By Tania Penwell
A great many of my friends have been asking me to share the secret of making a scented candle at home, though I tell them repeatedly that it is no great secret. Any web site or online manual can teach you the basics of making scented candles at home, and once you have mastered those, the rest is up to your imagination and creativity. Both these qualities, I have found, increase with experience, and never mind what they say about inborn creativity and genius.
However, since it does appear that plenty of people want to know just what it is that causes my candles to smell so good, I will begin by saying that the process of making a candle with the aroma of your choice is a simple one. As I have said before, the increasing demand for scented candles has caused a lot of enterprising folks to come up with books, magazines and web sites dedicated to the art of candle making.
To begin with, you need the right equipment, though that may seem obvious. I always stress this point because, despite its simplicity, candle making is easy only when you follow instructions correctly. Otherwise, you will find that it can be darned tricky as well!
So, depending on whether you are making a wax or gel candle, you will need enough of it, plus the ‘cooking equipment’, or the equipment needed to melt the wax and mould it. And obviously, you will need the essential oils that will give you the aroma of your choice. In my experience, I have always found it best to combine at least a couple of aromas, though beginners might find it easier to stick to one fragrance initially.
What a beginner definitely should not do is pack the candle with as much fragrance as possible. Most ordinary scented candles contain about 0.5 oz of essential oil, though if you want to intensify the fragrance, you may increase it to one whole ounce. However, any more and the scent that your candle gives will be unbearable, probably making you sick!
A lot of people confess to being intrigued by the scents that I use for my candles. ‘I just can’t place it, but it smells so good,’ is something that I hear all the time. Shall I tell you why? Well, I tend to experiment with the most unlikely combinations, most often based purely on instinct, and end up with a fragrance that is marvelous yet unidentifiable! For instance, the first time I used rose and cinnamon together, I was convinced I was headed for disaster. As it turned out, it became my most popular aroma! Similarly, I combined clove and iris to produce another well-appreciated fragrance. The point is, dear reader, it is largely up to you what fragrance you produce.
Finally, though I stuck to wax candles for a long time, I do believe that soy candles hold the scent much better than wax, and they also burn longer. The process of melting the soy wax is similar to that of ordinary wax, though you will probably need a double boiler. You add the color and scent as usual, and pour it into the mold of your choice. As you probably know, a staggering variety of molds are available in the market today. Once your candle is complete, do send me a sample!
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