A NEW SIMPLE PLEASURE....
Anyone who read my post on 'Beating the January Blues' may recall me mentioning that I was keen to take up a couple of new creative hobbies at the start of this year, and one of those was candle making? Well, I'm pleased to say that I have tried it, I have REALLY enjoyed it, and I don't think that after my fourth batch, it is going to be one of those passing fads (unlike other whims in the past!?)
It is my new 'Simple Pleasure'...
We all love candles don't we? A simple pleasure, and yet the power of even a few tea lights has the ability to transform a room from soulless to warm, inviting and calming.
Growing up in the 70's here in England, with a Scandinavian mother, I grew up with lit candles being a big part of every day. Candles were always lit at the table, even at breakfast on a school day, and this must have subconsciously instilled in me that need for a calm and special start to the day, whatever it held. It always surprised me to learn at the time that most other people only used candles on 'high days and holidays' or a special meal, or otherwise as a practicality in the frequent power cuts in the 70's! This was quite a foreign concept in our 'Swenglish' family home.
Then of course, the candle love spread in this country and steadily grew over time, to be the huge business that it is today!
Qualities as we know vary enormously. From the cheap, overpoweringly scented variety (not to be touched in my opinion!) through to the beautiful quality of candles such as Diptique, Cire Trudon and Jo Malone which are just a few of my favourites. They may cost more than cheaper versions, but their burn time and quality of scent make it so worth it.
Putting these above lovelies on one side, I have been keen for some time to try to recreate some of their lovely quality in my own home made candles. So, after quite a bit of research, a bit of 'candle supplies' shopping and finding myself with a nice clear Saturday morning, my new little project began.
Firstly, my research taught me the difference between different wax qualities. I decided on a natural soya wax as opposed to a cheaper petroleum based wax. Soya does not emit carbon so therefore much healthier for us in our homes, as well as for the environment. It came in flake form which was easy to handle and use.
Then I chose which fragrance to use. Wanting to make a top quality product, I chose pure essential oils for my candles. I made half of them using Grapefruit and the other with Peppermint, both uplifting fresh scents and especially nice in a kitchen or bathroom. I have since experimented with a gorgeous mix of 'Lavender, Chamomile and Vanilla' which is especially lovely in a bedroom and also 'Lime, Basil and Mandarin' which seems to appeal to most people and is so fresh and invigorating.
The wax was then heated in a double boiler. I used a large jug that I bought especially for this purpose and stood this to melt in a large pan of boiling water. When completely melted, the wax was allowed to cool very slightly before adding my chosen essential oils. It is hard to say how much one needs, and advice varies, but experimenting and using you nose helps! A good few shakes for a volume this size did the trick, and made the kitchen smell amazing!
Wicks with attached metal discs are the easy option (as opposed to long lengths of wick on rolls which you assemble yourself) and these were attached to my chosen candle jars with little glue dots especially for this purpose. They come in different lengths, so choose the right length for the size of container you are using. Choosing the containers is the really fun part. Virtually any heatproof container can be made in to a candle. I bought a variety of sizes of glass container, my favourite being these goreous larger ones which take three wicks.
Making sure the wicks were securely stuck to the base of the candle jar, I gently poured the melted wax in. Kebab sticks or something similar can be used, to keep the wicks upright while the wax is hardening. You will be able to remove these after about an hour. Then let the wax fully harden for 24 hours.
Lovely silver, gold and bronze lids are not necessary, but complete the look of the finished candle, and protect it from dust when not in use.
I am so enjoying giving these away as gifts....as well as enjoying burning a number of them around the house too.
Many of you will know this already, but it is very important to burn any candle long enough for the first time, for the entire surface to pool with wax. This helps the candle to burn evenly and to avoid 'tunneling' around the wick.
The Soya wax burns beautifully, and without any sooty vapour that cheaper alternatives create.
The pure essential oils also smell wonderful!
In all, a very satisfying new creative hobbie which I shall certainly be continuing. I am looking forward to experimenting with new containers and scents and look forward to sharing those with you in the future.
If you have been inspired to have a go at making your own candles, then there are many candle material suppliers out there. I found these two to be very helpful for both their supplies and advice:
Supplies4candles (click for link)
Candle Shack (click for link)
Wishing you a very happy end to the week,