February 27

Thrifty Things To Do This Week

Getting Into The Habit Of Being Thrifty

Tartan Thrifty is all about getting into the habit of spending less without living less well. Some habits need to be carried out every day, some every week. Some only need to be carried out once a month – and, surprise, surprise, they are the hardest ones to keep up. To help with that you can find a wall-planner to help you keep on top of this week’s Thrifty Habits – the dailies, the weeklies and the ones that only come round once a month – here. Use it to plan when exactly you are going to carry out the Weekly and Monthly Habits.

Thrifty Things To Do This Week

Thrifty Habits Planner April Week 1 - New PageIt’s the first week of a new month which makes it the best time to put all the cash you are going to spend this month into individual, clearly marked purses/wallets before you start spending it. It’s also the perfect time to Make Something. Not only does that give you a whole month to get on with it, it is February, which means long evenings indoors. What better way to spend them than with a project? And, if you are thinking DIY gifts might be the way to keep Christmas on-budget this year, this gives you plenty time to Get Ahead Of The Crafty Curve and make sure your DIY presents are presentable by December.

Saving money on next Christmas is not the only reason to get creative and make something, though. There are plenty things – luxuries and necessities – that become affordable on a frugal budget when you make them yourself. And it is pleasurable. Cutting back on spending can become an exercise in doing without (which is why Be Joyful And Generous, Not Miserly And Miserable is one of my guiding Thrifty Principles.) Making something not only helps your cash to go further it adds the pleasure of trying out new things, exercising skills, becoming absorbed in the moment… Not to mention the satisfaction of creating something with your very own hands.

So, if this is a Thrifty Habit you have yet to embrace, make this the month you give it a go. Your first project doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to get finished this month – take as long as you need. It doesn’t have to be your own idea – the internet is full of people who want to inspire and instruct you to make things. Pinterest is the perfect place to track them down. And it doesn’t have to be obviously artsy – it just has to involve you bringing something you didn’t have before into existence. That could be an object, but it could also be a song, a newly decorated room, a website, an instagram journal, a simple upgrade or up-cycle to make something old into something new… It’s your project – you decide.

January 31

Gimme Some Hygge

Getting Into The Habit Of Being Thrifty

Tartan Thrifty is all about getting into the habit of spending less without living less well. Some habits need to be carried out every day, some every week. Some only need to be carried out once a month – and, surprise, surprise, they are the hardest ones to keep up. To help with that you can find a wall-planner to help you keep on top of this week’s Thrifty Habits – the dailies, the weeklies and the ones that only come round once a month – here. Use it to plan when exactly you are going to carry out the Weekly and Monthly Habits.

Thrifty Things To Do This Week

Thrifty Habits Planner April Week 1 - New Page‘Tis the season to be snuggly. The weather is not inviting,  so why not make like the Danes with their hygge and get cosy indoors?  “Hygge”, by the way, was almost Collins English Dictionary’s Word Of The Year in 2016. It was pipped to the post by Brexit. I suspect we would all have had happier 2016’s if we had focussed more on hygge and less on Brexit…

Hygge involves actively creating a comforting environment in which to sit out winter. Just turning up the central heating doesn’t cut it. You need snuggly throws, wholesome food, good company… and warm, twinkly lighting. A log fire is, of course, the gold standard, but keeping out your festive fairy lights would help too. And there are always scented candles – twinkly lights and comforting aromas in one swoop. You could descend on Ikea for cheap tealights. Or, you could get your cosy on while embracing this weeek’s Thrifty Habit – Make Something – by creating your own. That way you get to be on-trend and on-budget. Have a go at my Teeny Tiny Teacup Candles or Luxury Scented Candles or visit the Tartan Thrifty Make Something Board on Pinterest for more inspiration.

(If you want to read a less cosy take on hygge, read The Hygge Conspiracy by Charlotte Higgins.)

If you drew up a budget last week, then this is also the week to lift cash for anything you won’t be paying directly from your bank account and putting it into as many different purses as you need. You can find more about why this is an essential Thrifty Habit here, along with other small changes that can add up to big savings.

 

May 9

Five Principles Of Thrifty Living #4 Be Joyful And Generous Not Miserly And Miserable

Why Do You Want To Be Thrifty?

