I love a scented candle…the house is full of them! My favourites are the ones we have at this time of year. The wonderful cakey smells of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg make the house smell like Christmas as soon as Autumn kicks in. Earlier this year I decided to experiment with making my own candles and I didn’t realise it was so easy! Once you have the right equipment it’s really very straight forward. I have tried out lots of different scents from citrus Summer smells to sweet spring flower scents. This tutorial is for a Gingerbread scent and it is just perfect for a Winter’s evening. It almost smells good enough to eat!
Personally I prefer to make soy wax candles. Soy wax burns cleaner, it has no toxins, carcinogens or pollutants and so is less likely to trigger any allergies. There is less soot produced from a soy candle than a regular paraffin candle and they are generally longer lasting as they burn at a cooler temperature. On average a soy candle will last 30-50% longer than a paraffin candle. The process, as I said, is easy. The only tricky part is getting the scent right. I have found it always takes more scent than you would think to get a good smelling candle that’s not overpowering and not too subtle.
Tools and Ingredients: (links to products below)
- Soy Wax – I use Eco Soya Container Wax Candle Flakes. They come in a fabulous cloth bag which is great for storage. 1lb of wax will fill 16 oz of containers. You could make 1 large 16oz, 2 smaller 8oz containers or 4 small 4 oz ones.
- Containers – For this tutorial I have used small 4 oz clip top jars – but you can use whatever container suits you but remember everything looks better in a jar!
- You can purchase a hot burner to make candles although a stove works just as well. The benefit to having a burner means you can make them somewhere other than in the kitchen.
- Wicks – you will need some pre-waxed candle wicks. These come in different lengths so make sure you buy ones that are long enough for the container you want to use. You can cut them down, but you can’t make them any longer!
- Wick Pins – you will need some wick pins to hold the wick in place whilst the wax is drying. You can use a DIY alternative – I have tried a pencil and a skewer.
- Wick Stickers – These are used to stick the wick to the bottom of the container. You can, alternatively, use a hot glue gun.
- Pouring pitcher – I use a pyrex jug to pour my melted wax into the jars but the pouring pitcher allows you to be more accurate and helps to avoid spillage.
- Scent – Choose whichever scent you like, there are so many to choose from and you can even experiment and mix scents to make your own. I have used Gingerbread.
- Label – I love to put labels on my candles. These make fab gifts and I like to decorate the jar with a ribbon and tag. You can download my labels here if you like the design and give your friends and family some lovely homemade gifts!
- Melt the wax flakes in a bowl over warm water or in your hot burner. Do not let the water under the bowl boil as the wax shouldn’t get too hot or it could burn. A gentle heat is enough to melt the wax and stir occasionally to mix.
- Whilst your wax is melting prepare your containers. Use a wick sticker to stick the wick base to the bottom of your jar (or alternatively use a hot glue gun). Once the wick is well stuck, wrap the top around your wick pin and balance the pin to the top of the jar.
- Once the wax has melted, remove it from the heat and add the scent. I would recommend, for 1lb of wax, using a full 10ml bottle of your chosen scent. If you want to add colour to your candles, now is the time to do it. I like to keep mine white, but using a dye chip you can make your candle whatever colour you like!
- Pour the melted wax into your containers and leave to cool until the wax has set hard.
- Remove the wick pin and cut your wick to size – leave about 1cm above the candle.
- Put the label on your jar and tie a ribbon around to make a beautiful gift. If you are keeping the candles for yourself simply light and enjoy!