I absolutely am enthralled by all the delicious smells of candles! There are hundreds of them! Have you ever wondered how on earth they can get a candle to smell exactly like buttercream frosting, or a spring garden? Unfortunately, most store bought candles contain many different chemicals that can be toxic to our bodies! Darn it! Most store-bought candles are made from paraffin wax. This type of wax is made from petroleum as a by-product of making gasoline. One 2009 study found that burning paraffin wax releases potentially dangerous chemicals, such as toluene, as well as other compounds, like formaldehyde and benzine, which can cause allergies, asthma, and are even potentially cancer-causing! Reports also show that chemical scents contain Phthalates, which are known to impede the endocrine system, the regulatory mechanism that dictates hormonal distribution in the body, and have been linked to health problems including birth defects, cancers and diabetes. Yikes!
It is so simple and so much safer to make your own natural candles, free of these chemicals! Start with natural soy wax. I used Candlewic Soy Wax Flakes, purchased through Amazon for $31.61 for a 10 lb bag!
The wicks I chose are EricX Light, 100 piece Natural Candle Wick, low smoke, 6 inch pre-waxed and 100% all natural cotton core. Also purchased at Amazon, for $8.95. Although after making these, I found some really cool wooden wicks that have a peel-and-stick bottom! They are a little more expensive, but would be well worth it! You’ll see why in a few more steps! The diameter of the wick needs to match the size of container you’ll be using for your candle. If your wick is too large for your container, it’ll burn too fast and cause smoke. If it is too small, it won’t burn the diameter of the candle, causing a ‘puddle’ that will put out your candle, leaving much of it unburned. If you go online and search for simple info on the right size wick for a soy container candle, you’ll find tons of super specific info (usually for that particular website’s product code only!) In the interest of not overwhelming you with too much info, (although you are obviously welcome and encouraged to learn more online about all the various types and sizes of wicks and waxes, and which matches which, if you desire), suffice it to say for my purpose today, these 2.5mm thick wicks work great for soy wax for 4 to 8 oz. jar candles! (The 12.5mm written on the bag in the photo refers to the diameter of the metal base of the wick)
I use a double boiler to melt the wax. This is simply a metal container that is heat-safe that fits over a regular pot. Put water in the pot, set it to medium-high heat and place your melting pot on top. You can also use a large Pyrex (heat-tempered thick glass) measuring cup, making sure the water level reaches only about half-way up the outside of the glass cup/jar when you place it in the pan). One pound of soy wax will equal approximately 18 oz of liquid when melted, so calculate how much wax you will need for the size and number of candles you will be making!
It doesn’t take long for it all to melt – be sure not to overfill your double boiler…better to make a few smaller batches if you plan on making alot of candles.
The first thing you will do with your melted wax is to dip the wicks into the wax and then secure them to the bottom of their container. This is pretty important, as they will otherwise float all over the place, curling against the side of the jar, etc., when you pour the wax in! And yes, that is a bad thing! You need the wick to be as straight and centered as possible when it’s all done! Which is where the awesome wooden wicks would be so much easier!
You’ll see that I am using a chop stick to hold it center at the bottom of the jar until the wax cools and hardens. Sometimes the wick still wants to lean or bend, and it can be a bit frustrating, trying to hold the wick gently as so not to pull it up, but still keeping it straight! Wishing I had those wooden wicks…! That would eliminate this step, saved some time, and I wouldn’t have to worry about if my wick would remain straight as I poured the wax! Live and learn, right? They also come in a variety of sizes, so again, do your homework on wick to container sizes!
Here they are…all prepped! (see what I mean about the leaning wick…?!)
There are several ways to secure the wicks so they stay centered. Since these are ‘pre-waxed’, I couldn’t easily wrap them around the chopstick, that just pulled them out! So I got creative and devised this with office paper clips, and threaded the chopstick through the little holes in the clips! Still wasn’t fail-proof (again, wishing I’d known about the wooden wicks!)
I wasn’t able to take pics while pouring, so I’ll just say pour slow and careful! Leave about a 1/2 inch space at the top. Then add your essential oil fragrance, about 30-40 drops per 8 oz wax, which is about a 6% dilution. That’s about 4 tsp. (which is 1 tablespoon + 1 tsp!) I am making Lavendar-Rose and Lemon Verbena Candles here.
I also added lavender buds and rose buds!
Slowly stir any added botanicals for just a moment, because it will cool quickly and you don’t want to create air bubbles or disruptions to the wax! A note about added goodies…dried is better as the moisture from fresh can actually cause mold! Ick! And unhealthy to breathe!
A note on safety – If you are adding stemmed botanicals, like rosemary or stems of lavender, make sure to push them to the outside edge of the candle next to the glass, as far away from the wick as possible, as people have reported that if they come into contact with the flame, they can catch fire! Not good! Always think Safety First! And never, ever leave a burning candle unattended! Blow it out before leaving home and before falling asleep at night!
You can see how quickly it solidifies! Let them sit untouched for about 4 hours..try to keep the wicks from ‘slouching’ in the first few minutes! I used a bbq skewer and carefully straightened them, but only while the wax was still very liquid! (again wishing for wooden wicks!)
Here they are, nicely solid and ready for the wicks to be trimmed! If your candle ‘pits’ or cracks while cooling, you can always melt a bit of wax and pour it over the top of the blemish. Trim wicks to about 1/2 inch long, and now you can add the lids to your jars!
Add your own pretty label and they’re ready to be lit, gifted, or sold! You did it!