Monday, 25 February 2013

You know the feeling, you get to Friday afternoon and your shoulders are as tight as a drum and you just want to find a way to release the tension in your whole body. Well there are healthy ways to achieve this and a soy massage candle is one of the best there is. The warm wax massaged over your back and shoulders will soon have you feeling loose and relaxed. In a few quick steps you can make candles at home to be used in soy massages. These make great gift ideas that people will really appreciate.

Imagine inhaling the relaxing scent of lavender and vanilla as the candle burns and the wax melts. Even the scent of these oils will trigger the metaphysical reactions in your body to start the relaxation process. Light the candle and after about 15 minutes the wax will have melted sufficiently and you will have a nice pool of warm wax ready to begin the massage. At this point you extinguish the candle and let the warm wax, combined with the aromatherapy and the magic of someone’s hands massage the oil across your back, neck shoulders and anywhere else you are feeling tension. It will be only a few seconds before you will start to feel the effects of this amazing form of massage. This is definitely a good reason to make candles at home.
If you aren’t a fan of lavender and vanilla there are plenty of other massage candle scent combinations. Essential oils in candles can aid in your relaxation and they can also invigorate you. As the essential oils, mixed with carrier oil, are absorbed through the skin and into your blood stream they affect your organs and muscles.

It is therefore important to choose your essential oil carefully. What is it you want to achieve?
·         Need to de-stress and relax: Marjoram helps achy muscles, good for tense shoulders and backs
·         Seeking calm and relaxed state: Lavender
·         Have a headache or suffering with insomnia: Lavender or Neroli
·         Looking for a sensual night in: Jasmine helps to create a romantic atmosphere and Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang are both aphrodisiacs

Hopefully, you can see the fantastic benefits to a soy massage candle. I have another benefit for you though; you can quickly and easily make candles at home. If you have cosmetic grade soy candle making materials all you will need is a carrier oil.

Materials needed: Soy wax flakes (cosmetic grade soy wax is preferable), wicks, container, essential oil and carrier oil
Tools needed: Double boiler, thermometer, heat source
Note: cosmetic grade soy candle wax is guaranteed to be free from genetically modified material, to be chemical, herbicide and pesticide free.
One of the ways to create a unique soy candle is in deciding which carrier oil to use. When you make candles at home you can design the perfect massage candle to suit your needs. Carrier oils dilute essential oils and carry the aromatherapy essential oil into your skin. There are plenty of possible carrier oils, from a simple olive oil through to expensive oils like emu oil.

List of a range of carrier oils commercially available.
·         Olive oil
·         Coconut oil
·         Kukui Nut oil
·         Apricot kernel oil
·         Sunflower oil
·         Sandalwood oil
·         Sweet almond oil
·         Jojoba oil
·         Vitamin E oil
·         Emu oil

Just as essential oils have different aromatherapy benefits, carrier oils have different attributes. Emu oil is a natural anti-inflammatory. Vitamin E oil, used by the beauty industry to reduce the signs of ageing, is excellent for the treatment of skin conditions. Sandalwood oil increases your pulse rate and blood pressure and acting as an aphrodisiac. Sweet Almond oil is absorbed very quickly. My preference is for oils that are absorbed quickly and do not leave an oily film on the skin. For example, while Macadamia Nut oil is a carrier oil, I wouldn’t use it in a soy massage candle because it is too thick and leaves an oily residue. For the same reason I tend to stay away from olive oil, avocado oil and pecan oil and instead use sweet almond oil, coconut oil and vitamin E oil. My favorite soy massage candle to make at home uses sweet almond oil and vanilla.

Please only use therapeutic grade essential oils in your soy massage candles. Unlike candle fragrances these essential oils do not contain any synthetic or natural diluting agents. When applying anything to your body you really want to ensure it is chemical free or at least limited in its chemical component. Therapeutic grade essential oils are 100% natural and are distilled in a natural manner as well.

There are many recipes for soy massage candles. This one will get you started making your first basic soy massage candle. Once you see how it all goes together then I encourage you to experiment with your recipe. Try a combination of essential oil, carrier oil and possibly cosmetic butters. The addition of Shea butter or Cocoa butter can really enhance the entire massage experience. Cosmetic butters are used to increase the soothing experience. Shea butter is a moisturizer and is also used for its medicinal properties in the treatment of joint inflammation. Cocoa butter is frequently used in the cosmetic industry due to its moisturizing capabilities. Cocoa butter has a slight fragrance of chocolate and contains natural antioxidants. Mango butter is another possible choice. Mango butter is used in the cosmetics industry to aid in the regeneration of skin cells and to restore elasticity.

