Some people may say I have too many candles, but honestly how many candles is too many?
I can’t really remember when my obsession with candles first began, but I have to admit I am totally hooked. I think that working in a place that sold Yankee Candles (Side note: If you haven’t seen the new Christmas Candles you need to see them. Now) played a major part in my obsession turning into a real interest (I think I may have read every information pack and newsletter they sent to the store…). When I first started working there it was smelling every candle that we stocked, and talking to anyone and everyone who liked candles as much as me. This naturally evolved into a need to try out new candles from companies I haven’t used before, and compare them with each other.
Fortunately I am lucky enough to have friends that share my obsession, and one in particular who decided to start making her own candles. So when she said she would be happy to show me how she makes her candles, I had to take her up on that offer!
The candle making process starts with careful selection of scent, wax type/colour, and candle container. Megan asked me to bring something to make my candle(s) in, so after hunting around I found these two summer tea light holders, that I brought for £1 each. You can use almost anything, as long as it is fire resistant, allows you to light the candle easily, and lets air circulate in and out.
After smelling everything at least 5 times, I decided on making a blue coloured, cherry amaretto scented candle in my blue jar and a non coloured, starfruit and mango scented candle in my pink jar. We also made a non coloured, forest fruits scented candle (One of her most popular scents – and I see why as it smells delicious!) in one of Megan’s small white containers (Which are available on her Etsy Shop!).
Firstly we fixed our wicks into our chosen containers. Megan explained to me the need for different wicks based on the size of the container and type of wax used. Using blue tack, we secured our wicks to the base of the containers, and then using a cocktail stick/toothpick made sure the wick was tight and straight. This is of course very important to ensure you get an even burn and therefore achieve the best scent pay off and use of the wax.
We then weighed out and melted our chosen wax. Megan told me about the differences between the two wax choices she offers: Paraffin and Soy, including what they are like to work with, setting time, colour pay off and burn. We decided to use paraffin, as she explained it tends to set slightly faster than soy and gives better colour pay off, although she said that soy wax is more popular on her shop. This is possibly due to it’s more natural origins, it’s even burn and ease to clean and work with. We melted the wax in a separate pan over gently simmering water (A Bain-Marie type method).
Once melted we removed the pan from the bain-marie and heated it separately (Ensuring not to heat it too much, as this will cause a loss of scent similar to the way scent is given off as the candle is burnt). We then weighed out and added both our chosen colour and scent to the melted wax, stirring gently to combine. Megan explained to me the importance of carefully weighing out and calculating the amount of colour and scent used, in order to produce candles that have good colour pay off and strong enough scent when burnt.
We then poured the melted wax into our containers and left them to cool. If you wanted to speed up this process, you can sit the candles in a shallow tray of cold water. As we produced three different candles, we conducted this procedure three times to prevent colour and scent contamination. The candles took around an hour to fully set, but of course this depends on how much wax you are using and the shape/size of your container.
You can then remove the cocktail stick/toothpick and trim the wick down to your required length.
I really enjoyed learning how to, and actually getting to make my own candles! The whole process was really interesting – from choosing scents and looking for unique containers, to the actual method behind how every stage is conducted. Both my final candles smell amazing, look great and burn really well. Definitely check out Megan’s Candle Corner etsy shop if you would like to try out some of her handmade candles – especially her new vintage teacup candles which look beautiful!
A Craft in the Life…