School Holiday Activity – Henna Tattoos at Home

We are currently half way though our winter school holidays. It has been a lovely week doing a variety of activities.

We began the holidays by having a family gathering in the Blue Mountains, enjoying Christmas in July. I’m guessing this is not something that is ‘celebrated’ in the northern hemisphere, but not sure if it is just an Australian/New Zealand thing? It is our opportunity to get as close to a wintery white Christmas as Australia allows. And if we had been the weekend before, we would indeed have seen snow (although it was the end of June, not yet July), but not while we were there.

We stayed in a lovely old hotel that was built in the late 1800s. The kids all enjoyed exploring the many rooms and making their own movie. The hosts seemed quite happy for them to do so! On Saturday night we were treated to a special Christmas dinner, even Santa made an appearance! Continue reading

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School holiday activity – glass painting and candle making

School holidays are here, and it’s always nice to have something new or special to do with the young ones. We have been waiting for an appropriate time to do some glass painting and candle making, and holidays are perfect! It has been many years since I did any glass painting, so I visited my local art shop Riot and was pleased to find they had glass paints on special for $4 or $5 a bottle. There were so many colours to choose from, it was very hard to pick just a few! I found some small glasses that were quite likely left over from previous glass painting endeavours, some fine paintbrushes, and some turps (mineral turpentine) for cleaning up. We made sure there was plenty of newspaper covering our work surface. I had two glasses that I painted years ago for inspiration 🙂

glass painting and candle making 1

Then we had to come up with our designs. It’s not as easy as you would imagine, and the designs were adapted as we went along. In fact, we all ended up doing similar patterns – hearts and flowers 🙂

glass painting and candle making 2 When we finished painting we moved on to candle making. Two friends have soy candle businesses, and scented candles are a gorgeous way to set the mood in your home. Of course, making sure never to leave them burning unattended, and keeping them well out of the way of children. They can be quite expensive to buy, so I did some research before deciding to have a go myself. You can read up on some information yourself via my Pinterest board.  I did a search for soy wax candle supplies, and found a company not so far away – All Australian Candle Making Supplies – and put in my order. Trial and error was how I worked out how much wax to melt. There were some formulas on some blogs I read, but it was only having a go that I worked it out for myself. I weighed the glass I was going to use, filled it with water and weighed again so I could see how much water the glass took. I then weighed out the same amount of wax flakes. For example, the small glasses we used today took 150g of water each, so we melted 150g of wax per glass.

glass painting and candle making 3

Melt your wax in a double boiler. Soy wax melts at around 40 degrees Celsius, so we were happy to let the kids gently stir the wax until melted. Of course, they were never left alone near the stove. Instructions I read were to get the wax to around 80 degrees, then let it cool to around 70 degrees before adding the scent and pouring into the glasses. I don’t have a thermometer, so we just left it over the boiling water for several minutes after it had all melted, then took it off the heat and left it for a minute or two before adding the scent. My research suggested adding fragrance at about 10% ie 100g wax would use 10ml fragrance. Again, I totally estimated this amount.

glasspainting and candlemaking 4

Today we used Japanese Honeysuckle and Jasmine fragrance 🙂

After I carefully poured the wax into glasses we added the wicks. We just rested them against paintbrushes to keep them in the centre.

glasspainting and candlemaking 5

Now they are sitting unmoved and untouched while they cool. We will wait at least a week before we light them to give them time to cure and harden.

Professional candle makers have spent much time and money testing the best combinations of wax type, fragrance saturation (how much fragrance to use so you can actually smell your candle), and wick size. You can visit Katy’s Au-ra Candles facebook page, or Sonya’s Hyam’s Beach Candles website for some fantastic smelling candles.

I definitely won’t be going into the candle making business, however it is a fun and interesting activity for creative kids, and we will probably do it again!

Have you tried something new these holidays?

Linking up with A Tray of Bliss