Archive for the ‘Candles’ Category

Getting Your Candle Making Gear

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Candle making is a great skill to learn.  There are many reasons to want to learn how to make candles. You may choose candle making as a new hobby.  Others make candles as part of a lucrative business.  But whatever the reason as you begin you will need to acquire all the start up materials.

The candle making start up process is all about getting your equipment. Some of these materials you will probably have around your household already.  Other items you will need to research and purchase.  The following is just what you need to being your new candle making hobby or business.

First let’s explore what is needed for candle making on a small scale in your home.  The process all begins with wax.  Since a candle is almost entirely made up of wax, let’s consider the different types of waxes.

candle making

First determine the kind of candles you want to make (size, shape, utility, quality, etc.) to know what type of wax to use.  The most common wax types you may use for your candle making are paraffin wax, gel wax, and soy wax.  You can find many other types of waxes on the market, however, these are most often used.

Soy and paraffin waxes are most commonly used for basic candles.  This is because the wax is readily available and it’s an easy wax to work with.  Soy wax may even be preferred over paraffin.  Soy is completely natural and so as a wax it burns without any smoke or odor.  Soy waxes also burn longer than paraffin wax.  However, paraffin is still often used in candle making because of its affordability and its low maintenance in candle making.

Gel waxes are used for more upscale candle making. If you are looking to make uniquely designed and higher quality candles, gel wax will be your best bet. The name “gel” even gives away the fact that this wax is the most pliable and therefore easy to mold of all waxes.

After you’ve chosen the type of wax to use, you will need to obtain the wick.  Without the wick nothing will burn at all! The wick will run through the center of the entire candle so a flame can burn until the candle wax has all been melted.

The final equipment needed for your candle making is a melting pot/thermometer combo and molds.  If you are doing small scale candle making, you will just use your own pots, pans and stove top for the melting of the wax.  Some professionals also recommend the use of thermometers so you know the exact temperature of your wax.  Then of course you need some sort of container to mold your candle into a shape once it’s melted.  Some molds are as simple as a jar or glass; upscale candle making will require specially shaped molds to form your desired candle.

Once you’ve acquired all your equipment, enjoy your candle making! And then burn baby burn!

Candle Tips

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Candle making can be tough when you are out of practice.  Candle making can even seem a little dangerous because it involves hot wax.  It is also confusing on how much dyes and fragrances to use in candle making.

Picking what dye you want to use can be tricky.  No matter the color it is always important to read the box, especially the warnings.  The dye is very potent and powerful.  Be very careful because you can dye your clothes, counters, and stovetop very easily if you are not careful.

candle making

You also need to be careful with the dye because if it gets too hot then the color may change.  Adding the dye slowly is a good idea as well.  This way you can make sure to get the exact shade that you want.  It is always easier to add color then to take it away.

Working with fragrances can be just as tricky as working with dyes.  The same rule of less is more still applies.  Mixing too much fragrance in the wax can make it hard to get the candle out of the mold.  The worst thing is that the fragrance of the candle will not be pleasant but it will be nauseating.

Pouring the wax slowly into the mold is a great tip.  Pouring slowly will create fewer spills and messes.  It will prevent possible burns and the candle will have a nice shape.

Another great tip is to clean up the spills immediately.  Cleaning them up quickly is easier than waiting because the wax is still in liquid form.  It will also help to prevent stains on your counters if you are working with dyes.

The last great tip is to make sure to clean your kitchen or area before you start.  This way you can see what spills you are currently making and can clean them immediately.  It will also make your experience more enjoyable.

Making candles is even more enjoyable when you can make them unique.  Put your creativity into your candles.  Think of something that you do best and incorporate it into your candles.

Candles: A History in the Making

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Candles have a deep history.  When you look at the history of the world it’s been relatively recent that candles have not been needed for lighting purposes.  The type of candle that resembles our modern-day candle was invented nearly 5,000 years ago! This article will peruse the history of candle making.

And so the history of candles breaks down into two time segments.  The first segment is before electricity. The second of course is after electricity.

Electricity is the time divider for candle history because electricity changed the purpose of candles forever.  Before electricity candles were made for utility. A candle’s function was to provide light, as archaic as that sounds. After electricity a candle’s function was superfluous.  In other words, candles were more for fun, than for vital use.

Let’s take a closer look at a candle’s role before electricity. For thousands of years candles lit people’s way and they were always made of some type of wax. But these functional candles were not all peaches n’ cream. Not at all in fact! Candles were first made out of animal fat extracts to make wax.  And all through the dark ages these archaic candles burned black smoke and must have smelled awful! Because of the black smoke that burned from these early candles, people’s walls within their homes were always covered with thick blackness.

candle making

Much later in Colonial America candle making turned to bees wax for production.  Bees wax burned purer than the animal fat candles of the past, but still was not ideal. A type of wax was needed that could burn both smokeless and odorless.

This all was leading up to the discovery of electricity in 1752 by Benjamin Franklin.  However, it wasn’t until Thomas Edison came along over 100 years later that the light bulb was invented to conduct electricity.  With these discoveries and technological advancements, electricity had a great purpose; finally homes would be lit without candles.

