I love making candles and I enjoy teaching people how to make their own.
Candle Making Made Easy
Oh, my! How things have changed in the world of candles. Once upon a time, candle making was a difficult and tedious process. Today it has never been simpler or easier to master. When most people think of making candles, they think of cooking down a large block of paraffin wax over a hot stove or burner. This is no longer the reality. It is no longer necessary to turn on even one burner of your kitchen stove, nor do you have to deal with large blocks or chunks of paraffin wax. What brought on all these incredible changes you might ask? Well, let me tell you.
After your very first project, your confidence will grow immensely!
Which Type of Soy Wax Is the Best?
If you want to make a pillar candles or tarts be sure to buy what is known as Soy PB. Pillar wax is a stiff and hard wax that holds its shape very well. This type of wax is very useful when you need wax to be firm and immovable. When it comes to a container wax, it is a softer, more pliable wax. It is designed to adhere to the side of a container. You’ll find many choices in this category. The wax will vary in the amount of fragrance it will hold. I have found that using a natural soy 464 wax works very well. It has excellent adhesion and holds the fragrance oil in nicely.
It is so important to get the correct amount of fragrance oil in your candles. To start off with, I'm going to keep it simple. All you have to remember is that general rule of 1 ounce of candle fragrance oil per 1 pound of wax. That's it! If you add too much fragrance oil, it will leak out of the candle (believe me, this is not attractive). Do not be tempted as I was to dump in more fragrance for a stronger scent; it doesn’t work that way.
What is scent throw? Scent throw is the most important thing about fragrance you’ll need to know. This term refers to how well you will be able to smell your candle when it’s burning. To make a candle that smells good, you will need to remember the magic number 180° when you heat your candle wax. You will need it to reach the temperature of 180° before you add your fragrance to the wax. Always check the label of the fragrance to see what the manufacturer recommends, because adding fragrance oil at too high of a temperature may cause it to burn off in the melted wax. Adding fragrance oil at too low of a temperature may prevent the fragrance oil from disbursing and binding uniformly in the melted wax.
You’ll be able to add your color at any point before you pour your candle.
Mixing Colors and Fragrance
To make your candles have that special zing and look beautiful, you will want to match the fragrance you are using with a really pretty and appropriate color. You can get very creative with mixing your colors. We have started with a few simple suggestions below. We will get into projects in future guides that will mix and match colors together.
For now, we’re just going to keep it simple.I recommend using dye blocks. I think it gives you a little more control than using the liquid dyes. If using dye blocks, the block will melt into the wax more quickly when it is cut into smaller pieces. After adding the desired amount, stir the mixture until it is blended thoroughly.
The candles will be your creation; therefore you are in essence the artist.
Sample Fragrance and Color Coordinator
Apples in spice
Citrus and sage
Lavender and lemongrass
Pink and white swirl
“Have to Haves”
- Soy wax container and pillar for inserts as well
- Candle or candy thermometer
- Candle fragrance oil
- Wooden spoon
- Oven mitt
- Candle dye (I use dye blocks in this series)
- Wicks and wick tabs
- Microwave safe measuring cup (large four cup size works best)
- Hot glue gun
- Small paper cups
- Needle nose pliers
- Large straws (The large ones used for milk shakes work best)
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Great to Haves
- Heat gun (works great for melting wax to make clean up easy
- A Presto-pot (can be used at any point in this book for melting large amounts of wax)
- Heat resistant gloves
- Warning labels
Basic Container Candles
The basic container candle. There are a large variety of glass containers to choose from. The possibilities are endless. Any type of glassware is suitable for making a candle. I have used everything from Mason Jars to wine glasses and anything in between. I will give you the directions below for the basic container candle so you can get the hang of it.
Step 1 - Weigh Your Wax
Set your glass measuring cup on the scale. Turn the scale on. (If you remember to do this one step, it will subtract the weight of the measuring cup.) This is a neat little trick because; essentially your scale will ignore the weight that it has on it when it is turned on. So now all you have to is add the wax chips to the measuring cup to get the desired weight. If your container will hold close to a pound, go ahead and measure it to the nearest pound. (It's just easier to figure out the amount of fragrance you'll need.) I keep a couple of little votive candles around for the excess wax I will have left.
Step 2 - Prepare Your Wick
Turn on your hot glue gun to let it warm up. Now, you simply measure the amount of wick you'll need from the bottom of the container to a couple of inches above the top. (You will need to leave enough space to secure the wick around the wooden skewer or Popsicle stick to center the wick.) Position the wick into the wick tab. Use the needle nose pliers to crimp the wick tab around the wick. Squeeze the hot glue onto the flat part of the wick tab. Quickly stick it to the center of the bottom of the container.
Step 3 - Melt Your Wax
To melt your wax, simply place it in a microwave safe dish, preferably a large glass measuring cup. This makes it easier to pour the hot wax into the containers. I recommend you let the wax melt about 5 minutes in the microwave but of course the time will vary depending on your microwave. Just be sure to keep a close eye on it. Pull it out and stir in 30 second intervals. When you see that it has melted check the temperature. Remember, your goal is to reach 180°. The container must be placed on a level heat resistant surface to add fragrance to the wax. Allow the wax to cool around 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4 - Heat Your Containers
Using a heat gun, heat the glass containers until they reach 150°. This may be done with a heat gun or in the oven on the lowest setting. The wax will have cooled to a temperature that is suitable for pouring into the container.
Pour wax, center the wick and allow the candles to cool overnight.
After the wax hardens, remove the wick bar and trim the wick to 1/4 of a inch. The candle must cure for at least a full day before burning.
Use caution when removing the hot wax from the microwave; always use gloves with heat protection.
That’s all there is to it. You have just completed your first candle!
Sandy on September 09, 2017:
very good article