There are very few things in life that are as comforting as a candle. Hard day at work? Light a candle, cozy up on the sofa, and get lost in a good book.
Fancy some romance? Dim the lights, light a candle (or several), and let your home be transformed into a romantic Italian restaurant.
Candles come in an array of different colors, sizes, and smells, but have you noticed how quickly they can burn out if you use them a lot? Those constant trips to the candle store aren’t easy on your pocket, and what if we told you some candles can be toxic to your health?
There is a solution to having as many candles as you desire on-demand, and ensuring they are not hazardous to your health, …make your own!
While this may sound like an impossible task that requires blood, sweat, and tears, fear not! As long as you have the ingredients, the method is pretty straightforward, and it’s a great way to re-use all those empty jam jars!
Why Make Your Own?
Although buying your own candles just sounds like an easier, stress-free option, aside from giving you a little confidence boost, making your own ones will ensure you won’t have any toxins burning in your home.
While many candle-making companies do ensure to use harmless ingredients, there are many conventional candles that are polluting your home, quite literally. They can let off harmful chemicals that can have negative effects on breathing and even hormones.
Although many candles are praised for their delicious smells, many contain artificial fragrances from chemicals. These have been linked to several health issues.
Natural candles use essential oils for their scents, eliminating all health risks and still smelling wonderful.
Many conventional candles are also made with paraffin wax. This is a petrochemical product from petroleum refining that has been known to be contaminated with some cancer-causing compounds.
Does this fact make you want to check every single candle in your home?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. The wicks on some conventional candles can also be dangerous, as some have a small wire inside to keep the wick upright.
When the wick burns, it releases some heavy metals into the air, which is pretty dangerous to breathe in and can mess with your hormones. When candle shopping, be on the lookout for candles made with hemp, wood, or 100% cotton wicks.
We’re sure that giving you all this information will, if not give you a boost to make your own, will at least have you searching for natural candles on the market. However, making your own ones is a really fun activity you can do yourself, or with some friends or family.
You can choose any pretty glass jars you want, and decorate them to your heart’s desire!
How To Make Your Own
Let’s talk about ingredients. To make your own wonderful little candles, all you’ll need is wax, oils, and a wick (and a glass jar to put them in).
When selecting these ingredients, although slightly on the pricier side, you’ll want to make sure they are of high quality in order to make the best candles that smell great.
When it comes to picking your essential oils, the brand plays a huge part, so make sure you’re purchasing good quality oils, as well as the rest of your ingredients.
Choosing Your Wax
Different waxes can hold scents better than others. You’ll also want to select one that burns slowly, so your candle lasts longer.
Beeswax is one that burns slowly, and it releases its own scent. Paraffin wax, is a less expensive option that is unscented, so it will hold the scents added, but it burns quickly.
As covered earlier, paraffin wax releases harmful chemicals into the air, so although it is inexpensive, it isn’t worth risking your health and the health of those around you.
Since you are going to be using essential oils as your fragrance, they have weaker scents than those that have been chemically produced. Because of this, you need to choose a wax that can hold scents for a longer period of time and won’t release them too quickly.
Soy wax is a great option for your candles. It doesn’t burn as fast as paraffin wax, making it last longer, and it burns much cleaner, not releasing soot and harmful smoke into the air. Soy wax will also hold onto your natural scents, making them smell good for longer.
Every candle needs a wick. While soy wax is a great option because it holds onto scent for a longer period of time, it isn’t a wax that gets very hot, which means it won’t release as much of the scent.
For this to happen, you require a wick that burns pretty hot.
As mentioned earlier, many wicks will have a wire inside to help them stand upright, but when it burns, it releases metals into the air that can be hazardous to health.
You can use cotton wicks, but they don’t burn as hot, so when paired with soy wax that also doesn’t get hot, it is not the wisest choice.
Hemp wicks are braided wicks that are made of natural fibers rather than cotton. These will give you a hotter burn and are more rigid, so will stay in place. Hemp wicks can be used with any kind of wax.
Wood wicks are also an option. The benefit of them is that they are completely rigid and guaranteed to stay in place.
Wicks made from wood also do not produce any harmful toxins, so they are a good option for making completely natural candles.
Choosing Your Oils
The oils you decide to use in your candles is down to personal preference. It will also depend on how potent your oils are. The more potent, the stronger the scent will be.
While some milder smelling oils are great in aromatherapy, they may not be the best options for your candles as their scents may not be strong enough to come through. It is also important to use essential oils from a high-quality brand, as they will be more likely to have strong scents.
The great thing about making your own candles is you can experiment and learn more as you go through the process and gain more confidence. If you’re unsure what scent you’d like, here is a bit of guidance.
