This is a simple idea I had that is easy to do and gave a result that I found pleasing – a candle made with common tea lights and a vintage tart tin.
On my monthly car boot sale trips I had been buying various old baking trays, pots and jars for use as props in my Sugar/Spice shoot with Uli Schade. After the shoot I left them out on display in my studio to see if they inspired any ideas for what to do with them, rather than hide them away in one of my cupboards.
I love the rich patina of the old, weathered cooking equipment and and the implied history this gives them. How old are they and how many times have they been used? Who were the cooks that used them? What did they bake and who was it for? These kind of questions always get my mind whirring imagining the answers to the life they had led.
As I was looking in one of my kitchen cupboards one day I saw a bag of Ikea tea light candles and that sparked the idea to turn these vintage tins into candles.
I took three of the Ikea tea lights and pushed the solid wax blocks out of their thin metal casings and then pulled out the wicks by their metal disks. I placed the wax cylinders next to each other in one of the vintage tart tins, then placed it on the smallest of my gas cooker rings and melted them on a very low heat. When they had fully melted I turned off the flame, placed the wicks with the metal discs at the bottom into the desired position, leaving equal space between them, and then left it to cool. The wax hardened and I was left with a new simple candle.
This idea could be extended to a whole tray of muffin tins with one melted tea light per compartment to make a great centrepiece to a table. The base may need felt, cork or wood under it to protect the surface it sits on and, as with all flames, never leave them unattended.
When the candles have been used up, the tin can be refilled in the same way to make another candle to enjoy.
Simple little lights to warm up these cool, dark winter evenings.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and best-selling author based in London. She is a contributing stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for 14 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, as well as for leading retailers and well-known brands. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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