 

retro lady fro www.thegraphicsfairy.comAre you reducing spending so you can avoid debt – and avoiding debt because debt makes you miserable? Maybe you want to cut spending on some areas so that you can keep your money for the things that make you smile. Or do you just want to kick that anxious feeling that gnaws at you for the last two weeks of every month? Whatever your reasons – it’s a safe bet you are hoping that a thriftier life will be a happier one.

Saving our finances should never cost us our souls

But what if the process of reducing your spending makes you miserable? What if it turns out that you hate permanent self-denial, feel bad about exploiting other people/other creatures/the planet for a bargain and hate the drudgery of constantly cutting costs? What if, in pursuit of living cheaply you become…  cheap?

What if the whole process turns out to be soul-destroying? Saving our finances should never cost us our souls.

Saving Money Without Selling Your Soul

Four of the five Principles Of Thrifty Living are about spending less. This one is different. It’s about exercising some choice over how you save money so you avoid the trap of putting your finances ahead of your wellbeing and your values.

Choose Joy Over Misery

RetroNewYearsGraphicsFairyFrugality has enormous potential to make us miserable – not least because focussing most of your time and attention on money is never terribly healthy. And cost-cutting that also cuts all the pleasure out of life is a waste of effort – we humans rapidly lose interest in doing things that make us miserable and stop doing them. (That’s why gym memberships when you hate going to the gym are always a doomed purchase.) If you want to make thrifty living an effortless habit you also have to find ways of making it a joy – or you will effortlessly fall into the habit of not bothering.

Click here for this week's free Thrifty Habits Planner
Click here for this week’s free Thrifty Habits Planner

So find ways of saving money that also enrich your life. Grow some of your own food and enjoy a connection with the natural world. Make something you would otherwise buy and enjoy the glow of getting creative. Try a new free or cheap activity every so often and savour the variety in your life. Team up with other thrifters – in real life or online – and enjoy the company as well as the advice you get. Take time to applaud your own thriftiness – everything you do to cut your costs shows that you are resourceful, smart and determined so big yourself up for it.  Hold onto your values and do thrifty in a way that still lets you do you.

Choose Generosity Over Miserliness

The thrift that does not make a man charitable sours into avarice. [M.W. Harrison]

When you don’t have much there are two ways you can go. You can take the miser’s route – focus on what you don’t have and hold tightly onto what you do. Or you can take the generous way – focus on what you do have and use it to make yourself and others feel good. Being a miser may result in more money but it won’t make you rich where it really counts.

Tartan Thrifty Be Joyful And GenerousSo share what you can with other people, and take heart from the research suggesting that people who share their money feel happier than people who don’t. Don’t exploit other people to get the lowest price. Don’t exploit yourself either – by overloading yourself with budget-busting tasks or by endless self-denial. Be kind to yourself – buy yourself a little treat now and again. Don’t just set yourself savings goals – set yourself spending goals to focus on what your money is going to do for you. Find a balance between being careful with your money and being Scrooge.

Getting that balance right is the key to developing thrifty habits for the long-haul that truly make your life better.

Getting Into The Habit Of Being Joyfully And Generously Thrifty

These weekly, monthly and annual habits are the ones to get into if you want to embrace joyful generosity and avoid miserly misery.

Each week

  • how to buy happinessBuy yourself a little treat to keep your morale up

Each month

  • Share Something so your own thrifty journey does not stop you from connecting with other people on theirs
  • Grow Something  so you get food in a way that lowers your costs while raising your pleasure
  • Try A New Free Or Cheap Activity so that avoiding more expensive outings does not become boring

Each year

  • Set Savings Goals to remind yourself why you are trying to cut back your spending
  • Set Spending Goals so you are clear what your money will be doing for you over the next twelve months
May 4

Make Something

Is Making Things Really Cheaper Than Buying Them?

