Thrifty buys for your July 4th barbecue

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, I decided to head into the local Salvation Army Store to find some items that I can craft to spruce up my backyard barbecue this holiday.

Here is what I found.

Two picture frames and three glasses all under $9.

My do it yourself (DIY) craft ideas: Picture frame chalkboard, picture frame serving tray, and three homemade red, white, and blue citronella candles made out of glasses (it's really easy, don't fret!).

I was expecting some fails but they turned out perfect! Here are the steps on how to create them and the tricks I learned along the way.

Chalkboard Picture Frame

  1. Once you find a frame that you like, take the back of the picture frame out and remove the glass.
  2. Sand the glass lightly. (It's not always suggested but I went ahead and did it anyway).
  3. Take chalkboard paint and spray/brush the paint evenly. (I did two coats and let them rest 24 hours).
  4. Place the glass (chalkboard side down) back into the frame and fasten with the original nails or use picture frame nails if you have them hanging around like I did.

You can find chalkboard paint at any home department store, I picked up this can at Walmart for less than $5.

Serving Tray

  1. Find a picture frame that you like; the ones that work really well have a large, deep frame.
  2. Remove the back of the frame and take the original image out. I learned that the original image was a picture someone took while on vacation in 2005. You never know what you might discover.
  3. Place an image that you have or printed and place into the frame.
  4. Secure the backing of the frame with the original nails or use some picture frame nails.

Citronella Glass Candles

For the citronella candles you'll need:

  • Microwaveable soy wax or paraffin wax
  • Candle wicks
  • Hot glue gun or wax adhesive
  • Old crayons (use the colors you want to dye your candles)
  • Citronella oil (I used citronella to keep the bugs away but you can use any essential oil you like)

I found the microwaveable soy wax and candle wicks at the local craft store. Cost me under $12. Side note: Paraffin gives off more smoke when it burns which might be a better bug repellant with the citronella. But buy the wicks that go with the type of wax you choose.

  1. First apply wax adhesive, or hot glue, to the bottom of the candle wick. Place the base of the wick into the glass, making sure it's touching the bottom. Wrap the top of the candle wick to a pen, or straw, anything that can lie flat on top of the glass. You want to make sure that the wick is sticking straight up so that you can have a straight burn down the glass.
  2. While that dries take your old crayons and smash them with whatever you have, I had a hammer. You want to make sure they are in tiny pieces so they melt faster. Set them aside.
  3. Take three microwaveable glasses and separate the soy wax into three parts (know that the wider the diameter the more wax you'll need).
  4. Add the broken crayon pieces into the microwaveable soy wax glasses.
  5. Take one color of wax (I started with red) and place it in the microwave. You want to microwave in 30 second increments until the wax is completely melted.
  6. Take the glass out with oven mitts, be careful it's HOT, and add a few drops of citronella (the more drops the stronger the smell, but I found 3 - 4 drops worked out great. Give it a sir.
  7. Pour the wax into the each glass. Let it rest until the wax completely dries. (I noticed the wax with the crayon pieces took a lot longer to set then the wax without out it did (white)).
  8. Repeat steps 5 -7 with each color. Again make sure you don't begin another color until the previous color/wax has set or they'll mix <-- which that could be cool too.
  9. Once all the layers are down and the top layer of wax has set, unwrap the top part of the wick (the one wrapped on the straw). Cut the wick a little long (learned that the hard way). It gives more room to heat the top layer of wax before burning the wick down.

Head on down to your local Salvation Army Family Store and let me know what you find and the item(s) you've created! Got a tip/trick for me? Leave it below!

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