How to make your own candles and why you should avoid toxic ones.
Hello lovely people just putting this post up to show you how easy it is to make candles. Also it is going to be one of the activities of my new day long 'From Nature to Nurture' workshops, that I'll be doing soon. So I thought it would be handy and more eco friendly to have all the information written down here rather than paper handouts, for when you go to do it again yourselves at home.
Eco soya candles and beeswax candles are better for your health and the environment. Most candles are made of paraffin wax, which creates quite a number of highly toxic substances such as benzene, toluene and formaldehyde (known carcinogens). Aside from being carcinogenic, formaldehyde can cause watery eyes, burning sensations of the eyes, nose, and throat, coughing, wheezing, nausea, skin irritation. A study carried out by Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York found that an ingredient commonly used to give candles their scent mutates into formaldehyde upon contact with the air when burned (source). In fact, the toxins released from paraffin candles are the same as those found in diesel fuel fumes, so not really an environment conducive to support good health, peace of mind and tranquility. And that's just the paraffin wax, then we have the wicks, synthetic dyes and scents which can cause other health problems especially for those with asthma (source). I know I use to get the most incredible headaches and palpitations when I went into someone's home who used those types of candles.
It can be more expensive to buy beeswax or soya candles so I thought I would put a post up about how easy, therapeutic and economical it is to make them yourself. I do have to say though that I haven't to this date found any all natural fragrance that works. I know some people write posts about how to make candles with essential oils, but honestly essential oils are highly volatile and evaporate extremely quickly at those types of high temperatures, believe me I have tried countless amounts of times and have even tried combining them with a fixative oil to see if that would work, but to no avail and a fair amount of expense. So really I believe it is just a waste of time and money putting essential oils in to the wax as they do not fair well in the candles themselves. A much better idea is just to use your candle in an an oil burner. I did come across a company that said they had all natural candle fragrance but they refused to give me details of the 'natural chemicals' as they said the information was 'proprietary', which was a bit too shady for me, as I like the information on what I’m buying to be transparent.
Buying eco soya wax is better as it means it isn't GMO soya. Buying that and unbleached cotton wicks that also have a natural wax is best. This company do a decent range of raw ingredients and they also have advice on what diameter of wicks to buy for different sized candles. This is another good company, they have all the molds etc too. Soya tealight candles made like this can burn for a good four and a half hours and burn with a lovely bright soot less flame.
I buy organic beeswax sheets here so that there is no danger of pesticides or insecticides floating around the air. Beeswax releases negative ions when it burns. Pollen, dust, dirt, pollutants and electromagnetic radiation from computers, phones etc.. all carry a positive charge. The negative ions released from burning beeswax negate the positive charge of air contaminants. So not only are they much better for all of us but especially people who are sensitive or suffer from allergies.
Making eco soya candles:
Melt wax in a double boiler, or just use a glass bowl placed inside a pot half filled with boiling water.
Use a paper cup or small glass jug to fill your containers. I know usually try and avoid using plastic as much as possible but for this I do use polycarbonate containers, because I can recycle them and use them again and again which I can't do with the flimsy aluminium ones, plus I like to see the glow through them.
Once you have filled them to the top, it is then time to put the wicks and sustainer in the middle. You can buy the cotton wick in a roll and season it yourself by putting a length of it in the hot wax for a few minutes and leaving it to dry on some paper for five mins. Then all you do is cut it to size and put it into your sustainers, after that use small pliers to close up the hole. It's a fair bit more economical to do it this way but can be quite fiddly until you get the hang of it. Alternatively just buy the wicks already in sustainers.
After that just leave them to harden which only takes about 15 mins. You may need to straighten the wicks up as the wax dries if they fall over slightly or move away from the middle. It's best to wait 24 hours before you use them. If you are giving them as a gift then you can decorate the packages with orange and cinnamon, dried rose buds or lavender.
I love how it lights up my beautiful amethyst crystal candle holder I got as part of my birthday pressie from one of my sons.
Making beeswax candles:
For these I have used some wooded wicks this time as they give off a little crackle as they burn, and I miss listening to my real fire in this home. I found making beeswax candles more challenging as the melting point is much higher than soya candles, so the right wick size is very important. At first I found that they started off with a really bright flame but dwindled down to a tiny flame after 10 mins or so. I've tried adding coconut oil and various wicks to counteract the problems. Also you need to work fast with them as tea-lights as the beeswax can solidify quickly.
Tear up the beeswax and melt in double boiler.
Put the wooden wick in the sustainer. Pour beeswax into containers. I used tea-lights containers for some and paper cups for the bigger ones. I added some lavender to this stick, not because I think the scent will throw as I burn it but just because I like the smell before it's lit in my room or drawer.
Add the tea-light wicks after you have poured.
Rolled beeswax candles:
Put the cotton wick or wooden wick in the middle and roll tightly. With the wooden wick one make sure you roll it with the first bit of the beeswax roll slightly higher than the rest, so it gets a chance to catch and melt the wax slightly before it burns out. I finally realised this by the time I did the sixth one here as you can see, and had to do the other five again. Still it was my first time doing the rolled ones with wooden wicks, there isn't the same problem with the cotton wicks, Just make sure you get the right size for the diameter of the candle as that really makes a difference.