How to make home made candles
Here is a list of the things you will need:
- 2 Pans (one smaller than the other , preferably with good solid bases)
- Candle wax
- Colouring agent
- Cooking thermometer
- Aprons (optional but advised with kids)
- Wicks - pre treated
- Wick holders
- Glass jars or glass tumblers
- Mould Sealer
- Kebab Skewers (Optional)
- A pippet
- A measuring jug
Candlemaking made easy
Candle making can be a fun family activity, especially on a rainy cold day. Of course using hot candle wax is something that you have to take great care with. However, it can be done. The kids can help with the basic prep, adding scents, choosing the colour etc... and if you are careful they can also mix with a wooden spoon and monitor the temp. This may seem like simple tasks but they still feel involved in the candlemaking process.
Understanding how to read the temp, choosing scents and colours introduces them to science at an early age.
The easiest way to get most of this equipment if you are starting out is to purchase a candle making kit. These are easy purchased from ebay or amazon. This would provide the basic candle making gear, however the utensils (pots, pans jug) etc would not be included.
There are a whole variety of starter kits, some do votive candles, some round and pillar, to name a few. The choice is yours.
IMPORTANT - NEVER put candle wax directly on heat. ALWAYS use a double burner.
Make sure you have a clean surface and put some old newspaper down to protect your work surface.
Before anything else it is good to prepare. If you are using moulds then you will have to thread the wick through the mould and secure it. This is where your mould sealer and kebab skewer comes in ( I use a pack of wooden skewers) The mould sealer helps to prevent the hot wax running straight through. Add the sealer to the base of your mould and make sure the wick can not escape with a secure knot. Tie the other end (after going through the mould) to the skewer, again with a knot and make sure the wick is taut. This allows you to make sure the wick is central in the mould and it helps equal burning.
If you don't have moulds or you just fancy an alternative you can put the candle wax in old jars (perhaps even decorated with glass paint if you are feeling creative) or I have often found some rather nice cheap tumblers at the supermarket that are nice for a candle. In this case you are better to use small wick holders to help keep the wick in place.
I now have a variety of friends that will hand in their old candles that they have bought from retailers and I reuse the jars.
Some of the bigger shop bought candles sometimes burn unevenly, leaving wax but no wick. Rather than throwing the wax in the bin, you can melt it down and reuse the wax in a new candle. Its a great way to reuse and create something new from something used.
If you choose to do this, however, always make sure that if it has been a scented candle e.g. vanilla, make sure that you the new candle is the same scent.
Once you have all your candles in place I would suggest that you start with the wax.
As I have said earlier, you need 2 pans, one inside the other ( the bottom one has the water in it ) and the top one the wax. It depends what wax you have. Alot these days come pre mixed with stearin. If it doesn't then you would need to add some.
Melt the wax completely until there is no lumpy bits. This tends to happen around 120 - 150 degrees. If you wish to add fragrance oil this needs a slightly hotter temp around 160 - 180 degrees. 180 seems to be the better temp as it binds easier.
If you wish to add colour you can add it a bit at a time. There are a variety of options for dyes and a myriad of colours so I would suggest you follow the instructions.
Once you have everything added all you have to do is pour it into you moulds and wait....
If you want a 2 tone (or more candle) then you have to layer it, pouring a bit of wax in waiting to cool then adding the next colour and repeating until complete.
If when the wax is set there is a small indent, don't worry you can always add a little extra wax to fill the hole.
Never mix more than one scent together....
As I said earlier candle making is great fun an perfect for a rainy day...my daughter loved helping making mum make candles and then had a candle to take to school for her show and tell the next week.
Also if you have candles lying around that are "dead" you can always recycle the wax. (if it has black waxy bits you can strain it)...If you do that though be careful not to mix fragrances.