere to name a few.

The use of candles has been around for thousands of years and of course in the beginning it was used as a light source and for heating. Using candles as a décor item would never have been thought of. Over the years the methods have changed substantially and there are also different products used in the candle making as it is today. More colors and more candle fragrances are available, although some candles makers still prefer to use natural scents for their candles, keeping them as organic as possible.

Hobbyist Candle Makers.

Some hobbyists use commercial candles as a base on which to build their unique style of candle whilst other hobbyists like to make their own candle from the very beginning, including making their own wax and wicks.

There are many different ways to make candles and also to enhance candles with embeds and embellishments of products, by layering wax, layering colors, by reshaping candles, using different molds and so much more. Candle making is a very creative art and one that lends itself to original products made by people with a wild imagination.

Many people just like to make their own candles and also give them away for presents but other people are starting to see that with their creative expression they can make an extra income by making candles at home.

Candle Making Home Based Business

There are many different candle to make for the retail sector and there are different ways for a home candle maker to sell their products. Firstly the idea is to perfect the candle making then test the market, then expand the range and the outlet base for selling so that income levels continue to grow.

Hand Dipped Candles Make A Unique Change

Hand Dipped Candles
Candle making is one of the hobbies that can be challenging, but at the same time a lot of fun.

There are lots of different methods that you can choose and at the end of the project have a product that you can use. I guess you can't ask more than that from any hobby.

Hand dipped candles are a great way for candle making business people to produce a candle that will be useful and unique.

They can be time consuming so as a business owner you need to decide if you can get the return, but hand dipped candles most certainly do offer lots of possibilities.

This technique really brings out your creativity as various colors can be used and various results achieved.

The Basic Tools

There are basic tools you will need for making hand dipped candles and most of them you will already have if you have already been making candles. You will need a large amount of paraffin wax, wicks and a double boiler to melt the wax in. Other utensils include wooden spoons, bowls, and a good quality thermometer.

One point to keep in mind is that once the candle has the first layer on it you are going to need to have a pot of liquid wax deep enough to take the length of the candle and of course if you are using various colors you will need a deep pot for each color.

Colors come in various forms including cakes, chips, powder, or liquid. If you choose to add scents to your hand dipped candles you need to make sure it is pure oil that does not have a water or alcohol base to it.

Building The Candle

Whenever you do your candle making always ensure that you have everything you need out and in the right place before you start melting the wax. This is a very good habit to get into for any candle making business project, because you are working with a flammable product and it is not worth the risk of being disorganized.

When making hand dipped candles have all your wicks prepared and cut to length ready to use. You will need something to hang them from so that they can set.

The preparation of the wax is just the same for hand dipped candles as it is for any other wax candle you will make. You need to weigh the amount of wax you will use and then heat it in the double boiler until it reaches a temperature of 160° Fahrenheit. Once it does, turn the heat down very low to keep the wax in liquid form.

If you are going to be using just the one color then you can add the color to the wax now, using a few drops at a time until you reach the color you want. When adding your color use a wire whisk as this blends the color in evenly.

Add a small amount of candle making fragrance to the mix at this time if you desire. Use scents moderately as you don't want to have too powerful a smell. Also a point to remember is that using too much fragrance can result in the candle not burning properly.

A Choice To Make

You might choose to make a white candle right through until the last layer and then only add a colored layer for the last one. If you do use this technique you might also do the same with the fragrance and only have it in the outside layer.

Dipping The Candle

Now that your wax is ready, dip the wick into the candle wax, making sure to coat it well. Let it set on the wick, then dip it again. By repeating this process you will "build" your candle. After the wicks cool, dip them again. Each time you dip them, the candle will grow in size.

Once your candle is close to the desired thickness, shave the top into a pointed shape using a soft blade as this will form the top of your candle. Now you can dip your candles a couple more times and this will give them a smooth finish. If you want different colors on the same candle simply have more than one color of wax ready to use. It is at this stage that you may want to have several colors to use.

Creating hand dipped candles means a home candle making business owner can produce candles that are quite different. The process is time consuming, but the creations are beautiful and you can make unique candles with the colors that you choose to use. Learning to make hand dipped candles can be tricky and it is not recommended that beginners try this until they are comfortable with the wax melting, coloring and fragrance adding steps of candle making.

