A handbook on Eco- friendly candle-making
Scented candles and aromatherapy are very well-known stress relievers and more importantly making them is fun. So grab a partner and let's make some eco-friendly candles.
For this guide, we do not have an expert but she loves creativity and expressing it in different forms. Her recent obsession is making candles and some of the most pretty ones that I have seen. She is an architecture student and one of our amazing graphic designers- Nausheen Fatima.
Scented candles made by Nausheen.
This guide puts together everything that Nausheen has learned from making candles in the last couple of months. I mentioned before that this guide helps you make eco-friendly scented candles, you can use the same steps to make normal candles or eco-friendly candles. The difference between the two stems from the material used. For example, Paraffin Wax is traditionally used in candlemaking, however, it is not an eco-friendly solution. Paraffin wax is hydrogen and carbon molecules that are extracted from petroleum, coal, and oil. The toxins released from burning paraffin wax candles would be the same as those released from diesel fuel fire. I am sure that is definitely not what you have in mind when you want to relax.
There are eco-friendly solutions such as natural soy wax- It is made from soybeans, it is affordable, beginner-friendly wax, and it's also vegan. It has a low melting point and no scent. Another option is beeswax this comes from the sustainable practice of honey farming. This wax has a naturally sweet scent and a high melting point. However, it is more expensive than soy wax and Paraffin wax. Another eco-friendly option available is Coconut wax. Add this wax to your candles for a slower burn and great scent throw. We don't recommend using it alone because it's too soft. Start at 10% of the total weight of your candle.
At this point, you might be wondering if you should just buy a ready-made candle from the shop. Well, Nausheen found that making candles is very relaxing. It sure seems like a lot of work, but it's really not. In fact, you can even save a lot of money by buying the raw material from your local markets and in bulk. And you can use the money you saved to buy gifts for your friends and family, or make them these candles and surprise them with this eco-friendly alternative.
Candles can also be made with a gel base as opposed to a wax base. So, what is the difference between a gel-based candle and a wax-based candle? Gel-based candles use gels that are similar to paraffin which means they are either synthetic gels or are made from saturated hydrocarbons. Gel-based Candles burn for a longer time than wax candles, however, they release twice as many toxins and pollutants and cannot be left unattended. Moreover, if the fragrance used in it has not been made with proper precautions it can lead to flammable pockets in the candle which makes the candles far more dangerous. Hence, our strong recommendation is Natural Soy Candles with a little bit of Coconut wax in them or Beeswax Candle if you don't want to add any external fragrances.
Let's get to the candle-making!
Equipment needed for Candle Making
Some basic equipment that you will need for Candle Making are:
Wax of your choice: Natural Soy Wax/ Beeswax and Coconut Wax (Do not use it alone)
Container to keep the candle in: You can use recycled options like Mason jars. Make sure they're heat safe and sturdy. You can also use glass, ceramic, and tin instead of plastic.
A thermometer so you know when to add scent and pour your wax.
A double boiler to melt the wax. If you don't have one on hand, you can put a heat-safe pitcher in simmering water or place a heat-safe bowl on top.
A pair of scissors to trim the wicks.
Newspaper or parchment paper to protect your work surface.
A spray bottle of isopropyl alcohol or nail polish remover and paper towels for cleanup.
How to make the candles
Step 1: Choose your wax. While Paraffin is still pretty much on the table due to its popularity, it is not an eco-friendly option. Soybean is affordable and eco-friendly, Beeswax is more expensive and eco-friendly as an option, and finally coconut wax would have to be used in combination with another wax. We have used soy wax for our candles as they are not only affordable but also extremely beginner-friendly and cleans up easily.
Step 2: We need to make sure our work area is protected, candle making sounds easy and harmless, however, it can get dangerous in the absence of proper precautions. So, unless you have a dedicated area that you can get wax on without worrying about it, you should put newspaper, wax paper, or towels and rags down on the surface you will be working on. Have some warm soapy water handy in case of spills.
