how to: make tea-tin candles

I have this horrible tendency to hang on to way too many things, vintage tea tins being one of them. Which is why, in the course of the past week, my kitchen has been transformed into a veritable tea tin candle-making factory. If you, too, find yourself in a last-minute gift-making frenzy, here’s the how-to.


 Miscellaneous vintage tea tins—all of mine were from thrift stores, where you can find them easily, priced anywhere from 25 cents to $2.

 Microwavable soy wax—a four-pound box of microwavable soy wax ($10 at Michaels’s with a coupon) flakes made three average-sized tea tin candles.

Wicks of the extra-large variety (tea tins are pretty big in diameter, so you need a fat wick)—also available at Michael’s

Silicone chalk (for the tins that are not water-tight)

Wick holders (optional)

Newspaper (not optional)



1. Test your tins. Fill your tins with water to see if they leak. If you find some are not water-tight, seal the inside bottom rim, corners and sides with a silicon chalk. Do not be an eager beaver and skip this step! (Unless scraping a counter-full of wax off with an old credit card sounds fun—then by all means, skip away!) Follow chalk dry time instructions before moving on to step two.

2. Cover your work space with newspaper. (Again, please learn from my mistakes!) Center your wicks in the middle of your tins, making sure the bottom of the wick is flush with the base of the tin. I prefer to use wick holders to accomplish this. (If you don’t want to buy holders, you can dip the bottom of the wick in melted wax and then stick/center in the bottom of the tin.)

3. Melt your wax—fun! I melted four-plus cups at a time in my glass liquid measuring cup. Four cups took about 4-5 minutes to melt entirely, quite a bit longer than the box o’ wax predicted. If you have a thermometer to test the temperature (per package instructions), feel free to do so. I did not and everything worked out just fine.

4. Fill your tins on up with wax, but not all the way up, just close to it. Wicks will need adjusting after you pour the wax; this is totally normal. It’s also normal to run out of wax before a tin is full. Just get going on nuking the next batch right away and add it when it’s done.

5. Leave your tins alone for 45 minutes to an hour. Go watch a Golden Girls episode, read a magazine or take pictures of your cat…I’m not one to judge.

6. After an hour or so has passed, poke a few holes near the wick, going all the way to the bottom of the tin. This allows air to escape and makes for a more evenly topped candle. Top off your candles with a little more wax.

7. Leave them alone again, this time for a while. In a few hours time…boom. Tea tin candles are ready to go. Cozy on up and enjoy your handiwork.



three quick and easy diys

Happy Sunday!

Here’s a trio of pretty, easy, summer-y DIYs that have caught my eye lately…#1 & #3 use easily thrifted materials!

1. Crocheted planter cover (no crochet skills necessary!), c/o Lune Vintage

2. How to weave a flower wreath, c/o Refinery 29

3. Fabric art piece made from scraps, c/o Sunshine and Carousels

 Speaking of DIYs, have you tried out Craft Gawker’s app? I just downloaded it and am having fun browsing handmade projects when I’m away from my computer. Like when I was waiting for what felt like a lifetime for the printer lady at Office Max yesterday…it came in handy.

I hope you’re having wonderful weekends so far!



how to: DIY frame collage wall

Rae and I are up to our elbows in all kinds of crafty goodness this week, making pretty stuff for Mighty Swell’s storefront windows. Gathering ideas and inspiration for our displays and then seeing them to fruition (while sticking to a bare bones budget!) is one of our favorite things about owning our own shop. So, I figured I’d start sharing some of our favorite projects and DIYs with y’all here on the blog! Sound good? Cool. Without further ado, here’s Rae on how to make a collage wall with thrifted frames and wrapping paper.

This DIY project served as the background for Mighty Swell’s spring sneak peeks as well as pretty décor behind our checkout table. We got so many compliments and inquiries about them (and even a few offers to buy them off the walls), Meghan asked me to write up a little how-to. I’ve been collecting vintage wrapping papers since who knows when… YEARS. I’ve wrapped many a gift in them, but I still have a lot leftover. This project was the perfect way to use up some remnants and display some of my favorites patterns. Like most of the DIYs we undertake at the store, this project is multi-purpose, affordable, easy to accomplish in a short amount of time and when it’s all said and done, super cute!



Miscellaneous frames in different sizes. I like to gather as many different shapes, styles and textures of frames as I can. These were all thrifted for 50 cents to $3.00! Think about where your finished pieces will live after you’re done so you can choose frame sizes accordingly.

Spray paint in your favorite color. Ours just happens to be YELLOW!

A variety of vintage wrapping papers. (Vintage fabric would be cute too!)

Hanging hardware, glazier points, needle nose pliers, hammer and nails.

Spare cardboard (optional)


1. Prep your frames. Carefully remove all artwork, glass and paper backing, leaving just the naked frames. Hold onto glass, cardboard, mat boards and backing boards as you will use these in the assembly proccess. You may find it necessary to remove nails, staples and other things that are holding the glass in the frames…This is where the pliers comes into play.

2. Spray paint! Make sure to do this outside of possible or in a well-ventilated area. Lay down plenty of old newspaper or a drop cloth. Give your can of paint a good shaking, and be sure to get sides and inside of frames while you’re spraying. Pro tip: It’s always tempting to spray on one thick coat and call it a day—resist this urge! Several lighter coats of spray paint will yield a MUCH better final product with fewer unsightly drips and uneven patches. Let the paint dry completely before moving onto step three.

3. When your frames are totally dry, start playing with the layout and configuration of your frames. This will help you decide which paper goes into which frame and will result in a perfect collage wall. When you find a layout you like, snap a pic so you can remember what goes where before you start hammering nails into the wall.

4. Assemble! This is where those materials you saved in step one will come in handy. To cut your wrapping paper  down to size, trace the backing board that came out of the frames. This will ensure a perfect fit! If there is no backing board, you can trace the glass (very carefully) onto a piece of cardboard and use that. When you have your paper cut, use a glue stick or spray adhesive to mount the paper to the backing boards. This step is crucial in preventing bubbles and other unsightly blemishes in your artwork. Finally, place your new wrapping paper covered boards into the frames and secure. If you removed the securing parts of the frame, you can use glazier points to hold them in. Refer to your pic of the layout you liked and start hanging!

Ta-da! You’re done! Now you have a lovely wall collage to call your own!!