Retro-Thinker-Mom-Image-GraphicsFairy-thumb-320x320Making things is fine if you are five, or fortunate enough to be naturally artistic, but… For the rest of us? Every month? As a genuine attempt to save money? Come on…

Make Something is one of my monthly Thrifty Habits. Why? Whenever we pay for products we are really paying for someone’s materials, their skills in transforming those materials into something we want, and the time it takes them to do that. But if you already have the materials, skills and time, why not put them together and get the product for free? This is neither a new, nor a crazy idea. You do this every time you open the fridge and knock together a sandwich to take to work instead of paying for a sandwich made by a stranger. You probably feel perfectly competent to make a sandwich – why not any of the other products you regularly pay for?

Being creative means you can always be flexible about getting what you want at a low price

Making at least one thing that we would otherwise buy each month turns saving money into an empowering,  positive experience.  Being creative means you always have options, can always be flexible about getting what you want at a low price – whether it’s a new set of cushion covers or a fully re-upholstered sofa.

sewing+printable+vintage+image-graphicsfairy2c-150x150I should say up front, I would make things even if it left me out of pocket. Creating makes me happy, and I am not alone – a recent study by Glasgow University found a connection between making and welbeing.   Making things helps you get into Flow, it can be sociable,  leads you to learn new skills, beats slumping on the sofa in front of the TV and gives an enormous sense of achievement.Which is why Investing In Creating Not Consuming is one of my keys to Buying Happiness. So Make Something is a happy habit – but is it always a thrifty habit? And what if you are really short on the skills side?

Why You Should Get Into The Habit Of Making Things

Making things you need but can’t afford is thrifty but only if it doesn’t end up more expensive than buying it in the first place. I am not just talking about costing more money – I am talking about the cost in time. If you have to spend time you can’t afford to make the thing – especially if you could have used that time to earn or save a bigger sum of money – then paying for someone else’s time might be more thrifty in the long run. So I am not whole-heartedly recommending the DIY lifestyle for every situation.

teeny tiny tea cup candle from www.tartanthrifty.orgWhat I am recommending is that, each month, you give it a go. Take one thing you would otherwise buy – or do without – and try to make your own version. What’s the worst that could happen – you find out this is not for you and that this is one area where you can cheerfully pay someone else for their time and skill? The best that could happen is that you discover an activity you deeply enjoy that saves more money than it costs. That’s worth a shot, surely?

House-Painter-Lady-Image-GraphicsFairyAs for worrying about your lack of skills… There are plenty of projects that require minimal skills. Anyway, the only known way to develop any skill at all is to start doing something you can’t do and keep working at it until you can. Go for it!

 

 

For some creative inspiration, click here to view the Tartan Thrifty Make Something  and look up Make Something in The Habits in the sidebar to the right.

April 4

Make Something – DIY Hand Warmers

A Warm Heart Keeps Your Fingers Toasty

 

DIY-Hand-Warmers-2

cute, quick and quite thrifty

So I was planning to share some lovely Spring craft ideas with you, seeing as Make Something is one of this week’s Thrifty Habits. But I changed my mind when I realised that Spring has failed to launch. It is freezing so I suggest you make these cute, quick and quite thrifty hand warmers from The Idea Room for the coming ice-age.

Actually, they are very thrifty because they are made using old scraps of fabrics and filled with rice so they are practically free. No rice? From experience, oats work too. (Pasta, cornflakes, not so much.) No fabric scraps? Look carefully at any clothes you and yours are throwing out for recyclable fabric.

DIY-Hand-Warmers-3If the weather suddenly improves (ha!) you could put them away for Christmas to use as stocking fillers. In fact, go on and make lots to give away next Christmas. I intend to – partly because Amy from The Idea Room has made cute labels and it would be rude not to use them, but mainly to give me something to do while I wait for Spring to reboot. It may take a while.

Happy making and may the sun shine upon you, eventually.

March 7

How To Buy Happiness

Once you can afford to feed, clothe and house yourself, each extra pound makes less and less difference to your sense of well-being.”  Liz Hoggard, Making Slough Happy

Money can’t buy you happiness, right?

Wrong, according to Jonathan Haidt, author of the excellent The Happiness Hypothesis who insists that  “those who think money can’t buy happiness just don’t know where to shop.”  And then goes on to show how smart spending choices will make you thrifty and happy.

Tartan Boy ClimbingNow, I love Thrifty, but I love Happy more. Isn’t Happy what Thrifty is really shooting for? Why are you cutting your spending? Freedom from the misery of debt? A good life at a lower price? Saving up to live out a personal dream?  Whatever your reason, it’s about being happier. It’s always about being happier.