7 Tips For Making Scented Candles

Scented Candles
Making scented candles will most likely be a large part of your candle making work and a large percentage of your candle range if you are making candles to sell. Customers love the fragrance of scented candles and use them for all different occasions.

There is a huge range of candle fragrances available so it would be unlikely that a small home candle making business would even consider using all scents but would possibly choose eight to ten as their basic range fragrances.

Putting a candle range together to sell requires some prior planning. The candle fragrances and the candle colors need to be coordinated well for the best overall effect of a range that is going to be displayed together. To do this requires the fragrance to match the color of the candle. Decide which is the most important to you - the color of the candles you make or the fragrances that you want to offer. From there you can decide which fragrances to choose and what colors to use to match the fragrances that you have decided upon. For example you would not want to have a pink candle smelling of sandlewood. A sandlewood candle would be better in a cream or earthy tones whereas a pink candle would be more appealing in a rose or floral perfume.

If selling wholesale this selection is not quite so important because each color and fragrance range will stand alone rather than be seen as a whole and customers will choose what they want to promote. For more ideas on range co-ordination visit a candle shop and see how they put their ranges together on display.

7 Tips For Making Scented Candles:
  • Select each scent with care, keeping in mind your client base - ask yourself why your clients would buy that particular scented candle?

  • Use quality fragrances as they will throw a better scent - they do cost a little more initially but because less is used of the concentrated scents the end cost is similar

  • Check to see that the scent you plan to use suits the type of wax that you are planning to use

  • Add scents tentatively as you can always add more but you cannot remove it

  • Add candle scents just prior to pouring because this will eliminate too much of the fragrance being evaporated due to heat

  • Remove the melted wax from the heat before adding the scent

  • Mix through with a wire whisk as this mix the scent through evenly

These candle making tips should help you create great scented candles for your candle range in colors and fragrances that will be appealing to your clientele. Also keep in mind that on display, a candle range can show paraffin wax candles, beeswax candles and gel candles all in the one setting if they all have the same candle scent. Again it is a matter of how you want to put your candle range together.

Candle Making Crafts Is a Fun Hobby

Candle Making Crafts Is a Fun Hobby
There is a variety of candle making crafts that can be enjoyed as a hobby. Candle making is an extremely relaxing and creative hobby. It can be as easy or as difficult as you wish to make it. You can start with pre-made candles and make tapered candles or use pre-made candles to make ice candles for example.

Candle making crafts require wax, wicks, scents, embellishments and molds or glass containers in which to pour the wax.

Making Scented And Sand Candles

Scented, decorated work really looks good for your finished pieces. To add scent to your craft pieces, simply add the essential oils to the wax and you can make aromatherapy candles. Even better, various spices and herbs such as cinnamon sticks can be used for creating unusual scents and molds.

Decorations and many embellishments such as dried flowers and dried fruit peels can also be used. However, lighter colored wax should be used to make the candles translucent and enable the peels and the decorations to show through.

Another classic rendition of such crafts is the sand candle. Simply take an empty jar or a bottle, pour in colored sand and place a wick on top of the sand. Pour in the colored wax and this creates your perfect piece.

Another variety is the keepsake candle. These are made to remember a special occasion, for example remembering the first birthday of your child. To make a keepsake candle, simply put in a small toy of the baby in a glass jar and then pour wax over it. This will become the keepsake for your child.

There are numerous ways in which mementos can be used for creating gel keepsake candles which have turned out to be very very popular because they look so angelic.

Using Containers And Candle Carving

Candles can be made in a variety of bizarre containers. The spookier it is, the better it would be when the hobbyist is using their expertise. There are varieties of containers that can be effectively used for creating attention-grabbing candles.

Candle carving is one of the most challenging aspects of the candle making crafts. This is a difficult art to master. However, once the expertise level is attained in this field with regular practice and dedication, it can provide hours of pleasure to the hobbyist.

Remember, the candles should be carved as soon as the candle has cooled and become slightly hard to carve. The minimum diameter for a candle to be carved should be at least 3.5 inches.

Experience with the candle making crafts is extremely rewarding. You can best utilize your hobby for special occasions such as Christmas and Halloween. Candles are also the ideal gifts for everyone especially during the Holiday and New Year seasons.