Wax & Wicks | Whole Green Love

15 Jan

This past weekend Laura and I took on a project that we have wanted to try for a long time. Candle making! How can you not love the way a candle warms a room or gives it a hint of a lovely scent combination? My greatest qualm about candles, especially healthy eco-friendly candles, is their price. I know quality materials tend to be a little pricier, but my pocket doesn’t appreciate it. Take a look here to see the benefits of soy candles.

If you could save a little money, why not make your own candles? That way you will know what is in them and you’ll have a fun project at hand. When you do a search online for candle making there are many variations of instructions ranging from simple to more complex. Laura ended up finding natural soy candle wax at Michaels.  It had soy wax chips and she also purchased cotton wicked candles that were coated in soy wax. Not to mention some helpful instructions for first timers were included!

Instead of going out to buy containers to hold our candles, we decided to look around our houses and find any container that would work for a candle. We came up with a cute glass canning jar and an old votive holder to recycle. Something to be cautious of is how the containers are made. If you have a container that doesn’t have a tight seal where it is put together you may have a leaky situation when you pour your hot wax into them, so just be careful when making your container selections. Also, be sure to choose a container that can stand the heat.

Laura with our make shift double boiler

When melting your wax you are going to want to do it in a double boiler. Plus, you will want a pot or bowl that you can devote to candle making or crafting because of the wax being hard to clean from it. We ended up using one of Laura’s larger saucepans to boil the water and then a smaller saucepan that she hasn’t used much for the wax.  Because of the handles on the little saucepan, it sat perfectly in the larger pan for a double boiling system.  The instructions said you could also melt the wax in a microwave, but we thought the stove would more evenly melt the soy wax chips.

You will want to start boiling your water on about medium heat, then you can add your wax chips to the pot on top of your boiling system.  Continue to watch your chips and stir them frequently to help them melt together. Once they are all melted you can use a candy or meat thermometer to check when it reaches 120°F. Once it is at this temperature you can add any essential oil you would like. Since we were just keeping this candle making trial simple we only added lavender essential oil. We made 2 small candles and put what we thought was a decent amount of essential oil in our hot wax, about 18 drops. It turns out that was on the light side for scent once the candles were dried and lit. Next time we would try adding more drops, maybe 10-15 more for a total of 35-40 drops.

Next, you can carefully pour your hot wax into your clean and dried containers. I recommend putting an old bag or magazine under your work surface to help with the clean up process. Once the candle is poured you can carefully situate your wick in your wax. This takes a little patience and a couple pens or pencils to help hold your wick in place…after you patiently place it in the middle of your candle and down to the bottom of the container (can you tell we got a little frustrated doing this? Ha!) you will put a pencil on either side of the wick to stabilize and hold it in place while it is drying.

Once it is near dry our instructions told us to poke little pinholes around the wick to help let any air bubbles escape from the wax.  After that to cover the pinholes, you pour just a small amount of wax on top of the candle to cap it off and cover up the holes. We did this with our candles because the directions said so, but to be honest I don’t think it did anything for our candles. We couldn’t see air bubbles in the first place. Our candles were small, so maybe this step is more beneficial when making larger candles. We’ll keep you posted with our next candle making attempts.

We were so happy with how the candles turned out! They looked cute in the little containers we found around the house and burned beautifully. They were a little light on the lavender scent, so we’ll be upping that in our next candle batch. We are going to be looking for a local beeswax seller to purchase from, so we can try our hand at beeswax candles as well. If you are looking for a fun weeknight or weekend project you should try your hand at candle making.  We’ll keep you posted with our next attempts.

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