The beauty of making candles is that you really only need a few ingredients and few pieces of equipment. You don't need anything fancy although you can buy really nice equipment, the fact is that you make candles with equipment you probably already have!
Essentially, all you need to make your candles is the wax (beeswax or paraffin), some dye (optional), some fragrance (optional) along with a mold or something like an old jam jar. Of course, you also need a wick
Primarily speaking, candles are made from one of two types of waxes. These two waxes are beeswax or paraffin. Stearin, another form of wax is usually added to paraffin wax to help compensate for some of the qualities that paraffin lacks.
Candle dyes are not actually true dyes as they do not change the color of the wax. Instead, candle dyes become evenly suspended throughout the candle and thus give the illusion of color. Candle dyes are formulated specifically to be evenly distributed throughout your candles.
Wax dyes are sold in disc or power form. The discs are easier to use. It is suggested that you simply follow the manufacturer's directions when adding color.
If you are using a disc wax dye, then you will find it advantageous to grate the disc first. Then dissolve it in the stearin before adding it to the paraffin wax. Remember, stearin acts as a solvent for dyes.
Remember also that colors can be mixed together. This gives you the option to create as many colors as you want. Please also remember that color tends to fade as the wax hardens. Therefore, it is always suggested that you do a test run if you are wanting an exact color. If the color is not what you want, fear not my candle making friends, simply melt the wax and add some more wax.
Fragrances are an important reason why people, including myself, make their own candles.
Personally, I prefer natural scents as opposed to synthetic scents. Therefore, I personally prefer to use essential oils used for aromatherapy. However, if you are not as particular as me about what scents are used, then there many fragrances you can buy to add to your candles. I have done a lot of experimenting and have found that using triple the amount of recommended scent is a big plus in getting the most pleasure from the aroma of your candles.
Fragrance oils refers to the synthetic or man made scents. These sorts of scents have been artificially created in a laboratory. Many people will use fragrance oils because they are cheaper and there is a greater selection. But on the down side, many people have allergic reactions to synthetics fragrances. Synthetics fragrances have been detected at the north pole as they do not break down that easily.
Essential oils are my personal favorite. Yes, essential oils are more expensive but anyone who enjoys aromatherapy will definitely find essential oils simply superior.
You can harness the healing power of aromatherapy when you add essential oils to your candles. Personally, I just like a good vanilla or cinnamon aroma, but you can buy blends of essential oils for many different purposes. For example, peppermint oil helps create alertness.
There is a definite difference between good quality and poor quality essential oils. If you are planning on using essential oils in your candles for specific reasons, then it is best to consult an aromatherapy book to find the blend of essential oils that is best for you.
Do remember that you don't need to add many drops to your candles. You can always add more drops if you find the aroma is too weak. You will need to make a few candles until you find the amount of essential oils that is right for you.
Powdered Herbal Fragrance. You can add finely ground herbal powders to your candles to help emit an herbal fragrance. Some of the powdered herbs that can be used include cinnamon, nutmeg, frankincense and myrrh. You can get creative though and use other herbs that you like such as ginger, rosehips and so on.
Believe it or not, but the wick doesn't actually create the flame you see when you light your candles! Instead, the flame you see is the vapor of the wax burning. The wick merely carries the "fire" to the vapor.
Wicks can be obtained from your candle supply store. Wicks are generally sold on bobbins or cards. Wicks come in various sizes (diameters) and you choose the size of wick you need based on the diameter of your candle.
Choosing the proper wick size is easy as wicks are organized according to the size of the candle. Let's say for example, your candle is approximately 2 inches in diameter. In this situation, you simply look for a wick that is labeled for a 2 inch candle!
It's a good idea to prime the wick before using it. But what exactly is this and why would you do this?
Priming the wick simply means you dip the wick in melted wax until it is completely coated. Then remove the wick from the wax and let wax harden. Once the wax has hardened, dip the wick back into the melted wax one more time. Then let the wax harden and then store the wick until you need it.
The reason why you prime your wicks is because it helps ensure your wicks will light more easily. Also, it is said that a primed wick will burn more reliably. Furthermore, wicks are primed to prevent water or moisture from being absorbed by the wick... remember, wicks are made of cotton and cotton absorbs water.
Primed wicks are also stiffer than unprimed wicks. This helps them stand more rigidly. Since one reason why people use wire core wicks is because the wick is stiffer and more able to stand upright, using a primed wick helps add some of this quality to the wick without needing to use a wire core wick.