Have you ever wanted to make candles of your own? Not the candles from Hobby shops like Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, but real ones like Yankee.
If you have done any serious research into how to make candles of this caliber, you may have run into some snags just as I did when I first began. Those snags inspired me to write about it here.
So, without further ado, let’s talk candle making and the bullcrap nobody else will tell you!
Why Make Candles
In your journey to improve who you are, self-care is a must. We get caught up in doing things for others, often neglecting our own needs.
Loving you means taking time to do the things you enjoy doing. It can be simple or more elaborate. It can be taking a bubble bath or attempting a new hobby.
I chose to create a new hobby, taking time to really study candlemaking so I could make a good candle. The way it helped me during very stressful times motivated me to share this fun hobby.
Even if candlemaking isn’t for you, find something that is! If you love candles and want to start something new, read on. I am sharing all I know to help you find your center.
You got this!
Determine What Type Of Candles You Want To Make
This is the fun part. Before you know what type of wax to get, you must figure out what type of candles you want to create. You can make votives, pillars, and tealights, or you could make regular container candles.
It doesn’t stop there though, you can also make wickless candles and wax melts to be used with a special burner.
The type of candle you want to make will determine which type of wax you need. Pillar wax is much different than container wax. The melt-point is very high so it doesn’t “blow out”.
I often use the same wax to make container candles, wax melts, and wickless candles. In my opinion, wax with a low melt point is best. The reason being that as you burn it, it develops a melt pool rather quickly, which in turn releases the awesome fragrance chosen for that candle.
If the melt-point is too low, it will not make a pretty wax melt. So you will need to experiment to see if you can use the same wax for all three. If it is too soft, but you love that particular wax, you could always get another wax with a higher melt point and make a 20/80 mixture. This will firm your wax just enough to make a nice wax melt. Always test, test, test.
Wax Is Not Created Equal
Ok, now let’s talk wax. The paraffin from hobby shops mentioned above would not melt if you held a torch to it. Ok, maybe that is a little extreme, but seriously, the melt-point on the wax is a big deal. As is quality.
But before you even get that far, you need to decide which type of wax you want to use for your candles, Paraffin or Soy. They each have their own set of pros and cons.
Do not choose soy because you want to make a “natural” candle. This is hogwash. I have heard people using soy for this reason and I just shake my head and sigh. Why?
Paraffin wax and Soy wax both come from the earth (paraffin is from petroleum) and unless soy comes right off the plant as a tiny wax pellet, it too is processed. Neither should be chosen on this point at all.
Another reason people choose soy is because of the misconception that soy candles do not soot. This is untrue. Trust me… I made a soy candle soot just as bad as its paraffin counterpart. Hahaha. Just as you will at the beginning of your candle making journey should you use soy.
So as you decide which wax to use, the only thing nice about soy wax is that soy is just soy. If you but it from one manufacturer, it’s pretty much the same at another. However, paraffin wax comes in many, many forms. So in a way, soy wax is limiting.
Consider these things when deciding which wax to choose.
- Will you be making container candles only or do you plan to make votives, pillars, or tealights?
- Are you wanting to make wickless candles to burn on a burner?
- Do you plan to make candle melts? Ya know, the cubes that you melt in an electric warmer?
Once you determine what type of candles you will be making, you can move forward on choosing the wax you want to start with. Let’s look at some pro’s and con’s.
- Paraffin wax comes in sheets, blocks, bars, and pellets.
- It comes in a variety of textures and melt-points.
- You can experiment with additives for a better burn.
- Candle paraffin is often mixed with stearin to make the candles burn longer and look glossy.
- Easy to use
- Must pay attention to the temperature because paraffin has a flashpoint (375 degrees) and can catch fire if it gets too hot.
- Scentless. You must add fragrance.
- Naturally grown by farmers.
- Longer lasting
- Burns slower
- Must use hotter burning wicks
There is a hot debate about whether soy or paraffin is better. I suggest you try both.
When I first started making candles, I began with soy. I believed the hype about it holding more fragrance and burning at a cooler temperature.
However, my experience with soy was not good. I had soot just as bad, found that my paraffin could hold just as much fragrance, and didn’t like that I had to use the hottest burning wicks.