So, what should we be doing with our money, to maximise our Happy? I have been exploring the world of Positive Psychology and here is what I have learned.

How To Buy Happiness

  1. Invest in variety not volume.  It’s not the expense of a new thing that delights us – it’s the newness, the change from what we just had to what we have now. So frequent, small treats will create steadier happiness over time than occasional big purchases. Treating yourself little and often could make you more contented than saving up for one big expense.
  2. Invest in doing not having.   Activity, according to positive psychologists, brings greater and longer-lasting pleasure than possessions, especially activity that we share with others.
  3. how to buy happinessInvest in creating rather than just consuming.  Making things makes you happy. Buying things, not so much. Cook things, grow things, make music, design a web site, redecorate your home – whatever works for you.

    “Joy’s soul lies in the doing” (Shakespeare)

    .
  4. Invest in your health. It’s harder to feel good when you feel bad. Money spent on nutritious food, a comfortable mattress, shoes you can walk in, etc, is money well spent. (Note to self: money spent on fancy wine is a less secure investment in lingering happiness.)
  5. Invest in relationships.  Spend money on connecting with others (meeting friends for coffee, travelling to visit family, sending a birthday card, etc.) rather than on competing to have the best, biggest, most luxurious and most expensive of everything. We are hyper-social animals and we need to feel connected to others more than we need to keep up with the Joneses.
  6. Invest in community: share.  Studies show that people who share more are usually happier than people who don’t.  Perhaps it’s because it reminds them how lucky they are to have more than others; perhaps it reassures them that they have something of value to offer to others; perhaps it helps them feel involved with the rest of the human race.  Perhaps we just feel good when we do good.  Whatever the reason, in terms of buying happiness, it’s a great investment.

 

Thrifty Habits PlannerClick here for this week’s Thrifty Habits Planner. It’s free – what could be thriftier than that?

February 29

The Graphics Fairy

I am creative – I get the urge to make things frequently and I am rarely happier than when I have a project on the go. But I am not artistic. I can’t create images from scratch. When it comes to manipulating light or composition in a photo I am lost. I have the most rudimentary grasp of graphic design. This bothers me.

14-DIY-Serving-TraysWhich is why I was so thrilled to stumble across The Graphics Fairy a few years ago. Tartan Thrifty owes a huge visual debt to this site – that’s where all the retro and vintage images I use here come from. Karen provides thousands of vintage and retro images that are free to download and use as you please. She adds new images frequently along with a search facility to make it easy to find exactly what you want. And that is but the tip of the iceberg. She also provides inspirational ideas for using these images in DIY and craft projects.

14-fabric-transfer-projectsWhy am I telling you this? Because, if, like me, you are artistically challenged, this is a gift. The artistic part has been done for you.  The clever idea and the design skill has also been seen to. All you have to do is transfer the images to objects you can pick up cheaply. Perhaps do some simple painting of surfaces. The odd bit of cutting and sticking. The kind of thing you mastered in kindergarten. You can do this. And once you discover this, you are able to turn out all sorts of loveliness to give – or keep – with limited skills and money. Thrifty and crafty – thank-you Graphics Fairy.

12-table-transfer-projects

December 15

How To Make Luxury Scented Candles At Thrifty Prices

The Sweet Smell Of Coffee Shop Pastries In A Candle

Coffee Caramel Cream DIY Candle from Tartan ThriftyDo you need to make some thrifty gifts that require next to no skill but look and smell lovely? How about the big cousin of my Teeny Tiny Teacup Candles – these big, sweet pastry-scented Coffee Cup Candles?

They cost me under £3 each to make, using cups from B&M Bargains (£2) and candle-making supplies ordered easily from Amazon. If you are buying supplies from scratch this will set you back around £9. So if you only make one candle it is going to cost you over £10. Hmmm… The only sensible option is to make loads of candles! Lots of gifts in one go, and your home will smell amazing while you make them.

DSCN0536If you can heat a can of soup and pour it into a mug, then you can definitely make these candles. You don’t need specialist equipment. And because you are using a high concentration of good quality specialist scent oils your candles will have a luxurious fragrance. High end product, low end price – thrifty or what?

