Monday, September 1, 2008

Candle Maker....?

So, two weeks ago in preparation for Tropical Storm Faye and any of her brother's or sister's that decide to make their appearance in Florida, I began an adventure in candle making.

First, I gathered up all the candles that were melted down to almost nothing, or those which had lost their wicks; then I sorted them according to color and/or scent. Once that task was completed, David and I made a trip into town to prepare in other ways...stocking up on water, peanut butter, hot chocolate and various comfort foods as well as batteries and water proof fire starting methods....and we stopped into Michael's for candle making paraphernalia.

We purchased a roll of wick, some sticky stuff and the little metal thingies and a thermometer, pouring pot, and a few molds. Back at home, I gathered up various containers to use as candles which included a green McCoy vase, old jars from Yankee Candle, chipped tea cups etc. A quick search on Google for candle making tips (including what hazards I should be aware of in using those various containers) and I was ready to go.

Two days later, I had about 10 candles made - one tall pillar, three votive and the rest were in some of the containers I'd gathered. Now was to come the test of just how well I'd done in this new was a bit more difficult and tricky then I'd expected and I was a tad disappointed in the results, but I learned a lot in the's some of what I learned in the order in which I think of them as I type....:)

1) It is a very hot job and is one that would be better suited to the cooler days of fall or winter.

2) Getting the wicks to the correct size for good burning of the candles is tricky...leave too little and the wick burns itself out in the melting wax...leave too much and you get a lot of smoke. But, its best to have too much then too little...

3) It is very time consuming...there is the first pour, then 30 minutes later, there is the second pour, then two hours later, there is the third pour, then 1 hour later, there is what could be the final pour but only additional time and vigilance can really tell you if a final final pour is necessary. Two of my candles appeared to be fine when I went to bed the first night, only to wake up to a huge "well" in each of them that had appeared while the house slept.


each subsequent pour must be at the same temperature as the original pour or you have lines in the candle....

4) When you add the scent is important. If you add it too soon, the heat dissipates you have to get the wax to a higher temperature then you want it at pouring, then remove the wax from the heat source and add the scent and stir until melted at which point, your wax is hopefully at the correct temperature for the container you are pouring into.

The conclusion is this....I really enjoyed the process; most of the candles have burned well and didn't immediately drown out in their wicks. I will do it again, but with a few changes....

1) I will make fewer candles in a batch using similar containers...i.e. I will make the votive candles all in one session, pillars all in one session, and glass jars of similar size in one session etc. This will make keeping track of pour temperatures and times a whole lot easier. A lot of my mistakes the first time around was due to too many needs for too many different types of candles.

2) I was disappointed in the scent that burning the candles emits. I will add more scent to the first pour, I will continue to add scent to each consecutive pour (since bringing the wax back to pour temperature dissipates the scent).

3) I will pay much closer attention to the temperatures of each consecutive pour...I got confused and the evidence is visible in some of the candles.

4) I will do it on a day when I am home alone for most of the time required to do this right.....I was distracted by three kids, a coming tropical storm, a husband and four dogs, two cats and a rabbit coming in for the storm. Next time, I 'll only have to deal with the four dogs and two cats....

Some of the candles I made were beautiful, some a little less then beautiful. I forgot to pour from the same batch into two identical containers so now one is a deep gold and one a light gold. The pillar is probably the best of the lot, with the votive candles a close second. My favorite though is the Green McCoy just looks good.

Besides enjoying the process, I was "greener" for the experience. I felt accomplished and self sufficient and like I belonged to this house and the history it holds. I recommend that everyone take a day or two to adventure into the art of candle making.....

1 comment:

  1. I don't usually comment on blogs, but thought you might be interested in a great site for learning about hand poured candles. There is a wealth of information there! There's so much to learn about making a good, safe candle, and I learned most of it there.

    I've been making candles for 5 years now, and it's become a passion for me. It's also very addictive!!


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