If you’d like a citrus smelling kind of candle, then oils such as sweet orange, lemon, and grapefruit are perfect for this.
If you’re a fan of floral scents, then jasmine, lavender, and rose are good options.
If you’d like something a little more wintry, with a woody aroma, then sandalwood, cedar, and cypress are great. Pair them along with some spicy smelling oils such as cinnamon and nutmeg, and you’ve got your own little Christmas in a jar.
While using oils in aromatherapy will have you using just a few drops of each oil, candle making will have you using much more. Essential oils don’t smell as strong as synthetic fragrances, so because of this, you need to add lots of oil.
A rough guideline for the ratio of oil you’ll need, is around 2 teaspoons for every 4-ounces of wax that has been melted. However, adding more is definitely not frowned upon, this is your own little project, there are no rules!
Another key thing to focus on is adding the oils at the right time. If the wax has become too hot, then it can destroy the compounds in the oil, affecting the quality of the scent.
If it’s too cool, then the oils may not disperse properly throughout the candle.
The temperature you want your wax to be at is 185 degrees F. You can use a thermometer for this. When the wax has reached the desired temperature, then you can mix your oils in.
Once your candle is ready for use, in order to retain as much scent as possible, cover it with a lid in between uses.
You can also add more oils to the wax if you’d like more scent. However, you can’t just pour more oil onto an already formed candle, you’ll need to melt it down.
To do this, just put the candle in the freezer and the wax should pop out. Once this has happened, melt the wax, remove its wick, and then you can add as much oil as you want.
Here it is, the moment you’ve been waiting for, the step-by-step-guide on how to make a candle. The ingredients you’ll need are as follows:
- – A glass or metal container to hold your handle (4-ounces)
- – Candle wicks of your choosing
- – 2 cups of soy wax (this should be in the form of flakes)
- – 1 saucepan
- – 1 aluminum can (this will be used for melting the wax)
- – 2 teaspoons of essential oil
- – 1 thermometer (good-quality kitchen thermometer)
- – Clothespin (this will be used to keep the wick steady)
Begin by placing the wax flakes into your aluminum can. Fill your saucepan with water, place it over some heat, and put the aluminum can with the wax flakes in the middle of the pan. Let the wax melt completely.
Once the wax has melted, remove the can from the pan, and insert the thermometer into the wax. Keep an eye until the wax cools to around 185 degrees F. Once it is at this temperature, stir in your essential oils and mix together.
When the wax and oils have mixed together, place your container that is going to contain your candle on a smooth, solid surface, and insert the wick in the center of the jar. You can use a clothespin or to keep it steady in place. Pour the wax inside and let it cool for a few hours, or overnight.
Once the time has passed, it is ready to be lit!
It is important to note that if you are making candles of a bigger size, then you’ll need more oil for the wax ratio. Keep the ratio 2 teaspoons for every 4 ounces of melted wax in your mind, and this measurement for your larger candles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens If You Add Too Much Essential Oil To A Candle?
Adding too much oil can cause it to burn off the melted wax, so you won’t get as nice of a scent.
Do You Cure Your Candles With Lids On Or Off?
Letting your candles cure, is when you allow them to set just after you’ve made them. You should cure them for around 3 days, with a lid on, especially if you have used natural wax.
This will ensure their scent will be as fresh as ever when you begin to burn it.
Why Does My Soy Candle Have A Lumpy Top?
In most cases, when a soy candle gets a lumpy top, it is a result of the temperature. Making sure your thermometer is of good quality is a must, as the temperature of the wax as you pour it will make a difference.
Sometimes, the surrounding temperature can also affect the texture of your candle. If it is warm you may be using an air con, if you are doing this during the winter, you may have a heater nearby.
These aspects can all change the components of your candle.
You may need to experiment a little with temperatures in this case.
Why Don’t My Soy Candles Smell Strong?
If you’ve noticed your candles don’t smell very strong, it could be because some of the fragrance is burning off due to too much heat from the wax. Try letting your wax cool a little more before mixing in the oils.
Why Are My Wicks Going Out?
Your wick could be going out because it is too short. Be sure to not accidentally trim too much when preparing. Wider wicks must be trimmed shorter than taller wicks.
If a wick is too short, it can be surrounded by already burnt material and won’t want to light up more. If this has happened to you, melt out the candle and add a taller wick.
To conclude, although conventional candles smell wonderfully yummy, they are likely made with chemicals that release compounds that are toxic to your health. Making your own candles ensures that you are using natural and harmless ingredients, while being able to choose whatever scents you want!
Making your own candles is also a very fun activity you can do, and whenever your candle runs out you can just make a new one, or you can make your own endless supply!
If you really start to enjoy making them, you could even create your own little local business, making candles for friends, family, and anyone in your neighborhood!