Man Candles

Ever since I saw these candles at the Old City Market in Charleston, I’ve been wanting to make my own.

I already knew how to cut glass bottles (from this tutorial), so the plan was to follow this artisan’s lead and use these as the vessels for the poured wax (though she admitted she actually uses a glass cutter, not the fire/string/acetone method I use).

Josh and I spent the better part of an evening working on a large collection of empty bottles.  Without fail, the Brooklyn Lager bottles cut the first time, every single time.  However, some of the others were a bit fickle (different types of glass, slightly different shape, who knows?).

Eventually, we ended up with this:


And after ordering a plethora of soy wax, a roll of wick, wick tabs, and a bottle of vanilla scented oil,  we went to work.  Or, at least we planned on it.


That’s our plethora of soy wax.

See, while I love the glass cutting method I use as a way to make vases or containers for pens and other homey items, using the cut glass as a candle holder just doesn’t work.  Because despite my efforts to get the most precise cut, even the best bottles have a smidgen of a jagged or even sharp edge.  This didn’t sound too appealing, especially when I though about trying to get a match or lighter down in there once the wick was reaching the end of its life.

Imagine our disappointment when we set aside an entire night to do these candles, only to realize/decide we were going about it all wrong (especially my disappointment, seeing as Josh was wanting to do something crafty with me!).  The realization went like this:

ME:  (Surveying the bottles with disdain) I just DON’T think this is going to work anymore.

JOSH:  No?

ME:  No.


ME: I’m going to the dollar store.

JOSH:  Wha… Why?!

And then I was gone.

We actually have two dollar stores on our street (we are so fancy in Ditmas Park).  The first one… Meh.  Per usual.  The second always delivers and this time was no exception.

Honestly, I wasn’t gong in completely blind — I was looking for some kind of glass beer mug.  If I was going to make man candles, and the used beer bottles weren’t going to work, this was my solution.  (What’s manlier than a beer mug?)  What I found was… a glass beer mug.  (Yay second dollar store!) I bought three at a lovely $1.49 each, and not a moment too soon because as soon as I went to the counter, the holly jolly Christmas music shut off abruptly.  (Apparently it was closing time, and unlike the song, there wasn’t one last call for alcohol… mugs.  Stay with me, friends.)


So… I went home, Josh and I melted some wax, added a little bit o’ vanilla goodness, did the whole wick and tab thing, waited twenty four hours (after walking by the candles many times, desperately wanting to light them), and voila!

Well, not voila quite yet. It was actually a little more time-consuming than that.  First, I made a wick centering apparatus using two bamboo skewers and a rubber band:


Then I measured and cut the wick, then crimped it at the end with my wick tab (and pliers):


Then I added the vanilla oil to the melted wax (which we couldn’t stop sticking up to our noses — it is some goooood stuff).


After we melted the wax over the stove and added the fragrance…


…we poured it into the beer mugs, paying special attention to keep our wicks centered:


NOT centered. Boo. I had to play with this one a bit to get it back on track.

Here’s a progress shot:


Then a little later…


You can sort of see the bottoms of the mugs starting to harden and get foggy.

Then, the next morning, they had hardened until they were completely opaque (of course I got no pictures of this momentous occasion .  They were usable candles, but they were missing that extra something that makes them “gifts” as opposed to “this cool thing I made for us at home.”  It was high time for my B.F.F., PicMonkey and I to hang out. (I’m no stranger to PicMonkey.  You should check out all the good he has to offer here and here.)

Keeping with good ol’ gender stereotypes (yes!), I made this logo:


(Yes, PicMonkey has a WIDE ARRAY of mustachioed options.)

I borrowed that awesome image of a Victorian era boxer.  (I found it in a Google image search, and it’s from this website.  I do NOT own this image, nor am I using it for personal profit — it is merely for some gifts I’m giving family and nothing else.  Just covering all of my good blogging karma bases :)

I printed it out in black ink (what else?) on part of a leftover brown paper bag.  This turned of to be the perfect material, because not only was it printer friendly, but it adhered to the glass mug super well (I guess because it was so thin).  I used — believe it or not — a glue stick, which worked surprisingly well.  (And in case you’re wondering, it has passed the sitting-in-my-living-room-on-a-rainy-day-with-the-windows-open test, and it hasn’t peeled up a bit).

Ok, blah blah, blah…. Here’s the finished product:



I’m REALLY pleased with how it turned out, especially considering I was able to design and print the “label” myself using nothing but Paintbrush and PicMonkey:

2012-12-09 10.17.07-1

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I named the scent “Valiant Vanilla.”   (Yeah, sandalwood would probably make more sense as a manly scent, but… hindsight 20/20. Whatever.)   I briefly considered “Virile Vanilla,” but I can’t NOT think of the phrase “sperm count” when I hear the word virile, and that makes me really giggly.  Which is not a way to be when giving Christmas presents to your male family members.

Oh, and I have since burned our own man candle, and it smells delightful… er, valiant.  Yes.

In fact, we enjoyed the candle making experience so much, that we found two more fillable candle vessels:



Yay!  Perhaps this will become like my new spray paint.  You know?  Constantly looking for new things to stick a wick and wax in and call a candle?  The way I seek out any ugly metal surface for my spray paint addiction?  (And I don’t mean huffing).

Look out, dollar store #2.  I’m coming for you.

courtney gpp signature 2


3 thoughts on “Man Candles

  1. That finished product looks FABULOUS. Really great job! Where did you buy/order the soy wax, wicks and vanilla scent?

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