Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Making Your Own Jar Candles

By Brandi M. Seals

Candle making saw a rise a few years ago, but how many people do you really know that make there own? I know a couple and one even has a candle making business. Candles are easy to make, very affordable, and make for a great craft project. Not to mention homemade candles are much less expensive then their store bought counterparts.

Since you will be making your own candles you can customize them. Use the scents you enjoy with the colors you like. Or, set your home up for an amazing fall feel by burning your homemade pumpkin pie spice candle and Frangelico streusel. Whatever you decide to do, candle making is an easy to learn skill that will come in handy.

To make your own candles, start by compiling the following key items:
Wicks
Wax
Dye
Jars
Scents
Glue gun
Straw
Thermometer

All of these items should be easy to find at your local craft store. If there is something you cannot find, simply turn to the internet. There are several candle supply vendors online.

I like to use canning jars. There easy to find, especially in the summer. I also like to use various other glass containers that fit my fancy. Make sure the jar is clean before you use it and that all the supplies are on hand.

Start by attaching the wick. Take one wick for your candle and place it in the straw. Using a glue gun, place a dab of glue on the flat metal end of the wick. Using the wick stuffed straw push the end of the wick into the jar and allow the glue to set up. Next use a pencil and wrap the extra length of the wick around it. Place the pencil over the top of the jar. Now the wick should be fully attached to the candle jar and kept upright by the pencil.

Next, begin melting the wax. Wax is generally sold in large blocks or smaller cubes. Figure how much wax you will need for your project. If you have a pint-sized jar, you will need to melt approximately two cups of wax. Use a double boiler for the melting process. The double boiler is necessary to keep from heating the wax too much. If you don’t have a double boiler, rig one up. Take a small or mid-sized sauce pan and fill it 1/3 of the way with water. Top with a heat safe bowl, like a Pyrex bowl with the wax in it. The water should not reach the bottom of the bowl. If it does, dump a little of the water out.

Add color and scent of your choice to the wax. Be sure to mix it in well or the candle could appear streaked. Once the wax is around the 150 degrees, it can be poured into the candle jar. Do not heat it hotter, as it will take your candle longer to set up. You can use a funnel, any sort of container with a spout or if you are talented you can pour the wax directly from the double boiler into the jar. I suggest working over newspaper to make the clean up process go much smoother.

To avoid white marks in your candle and to aid in the cooling process you will want to poke holes in the candle once it has begun to cool. Once the candle is cool, you will notice that the center has sunken in. Fix this by doing a second poor. This time make sure the wax is 180 degrees or above. You need this part of the candle to attach to the original section. The additional heat will help with that.

Once your candle is completely cooled down you can go ahead and clip the wick. Using a pair of scissors trim the wick to 1/4 inch in length. Now your candle is ready to go. Light it and enjoy your first homemade candle. Hopefully there will be many more that follow. Also, remember that candles make an excellent gift. Any of your friends and family would welcome the gift of one of your homemade candles. Dress it up a bit by tying a bow around the jar or place a colorful tulle round over the candle lid.

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