Ever wondered how to make scented candles? These aromatic bits of glowing wax enhance a mood or create an ambiance when lit; or tell your friends and family you remember them when given as gifts. And they're easy to make with this simple guide to homemade scented candle making.
Scented candles can create or change the ambiance of a room so choose your scents carefully. And always get oil-based candle making fragrances. Remember that alcohol and water based scents may separate from the wax, puddling in pockets in the finished candles.
Choosing the candle wax is much simpler. Petroleum based paraffin wax is the most commonly used. Vegetable based natural wax from soy and palm are used by those who claim it burns "clean" meaning with little residue. Animal based beeswax, favored for being a natural wax, is pricier and harder to melt than the other types of waxes. And there's gel wax, chosen for its translucent quality. For scented candles, get the high density gel wax for best absorption of fragrance oils.
Now that you have your wax and scents, make sure your equipment is at hand. You will need a double boiler - just set a small pot or tin in a bigger pot with boiling water on the stove. You will also need a stirrer made of plastic or metal, thermometer that measures up to 300 degrees F, jars, containers or molds for your candle, wicks, and of course, your chosen fragrance oil. As a safety precaution, have a chemical fire extinguisher on hand.
Next, take your molds or containers and place them on old newspapers to catch any spills. Position your wicks by tying each to a pencil or stick and setting it on the rim of the mold.
If using paraffin, soy or palm wax, melt in a double boiler. Gel wax can be melted in a pot directly over the heat, just watch that it doesn't get too hot as it can ignite. Stir gently and check the temperature; don't go over 170-180 degrees for paraffin and natural wax, and 200-220 degrees for gel wax. Unlike paraffin and natural wax which turn watery when melted, gel wax is melted when it reaches a syrupy consistency.
When the wax has thoroughly melted, turn off the heat and take the pan off the stove. Slowly blend in your fragrance oil. For every pound of wax, add 1 oz. fragrance oil. You can make adjustments more or less on your next batch. Remember, you just want a tantalizing hint of scent, not a direct assault on the nose. Pour into the prepared molds making sure the wicks are centered. The candles will take at least 6 hours to cool and harden completely after which they are ready to be released from the mold/s.
For your personal use or to give as gifts, not much can beat the sweet smell of scented candles, especially one you've made yourself.