How to Make Soy Massage Candles at Home
You will need to measure out your wax and carrier oil in a ration of 3:1, so for 300g of soy wax, use 100ml of carrier oil. Soy massage candles are made just like everyday soy candles with the exception of adding the carrier oil to the melting wax.  For detailed instructions on how to make soy massage candles, including a demonstration video become a member of Make Candles at Home. Here you will be able to access our library of videos, along with handy hints and helpful tips.

I thoroughly recommend using a soy massage candle as a part of your Friday night plans. The relaxing scents of the essential oils, the warm wax and the power of physical touch will all work together to make the working week a distant memory. Just think, the lighting of soy massage candles could be the relaxing end to a stressful week or the sensual beginning of an exciting night.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Floating Candle Ideas

Floating candles make a great party decorating idea, they can be used in both indoor and outdoor settings, in water features or simply in glassware such as bowls and vases. Floating candles are also quick and easy to make. You can make them easily from scratch or you can very quickly alter a tea light candle into a floating candle.
Floating candles are one of the quickest and easiest candles to create from home. Floating candles are also fantastic from a safety perspective. Fundamentally, a candle will float when its base is smaller than its top and if its wick doesn't go completely through the candle.

There are plenty of floating candle molds available at craft stores and online at places like and However, you do not have to buy molds made especially for candle making. You can use cupcake molds and even ice cube molds. These days silicone cup cake and ice molds are available in an assortment of shapes and sizes. Generally, at holiday times you come across novelty silicone trays, e.g. I saw skulls and brains at Halloween and hearts and flowers at Valentine’s Day. These make fantastic novelty floating candles. If you are planning to use your floating candles in an outdoors setting you will need to look for ones where the wick is recessed allowing it some defense against breezes.

If you make candles at home and find they do not float for very  long it may be because you have thread the wick completely through the candle. If you have pierced the base of the candle, water will manage to get through to the wick and the wick will stop burning.

When I am making floating candles for table centerpieces I don’t tend to scent them. If they are room decorations or used in an outdoor setting adding a candle scent or essential oil is a great idea, but if people will be sitting close to them in a dining setting I leave them un-scented. At a dinner party I feel it should be the fragrance of the food, not the decoration that dominates.

Centerpieces using floating candles
If you make candles at home you will find it easy to make stunning centerpieces using floating candles. Table centerpieces are generally created in large bowls, glass containers or flower vases.

A really easy centerpiece involves using a big bowl of water filled with a variety of floating candles. If there is a contrast in colors between candles and the bowl the effects is a lot more impressive. Alternatively keep the candles white and color the water using a couple of drops of food coloring. Take care when using food coloring though as it will stain if spilled.

If you have numerous thin vases of various heights you can also make a really effective display with floating candles. Even if you have very similar sized vases you can still create a fantastic effect simply by creating levels of water within the glasses. Again different colored candles can certainly make this display better.
One of the real delights whenever you make candles at home is able to alter your products to match the topic of the event. This could be as easy as the color of wax you choose. If you dinner party has a theme then extend it to your candle decorations. Sometimes I will choose my candle colors to match the flowers or the tableware or even the color of the dessert. If you simply have white candles you can still incorporate your color theme in a couple of ways.

1.       Submerge a string of beads of the theme color inside the bowl and float your candles on top. At Christmas this particular notion may very well be extended to placing colored baubles in the dish. You can also use small river pebbles or floristry rocks to complete the look of your display.
2.       Submerge plants in dish. Flowers can be real or synthetic; if you find they have a tendency to float you can weigh them down. I have used both drape weights and fishing weights to keep the flowers submerged.
3.       As already mentioned, the simplest method is to use a couple of drops of food coloring in your water and then float your white candles on top.

Flower shaped floating candles look really effective in a pool or on a pond. Floating candles may add that perfect final touch for a backyard party or family get together. If making use of the candles in a pool you will likely wish to weight the candles to prevent them moving around the pool. I recommend using lengths of fishing line together with a fishing weight or even a balloon containing sand to keep the candles from constantly drifting across the pool.