My best advice to you to test both to see which you prefer.
Where To Get Your Wax
Now that you have an idea about what type of candles you want to make, and decided on whether you want to use soy wax or paraffin wax, now you just have to figure out where to buy it from.
There are many different companies to choose from that are located all over the US. If you perform a search to see the different options and then click through their websites, you will notice that they don’t all have the same wax.
This can throw a wrench into your plans and you may have to go back to the drawing board and pick a new wax based on the company you choose to get it from. Shipping can cost a small fortune.
Cost-wise, your best bet is to find something local, and if not, find a company closest to you.
One of my favorites: CandleScience
Now Let’s Talk About Wicks
There are many different types of wicks to choose from and the wick you choose will differ from wax to wax… well, kind of.
They say that wicks (for container candles) can be used across the board with any wax if it’s the proper size, and while that is true, that doesn’t mean the wick you choose will make a good candle. How to know if it is good with your wax? Testing.
I went through so many wicks and so much wax testing the various wicks with my particular wax combos. The formula changes each time you add something to your candles, such as fragrance oils and color.
CD wicks burn hottest and are great for soy because of this reason, while Zinc core wicks burn the coolest. HTP wicks curl and are self-trimming, or so they say… and so on.
The point is that you will need to research which wicks to start with, as well as the wick size, and then make adjustments from there based on your wax combo and the results of your testing.
Fragrance Oil For An Awesome Smelling Candle
Everyone loves an awesome smelling candle! To get your candle to have the best hot throw (the fragrance you smell while burning the candle), you will need to purchase quality fragrance oils.
There are several companies out there who sell these types of oils and while most are good quality, you get what you pay for. I always purchase from a reputable supplier.
Something to keep in mind: All fragrance oils are measured by weight. Because of this, some bottles seem to be less full and this is completely normal and doesn’t mean you got cheated.
Some fragrance oils (FO’s) are thicker than others. Because of this, you need to test each and every fragrance in your candles so you know which oils work and don’t work.
The two wax’s I chose both held a nice amount of fragrance, approximately 10 percent. Some fragrances wouldn’t blend well, so I had to modify the amount of fragrance accordingly.
Again, you must test each oil. The suppliers usually have 1oz samples for you to purchase for testing. Don’t be gung-ho and purchase fragrance oils a pound at a time. While it is cost-effective, you have no clue if it will blend with your wax. So start small.
Coloring Your Candles
You don’t have to add coloring to your candles, and in fact, for the purpose of testing your wax/wick/fragrance oil combo’s, I wouldn’t worry about the coloring in the beginning.
If you get the bug as many candlemakers do, you are going to be burning candles all over your home to test for the best combinations. It’s something that happens to us all, so you are in good company.
If you do decide to color them, keep it light. You can get some pretty colors using color blocks, chips or liquids. I like the color blocks because I was able to make them go far and they are super easy to use.
Keep in mind that if you attempt dark colors, it affects how the candle will burn. So always test each combo to ensure your success.
Always Test Your Candles
Here,s the word “test” again. To make a kick-ass candle, you must spend the time to test each wax/wick/fragrance/color combo. You can’t assume that if you slap a candle together, it’s a good candle. It may look pretty, but it will likely suck.
Each wax combo will burn differently. If the melt-point is really high, it takes a lot of heat to burn. If it is low, it will burn quicker.
It is important to test so you know if the wick you chose is good. You may need to wick up a size with certain fragrances, but the only way to know is to test!
Are You Ready To Make Your First Candle?
If you are ready to move forward and make your first candle, sign up for my candle course!
My candle course will walk you through each and every step, including the exact wax I use in my candles.
Not only that, but I will also tell you which wicks I used. I am sharing my candle making secrets with you!
Other candlemakers hold their “recipes” close to them and will not share specifics. I am not that candlemaker! I am going to share everything I did to make an awesome container candle, wickless candle, and wax melts.
Use the form below to sign up for Candle Making Made Easy. It is still in creation, but be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss out when I roll it out and make it active!
It is time you take time out for you! As you navigate your journey, understand the importance of some you time. Making candles is a perfect way to connect with yourself.
I look forward to seeing you there!