 

How To Make Patisserie Scented Candles

All you need…

A plastic jug to melt your wax in – one that fits in your microwave oven. No microwave? A plastic bowl set snugly inside a pot of water on the stove top works too.

soya wax pelletsWax  I have used soya wax rather than petroleum based wax here – partly for eco-reasons, partly because it burns slower and makes your tiny candles last longer, and partly because it melts at a low temperature which makes for speedier and safer candle-making.

pre-waxed wicksWicks  You can buy wick by the metre but it is simpler and quicker to buy pre-waxed wicks which are attached to their sustainers already. (That’s the little metal disks in the picture to the left.)

glue dots on a rollGlue dots  Glue dots make attaching your wicks to your containers a doddle. (And they are handy for all sorts of other things too.)

bakery scent oils setScent oil  I have used oils from Whicksnwhacks Bakery Scented Oil collection, purchased on Amazon. I made some with Coffee Caramel Cream, some with Chocolate Cake and lots with Gingerbread. They all smell delicious. A set of six oils sets you up for months of making gloriously scented candles – but it also sets you back by £13.99. If you are planning on making just a few candles try an individual bottle of scent oil like this gingerbread one for £4.99. That is a lot of money if you only plan to make a couple of candles but good value if you want to make a whole batch of high-end scented candles – it’s the quality and quantity of the fragrance oil that makes the difference between a cheap candle and a pricey one.

Containers I bought big coffee cups for £1.99 each from B&M Bargains but you could also use plain jam jars. You could even use the Jam Labelizer (my favourite website of 2015) to create a cute label for your jars.

And all you do…

  1. DSCN0536Before you begin, work out how much wax you will need by filling your containers with water and then emptying them into a measuring jug. Make a note of the volume of water this produces – you will need the same volume of melted wax.
  2. Start by attaching glue dots to the bottom of each wick. Peel the backing off the attached dot to give you a sticky wick base. Pop this into your container and centre it before pressing it gently into place. Put your containers on a baking tray and pop them all in the oven at 50° centigrade
    to warm. This will help your wax to stick to the container.
  3. Put some wax into a plastic jug. Put the jug in the microwave at full power and heat for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave again for 1 minute. Repeat until it has all melted. Check the volume – if it is less than you need add more solid wax and repeat the heating process until you have enough.
  4. Take the cups out the oven. Stir your scent oil into the molten wax. Follow the instructions on your oil label for this – too much oil will stop your candle burning properly, too little will stop the scent spreading far and wide when the candle burns. Different brands specify different amounts. If your oil does not specify an amount, aim for about 10% of the volume of wax you are using.
  5. Pour the wax into your cups. Hold the wicks in place with whatever you have handy – I went for the expensive and high-tech option of using pencils. Whatever you use, make sure you have it ready before you start making your candles. Once the wax starts to set you don’t want to be gently wiggling your wax – it creates unsightly gaps around the wick. In the event that you do indulge in wanton wax wiggling, you can always melt a little wax later and pour it into the gaps.
  6. When the wax has set, trim the wicks. Stand back and admire your handiwork, taking a deep nose-breath as you do so. Feels good, doesn’t it?

 

HandNoticeVintage-GraphicsFairyMore Christmas Posts

 

Gifts In A Jar – Snowy Road Mix

 

How To Cut Your Gift-Buying Budget

Who Is Going To Thank You For A Home-Made Christmas Gift?

December 7

1 Cheap Pic-n-Mix – 10 Thrifty Stocking Fillers

How To Turn 1 Pic-n-Mix Into 10 Thrifty Stocking Fillers

A Magical Christmas On A Real Life BudgetDo you need some cheap, edible stocking fillers that are more interesting than a fun-size festive Mars Bar? Step right up. I am going to show you how a quick rummage in the recycle bin and a few minutes of printing other people’s labels can help you to turn one pic-n-mix into ten different little stocking fillers. A pic-n-mix is not the cheapest way to buy sweets but it is a cheap way to get small amounts of a good variety of sweets, ready for you to give them a festive twist.

