I’ve always felt that candle light has a comforting, relaxing and natural feel to it. Maybe it’s got something to do with the warm yellowish orange light or maybe it’s the organic living feel that a flickering candle has. I suppose it doesn’t really matter either way, whether it’s for romance or relaxation, what matters is that most of us love filling a room with candle light. However, the majority of us have never even had a go at the ancient art of candle making. It’s a bit of a shame, as knowing you made the candle yourself can make the romance more captivating, the relaxation more satisfying and the warm, organic glow just a little more magical.
Getting started with candle making is pretty simple and cheap, but the first thing you should be thinking about is the safety aspect; you really don’t want to ruin your new-found hobby by burning yourself or starting a fire. Most of the safety rules are common sense: don’t leave melting wax unattended; always work carefully and methodically; use a thermometer and don’t let the wax get too hot; work in an uncluttered area and keep a fire extinguisher handy. Not all of the safety rules are so obvious though; remember to be very careful with essential oils, dyes and fragrances. These are often highly concentrated and really irritate the skin; some essential oils can even eat through plastics, so treat them with care and respect.
There are two main ways to make candles: dipping and molding. Dipping involves just that, you take a wick and repeatedly dip it in melted wax until it reaches the required thickness. Molding involves pouring the melted wax into a mold and allowing it to set in the desired shape.
There are many different types of candle that you can make, but the three most common are:
- Voltive – Small candles (typically 2.5in high) which melt down into a puddle of oil when burned. You need a small dish to burn them in.
- Pillar – The most common type of candle. They are solid enough that you can burn them free standing.
- Container – a type of candle where the mould (container) is part of the finished candle.
The basic equipment:
- Something to heat the wax up, preferably an electric hob or hotplate.
- A double boiler.
- Some wax which is appropriate for the type of candle you plan to make.
- A wick which will work with the wax you are using
- Either a mold or a container to hold the melted wax.
- Optional – dyes, fragrances or essential oils.
There are a wide variety of different types of wax and wicks which can be used. They all have their own specific characteristic and can be used for different purposes and effects. Some waxes are harder than others, some burn slower, some are more rigid, some are more pliable etc. When choosing which type of wick to use there are a variety of factors to consider: the thickness of the candle, the type of wax, they dyes/fragrances/essential oils used and type of candle you’re making (votive, pillar, container etc). Don’t worry is this all seems a bit daunting there are many guides online that will help you select just the right type of wick.
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of candle making you’re ready to get your equipment, find a nice clear guide on how to make the type of candle you want to try and get stuck in.
Planning to have a go at candle making? Let us know how you get on in the comments box below.