Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Candle-Making Fun

Having made a few candles, I now consider myself a hobbyist candle-maker. I do not think my candle-making will ever go past making a few at Christmas to give out to my friends and family because I just do not have the patience or skill required to be excellent at making candles. Still the process is fun, and I would like to share with you a little bit about how I got started.

I first decided that I would make candles at the end of last summer. I thought that the idea sounded wonderful because quite frankly, I needed something to do with my hands. While I love writing, I need something that requires a different kind of concentration to keep me rejuvenated. So I went out and purchased about $75 worth of candle stuff. I am not sure what I was thinking that day because I do not know that I needed it all, but I have it now.

I purchased a 6-inch star-shaped candle mold that has been interesting. One thing I have discovered is that to get the mold to work right, you need some type of light lubricant with it. You need to put a light oil or something so that the candle comes out of it.

I also purchased a few little jars at Goodwill that were cheap. I plan to make candles in the little jars for family members. They will be small, and I got some pre-cut wick for them. I have to say that the pre-cut wick is interesting. For a candle mold, it is open at the bottom. You basically put molding clay (Use the molding clay; our improvisations resulted in candle wax all over our kitchen.) over a hole in the bottom of the mold after you have put the wick through it. Then you tie the wick with a small dowel rod so that it is held taught throughout the mold.

I also purchased a large block of wax. I got it on sale for $12, so it was a great deal. It will make four or so of the large star candles and a number of the little ones. I got the basic wax. It is non-toxic, so it is safe. There is nothing special about it.

I also picked up some essential oils. I am using the oils to add some scent and aromatherapy properties to the candles. I got lavender and then found some lavender dye to go along with it. Lavender has soothing properties and is supposed to help stomachaches. I also got peppermint oil and corresponding red dye. The peppermint has an antidepressant effect. It can lift spirits.

Those were my basic supplies for my first candle-making expedition. After making three or four candles, I realized that it was not as relaxing as I had hoped. Still I do very much enjoy the process of creating the candles. I love melting down the wax and pouring it into the mold. You have to let it begin to harden and then stick four dowel rods in a circle around the wick. They allow any air pockets to open up. Then you can pour again to fill them. It is exciting to watch your candle take shape and amazing to see that your candle becomes something amazingly beautiful when you pull it out of the mold.

Each candle that I make it a little better. I have started to notice that I see fewer air pockets in them. I still have some issues with the candle looking as if it were poured in layers when it was not. That is because I do not always get the wax to melt at the same temperatures. Still I have enjoyed burning the candles I have made, and my husband and son like them. They are something fun that we can do together or I can do on my own.

Candle-making is a hobby that I think suits a lot of different people. It is fun but relaxing at the same time. There are no special skills to learn for basic melt and pour candle-making. Instead you are simply creating something in a set shape and letting it turn into a candle.

By Julia Mercer

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