Sunday, 4 December 2016

DIY Christmas Candles

Who doesn't love a good candle? Someone who you shouldn't be friends with... OK well you can, but don't invite them to your birthday party. I appreciate a yummy candle, I really do. I am known for walking into peoples homes and sniffing around like a beagle at the airport, trying to track down what candle it is.

The only thing that annoys me about candles, is the price. They can be bit hurty on the ol' wallet, especially at Christmas time. So what I thought I would do this year, is make my own. Not only will my house smell good on a  constant basis, but they also work as a really good Christmas present for people.

I have made candles before, but as I found out when I recently went to a candle making course, I made them very, very badly and could have caused an explosion. Oops. Making candles, isn't as complicated as you might think, despite my last sentence. It's pretty simple, it's fun AND it's insanely cheap. You do outlay bit of money on all the supplies, but seriously, what you would spend on one candle, will make you about 20, NO exaggeration.

Because I have gained this ancient wisdom of candle making, I thought I should share it with you, my fellow candle smellers, think of it as my Christmas present... I sent a card in the mail as well.

So here is what you'll need:
                                           

  • Wax (Go for Soy wax if you can, there are some nasty waxes out there that actually emit chemicals which no one needs in there life.)
  • Some funky jars you want to put your candle in.
  • Wicks.
  • Bluetak.
  • Some yummy Christmas scents.
  • A thermometer.
  • A cooking pot.
  • A metal jug.
  • 2 icy-pole sticks.
Alrighty, so you have all your ingredients. Here is what we do next.

Wax:
How much wax will you need? Good question. The easiest trick to figuring out how much wax you will need is to grab some scales and place your jar on it, make sure it's been zeroed with the jar on it. Then fill the jar with water until you reach about 5cm from the top of the jar. How many mls of water you use, is how much wax you'll need. Make sense? Basically just leave the jar on the scales and fill it with enough wax so it weighs the same as it did with the water. Bingo bango. 

Your Jar and Wick:
It's super important that you choose the right wick for your jar. Basically the wick determines the amount of space that your candle will burn. So if the wick is too small, it'll only burn in a small circle and you'll waste the majority of your candle. If it's too big, it'll burn too wide and that can cause your jar to overheat and smash...which is bad. So the best way to know which wick to use, is to measure the widest part of your jar (in mms) and go by this chart that I have:

(The right side of the chart are the wick sizes, when you go to order your wicks, this will make more sense. )

So when you are getting your wicks, it's always good to have a variety of sizes, just to ensure you'll have one to fit any kind of jar, whether it be small or large. The next thing to do is to grab a small amount of blue tak and put it on the end of the wick (the flat disk at the end of it) and stick it inside at the bottom of your jar, in the middle. This way your wick won't be going anywhere when you fill the jar with hot wax. 
                               

The scent:
The best part for me is which scent to use. I made some candles last night and went for a few variations of Christmas scents. I chose: 'Christmas tree', 'Cinnamon and spice' and 'Buttercream cookie'. For me, those smells ARE Christmas. But the thing about scents is that are so personal. So pick ones that you feel best represent the Christmas Season. The rule with how much fragrance to use is 10% of how much wax you used, e.g 500gms wax - 50ml Scent. It's not alot, but if you put too much fragrance in, it causes that crackling effect that sometimes candles do, which can then cause the actual candle to explode. That's what I learnt about my last batch of candles... you know the ones where I used nearly the entire bottle of scents. Yep... my bad. 

Ok so now we are prepped and ready for candle making. 
  • The first thing to do is fill you pot with about an inch of water and get it to a boil on the stove.
  • Fill your metal jug with your wax (if it doesn't all fit, wait for some of the wax to melt and you can slowly add the rest).
  • Put the jug in the boiling water and watch the wax start to slowly melt. I say slowly, because it can be a very slow process. I got bit bored and thought I was doing it wrong. But it does eventually all melt. 
  • You can use a icy pole stick to stir the wax around, it helps it to break apart and melt faster.
  • Once the wax has all melted, pop your thermometer in and you want the wax to be between 60°-70°celsius. If it's too hot, turn the boiling water on the stove off. If it's too cold, just turn the stove up bit and wait for the temp to rise. 
  • When you hit the right temperature, you can add in your fragrance. Give it a stir with the icy pole stick to ensure it's nicely spread around and then pour your wax into your jar.
  • Grab two icy pole sticks and put them on either side of the wick to help it stay centre and stand up straight.
  • Leave to cool, you'll see it start to solidify after about 10-15 minutes.
  • It's best to leave your candle for 24 hours before you use it and that way all the wax will have solidified 100%. 
(These bad boys are mine I made last night. They smell freakin amazing!)

And it's that simple. Did it sound simple? I might actually do a video about this soon, for those of you who need to actually see what I'm talking about for it to make sense, I'm totally one of those people. 

Once you get the hang of it, it's super simple and can be quite therapeutic. 

The best placer to get your candle supplies is online. That way you can buy in bulk, which works out bit cheaper. 

I used the following sites to get my candle supplies and fragrances:

They have SO much to choose from, I kind of went overboard on the fragrances... I am officially stocked for every season and holiday for the next year! They also have an awesome range of jars to choose from, big and small and even little tea lights. 

Like I said, these work as an awesome Christmas present, especially if you are on a tight budget this year. It's inexpensive but it's still personal. I level it and I would be so happy to receive a candle like this as a present. 

I hope that all made sense, if you do have any questions just let me know. You can find me lurking around on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Please try not to burn yourselves, enjoy the smells and let me know if you made these for people and what they thought! I'd also love to see some photos if you do make them! 
Happy Candle Making Everyone!

For Candle Making Questions/Photos you can find me here:

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