Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Crafty Corner - Candle Making

Summer time is the perfect time for new projects with the kids, and this week PHS Editor Donna Alward chats about her latest "project" - making candles.

I have a friend who makes candles as a business, and last summer she was nice enough to let me in her "lab" and see the basics of how things are done. It was really cool and she makes some beautiful looking - and smelling - creations.

But she also lives in another province so when the time came to start my own project, I was on my own.

Cathy uses soy wax for her candles, and has a "recipe book" with colour and scent blends. I knew I wanted something simple, so I went to the local craft store and bought a kit instead. This kit uses paraffin wax and not soy or beeswax, but it melted just fine.

We followed the directions to the letter, using the thermometer to check the temp and get it between 180 and 200 degrees, then shaving off colour with a small grater  - blue and yellow to make a teal sort of green for the first batch, straight red for the second. Once the colour was added we added the scent - the kit came with vanilla, which I love anyway and before long the kitchen smelled like cupcakes. :-)

In the absence of a decent pouring container, I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup with a pour lip to fill the moulds. Let me add that I despise the moulds. Not sure why they couldn't grind down the lips of the moulds but I cut myself three times. The metal was super sharp.

Anyway, we put the timer on for 5 minutes and then added the wicks - that was easier than we expected. 30 min later we topped up the candles as they do settle a bit around the wicks and make a hollow.

And 2 hours later, a gentle tug on the wick and the candle pulled out of the mould.

We did have a little extra wax, so scoured the house for suitable containers to make our own tea candles.

The worst part was trying to clean the moulds - I'm thinking there must be something I can buy to totally get the wax out. The pot I used to melt the wax is an old one with the singular purpose of making candles. But even after using several doses of boiling water to clean it out, a film of waxiness remains. If anyone has any clue how to get rid of that, huzzah.

We're looking forward to trying some new things - perhaps beeswax instead of paraffin; maybe different moulds or simply buying the tea candle holders and making the candle right in the holder (especially for gifts).

And thankfully the cuts are nearly completely healed.

Donna's upcoming book is How A Cowboy Stole Her Heart, out in the US and Canada in October. You can catch up with Donna on her website or on twitter.


  1. Great post, Donna - after extracting our honey crop over the weekend I'm now looking at a lot of beeswax, so your experiences were very timely!

  2. Christina Try Thornes UK for candle making supplies in addition to beekeeping equipment, they do candle things like wicks, moulds. They used to have a scheme to buy beeswax as well from beekeepers. YOu can also make furniture polish.
    Michelle Styles

  3. Wow! they are so beautiful.
    Really very informative blog on Candle making kits.
    Good work.