My pic-n-mix came from Morrisons. There were no small cups (£2) so I had to buy a regular (£3) cup – which gave me more sweets than I really needed for this project. So, for my £3 I got 15 stocking fillers – that works out at 20p each. Not bad, but next time I will go to B&M or Poundland who both do a decent big cup for £2.

How To Maximise Your Mix

DSCN0516DSCN0518DSCN0520Pick ten different sweets of assorted sizes. Start by packing big flat sweets around the edges. Put in a layer of medium sized ones then pour on small sweets and shake to settle them into the spaces. Keep going till you are done. The key here is small amounts of the bigger sweets – half a dozen of each, tops. When you get home, split your haul into your different sorts of sweets and then hit your recycle bin to see what re-usable packaging you have.

pic-n-mixWhat you do with your pic-n-mix will, of course, depend on what’s in it. Below I show you how I packaged up my candy but you might come up with different sweets. If you need more candy-packaging inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest Christmas board.

Free Candy Packaging

1 & 2 Chocolate Eggs

4b78cd5c0f4df31810d64023b0af3bab

Dragons eggs free range and organicI printed out these bag toppers from Simplistically Living to turn them into Dinosaur Eggs for Tiny Tartan and made a label with The Jam Labelizer to turn the rest into Dragon Eggs for Tartan Boy. I also ate a few myself. I do have a bit of a weakness for chocolate mini-eggs…

 

 

3  Stripy Strawberry Chews

santa boxesstrawberry chewsThese free Santa printables from Kathy’s Cottage, in red and white checks or spots, are a perfect match for the striped sweets. You can leave the number cards off if you prefer.

 

4  Jelly Strawberries

jar of jelly strawberriesjelly strawberriesIf you have a small jam jar pack these in and top with a circle of paper or cloth, tied on with ribbon. No ribbon? Take a look in the shoulders of your tops and dresses for the loops of thin ribbon that shops use to keep garments on their hangers. Snip these off and use to secure your jar toppers.

 

5  Smarties

Halloween-Gift-Boxessmarties in a jarAh, smarties. So many things to do with these. If you have tiny jars you could pack them with smarties, maybe even sorting them into different colours and layering them. Or pop them into a re-purposed plastic box and tie with a ribbon. Or print out one of these cute little pillow boxes from Lines Across – exactly the right size for smarties.

 

6  White Chocolate Sprinkle Disks

goodie-bagwhite chocolate disks with sprinklesI love these little pouches from Babyccino Kids that you can run up in minutes on a sewing machine using old magazine pages or comic book pages. No sewing machine? I find double-sided sticky tape works well too. No magazines to rip up? No problem – supermarkets give their own away, for free, at the checkouts. M&S ones have particularly nice, thick paper. And the current ones are full of lovely, twinkly festive images which will make ideal containers for white chocolate sprinkles – or any other treats.

 

7  Jelly Beans

maydayseedpack

 

magic beansThese are asking to be re-branded as magic beans with this simple seed packet printable from Nothing But Country

 

8  Blue Bonbons

eada6b85676f0d75e97df5e7bab7e83btoffee bonbonsThese frosty blue balls are the perfect way to use these Snowman Poop bag toppers from Lime & Mortar – either staple them to the top of a bag or seal the edges with a glue stick to form a little envelope for your “poops”.

 

9  Jelly Faces

keep calm matchbox covers
jelly facesHow about using these cute Keep Calm And Have Some Candy covers from Pastill for matchboxes packed with jelly faces? The website is in Swedish but Google can translate for you. The translation is not perfect but it does allow you easily to find the free download instructions. They fit small matchboxes, and can be cut fairly easily to size.

10  Chocolate Raisins

reindeer-poop-printableIf life gives you chocolate raisins, make reindeer poop. A Girl And A Glue Gun has tie-on labels and bag toppers for Rudolph’s leavings in two designs and a variety of sizes. Kids of all ages love these.

So there you go – one trip to the shops, ten little stocking fillers.

