Candles are some of my favorite things because not only do they smell wonderful, they look cute, too! The only down side? They’re not cheap. My favorite Bath & Body Works candles are $24 each. And after I almost paid $35 for one, medium-sized candle from Etsy (half the amount of a large candle from Bath & Body Works), I had the brilliant idea to make my own instead. Thus begins my candle-making journey.
To begin your own journey, you’ll need the following items along with a pot, pencil, and rubber band:
Now, when I began my candle-making process, I didn’t have a set list of instructions. I previously researched the topic, but I actually didn’t print anything off. So I winged most of it. That’s probably why my candle doesn’t smell as much as I would like it to. But at least I know what not to do next time!
The very first thing you need to do is thoroughly wash the double boiler insert. Then you will measure out the amount of wax flakes needed. I chose soy wax because it’s natural and all that jazz. It’s very smooth and doesn’t have a noticeable scent, which is perfect because you don’t want the wax to smell.
To measure how much wax you’ll need, fill your jar with the flakes twice. I made the mistake of filling my jar just once, so when I melted the wax, it only filled half of the jar. The lesson I learned? Two is definitely better than one. I’m so smart, you guys.
After measuring, pour the flakes into the double boiler insert then wash the jar as well to remove any leftover wax. To quickly melt the flakes, place the double boiler insert over a pot of boiling water. Using your candy thermometer, continually check the temp of the melted wax until it reaches between 180°F and 185°F. At this point, you will add drops of your essential oils.
I chose lemon essential oil because I honestly love the smell of lemon-scented cleaning products. Weird, I know. But unfortunately, I recently learned that essential oils don’t have as much “throw,” or smell, as actual fragrance oils do. Meaning, I did not add nearly enough to my wax, so instead of smelling like cleaning products, my candle smells like nothing. Boo. Next time I might just dump in half of the bottle.
Once you’ve added your oil, remove the pan and double boiler insert from the heat, letting the wax cool. At this point, you’ll need the candle wick. To attach the wick to the jar, I attempted a couple of different methods, but only one seemed to actually work. Pour a thin layer of wax into the bottom of the jar just until it covers the bottom of the wick. Wait for the wax to turn halfway between translucent and opaque, then push the wick down to stick to the jar.
When the wax in the double boiler insert has cooled to around 115°F to 120°F, slowly pour it into your jar. Then to keep the wick standing straight, wrap a rubber band around a pencil and carefully thread the wick through the rubber band and push the pencil down until it rests on the rim of the jar. You can remove the pencil after about 30 minutes to an hour when the wax has hardened enough. You should also let your candle set for at least 24 hours before burning.
My final product is quite a success aesthetically. The wax dried nicely, and if you have a few indents on the top, all you need to do is use a hair dryer to melt the very top layer to smooth out the surface. But functionally, this candle is a miss. It has a very strong cold throw, meaning the lemon scent is strong when the candle isn’t burning; however, its hot throw (the scent the candle gives when it burns) is practically nonexistent.
But I’m not giving up! I’m definitely going to experiment a few more times with adding more essential oil to the wax as well as using fragrance oils (hence the title Attempt #1). And even though this experiment didn’t work out like I wanted it to, I am still proud of my candle. It may not smell, but it certainly adds to the ambiance. One out of two is better than zero.