Thursday, November 29, 2012

Homemade Candles

After two years of storing candle-making supplies, I finally worked my way through enough of the other projects on my creative bucket list to justify using them!

With caution, as Coo was working on her own paper doll project nearby, I melted soy wax flakes in a double boiler over a low heat.  "Double boiler", in my case, is a stainless steel pot filled with water and a stainless steel bowl fitted over it.  While the wax melted, I hot-glued pre-tabbed wicks to the bases of glass jam jars, using the tube part of a dismantled ball point pen to stabilise them.  Then I clipped each wick end with a clothes peg and balanced it on the jar opening to ensure the wick stayed straight.  These prepared jars were placed inside the oven on its lowest heat setting to warm.

When the wax had finished melting, I checked the temperature [150-180F is apparently best] and stirred in the fragrance oil, about 3ml of fragrance per 100g wax flakes.  The molten wax poured as easily as water into the hot jars.  I checked the steadiness of the wicks and set the candles aside to cool.

Five hours later, I re-heated a small amount of remaining wax to 180F and poured a thin layer into each cooled candle.  The next morning, the candles were completely solidified and smelled delicious!

Later, I re-read for the umpteenth time an account of 1850's candle-making in Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, Farmer Boy. Almanzo's mother didn't purchase her candle-making supplies on eBay or Amazon.  All the ingredients for her dipped candles, which were necessities, came from their farm and were fully sustainable.  

As much as I've loved these forays into homemade soap and candle making, I can't help but think that I'm hardly homesteading it!  

However, Coo is here with me, busily colouring and cutting out her own paper doll clothes as I write while the candles are solidifying.  Her paper dolls have tons of clothes and hats and accessories.  But she is not satisfied, and insists on creating her own clothes for the dolls.  

And I realise that she soaks up the "make-it-yourself" philosophy as we work together, me on candles and she on paper doll clothes, just as I did myself many years ago with my own mother.

If you enjoy reading about DIY, making do, homemade and handmade, click below to visit Red and Honey, and view links for a community of bloggers who post about their greener solutions every Thursday.

{All of my candle supplies apart from the soy wax were purchased from eBay shop Candles and Aromatics.  The eco soy container wax came from eBay seller Torbay Supplies, and although I initially bought it in smaller amounts of one kilo, it's much cheaper in the long run to fork out a bit of extra money and buy a box of ten kilograms!]


  1. This reminded me of my childhood!!! We made candles. They were wonderful times. Coo is so lucky! And paperdolls, we used to make our own too. This is so inspiring. I'm not usually crafty but this is pulling at me. Thank you for posting. For me, it was a trip down memory lane. xox

  2. Thank you... happy to hear you were inspired! I bought all of my supplies on eBay so it's very easy to get started. :)


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