With COVID numbers on the rise, and the threat of isolation looming, we have to start finding small comforts to help us pull through the long winter ahead.
There is no one-trick solution, but something as simple as the age-old candle, can bring light, warmth, and provide a mood-lifting change in ambience, especially if it comes with a soothing aroma.
We thought a nice thing to do this fall, in preparation for the darker and colder days ahead, would be to block off some time to make your own candles. Not only is it a more economical option, but the creative process sounds like a relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon in and of itself.
Candle-making master Isabella Caprario, of Porch.com, shares her crafting tips.
Materials You’ll Need
You can find many candle-making supplies online or at your local craft store. Some items can also be purchased at general merchandise stores too. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- Wax: The foundation of any candle is the wax, and you can find it in a few different forms:
- Paraffin is the most traditional type of candle wax, and it’s also the most affordable. Paraffin is a petroleum byproduct, which means it’s not completely natural. However, paraffin wax has been used in candle-making for centuries and is still the most popular option today.
- Soy is an up-and-coming wax for candles that is derived from soybean oil. You can also find soy wax blended with other waxes like beeswax or palm. A perk to using soy wax is that it blends well with a variety of fragrances and colours.
- Beeswax is a product of bees that’s harvested during the honey-making process and has a beautiful golden colour. This wax already has a slightly sweet scent, making it a bit more difficult to add custom fragrances to your candle. The organic nature of beeswax makes it a great option, although it may be more expensive than paraffin or soy.
- Wicks: You’ll need a wick in order to use your candle, and you can find them in a variety of different styles. Some wicks come “pre-tabbed,” which means they have a pre-cut length with a metal base at the bottom for easy insertion. Other candle wicks come in longer lengths that you cut to your custom specifications. Wicks typically come pre-waxed, but you can also find them “raw” which simply means they don’t have a coating applied.
- Containers: Avoid using plastic and stick with containers made of metal, glass, or ceramic instead. Mason jars make a perfect candle container, and you can also use a coffee mug, planter, or any other vessel that adds a beautiful look to your creation.
- Accessories: You’ll need to gather a few additions to help you make your DIY candles. Use a double boiler to melt your wax safely in the kitchen on the stovetop. A thermometer will help you take the wax’s temperature and determine how warm it is as you add your fragrance to it or pour it into your container. A spatula or a large spoon is another handy tool that will help you stir the wax and break up any oversized chunks of wax that are lingering behind. (Wear an apron to protect your clothing from wax, as it can splatter while you stir and melt it!)
Once you have all of your candle-making supplies together, you can decide which scents you’d like to use. Candle fragrances can be festive, calming, or floral depending on your mood and the type of candle you want to make. Essential oils are an excellent way to add powerful, long-lasting fragrance to your candle. Add the oil to your wax when it’s melted, and make sure you add the appropriate amount depending on the type of wax you use. If the wax doesn’t come with instructions to add the oil, a good rule of thumb is to add one ounce of essential oil per one pound of wax. Stir the essential oil into the melted wax and do this for about 30 seconds until it’s thoroughly mixed into the wax.
If you want a more specific scent, you can use specially formulated candle fragrances. These products come in liquid form and can be added to your melted wax in your desired strength. You can also mix and match different formulas together to create your very own custom scent.
To create a colorful candle, you’ll need to add some dye chips to your wax while it’s still melted. These handy candle-making supplies can be found at most craft stores and online, and they come in a rainbow of hues. If you can’t find dye chips, you can use crayons. Chop up about 12 to 15 crayons for each candle you make and add them to the wax as you stir thoroughly for even colouring. Again, make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using each product.
Decorating Your Candle
There are a lot of decorating options, but we love the idea of pressing some dried fruit slices or flower petals against the inside of your Mason jar before you pour the wax in, for a natural look. If you have kids that want to help, glitter is always fun.
On Instagram, we often see photos of candles lining a bathtub, but having a candle on your desk is a really nice way to promote a feeling of calm during your workday. Homemade candles are also a terrific gift to drop off to a family member or friend that you aren’t able to see regularly, due to COVID.