File this fun and simple project under ‘one-I’ve-been-thinking-about-for-years-and-finally-doing.’ Sometimes I’ll get an idea in my head for a project, and then things happen. Like life. Time moves too quickly. I forget about it and then I remember it again and then I think, I should do that thing I wanted to do! (I don’t do it.) I have the best intentions of doing the thing, but by then I’ve simmered on it for so long that I start to think that maybe it was silly in the first place. But today – finally! – I’m sharing a quick DIY that I told Scott I would do years ago, and I’m really happy with how it turned out!
It was born from our candle addiction, and often times, the first thing we do with our candles is peel off the label. But you know how sometimes labels are extra sticky and leave a residue? But you’ve already started peeling, so there’s no turning back? Sometimes we’ll just turn the candle around, because in most cases, candles are just much prettier without the label visible. I’ve seen iterations of candle cozies (koozies? wraps? hugs?) which add a little extra something to an ordinary candle, but more importantly, they cover the labels without the fuss of removing them! Even still, most of the ones I’ve seen have been too frilly, too ornate or too rustic, and what I was really looking for was something minimal. Pretty. Warm. Leather!
What I love most about leather is that it can be personalized using an alphabet punch, which is really my favorite part of this whole project! (Psst, this would make a great last minute gifting idea, too.)
Tools + Supplies Used
I purchased two of these leather trim pieces from the craft store for the wraps. We buy our candles from two sources (Bath & Body Works candles have a few of our seasonal favorites, and Sydney Hale will always top our list!), so we knew that these cozies could easily work from candle to candle. The leather trim pieces are 9″ wide, which I was happy with, but I squared off the edges by trimming off the top and bottom using my X-acto blade and a straight edge on a cutting mat. Tip: It’s always easiest to make several passes with a sharp blade, rather than one deep cut. Not only is it more safe, but your line will be much more clean in the end.
Next, I needed to figure out the placement of the personalization I wanted to add. I lined up my letters from my alphabet punch (I can’t find mine online, but these are almost identical) and made a small mark in the center, near the top. My personal preference was for the word to be close to the top of the wrap, but you can get as creative as you’d like!
I found that starting with the middle letter first and then working my way out allowed me to stay on track and perfectly centered. The trick to punching the letters is to start by using a wet cloth to get the leather damp. Then use a mallet to firmly punch! the letter. I gave each letter 5-6 punches for a nice, deep groove. If you remove your letter and the impression isn’t as deep as you’d like, put your punch back in place, feeling for the grooves, and punch again – harder! Before making a single punch, make sure your letter is right-side up. Tip: Make sure that you’re using leather with a smooth, hard finish (i.e., skip the suede or anything too soft), otherwise your letters won’t show up. I had great results using these exact strips.
On each end of the strip, I measured and marked 3 holes, about 1/4″ in from the edge, and then I used a leather punch (so easy!) to make holes for lacing:
I picked up this matching suede lace, and then I just tied up like a shoe! What I like about this method of securing the leather is that if I want to use this on a larger or smaller candle, I can lace it tighter. I did a loose knot at the top, but a bow would look sweet, too.
I ended up making two different heights of leather cozies, and I put the shorter height on our fatter candle. Here’s a (not so?) funny story: I initially wanted them to both be the same height, but on my first run, I accidentally punched in L-I-T with an upside-down T. Oof. Let me be your cautionary tale, ha!
Are you gifting any candles this holiday? If so, consider DIY-ing a personalized leather cozy to go along with it! And hopefully I’ve inspired you to create something on your list that you’ve been putting off for far too long. What’s been on your mind? Go forth, create!