Gift Maker: Renée Delaney
Inspired Gift: Homemade soy candles
Nikon Camera: The D610, the D800 and the COOLPIX A brilliantly captured the warm glow of candlelight in the low light of Renée's cozy apartment.
This holiday season, Nikon teamed up with Apartment Therapy to post the stories of three makers from our community. We hope showing how these people create handmade holiday gifts will inspire your own creativity. Our photographer Gabriela Herman will help us capture their stories brilliantly.
The bright glow of a candle in the darkness just might be the universal symbol of celebrating the winter holidays. And parties don't begin until the electric lights go down and the candles flicker to life. Renée has been making her own candles for years, and it proves to be a surprisingly simple yet deeply meaningful holiday gift. Watch her make a candle, and you just might be inspired to start your own candle workshop at home!
While most of us rely on store-bought candles, Renée showed us how celebrating the holiday with homemade candles adds a special glow to our celebrations. Spending an afternoon with Renée has us thinking about all the unique and personalized scent and color combinations we could create.
Renée’s candle making process starts off by melting flakes of soy wax. She uses a candy thermometer to keep the wax melting evenly on her stovetop. While the wax flakes soften, she affixes wicks to the bottom of small glass jars. If she's making a scented candle, she adds the scented oil at just the right time, so it doesn't overheat, which would change how it smells. She then pours the molten wax into the jars, ingeniously keeping the wicks upright with two pencils.
Then…she waits. The candles dry from the bottom up, slowly becoming more opaque as the wax cools.
If you step into Renée’s dining room in the winter, you’ll see a dozen or more candles lined up to dry. The candles take about 2 - 3 hours to dry in her warm and cozy living room. Once they're cool and dry, Renée puts a lid on the jar and a label on the front. For the holidays, she puts her candles in a little organza pouch, a perfect presentation for a handmade gift.
This is the last installment in our Inspired Giving series, sponsored by Nikon.