Photo Credit: Kayla Lobermeier
Give someone a candle, and they’ll enjoy the charming ambiance for several days. Teach them how to make candles, and they’ll adorn their space for a lifetime, or so goes a crafty twist on the famous saying. There’s a reason candles are a popular choice for gifts and home decor – they’re coziness creators, relaxation promoters, and mood setters. Learn how to make your own candles in this blog.
Your choice of wax molds your candle’s burn time, scent throw, and texture. That’s why it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the attributes of different waxes.
Find more insights on different types of waxes in Willow And Sage The Candle Issue.
Wicks come in various sizes and materials, affecting the flame length and the rate of wax consumption.
Don’t forget to match the wick size to your chosen wax and container size. Additionally, wick holders are essential for keeping the wick centered during the pouring and cooling process, contributing to an even burn and preventing tunneling.
The molds or containers you choose determine the shape and size of your candles.
Besides proper mold and container selection, knowing how to use mold release agents and prepping strategies ensures successful demolding and beautiful, finished candles.
Now that you have your tools and materials, let’s dive into the creative aspects of candle making.
Layering different colored waxes or embedding decorative elements are among the techniques to craft beautiful candles. Embedding allows you to incorporate dried flowers, herbs, or even small trinkets into your candles. Meanwhile, for layered candles, consider using colors that complement each other or tell a story.
To achieve seamless layers and have your embedded items stay perfectly suspended, pour each layer at the right temperature and use adhesion techniques such as gently pressing embedded items into the still-soft wax.
Marbling and swirling techniques add a touch of elegance to your candles. Begin by melting different colored waxes separately and pouring them into your mold. Use skewers or other tools to swirl the colors together, creating eye-catching patterns. Experiment with complementary or contrasting colors to achieve various effects. Be patient and deliberate in your movements so that the colors blend harmoniously without muddying.
Aromatherapy enthusiasts or not, adding scents to candles brings joy.
Scents have a flashpoint – the temperature at which a fragrance changes its composition. So, to preserve their integrity, remember to add your chosen scents to the melted wax at the recommended temperature. Also, measure the scents carefully to achieve a balanced fragrance without overpowering the room when the candle burns.
Peek inside The Candle Issue for more on these techniques, plus the lowdown on creating various effects, wicks, scents, and cost-saving tips.
Working with open flames and hot wax requires adherence to safety guidelines. Wear appropriate protective gear, including safety goggles and gloves, to minimize the risk of burns. In addition, work in a well-ventilated area to disperse fumes and guard against respiratory issues. Following these practices ensures a secure and enjoyable candle-making experience, allowing you to focus on the creative process without compromising safety.
Your candle-making journey doesn’t end when you finish making the candles. There are burning techniques to maintain the integrity of your candles.
These tips will help you get the most out of your handmade candles.
Maintaining the quality of your candles over time requires proper storage. Keep candles away from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight to prevent warping, scent deterioration, and color fading. Store candles in a cool, dark place, ideally in a box, to protect them from dust.
If gifting or displaying your candles, consider placing them in individual bags to protect against scratching. Following these storage tips helps keep your candles as beautiful as the day you made them.
Air bubbles can mar the appearance of your candles. To minimize these imperfections, maintain the wax at the appropriate temperature and avoid rapid cooling. Gently stir in colorants and fragrances, ensuring a smooth blend without introducing air.
When pouring, pour slowly and steadily from a moderate height, allowing the wax to fill the mold evenly. Afterward, tap the mold to release any trapped air, and consider using a heat gun to eliminate surface bubbles.
Frosting, the crystalline appearance on candle surfaces, is a common occurrence, especially in waxes like soy wax. Some embrace it as part of the natural beauty. But for those seeking a smoother finish, controlling the cooling environment and experimenting with pouring temperatures can reduce frosting. Additives like Vybar or Stearin alter wax crystalline structures, while a heat gun can smooth out frosting after cooling.
by Irena Saro and Cyna Riley-Rank from The Candle Issue Volume 3
Apply hot glue or a glue dot to the wick tab and press it firmly to the bottom of the jar, making sure to place the wick in the center. Place the top of the wick in a wick-centering tool or roll it around a skewer to hold, and let it rest across the jar’s opening. Add the soy wax flakes to a wax-melting pitcher. Then, melt the wax using the double-boiler method until completely liquid.
Remove it from the water bath, and let it cool to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for about three to five minutes. Add the eucalyptus essential oil and stir slowly to combine. Pour the melted soy wax into the jar, leaving ½ inch at the top so the wick isn’t covered. Let the candles cure at room temperature for at least 24 hours, and the wax turns from clear to white. After the candle has fully cured, trim the excess wick, leaving about ¾ inch.
Want more candle recipes? Check out Willow And Sage The Candle Issue, filled with DIY candle projects with step-by-step instructions and detailed photos.