Unsurprisingly, with the technological advancements of electricity, the candle world was also evolving.  Around the same time as all of this new progress, people were inventing more efficient waxes for candle burning. Paraffin was invented at this time.  And since that time forth chemical engineers have continued to perfect waxes for candle making.

Now candle making has become recreational, since candles are not a necessity for seeing in the dark.  And with this new recreational role, candles have become a fun and exciting hobby, and/or business venture for people around the world. And with so many available products, people can candle make with ease in their own home, and without professional help.

Making Wax Candles

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

Candle making on your own is very rewarding.  You can give the candles away as gifts, sell them, or use them personally.  Although candle making is fun, you need a lot of supplies to do it correctly.

In candle making you can use fragrances or dyes.  You can mix different ones together to make a new fragrance or stick to one color or scent at a time.  You can either use the fragrance in the wax or on the wick.

There are several different kinds of wax that you can use.  Some have natural colors and fragrances.  Soy wax is great for scented candles.  Paraffin wax is commonly used and comes from refining petroleum.

Using molds in candle making can kick up the creativity.  Beginners should try to stick to simple molds.  There are all kinds of shapes and sizes.  You can buy these molds at most craft stores or you can make your own.

candle making

If using molds intimidates you, try using jars.  They are much more simple, but just as beautiful.  You can use different shapes or sizes to help beautify your candle.

You will need something like a double broiler to melt your candle wax into.  Just get a really big metal pot and put a coffee can in the middle of the pan.  Fill some water in the pot, but don’t let it over flow into the coffee can.  Make sure that you stir the melting wax constantly so that it does not burn.

The temperature of the wax is very important.  You will need a candy thermometer to monitor the wax’s temperature.  At 185 degrees you can add your dye or fragrance.  At 135 degrees you can pour it into a mold.

When you are candle making, you need to make sure you are safe.  Keep children and pets out of the melting work area.  Always have a fire extinguisher on hand incase you over heat your wax and catch it on fire.

Uses for Scented Candles

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Candles have so many uses.  Especially with the wide array of scents that candle making has produced these days, they become an easy solution to so many household or personal issues. The following are 3 awesome ways that scented candles can help you every day.

First, let’s talk household uses. Scented candles have some great uses at home. The wonderful aroma of a scented candle can improve the atmosphere of any living space. Place candles in bathrooms, kitchens and mudrooms to spruce up your home and make it smell blissful.

If children or pets are part of your family, your home may especially benefit from scented candles if you take the proper precautions.  Pet food cupboards, cat litter areas, dog kennels, playrooms and diaper changing stations can turn your nice home into a raunchy wreck! Use scented candles to freshen up even these most troubling areas.

However, when burning candles always make sure these items are out of the way of children and pets. It’s easy to use candles in these problem areas in your home if you simply take a few precautions so your loved ones are not harmed.  Always keep candles out of places where they could fall or be tipped. And never leave burning candles alone.

The second idea for scented candle usage is for stress relief.  Did you know certain types of scented candles can actually help you relax and ease tension?  The idea of aromatherapy puts this into practice.

candle making

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils in candle making to cure or ease daily stress.  Who would have thought that smells could be therapeutic? But truly when certain essential oils are emitted through the air, their scent can appeal to the brain and foster calming feelings. This happens in the candle making when oils are infused into candle wax making it an aromatherapy candle.

Third and finally, scented candles can be used to create an ambiance in your house. Any kind of candle can transform your home into a cozy or romantic setting.  However, with scented candles any mood can be achieved. You can find candles with smells that boast of anything from baked goods to seasons of the year.  The only trick is narrowing your scented search down!

And so a scented candle can be an easy solution to everyday issues.  They can freshen up a room, relieve stress, and even set the mood for any occasion. Pick one up today and see how it helps you!

Gel Candles

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Gel candles are increasing in popularity.  They are very decorative and are great as scented candles.  Individuals are even starting to make gel candles as hobbies.

Before you start candle making with gel candles, you must know that there are different density levels.  The levels are low, medium, and high.  The density level within the gel candle affects the potency of the fragrance that the candle gives off when it is lit.

The lowest density level gives off a light fragrance that complements the room.  The highest density level has the power to cover up a foul scent.  So before you make your candle ask yourself, “how potent do I want my candle to be?”

The most popular thing about gel candles is its ability to suspend things within it.  The gel can hold objects like beads, stones, marbles, or even decorative fruit.  You can see these objects suspended in the candle because it is translucent.

candle making

Just like wax candles, gel candles can have dyes mixed in it as well.  Gel candles can be fragrant, colorful, and suspend objects within them.  The beauty of gel candles seems endless because you can do one or all of the options mentioned above.

In candle making, wax candles are easier to work with than gel candles.  Candle making with gel candles is harder because they never get in a true liquid form.  Even when you go to pour it into the mold, it is still a gel or syrup like consistency.

After a lot of practice, making gel candles will become easier.  You will always have to be careful about adding too much dye and fragrance though.  It is always worth the extra effort once you have your finished candle.

Candle making with gel is very rewarding.  It is rewarding because in the beginning it is tricky to work with, but over time you will master it.  Once you have made your candles you can enjoy them, sell them, or give them as gifts.