Getting started with homemade candles can be a fun, exciting and seamless process with just a bit of preparation.
Candles have been around since the beginning of time when early civilizations began using them as a source of light. While we’ve since advanced and have the modern comfort of that small thing we call electricity, candles remain a favorite thing for many people to have around the home. Many people enjoy lighting candles because of the nice fragrance they offer and peaceful and pleasant ambiance they create. And while they can be used on a daily basis to create a cozy atmosphere, they are nearly a “must have” when setting the scene for a special occasion whether it’s a birthday, holiday, intimate cocktail party or romantic dinner. Unfortunately, buying candles can often be a bit pricy (Yankee candles often cost over $20 for a small jar). It’s this high appeal and high cost which has lead many people to say “Hey I can make my own homemade candles!” Yes, you can!
Candlemaking can be an easy, fun and even lucrative hobby for those you who have considered the world of homemade candles.
There are so many creative options to experiment with when venturing into homemade candles including colors, scents, containers, molds and various decorative techniques. However, one of the most basic things to consider when getting started is whether there is a particular type of wax you’d like to work with. There are many options, each of which have their own qualities and benefits and different manners of working with. Also keep in mind that different types of wax often have different melting points (the degree at which the wax converts from a solid to a liquid). Always make sure you know a particular wax’s melting point (more on this to come once we get into homemade candles instructions).
Following are some of they main types of wax you can choose to work with and a bit of information about them:
The vast majority of candles that people buy are made of paraffin wax. A by-product of crude oil, it’s the most common wax used by candle makers mostly because it is relatively inexpensive. Paraffin wax is sold in blocks which often differ in their appearance. There are different grades of paraffin, separated according to their melting points (harder wax has a higher melting point). Soft paraffin wax is recommended for making candles in containers, but not for the creation of molded or carved candles. Medium paraffin wax should only be used for making poured candles and hard paraffin is suitable for carved and molded candles and has a longer burning time compared to its softer counterparts.
Beeswax is an all-natural, non-toxic waxy substance secreted by bees after they consume honey and is often preferred by people who like natural products. Beeswax candles burn much longer than paraffin candles, but the wax is more expensive as it isn’t as readily available as paraffin. Because beeswax is sticky, it is not a good choice for molded candles. You can purchase beeswax in blocks, chunks, beads or sheets. The advantage of using sheets is that they don’t have to be melted; they can actually be hand-rolled into candles. For this reason, beeswax sheets can be a wonderful option if you are planning on making your homemade candles with or around children.
Other advantages of beeswax candles include:
• Naturally sweetly-scented as opposed to artificially-scented
• Give a soft and beautiful glow that is closest to natural sunlight
• Because they are all-natural they do not produce toxic by-products and are virtually smokeless when burned
Gel wax is made from gelled mineral oils and plastic polymer. It is rather tricky to manage it’s melting, so it is not recommended for beginners. However, gel candles have the advantage that because they are usually rubbery and transparent, there are all kinds of possibilities to customize them by putting decorative objects in them such as shells, metal charms, marbles, art glass, pebbles, etc. Because they are highly customizable, they often make wonderful gifts. Gel candles burn about twice as long as a paraffin candle of the same size and provide a stronger light source as well. One important thing to keep in mind with gel wax is that is has a very high melting point (almost 100 degrees hotter than paraffin wax) so you must be very careful when working with gel wax and use a safe and heat resistant container.
Another wonderful all-natural alternative which is gaining significant popularity are soy candles, which are made from soybeans. Compared with paraffin, soy candles burn cleaner and longer. In addition, soy wax spills are easy to clean-you can simply use soap and hot water rather than harsh chemicals. This also means it’s easier to wash your candle making equipment!
Because of their inherently natural nature, soy candles are greatly complemented by essential oils as opposed to synthetic scents and can make great aromatherapy candles. Soy candles serve as an environmentally friendly alternative to paraffin and an economically friendly alternative to beeswax. Another advantage is that because soy wax is a renewable resource and quite popular, it’s readily available and easy to find.
Soy wax works best for container candles because it has a low melting point and is not very hard.
While there are other types of candle waxes that you may be able to work with, these are a few of the most popular. Personally, my favorite wax for homemade candles is soy as it’s all natural, environmentally friendly and easy to work with. Do a bit of research and decide which appeals to you most! Once you’ve decided which type of candle you’d like to begin working with, it’s time to get your supplies. There are many online resources where you can get everything you need for your homemade candles including candlemaking kits, candle making instructions, soy candle wax, candle fragrance oil, wicks, candle making molds and other wholesale candle supplies.
I have a passion for “that which is eclectic” and have an affinity for hand-crafted items, whether it’s clothing, jewelry, furniture or anything else with a unique look and feel. I really enjoy creating things from scratch as a form of creative self-expression and have recently decided to venture into homemade candles.