Friday, January 18, 2013

Candle Making (Part 1 of 2)

This year when planning my handmade Christmas gifts, I decided to give candle making a try. It complements my bath and both products well since I can match the scents, so it seemed like a natural extension. I did some reading on general candle making techniques and materials, which turned out to be more complicated than I expected. There are myriad wax formulations, dyes, scents, and other products to choose from when making candles, which I didn't expect. I figured you just melt some wax and pour it into something, right?! Ha!

Back row (L-R): Two Lilac, Strawberry. Front row: Vanilla, CK Escape, Pink Grapefruit

I decided to start with smallish container candles because these seemed the simplest to make. So, I got hold of some supplies to make soy-based wax candles in scents and colors that would suit my intended recipients. I got most of the containers at thrift stores, and I was able to find plenty of basic candle holder shapes and some designs that I knew would particularly appeal to certain people. For example, I found the perfect strawberry container for my crafty grandmother who collects strawberries.

This photo also shows the biggest issue I encountered making these: there is a circular crack that runs around the entire inside of the candle. According to my after-the-fact searches online, this is likely related to the temperature of the wax when I poured it into the container. Which brings us to confession time.

But first another pretty picture.
While I read a lot of detailed instructions, I found that when I was trying to make just one or two candles in a particular scent and color combination, everything just happened too fast for me to keep up with all the details. Between prepping the containers, measuring and melting the wax, adding the color and scent, and pouring it, tracking the temperature went by the wayside altogether.

This one's cracked too. Also, lotion spoiler!
 I'm kind of a perfectionist, so this doesn't sit well with me. In the end, I couldn't find a good fix to get rid of this crack after the candles cooled, so I had to accept them as they are flaws and all. A life lesson perhaps.

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