How To Make: Christmas Tealight Houses

Hello and welcome to a brand new series getting you in the creative Christmas spirit!

I am so excited to be able to launch this series of creative blogs and Youtube videos. There are some amazing tutorials coming up and I can’t wait to reveal new posts every other day in the lead up to Christmas.

Getting outdoors and being creative are huge parts of what drives us here at Jenny Kate and I really wanted to be able to share and encourage you to do the same.

I’ve immensely enjoyed filming, making and working with other incredible creatives for this series. I hope you enjoy it and take part. If you do make anything from this series - share it! Make sure to use our hashtag too! #createwithjennykate

So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the first post.

How to make:

Christmas Tealight Houses!

This project is easy, cheap and really sweet too. It adds a lot of atmosphere to a room and is a great activity to do with children and family alike.

For this project, you will need:

For the Bicarbonate Dough:

  • 2 cups of Corn Flour
  • 4 cups of Bicarbonate Soda
  • 2.5 cups of Cold Water
  • Non-stick Pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Bowl
  • Damp Cloth

To make the houses:

  • House templates
  • Stamping Tools
  • Chopping Board
  • Rolling Pin
  • Rotary Cutter or Knife
  • Baking Paper
  • Glue Gun
  • Battery Operated Tealights

Before you make the bicarbonate of soda mixture, start by making a cardboard template of the house you are going to make. The template we used to make our house is above, feel free to download this - or make your own. We found that gluing the paper template to cardboard worked made cutting the clay shapes a lot easier.

Once you have made your cardboard house template, start by making the bicarbonate of soda dough using the ingredients listed above.
Combine the Corn Flour, Bicarbonate of Soda and cold water in a pan, over a medium heat. Keep stirring the mixture until it forms a dough. This change will happen quickly, so make sure you stay at the stove at all times when doing this! Once the dough has combined, quickly remove it from the heat and then straight into a bowl. Cover with a damp cloth and then place in the fridge to cool. 

Once the mixture is cool, roll it into a ball (just like you would knead dough) and use a rolling pin to lay the clay out flat on a chopping board. Don’t make the clay too thin otherwise the pieces could snap when dry. I always try to aim for about a 1cm thickness. Keep some Corn Flour nearby, to dust the rolling pin and your chopping board with, so that the dough doesn't stick to it.

Once the dough is rolled out, use your house template to cut out the pieces you need. Using a rotary cutter is easier for this, but if you don't have one, use a knife.

Once you have your basic shape, this is then your chance to get creative. I used leather tools to create small shapes in the dough, but your imagination can run wild here. Layer up shapes, cut things out - have fun! Make sure there's lots of negative space for the light to shine through and don't worry if shapes fall off when you leave them to dry - that's where your trusty glue gun comes in!

After you have cut out all of the pieces for your house as well as the windows, lay the pieces onto baking paper and leave the pieces to dry. The clay takes around 2-3 days to dry. Remember this type of clay is air drying, so the pieces don’t need to be put in the oven (but you can if you like - I don't because you get a whiter finish if you leave them to air dry). My last piece of advice on this area (which I didn't take myself) would be to place a chopping board or flat object (not too heavy - you don't want to squish your beautiful creations) on top of your pieces, so that they don't curl upwards in the drying process. I would also flip the pieces half way through, so that the dough can dry faster.

Once your pieces are dry, using your magic glue gun, secure the pieces of the house together. The glue gun will be hot, so be very careful! It’s also a good idea to check the pieces fit next to one another before gluing them together.
When you are gluing each piece together, press the pieces together for a few seconds to ensure that the glue takes hold. I also like to add an extra line of glue on the inside of the house, to add an extra security layer.

Once the house is fully secured and glued together, it’s time to put the tea lights in. I initially used real tealights in the houses, however after photographing them for ten minutes, I realised the tealights were heating up the glue again - so avoid this at all costs! You must use battery operated tealights to save yourself collapsed and blackened houses!

So there you have it, the perfect DIY tealight houses, to grace your mantle pieces and shelves this Christmas - adding the perfect cosy glow.

Make sure to share your own versions, using the hashtag #createwithjennykate on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to show us your magical creations!

12th December 2018

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