Make a Sand and Candle Centerpiece For Your Home Spa

Posted by Maria on March 2, 2010 under Gift Ideas, Ingredients, Photo gallery, Spa Party, Uncategorized | Read the First Comment

by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

My mom recently returned from a trip to Dubai, the land of luxury and opulence. I asked her to bring me back some sand as a souvenir because I’m not likely to go there any time soon. Well, she came through with flying colours and brought back two different kinds of sand for me. One was a silky, fine, pale tan sand from the beach and the other was a lovely peppery bronze sand from the desert. (I wish I still had the Bermuda pink sand my late father brought home from one of his navy expeditions in the late 1970’s in my collection, but that stash is long, long gone).

The question is, now what do I do with this new sand? I wanted to put the sand in some sort of container, like a wine bottle, or picture frame or an acrylic box so I could display my exotic treasure. I also wanted the presentation to be somewhat artistic.

Sand is such an interesting subject to contemplate. Sand is timeless and is found on shorelines all over the world and the granules are infinitely unquantifiable. Comedian Steven Wright’s quote comes to mind, “I have the world’s largest seashell collection. You may have seen it, I keep it spread out on beaches all over the world.” :)

From a spa point of view, dry sand is like the antithesis of wet water, the primary foundation of all spas around the world. Any spa worth its salt is based on the healing powers of water in some way, either historically or geographically. Still, somehow, the powdery and gritty texture of sand belongs in the spa also. Sand and sea are neighbours and they meet each other half way. What’s a breaking wave without a sandy beach?

So, in the spirit of wanting to bring the beach feeling home, I went to Michael’s Crafts to see if I could find a vessel for my sand. After an hour of walking up and down the aisles, I decided I was going to look for something that could serve as a centerpiece on my dinner table for my next home spa party. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was looking for and then I spotted the answer on the bottom shelf: A 5.9-inch/15-cm glass cylinder with an insert for a candle by a company called Ashland for #13.49 CAD. The vanilla pillar candle was only $3.49 so the whole craft project cost me less than $20. (Of course, that’s not counting the airfare to Dubai to get the sand, but I’m sure you can find some near your house or buy it in a store, if you’re landlocked, for a lot lessĀ  :) .

Sand and candle centerpiece craft project.

Use this sand and candle centerpiece in your next home spa party.

Sand and candle centerpiece home spa project.

Notice the contrasting red and tan sands in this home spa craft project.

All you have to do is get some sand and pour it into the big cylinder. If you want, you can get fancy and use different coloured sands and layer them in some sort of pattern. If you stick a toothpick and a removable piece of paper into the sand along the container, you can fill the tunnel with contrasting sand for finer details. The problem is, as I discovered, once you join the sands, it’s difficult, if not impossible to separate them again, so make sure you’re OK with whatever pattern emerges and don’t try to fix it afterward. You can also include rocks and seaweed and shells in your composition.

For added effect, you can float your candle in some water in the smaller insert. Unfortunately, that didn’t work for me this time because the candle kept on capsizing. (A different size and shape would have probably worked better).

Remember, you can also give this quick and easy centerpiece as a hostess gift or you can put it next to your bathtub the next time you take a bath. In my mind, the sand, the water and the candlelight are poetry. It’s like having a mini beach at home (complete with high noon sunshine) and it will definitely add to the ambiance and mystique of your home spa.

Let me know what you think of this home spa craft project. Do you have a favourite beach that you’d like to bring home? Please leave a comment.

A bright gift idea — Candles

Posted by Maria on December 4, 2009 under Aromatherapy, Gift Ideas, Photo gallery, Spirituality, Uncategorized | 4 Comments to Read

By Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner

Have you been invited to some holiday parties this month and are stuck for cheap and cheerful hostess gifts? Here is a Homespunspa-style craft project that will be sure light up any party — Votive Candles.

These candles work beautifully at any table setting or around a bathtub.

These candles work beautifully on any table setting or around a bathtub.

I came up with this craft project many years ago to enhance the table setting for my family’s Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner. And everyone got to take one home afterwards. I spent many hours walking up and down the aisles at my local Michael’s store trying to figure out how this would all come together and I was really pleased with the result.

When I first conceived this idea, I wasn’t expecting the candlelight to flicker through the coloured glass gems. As the 12-course meal progressed, a lovely pattern appeared around each candle on the white table cloth. It was like the light was dancing.

Dancing Light Votive Candles – A Home Spa Craft Project

To make 12 candles, you will need the following supplies that are all available at Michael’s Arts & Crafts store:

  • 1 to 3+ value pack bags of glass gems in any translucent colour (clear, red, green, purple, blue, etc.) (most likely found in the floral department).
  • 12 glass votive cups (you can get bigger quantities by the box).
  • 1 value pack of votive candles, scented or unscented (I like vanilla for the aromatherapy and because of the off-white colour but the scent might compete with your menus).
  • 1 bottle of Crafter’s Pick, The Ultimate Glue (it’s a non-toxic water-based glue that sticks to glass and dries clear).
  • 1 towel-lined baking sheet (for drying).
  1. Decide on a bead pattern you would like to glue on to your votive cups — either flowers, diamonds, crosses, rings, squares, abstract polka dots, etc. — these ideas are totally customizable and free form.
  2. Make sure the glass is at room temperature, otherwise the beads will slide off before they set. (I figured that out that hard way).
  3. You can only work on one side of the round candle at a time and can’t turn the candle even slightly until after the glue dries (at least 15 minutes). It is best to set up a production station and work on several candles at once while you wait for the glue to dry.
  4. To make a flower pattern like in the above photo for example, prop a glass votive on a towel so it doesn’t roll. To make your first flower petal, apply a dab of glue on a glass gem and stick it approximately 1 centimeter or 1/2 inch down from the top ridge of the cup and press the bead with your thumb for a few seconds to secure. Then, stick another gem (using the same colour or not) underneath the first petal. You should have some space between the bottom edge of the gem and the bottom edge of the cup. Now you’ve got your first column. Set aside face up on a towel-lined baking sheet to dry. Meanwhile, you can repeat this step on the other candles you are making.
  5. Once the first column is set, take another gem (maybe a second or third colour?) and place it half-way in between and next to your first two gems in the middle of the glass votive. This is the flower’s center. Then using two more gems that are roughly the same size as the others, stick one gem above the center and one gem below. Now you’ve got 2/3rds of your flower glued. Place on the baking sheet again to dry and move on to the other candles.
  6. Once these gems have dried, you are ready to glue on the last two petals of your flower. Keep them lined up with the first two and there you have it.
  7. Once all of the glass beads have completely dried, pop in a candle. That’s all there is to it. You can either light the candle now or wrap it in tissue for a gift.

This project is more time-consuming than difficult. The finished product will last years and years and the gems won’t come off from the candle’s heat. The only problem is they’re hard to clean once the wax has melted into the cups.

I hope you enjoy making these candles. Let me know what you think of this idea and whether or not you would like to see more craft project instructions on my blog.

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