 

HandNoticeVintage-GraphicsFairyMore Christmas Posts

 

How To Fill A Bulging Christmas Stocking Without Busting Your Budget

How To Fill A Christmas Stocking For (Around) A Fiver

5 Ways To Make DIY Stocking Fillers – When You Have No DIY Skills

 

June 7

Pretty Thrifty Candle In A Teeny Tiny Teacup

Tiny Teacup Candles At A Teeny Tiny Price

images (1)A friend asked me recently if I don’t go stir crazy sitting home blogging all day. All day? Ha! Was my thoughtful reply. But I do indeed need to get out the house sometimes and when I  do, being a thrifty mother, I go blog in the cafe in my local Ikea. There are always free tables with free wifi. The constant bustle works like white noise and makes it easier to concentrate.  (Really.) I sit by a window with a panoramic view of the hills surrounding me. And, if I flash my (free) Ikea Family Card, I get unlimited coffee for nothing.  I can sit there for as long as I can spin out the coffees. Long enough to write a blog post.

duktig-piece-coffee-tea-set-assorted-colours__0086281_PE214921_S4duktig tea cup in palm of handIf I get the fidgets I go for a wee wander round the store, which is how I came to notice these teeny tiny teacups. They are for children to play with. I would have adored these as a little girl. I would also have broken them in a matter of weeks, which is why I have never succumbed to buying them for the Tartan Weans. I have, since this was Make Something week, come up with a perfect excuse to buy them, though…

duktig tumblersDSCN0088At £6 for 4 teacups and 4 little china tumblers these work out at 75p each. That’s the same amount you would pay to buy a little glass jar to make a container candle in. Same price, whole different level of cuteness. As it happens, I was planning to make candles in jars as teacher gifts for the end of term. So I made them in the little cups instead. I am rather pleased with the result!

teeny tiny tea cup candle from www.tartanthrifty.org

How To Make Pretty Thrifty Candles In Teeny Tiny Teacups

What You Need

A plastic jug to melt your wax in – one that fits in your microwave oven. No microwave? A plastic bowl set snugly inside a pot of water on the stove top works too.

soya wax pelletsWax  I have used soya wax rather than petroleum based wax here – partly for eco-reasons, partly because it burns slower and makes your tiny candles last longer, and partly because it melts at a low temperature which makes for speedier and safer candle-making.

pre-waxed wicksWicks  You can buy wick by the metre but it is w-a-a-y more simple and quick to buy pre-waxed wicks which are attached to their sustainers already.

glue dots on a rollGlue dots  These make attaching your wicks to your containers a doddle. You can skip them though and use just a little drop of melted wax instead.

black raspberry and vanilla candle scent oilScent oil  I have used Black Raspberry and Vanilla for my little summer lights but the world is your fragrant oyster when you shop for candle scent online.  Next time, I think I will try a coffee scent and use a wax tint to match the colour of my candle to the scent. I initially tried scenting mine with essential oil – quite a lot of quite expensive essential oil. It smelled amazing when I stirred it in… then it smelt of nothing when I burned the candles. A little more research revealed that volatile oils often evaporate before the wax sets and that oils created specifically for candle-making “throw” their scent more effectively. Lesson learned.

Making Candles In A Teacup

attaching a glue dot to a pre-waxed wickpre-waxed wick in a tea cupStart by attaching glue dots to the bottom of each wick. Peel the backing off the attached dot to give you a (very) sticky wick base. Pop this into your cup and centre it before pressing it gently into place. Put your cups on a baking tray and pop them all in the oven at 50 degrees to warm. This will help your wax to stick to the container.

Put 300g wax into a plastic jug. Put the jug in the microwave at full power and heat for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave again for 1 minute. Repeat until it has all melted.

black raspberry and vanilla candle scent oilscented candle in a tiny tea cupTake the cups out the oven. Stir your scent oil into the molten wax. Follow the instructions on your oil for this – too much oil will stop your candle burning properly, too little will stop the scent spreading far and wide when the candle burns. Different brands specify different amounts.

DSCN0109using a clothes peg to steady a candle wickPour the wax into your cups. Hold the wicks in place with whatever you have handy – I have gone for the expensive and high-tech option of using old clothes pegs, but criss-crossed cocktail sticks work too. Or pencils. Look – you are a smart person – improvise!

DSCN0118When the wax has set, trim the wicks. That’s it – you have made a whole batch of sweet little teacup candles that smell amazing. Aren’t you fabulous?

teeny tiny tea cup candle from www.tartanthrifty.org

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