Step 3: We need to cut our wax into small pieces or shavings, smaller chunks and shavings melt better and faster than bigger chunks. By using smaller chunks we can ensure that the melting is at an even rate as well as use less fuel to melt it. After shaving and cutting our wax, we need to get a medium or large pot and fill it with water till the midline, making sure that we have enough room for a smaller container that you'll be using to melt the wax in a makeshift double boiler.
Step 4: After these initial preparations place your smaller container inside the larger pot, creating a make-shift double boiler.
Step 5: Add your shavings to the double boiler and keep a thermometer handy to keep an eye on the temperature of the wax.
Paraffin wax should be melted by the time it reaches between 122 and 140°F (50 and 60°C).
Soy wax should be melted by the time it reaches between 170 and 180 degrees (76.6 and 82.2°C).
Beeswax should be melted by the time it reaches roughly 145 degrees (6
2.7°C). You can go a little bit higher but try not to exceed 175 degrees (79.4°C).
Old candles should be melts at around 185 degrees (85°C). Remember to remove the old wicks with tongs.
Step 6: Add scent to your melted candle wax, the choice is completely up to you. Scents such as essential oils can be purchased online easily. Stir well.
Step 7: Add coloring. The normal food coloring will not work in candles because they are water-based. Purchase oil-based dyes at your local craft store. You can generally find specific candle dyes. Read the bottle for the proper amount of dye to put in order to achieve a certain color. Add drops of coloring until you have reached your desired color. Stir well.
Step 8: Ready your moulds!! Place a wick in the center of the candle mould. You can use tins, mason jars, old teacups, really any sort of container that you know can withstand heat. Metal tins are very famous as moulds. You do not need to buy a specific mould for this. You can reuse old items that can withstand high temperatures. Place them on a flat surface in your protected workspace, the wick should be in the center of the candle mould with about two inches sticking out of the candle. Loop the end that will be out of the wax around the center of a pen or pencil. Rest the pen across the top of the mould you will be pouring your wax into. Make sure the wick hangs down straight into the center of the mould.
Step 9: Pour your melted wax into the moulds. Pour at a slow pace so that the wax does not spillover. Be careful to not knock the wick out of the mould.
Step 10: Let the wax cool down, it is best to keep the wax moulds to cool down for 24 hours. The longer the cooling period the better the candle will turn out.
Paraffin candles generally take 24 hours to cool.
Soy candles generally take 4 to 5 hours to cool.
Beeswax candles generally take 6 hours to cool, but if you can wait, cooling them overnight is best.
If you made your candle with old candles, you should only need to let it stand for a couple of hours.
Step 11: Remove the candle from the mould once it cools down and trim the wick to ¼ size as a longer wick will cause too large flames.
Step 12: The final step. Light the wick and enjoy your candle.
Tips and Tricks
There are some tricks that Nausheen had to learn the hard way. However, we made this guide to take care of the hard part of experimenting and learning. So here are some tips and tricks that Nausheen suggests
Obviously, don't burn yourself while making the candle. It will leave a nasty scar and experience.
Be cautious at every step. You are dealing with a liquid, it is very easy to lose and focus and create a mess.
Constantly monitor the temperature of the melted wax to pour in the scent and color.
While melting the wax you cannot put candle wax directly on heat or it will catch fire or evaporate. Turn the heat to high so that the water boils. The boiling water will slowly melt the wax. Keep in mind that wax is difficult to clean so for the clean purpose you can buy a heat-safe pot designated for making candles.
While adding fragrance please read the bottle’s directions rather than basing the amount that you put in on how strong it smells after the scent has already been added.
With this, we conclude our handbook on eco-friendly candle making. If you do make the candles following this guide, share the candles with us on our Instagram page or comment below. We are excited to see you start your journey in this therapeutic world of candles.
Where can you find the material
You can buy the material from amazon or from your local crafts stores. You can also avail some great deals if you buy the material required in bulk. Or otherwise, there are kits that are available in various crafts stores that have the quantities measured out exactly so that you can make a couple of candles on your own without getting the proportions wrong.
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