I'm often asked about the candle making process, and the answer is something that surprises most people - mainly due to the amount of work that's actually involved.
Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love making candles, and find the whole process extremely therapeutic, but it wasn't easy to learn in the early days. It took a long time to master, and a whole lot of patience.
So what exactly does candle making involve, and is it an art or a science? In this blog we'll take a look at the main steps in crafting these beautiful and calming gifts of light and scent.
STEP 1: MELTING THE WAX
Candle making begins with melting the wax. This initial process sets the foundation for creating beautifully crafted candles. Whether you're using soy wax, beeswax, or any other type of wax, the careful application of heat and the gradual transition from solid to liquid is an important step that requires patience and precision, whilst just the right temperature is reached. Once the wax has reached its molten state and required temperature, it's ready to be infused with fragrance, and poured into containers.
STEP 2: ADDING FRAGRANCE
Once the wax is melted, the next step is to combine fragrance. Fragrance and essential oils are carefully blended into the molten wax at just the right temperature. The amount of oils used is critical to ensure a well-balanced scent throw. Too much fragrance will cause all sorts of issues, from a sweating candle, overloading the wick and a sooting flame. Equally using not enough fragrance will give a poor scent throw. It's all in the testing to get it just right.
STEP 3: WICKING THE CANDLE
As the wax mixture begins to cool, the wick is centred and secured within the container. Choosing the correct wick size is crucial; too-thin a wick will result in a weak flame, poor scent throw and tunnelling, whilst too-thick a wick will lead to a multitude of problems, from a large and fast burning flame with excessive sooting, to overheating, and in some instances, can cause the container to crack or even break. To prevent these issues, candle makers must conduct thorough testing throughout to ensure safe and consistent burning.
STEP 4: POURING THE CANDLE
With the correct wick in place, the scented molten wax is then allowed to cool to just the right temperature and gently poured into the container. Candle makers must exercise a whole lot of patience and precision during this step to avoid things like sink holes (pockets of air that become trapped inside the wax), whilst also ensuring a silky smooth appearance.
STEP 5: POSITIONING THE WICK
A wick centring tool is used for precise wick positioning. This ensures optimal burning performance, safety, and overall candle quality. Candle making tools or basic household items can be used to position the wick, for example - stainless steel wick centring tools, clothes pegs and even chopsticks!
STEP 6: COOLING & CURING
After pouring and careful positioning of the wick, the candles are left to cool and solidify. Depending on the type of wax used, the cooling process can take several hours, to overnight. Then again depending on the type of wax, some candle makers will then allow the candles to cure for a couple of days, up to two weeks. Curing allows for further enhancement of the scent throw and overall quality.
STEP 7: TRIMMING & FINISHING TOUCHES
Once the candles have completely cooled and set, the wick lengths are trimmed to ensure safe and clean burning when the candles are lit. Et voila!
So to answer the question, candle making is a blend of creativity and precision. It's both an art and a science, and offers a rewarding journey that completely transforms raw materials into beautiful creations of light and scent!
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