Lastly, if you haven't had time to make any floating candles you can easily alter some tea light candles to ensure they float. If you make candles from home you probably have some tea light candles around. If you, remove the tea light from its metal holder and turn it upside down you will see a metal sustainer on the base of the candle. In order to make sure water doesn't get to your wick you will have to cover the base, including the sustainer, with melted wax. Again, assuming you're making candles from home you'll have few candles put away, and can easily light one of them and drip the melted wax over the base of the tea light. Once the sustainer is covered, water will not penetrate the wick and the tea light will float.

For more great candle making ideas visit you will find ideas, inspiration and a library of ‘how to’ videos for members.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Wedding Favor Candle Ideas

With today's focus on DIY projects, present day brides are interested in more of these projects being incorporated into their wedding. One great project that can be done months beforehand is making candles and candles are excellent wedding favors. They may be personalized to match the happy couple's style and therefore are a much more useful present than other popular choices out there today. Make these candles months ahead of time and store in a cool and dry place before the big event. These are the one favor that guests will make sure to use additionally they’re easy to make also.

Soy candles are a good choice as they burn cleanly and have an excellent scent throw compared to paraffin wax. Start by assembling your supplies. You will need soy wax flakes, wicks, containers, and fragrance oil. Dye can be used to make the candles into a signature color that matches the wedding theme. You will also need a selection of containers. These can be as simple as jelly jars or containers like vintage tins, miniature pots, teacups, or any other similarly unique items. A number of these are available at craft stores, but consider looking through vintage, thrift and antique shops to locate unique candle containers. Take into account that the containers do not need to match. It's possible to buy matching sets, but having different shapes and sizes is usually a fun way to add an eclectic style to your wedding.

Whenever you make candles in the home, preparation is the vital thing. Make certain that the containers are clean before beginning and then put them in rows on the counter or table. Cut the wicking material to match the depth of the container. You want to make sure the wick is straight, the very top of the wick could be tied loosely to some small wooden dowelor a kitchen skewer which rests on top of the jar. The dowel might be taped to the jar to keep it still but it is rare for dowel to move a great deal. Take into account the wick should graze the bottom of the jar, but attempt to avoid using a wick that is too short or long.

When melting the soy wax flakes, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions as waxes differ in their melt and pour temperatures. If available, put the flakes into a double boiler with a spout. This can help to eliminate spillage through the pouring and makes controlling the flow of hot wax much safer. Keep an eye on your melting wax checking its temperature doesn’t get too high. Now, you'll be able to opt to have plain, unscented candles or add fragrance and dye on the candles. Adding your personal fragrance is really a fun way to personalize the candles. Using essential oils, pick a plain scent or mix several together to create your signature scent. Lavender is usually a good choice as well as citrus and wintergreen. If you have a theme to your wedding you could include it in your scent e.g. a beach wedding in a tropical location may use lime and coconut. Also, consider using a fragrance to match the flowers in your bouquet. My bouquet had roses and lavender which perfectly suited the candles I had made.

After adding dye and fragrance, you can pour the wax in the jars and allow them to sit until the wax has hardened. Avoid disturbing the jars and ensure to keep them out of the reach of children during this process.

Now it is time to really display your creative flair - finishing the candle. Simple gift tags can be added with the wedding date, the names of the happy couple or even a simple phrase or the words ‘many thanks’. Consider cutting out circles of linen or tulle to cover the candles then tie ribbon, twine, or any other material around the mouth of the containers, before attaching the gift tags. If desired, springs of lavender or dried flowers can be added.

They're some ideas on how to make candles at home to use for wedding favors. Use the ideas here or embellish them with your own ideas. Candles are incredibly popular and fun to create as well!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Why don't I use paraffin when making candles?

As you can no doubt tell, I like to make candles from soy wax. I would like to take a minute and explain to you why that is.

