You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t love a scented candle.
They look classy, they smell great, and lighting one makes you instantly feel like you’re practicing self care.
The only problem is they’re a bit pricey – especially if you want a good one.
But you can make them easily at home yourself – with the help of a few expert tips.
Read on below to get started.
The expert: Hayley Chapman works at Cosy Owl, a craft company specialising in candle making, and experiments with candle-making day in, day out.
She has previously led workshops with the local community, influencers and national press, as well as posting on Cosy Owl’s social media the dos and don’ts of candle making, tutorials and how to get into the hobby.
The reason: A good candle can cost from around £20 upwards – it can be cheaper (and more fun) to make your own at home.
What you’ll need
- 800g of wax (wax of your choice)
- Fragrance Oil – e.g. 50ml of Juicy Orange Fragrance Oil (Flash point of 70°C)
- Candle Dye – e.g 1g of Orange Bekro dye (6099/25)
- 5 x ECO 10 wicks
- 5 x 20cl Karen round glasses
- A heat source to melt the wax
- A double boiler (or a pan inside a pan) to melt the wax
- Something to stir the wax with
- A thermometer
- A pouring jug
- A wick centring tool
Before you begin
Prepare the area you will be using to make your candles to ensure that any spills are easily removed. Wax can be a nuisance to get off surfaces – have warm water and a rag or paper towels available to wipe away any wax that spills. Be careful to avoid contact with skin and especially your eyes.
In the unlikely event you were to get wax in your eyes, do not try to remove it yourself – seek medical assistance.
Although it can be uncomfortable or even slightly painful getting wax on your skin, it will generally peel away or can be washed off with warm water.
Just make sure that the skin does not stay red or discoloured as this could suggest an allergy.
Try to always avoid allowing the wax to be discarded down your sink as this can lead to blockages. Similarly, do not try to wash wax-soaked containers in your dishwasher.
Your step-by-step guide to making a candle:
Step 1: Wash and dry your candle jars
First, clean your candle glasses thoroughly ensuring that they are all completely dry. This will prevent any potential markings or swirls from appearing on the finished candle.
Step 2: Prepare and melt the wax
Fill a large pot (or saucepan) about halfway with hot water – making sure there’s enough room for the smaller heat-resistant container holding the wax. Place the solid wax into your container, which is then carefully placed into your pot.
Make sure the hot water does not go into the container. The water should now be brought to the boil and the wax will start to melt.
You can stir the wax with a disposable wooden spatula, but this is not completely necessary. However, having a spatula will be useful when adding wax dye or wax fragrance. Use a wax thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax.
You can use a standard cooking thermometer, but remember it must be cleaned effectively before being reused with food. Melt the wax at a controlled temperature no higher than 65°C.
Step 3: Place the wick
You now need to set the wick in place. The best way I do this is to dip the wick in the molten wax and then place the wick in the centre of the glass.
As the wax cools, it will hold the lower end of the wick in place. To secure the top of the wick, use a wick centring tool to ensure it remains straight and central when pouring.
Make sure the wick is pulled through tightly and then rest the centring tool across the top of the container. Of course, using the tool is optional, it just makes the process a little easier.
Step 4: Add your dye and oil
If you want a plain and simple candle without any fragrance or dye, you can skip this step – but who doesn’t like a little bit of colour in their candle and a comforting scent filling the room?
This step is when you will want to add your dye to the melted wax. As you place the dye into the container, you will immediately get an idea of the colour – add a little at a time until you get the colour you want.
Make sure all of your shards have melted before you start adding any fragrance oil.
Once it is all melted, you can add your fragrance oil. At this point, the temperature of the wax is crucial. The fragrance oil will have a flashpoint, this is the point at which the fragrance evaporates from the wax.
You will need to make sure the temperature of your wax is beneath this flashpoint.
The flashpoint will depend on the fragrance you choose – this information is can be found online, including on Cosy Owl’s website. For this Juicy Orange candle recipe, the flashpoint is 70°C.
Now include your fragrance oil and stir this gently to avoid air pockets – treat this part like baking. Make sure you keep stirring gently so the fragrance oil is all the way through the wax.
Be careful not to make the scent overly powerful at first or it can be quite overwhelming when permeating into the room.
Step 5: Pour the wax
Once you have done this, check the temperature of the wax is below 60°C, grab some kitchen roll (to keep the wax from spilling onto the sides of your jars) and begin pouring your wax carefully into your jars.
Fill the glass jars to 1cm below the rim and any leftover wax should be poured back into the double boiler. Leave these candles to set on a flat surface for around 20-30 minutes.
Step 6: Check your candles
Half an hour later, you will need to check how the candles are setting and then reheat your remaining wax and fill in any potential holes that have appeared on the top of the candle.
Once you have topped up your candle with the remaining wax, it’s best to leave the candles for 24 hours.
Step 7: Trim the wick
Remove your wick centring tool and grab some scissors (or wick trimming tool) and trim the wick to about 5mm.
Using longer wicks will create a larger flame initially, but most of the time, any excess will simply burn away.
Step 8: Enjoy your candle
Turn the lights down, sit back, put your favourite music on and enjoy the tranquil aesthetic and aroma of your creation. Put any modesty aside and make sure everyone around you appreciates your talent.
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