The Basics of Candle-Making

Nothing makes a room feel cozier than the warm glow of candlelight. Candles are magical, indoors or out, all year long. Not only are they beautiful decorative accents, the are soothing to the spirit and romantic to boot!  Best off all, anyone can make their own candles.  If you’re looking for a way to brighten up your room or you want to make a handmade gift for someone special, why not try candle making?

If you are ready to start making candles, the first thing you need to decide is if you want to use a mold to make a free-standing pillar or taper, or make a candle in a jar or cannister. Next, you’ll need to choose what kind of wax you want to use. These are the most common waxes available for candle making:

  • Soy wax is made from soy beans. It burns slowly and cleanly, but the colors are not as bright, and fragrances tend to be muted. It is best suited for cannister and jar candles.
  • Beeswax is an all-natural product that also burns slowly and cleanly. It can be hard to add color or scent to beeswax, but it does have a pleasing natural fragrance.
  • Paraffin is a petroleum product. It tends to melt quickly, and smokes more than soy or beeswax. However, it takes color and fragrance very well, and works especially well in shaped candle molds.

Regardless of the wax you choose, the tools you’ll need for candle making are the same. You’ll need to wicks and wick holders, a glass or metal pitcher for melting and pouring, a double boiler or sauce pot, a candle making thermometer and long wooden stir sticks. Candle dies and scents are optional.

If you’re making freestanding pillar or tapers, you can find molds wherever candle making supplies are sold. For container candles, just about any jar or tin will do—Just be sure to clean it out properly before you begin. For extra fun, try unusual containers such as tea cups, seashells and even citrus peels.

Once you learn the basics of candle making, it’s fun to experiment with decorative embellishments. For example, layering different colors of wax or making fun-shaped molds out of everyday objects. You can even add items directly into the mold or container—imagine a lemongrass-scented candle with actual lemongrass stems embedded in the wax! The creative options are endless.

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