Making candles at home can be good fun, although it is definitely an activity not suitable for children because it involves hot wax with which you can burn yourself very easily if you don’t pay attention.
How to make homemade biodegradable candles from scratch:
The first thing to do is to make sure you have the ingredients and instruments required. You will need some pots and pans (take the old ones you wanted to throw awawy so it doesn’t matter if they get ruined). You then need to decide what type of wax to use, there are many types: paraffin wax, stearin, beeswax or a mixture of all these. You can use dyes and natural essences to add a touch of colour.
The choice of wax is important, not only because it affects the making of the candle but it can also protect you from adverse health effects. According to a study conducted by R. Massoudi and Amid Hamidi, researchers at South Carolina State University, candles made from beeswax or soy, (yes they are more expensive), are healthier than candles made of paraffin.
Beeswax candles, while maintaining warmth and fragrance, do not release harmful substances in air. Paraffin is a mixture extracted from oil, which is also used in cosmetic products. There is one type of material, presumably of natural origin, which is called vegetable stearin. It is sold in flakes or blocks of opaque white. Usually the stearin is mixed with paraffin to give a the candle a firmer consistency.
There are various mixtures of wax: some use 90% of paraffin, others are made entirely out of beeswax, paraffin or stearin. You have to try out all these combinations and only experience will teach you the right mix for you.
Widespread opinion is that beeswax is the ingredient most suitable because it is natural and gives a slight fragrance and feel of amber lighting.
Don’t forget that that you can save money by reusing the residue from old wax candles.
Now comes the tricky part: making candles is a slow process, you must melt the wax in a water bath and it can take a long time as wax melts very slowly. Don’t rush! If you hurry or get too anxious you could burn them. When the wax has melted add colour (if using); a good idea is to add a small wax crayon to the liquid as it gives a great colour. Remember that cold wax is paler in colour than liquid wax. To check you have the right colour pour a few drops of wax onto a saucer to see what colour it will be when solid.
At this stage, add your favorite fragrant essence. Only a few drops are needed oherwise the scent of the candle becomes too strong.
With the wax melted the game is almost finished. ‘Nearly finished’ because this operation is not simple. We must create the candles themselves. Place the wick in you candle moulds and pour the mixture of wax into the mold. To help the candles solidify quicker you can immerge then in cold water or in the freezer for a few minutes.
Once the candle has set, break the mold and detach the candle from it. When lighted, if the scent is delicate, a homemade candle creates a relaxing atmosphere… and you can call yourself a good candle maker!
Congratulations, you’ve done it! If things didn’t quite go to plan, don’t be put off, things rarely work out perfectly the first time so don’t be afraid to have another go at it!