Friday, August 19, 2011

The candle experiment

I made candles! It was an interesting experience for sure, and luckily for you guys I documented it all in case you're ever in the mood to make your own. I briefly googled making candles but for the most part I just guessed and hoped for the best. I think I was fairly successful!

 This is the stuff I used: white wax crystals, assorted jars that I had (you probably have great ones in your fridge! We have an awesome pickle jar I was eying, but it's currently occupied by pickles), crayons to dye the wax (I was going for a warmer color scheme), scented oil if you'd like (I used "gingerbread and maple syrup" yummy!), and wicks with the metal things on the bottom. I got the wax, oil, and wicks from Hobby Lobby.

 You'll also need a double boiler set up. This is my ghetto arrangement. Pot on top of pot and it was definitely not level but it worked... until it came to pouring the wax. At Hobby Lobby they have little canisters with a spout/pouring thing made for making candles. If I ever got serious I'd get one because the wax went everywhere when I tried to pour it out of the pan. But messy is a lifestyle, and I'm living it, so no biggie for me. Oh! DEFINITELY put some wax paper down to catch the drips, spills, etc. And then you can peel off the extra wax to use again later!

At this point I was like, "omg they lied, this is clear wax!" because it becomes literally colorless as it melts, but it definitely cools white. I would have rather used colorless wax because this it gave my candles as pastel-milky look which is fine, but I was going for something brighter.

Here's the wax after I added the crayons. It looks like tomato soup! I used half a red orange crayon, half a yellow, and half a violet red. Then I added the scent, I used about 60 drops of oil. Not sure how much you're supposed to add but I'm all about fragrance, so I loaded up.

Unfortunately there is no documentation of me pouring the wax because that was a hot mess, wax everywhere. These are the candles after pouring the wax in. They go through a few color changes; at first the wax is brighter when it's liquid, then white-ish, then it darkens a bit as it cools. I used straws to help hold the wicks in place. Originally I had the wicks in first before pouring the wax in but I found it was easier to just add them after the wax is in the candle. With one bag of the white crystals I got these two candles. It didn't go quite as far as I thought.

 This was my next round, I used the left over spilled wax from the first round, half a yellow crayon and a whole dandelion crayon. Don't you love crayon names! Remember robin's egg blue?? I love crayons.

 This big candle used up the whole batch. Hopefully it burns slowly. You can really see the color change here!

All finished! They did the weirdest thing as they cooled, they kind of sunk in around the wick. I'm guessing it's from air in the wax or something. I don't know how you'd avoid that problem, I'm sure candle making pros have a solution.

All in all I'd call it a learning experience, it was fun but messy. It cost me $12 for the supplies from Hobby Lobby, so I'm not sure if it was worth it cost-wise since I only got three candles out of it and two of them are small. I'm sure you can buy wax in bulk for a better deal though if you got super serious. We'll see how they burn, if they smell really amazing I might keep this up.

In other un-candle news, today is a pool day! When Brendon gets home from work we're blowing up some floaties and lounging in the pool. Hopefully we don't die of heat exhaustion!

1 comment:

  1. OMG this is awesome... (yes I'm commenting on a really old post but I'm skimming over your posts to find good pics of you and Brendon for Kennedy's new face(photo)book.) I've been wanting to make my own beeswax candles for a while now because uhhh beeswax candles are SO expensive, but they smell soooo good as they are without any scent added. If you ever make candles again you should try it with beeswax. I'm pretty sure hobby lobby sells it. It's still on my list of things to try but now I know where to find a good reference for making candles. I collect glass jars after the contents have been emptied so I have a stash of them to use.