Flame in a Teacup

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Many years ago, perhaps – but my memory so far back is far from precise – during my university days, my mother passed along a teacup to me which quickly became a favourite. The bottom calls it “Sunshine,” by J&G Meakin, England. The bowl and saucer have hand painted (I believe) pictures of a Victorian lady in a cloak leaving a castle-like building, and I always fancied her to be the Lady of Shalott.

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After several years of favour, however, something happened to the teacup. I don’t even remember what, but whatever it was left a long, ugly and completely impractical crack two-thirds of the way around it, with a little hole in the middle of it.

Despite its new found uselessness, I was never able to part with it, and have kept it at the back of the tea cupboard for the last decade or more. This past winter, however, I was inspired at the Winter Cache art and craft sale, in Kelowna, to find a new use for this broken treasure.

Artist Sarah Burwash was selling teacup candles – teacups transformed into little light bearers that were both charming and a creative way to recycle.

It’s taken me from last November, when I saw them, until now to finally try my hand at making my own teacup candle. But today I finally melted. Some wax, that is, from some old candles I never got around to using.

Not wanting to wax coat my pots and pans, I placed the broken pieces of candle (I used two taper candles) in a tin can, placed in a pot with about two inches of boiling water (if you use too much more the can will become floaty and tipsy).

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The wax melted fast (above, right), and was ready to pour in just minutes. I used a two-inch pre-waxed wire wick with a little base on it so that I wouldn’t have to fuss with keeping it straight in the teacup while I poured the hot wax in.

Because the cup was cracked, to keep it from splitting in two or further cracking when filled with hot wax,I ran warm and then hot water over the cup prior to filling it, to condition it. I also started with just a small amount of wax at the bottom to stabilize the wick before topping it up. This last part, however, may have been unnecessary.

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Here’s a shot with it filled with a nice hot cup of wax. It looks rather tea-like, don’t you think?

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And the finished project, lit up and looking lovely. It’s a quick, easy way to recycle a cracked teacup that you just don’t want to part with, and with little fuss or mess. If you try it, I’d love to see how yours turns out…

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-Story and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier

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  1. What a fantastic idea! I love it!

  2. I have a beautiful cup and saucer that were my great-grandmother’s which I can’t use for tea because a great big piece broke off one side (broke my heart) and although it’s been mended with superglue so that you can hardly see it I don’t want to risk drinking out of it. I’ve got a box of candle stubs somewhere so I shall have to try this.

    Where did you find the wick?

  3. this is a beautiful idea. Sadly I don’t think it would be as pretty in my much-loved (and now retired) coffee mugs. My grandma had a fab collection of tea cups – I shld go & see if my mom still has any…

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