DIY

Candle Making 101

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As some of you may know I don’t rely on this blogging gig to pay the bills and I actually have another job that I get paid to do. Thank God for that, right? We celebrated Lab Week at my other job in April because that’s what labs do each year and I work in a lab. There’s a “holiday” for everything else so why not designate an entire week to celebrating lab workers? A coworker of mine and I like to get creative in terms of lab week gifts for our shift rather than purchasing the generic gifts that crowd the internet this time of year – cups with “you’re a lab superstar” splattered across them, pens with “lab workers get it done” stamped on them, shirts with “I get results” printed on them. Yeah, really. I mean I know I work in a lab but believe it or not … not all of us are that nerdy.

So anyway, I had the bright idea of making candles inside of beakers. Still kinda nerdy I know, but everyone likes a candle right? And better yet, I found lab beakers that were in the style of jiggers and marked for exactly 2 shots worth of liquor. Say what? Yep. They even had a double pouring spout. Thank you Williams-Sonoma. So needless to say an airplane-sized bottle of liquor seemed appropriate to include with these jigger beaker candles. No drinking on the job though 🙂

Had I ever made candles before? No. But I like a challenge. Here’s how this lab superstar got it done ~

materials (makes {6} 3oz candles)

  • 1 lb soy wax (you can use other types of wax but these instructions are for soy wax)
  • 6 containers (really anything can be used as long as it can withstand heat)
  • 6 candle wicks
  • candle thermometer
  • double boiler (or make one using a pot and bowl like I did)
  • 2 oz fragrance (optional)
  • 6 pencils
  • scissors

step 1

Prepare your containers by placing the candle wicks in the center of the container. Ideally your wicks will be long enough so that you can wrap the ends of them around a pencil and lay the pencil across the top of the container in order to keep the wicks in place while you’re pouring wax. My wicks were too short and I had to lay pencils around all sides of the wicks to attempt to keep them in place. This didn’t work 100% so there was a lot of maneuvering of the wicks while pouring the wax, which is not ideal.

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step 2

If your wax isn’t already cut up into small pieces, you’ll probably want to do this. I don’t think a huge block of wax would melt evenly, not to mention it would take a very long time. Make sure you cover your work area with wax paper or newspaper to protect the surface you’re working on (I failed to do this and regretted it tremendously).

step 3

Fill your large pot or double boiler with water. Just make sure the container you’re using on top to actually melt the wax in doesn’t touch the water (but it does need to come somewhat close).

step 4

Add wax pieces to the heat-resistant container that you’ll use to actually melt the wax and place this container on top of the pot with water, creating a makeshift double boiler. This is what I used the large mixing bowl for, but if you have a glass measuring cup I would recommend using this – easier to pour the melted wax at the end!

Keep in mind that you can NOT put candle wax directly on heat – it will either evaporate or better yet, catch on fire!

 

step 5

Turn heat to high so water will boil and watch the wax start melting.

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step 6

Use the thermometer to keep your eye on the temperature. Soy wax should be melted until it reaches about 170-180 F. Fragrance should be added once the wax reaches temperature. Stir well after fragrance is added and remove from heat.

step 7

Double check that your wicks are centered in your containers and pour your melted wax into the containers. Since I used a large mixing bowl as my double boiler I first transferred the melted wax to a measuring cup so that is was easier to pour. Pour slowly to ensure no spillage and to ensure the wick remains centered. I struggled a bit with this 🙂

step 8

Let wax cool completely. Soy wax typically takes about 5 hours, but the longer it can cool the better. It will turn white I promise! Unless you put coloring in it of course. I didn’t fool with that, being that it was my first time making candles and all.

step 9

Clean up your mess (sorry but you’re bound to have some) and trim your wicks to about 1/4 inch and you. are. done!

Now that I know how easy it is to make candles, I’ll probably be making a few more of these in my future. I think with a really cute container and a really good-smelling fragrance, these could potentially make a really great gift for a lot of occasions!

 

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