Our new Made Healthy section is all about inspiring us to try to make what we love. I was so inspired by Katie’s description of creating the exclusive LOVE GOODLY Hyacinth vegan candle at Cellar Door Candles that I decided to try and DIY my own recipe. It’s wax, wick and scent, right…what’s so difficult about that?
Well, a whole lot, as it turns out. I didn’t really know the difference between base, heart and top notes, nor did I understand the importance of letting the candle set for 24 hours. But it was a learning experience, and at the end of the day I have a beautiful, unique candle—and a bit of a mess in my kitchen. Want to try? Here’s how it’s done…
1 heat-proof glass, ceramic or metal receptacle (Cellar Door uses beautiful porcelain dishes for their travel tins, but a half-pint sized Mason jar also works perfectly)
1 glass or ceramic bowl
½ pound bag of soy wax flakes (you can also flake candle stumps using a cheese grater)
1 small metal saucepan
1 metal funnel
1 cotton wick
1wick stickum (that’s the little disk that sticks the wick to the bottom of the ja
1 metal spoon
1 wooden spoon
Essential oils for scent
1. First, find your fragrance: You can use one essential oil for a single-note candle, or experiment by blending different scents. Here’s what I (now) know about fragrance blending:
The “notes” of a perfume refer to the time that the fragrance is detected. So the top note is the first thing you smell, the heart note is what you smell after the top note dissipates, and the base note is usually the “deepest” and most long lasting of the three. As an example, citrus is a typical top note, rose and lavender are heart notes, and vanilla is a base note. Here’s the blend that I used:
4 drops vanilla
3 drops rose geranium (quite possibly my favorite scent on the planet)
5 drops lavender
8 drops grapefruit
Choose your favorite scents and then experiment with the ratio, counting each drop, then double or triple the quantity—retaining the ratio—until your blend totals about 20 drops of essential oil for each ½ pound of wax.
2. Now, prepare your jar by wiping out the inside to make sure it’s clean, then tie the end of your wick onto the metal spoon and affix the wick stickum to the raw end. Drop the stickum end into the jar until it reaches the bottom and press it to the glass with the end of your wooden spoon. Position the metal spoon onto the top so that the wick remains in the middle of the jar.
3. Finally, let’s work on your wax. Turn the flame to low under your saucepan and add the wax flakes, stirring gently as they melt and become clear. Once the wax has melted, remove it from the heat and mix in the essential oil blend, stirring thoroughly, then place the funnel into the jar—don’t worry if you have to move the wick a little to the side—and pour the wax through it to fill. Reposition your wick, then let your candle sit harden for 24 hours.
Clean your funnel and wooden spoon by setting them into your saucepan on low heat until the wax melts off, then wiping with a paper towel—you can wipe off the inside of the saucepan this way, as well.
Once your candle is set, simply snip the end of the wick to remove the spoon and voila: Your own unique candle, with your signature scent! Throw on a label and a lid, and this candle makes a great gift, too. It may not be quite as beautiful as the Cellar Door Candles hat we feature in our Shop, but it’s the thought that counts, right?
*I also stole this photo from the candle-making experience. Thanks, Katie!
Have you ever tried making a candle? We’d love to hear how it went—in comments, please!