Wednesday, January 21, 2009

DIY Luminaries


This is one of my favorite DIY tutorials to date. With a little experimentation and patience this is a HUGE cost savings. When planning my wedding in Mexico I had a vision of many glowing candles poolside for the reception. I first approached the resort who wanted to charge an exorbitant rental fee. Next, I checked with local artisans who made something very similar to the Candletech DIY Luminaries, but the cost was between $50 and $100 per piece depending on size. I definitely didn’t want to pay that kind of money for something I would have to leave behind.

With the luminary project you can produce as many as you want for a few bucks a piece. The most difficult part of this process is shipping, if you’re wedding is in a destination location. As Hip Hostess always suggests, being prepared is key. I would first research to make sure the mode of shipment to the destination was economical and then do a test batch, pack them and ship them using the same shipping method to see how they fare. It is also a good idea to ship the actual luminaries a couple of weeks before the wedding and make sure someone opens the box and checks their condition. Beware of extra storage fees in resort and hotel contracts. If you know you are shipping things ahead of time, be sure to negotiate that fee from the beginning.

These luminaries would add a classy touch to any event.


Hot Melt Paraffin Wax.
Water Balloons
Double Boiler
Cookie Sheet

How To:

1. Fill a water balloon with tepid water.

2. Melt your wax. Optimum working temperature for this project is 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Try to maintain this temperature for your wax while working by keeping it on a double boiler.

3. Slowly dip your balloon into the wax to just below the water level in the balloon. Warning: Do not dip the balloon into the wax past the water level. This could cause the balloon to pop.

4. Hold the balloon in the wax for a few seconds, and then slowly lift it out of the wax. Dip the balloon a few more times, allowing some time between dips to let the wax cool.

5. While it is still quite warm, carefully set the balloon down onto a piece of paper or a cookie sheet, making sure it is level. This will create a flat bottom for the luminary.

6. Dip your balloon a few more times until it is the desired thickness. A good target thickness is 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch.

7. Set the balloon on the paper or cookie sheet again and let it cool.

8. When the wax is completely cooled, hold the balloon over a sink or bucket, facing away from you. Carefully pop the balloon with a skewer or knife and let the water drain out. Throw away the balloon shards.

9. To level the top of the luminary, heat a cookie sheet on the stove and place the luminary top-down onto the hot sheet and carefully melt the edges until it is level.

10. Place a tea light or votive inside the luminary and burn on a candle holder in a dark area. (This shows the luminaties with dye added).


Wormfood33 said...

i love this idea! but will the luminaries melt when you have a candle in them?

Hip Hostess said...

Generally, tea-lights and votives will not produce enough heat to melt it. If you are using it for an event where the luminaries will burn for a number of hours, I would suggest using IGI 1260 a high melt paraffin. You could also use LED battery powered candles.

Anonymous said...

How much wax did you need to make them? For instance, a 10lb slab would make approximately how many luminaries?