Scented candles are one of the most luxuriant joys in my life. I also really love buying them for other people, because I feel like they are one of those things that can feel frivolous to buy yourself but you (I) always really want.
However, there is nothing that says: "I had no idea what to get you or who you are" more than buying someone a gift that has no connection to who they are as a person, so I always like to craft things to accompany store-bought presents. You know what's quick and easy and fun to craft and accompanies candles perfectly? MATCHBOXES.
If you follow me on Instagram (which you all do, I’m sure, because the view from my bed is visually fascinating), you’ll appreciate how much I love crafting things with gems and glitter on them. And there is nothing better than handmade gifts, amirite? So, I’m going to give you insight into my favourite candles at the moment AND a quick crafty matchbox tutorial. Don’t say I’m not a giver.
So, you need some basic crafting equipment: some acrylic paint, some stickers or little printout images, some gems or sequins, glitter and, of course, UHU and PVA, the cornerstones of my crafting world.
Firstly, paint the matchbox a solid colour. I’ve gone for white here, and am demonstrating what a painted matchbox looks like in case you have a pitifully bad imagination. Leave the sides bare or nobody will actually be able to light a match with it and then the gift doesn’t seem as cohesive with the candles.
Next, apply a sticker or something to the centre and glitter around it. Sometimes I use glitter glue, but sometimes I go crazy and just UHU a border, tip a load of glitter onto the glue, and then shake it off. Wild. It’s just like the old days, except I end up covered in sparkles rather than cocaine, which we all know is infinitely wilder and cooler (no sarcasm here).
The rest is self-explanatory. Just stick stuff on top. More is more. Gems, sequins, whatever you can cram on. But remember that if you put gems on both sides of the box, it is actually kind of annoying to rest on a table so you’re better off writing a little message or something on the bottom side to keep it vaguely practical.
Giving someone a matchbox as a birthday present feels a bit ungenerous, so here are some of my recommendations for the complementary candle.
Jo Malone Orange Blossom Scented Candle
I love Jo Malone fragrances. They are quintessentially British and light and delicious. This Orange Blossom candle is lightly scented (in that, you can definitely smell it but it just makes the room smell better, rather than like an overpowering flower factory or something) and burns for around 40 hours of fabulousness.
Plus, it comes with a little metal lid so your candle doesn’t get dusty when it’s not burning. Fancy.
Bella Freud Incense Wood & Oud Scented Candle
Bella Freud is a British designer who started out working with Vivienne Westwood and ended up designing and making the most beautiful knitwear (alongside other loveliness). We just interviewed her at the magazine I edit, and I loved her so much that I investigated her further.
She also makes divine candles, of which this one is my favourite at the moment; it is warm and deep and a little heavy and makes me think of sitting around a fire in the countryside, in a very fancy way. Plus: trezzz chic.
NEOM Luxury Organics Enchantment Home Candle
I’ve spoken about NEOM candles before; they’re a really adorable British brand, and they do these great candles with three wicks, which last forever (translation: up to 50 hours). The Enchantment candle is scented with bluebell and rose, so it is like being in a meadow; and for every candle you buy, £1 (about $1.50) goes to the British Woodland Trust to preserve our beautiful English countryside. And it has a little wooden lid. Lovely.
Arran Aromatics Cedarwood & Citrus Parfumeur Candle
This is amazingly delicious, smelling of cedarwood with lemony, orangey undertones. It is warm and woody and burns for up to 35 hours. It also comes with a lid. I feel so grown-up having lids for my candles--is that weird?
If anyone were ever to bring me one of these candles with a handmade matchbox, they would immediately have to become my best friend. That is quite a responsibility, so be careful who you give them to. But do it. Make people happy. And then do it for yourself, too. WE ALL DESERVE CANDLES.
Do you like making presents for people? What are the best gifts you give? Do you also love candles? Also: crafting tips and suggestions, please.