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Soy pillar candle
  1. Soy is 100% natural. Yes, I have seen the arguments that paraffin is natural as it originates with the decomposition of organic matter. But seriously, how many of us consider petroleum to be a natural product? Paraffin is a by-product of the petroleum industry. Yes, paraffin is used in a lot of women's health and beauty products but that doesn't necessarily make it natural or good for you. Take a quick look at any cosmetic item you use and you will see an extensive list of chemical compounds. Why would you want to burn chemicals in your home? Surely a 100% natural wax is a healthier choice.
  2. Soy is renewable. Soy beans can be harvested and then more grown the following season. It takes millions of years to make the petroleum necessary for the production of paraffin.
  3. The use of soy beans to make wax for candle making helps local farmers in the USA and many other countries
  4. Soy wax works in so many forms. You can use soy to make pillar, container and molded candles. I use to worry about using soy in silicone molds but really works well. Soy wax is softer than paraffin and it is a white wax, therefore the colors are not as vivid, but it is a great wax for making candles.
  5. Soy candles burn cleaner than paraffin candles. I burn candles everyday and I am often surprised when I see other people's candles with black sooty residues around the edges. I never have black soot on my soy candles.
  6. Soy candles burn slower and therefore they last longer. This makes soy candles a good economic choice as you are getting a longer burn time for your dollar.
  7. Soy has an excellent scent throw. Most of us burn candles for the beautiful scent they give off around the home. Soy wax has an excellent cold and warm scent throw meaning your house will smell delicious in no time at all.
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Soy Candle using Silicone Mold
As you can see, there are so many reasons why soy wax is a great decision when making candles. Soy wax is better for you, your family and the environment. You know when you use soy wax you will get great looking candles and a candle that will burn well.

Great ideas on using soy wax in candle making can be found at Candle Making Skills

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Advent Candle Wreath

Do you have an Advent Candle wreath? 

I think this is one of the Christmas traditions that is losing popularity. Many people still use wreaths, generally though these are hung on their doors. My daughter taught me something new about wreaths this year. I had no idea a wreath was traditionally made from ever green boughs to symbolize ever lasting life. I did know that is was circular to show the continuous love of God and the immortality of the soul. Modern day wreaths are made of so many different items, burlap, plastic bags, candy, tinsel, paper, baubles and ribbons to name a few.

I have a few friends who light Advent candles, these are generally the ones that count down the days to Christmas much like an Advent Calendar does. Initially I thought perhaps Advent Candle Wreaths were rare because most people are unaware of the term "Advent" but then I realized the proliferation of Advent calendars refutes that argument. As a candle maker I am going to encourage the use of Advent Candle Wreaths. So what is an Advent Candle Wreath?

Generally an Advent Candle Wreath is made up of four or five candles. The four candles on the wreath are lit on the four Sundays of Advent (the 4 weeks before Christmas). Three of the candles are traditionally purple and the other is pink.

The candles represent

  1. Hope - faith in God keeping his promise to the world
  2. Preparation - reminding people to get ready to receive God
  3. Joy - reminds us of the angels joyfully singing of Jesus' birth (the pink candle)
  4. Love - a reminder that God loves the world so much he sent his Son

Often, a white candle is placed in the centre of the wreath and it is the Christ candle.

In the first week of Advent the Hope candle is lit, in the second week both the Hope and Preparation candles are lit, in the third week the Hope, Preparation and Joy candles are lit, on the last Sunday of Advent the Hope, Preparation, Joy and Love candles are lit. Lastly on Christmas day or sometimes at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve the center candle, representing Christ, is lit.

While an Advent Candle Wreath is a traditional way to remember the Advent season there are variations to this practice. Some people use a single Advent candle while others have a display of candles.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmas candle madness

'Tis the season to be jolly, and to get lots done. I am on a hectic schedule at the moment, besides my day job and looking after my family I need to start my Christmas preparations and I need to make a lot of candle presents. I had this wonderful idea of making Christmas candles for hampers our local church is giving away this year. Perhaps I should have considered the sheer volume of candles I was going to need to make and made some simple pillars or containers. Unfortunately, I decided to make stars and I only have one mold which makes 6 candles at a time. I am two pours in and still have 8 sets to go!

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The candles look absolutely amazing though and the house is filled with the festive scents of cinnamon and cranberries. I made these candles using silicone bake ware, yes the ones you would use to make cupcakes or muffins. If you have never used re purposed kitchen items in your candle making then you really are missing out on some great candle making experiences. Some of these cupcake molds have interesting detail and also excellent shape designs. I have flowers, hearts, stars, presents and bugs in my collection. The best thing about using these molds is:

  1. You often have them on hand already at the back of one of your kitchen cupboards
  2. You can often pick them up cheaply at a discount store, dollar store, yard sale or Goodwill
  3. They are much cheaper than candle molds
  4. Usually there are 6 molds meaning you can make candles much quicker that if you are reliant on a single pillar mold.
If you are wanting to make some Christmas candles and aren't sure where to start, or need some inspiration drop on over to Candle making skills for some great ideas.