Candle Making 101

| 1/21/2010 3:47:38 PM

Tags: Candles, Gifts, Do-It-Yourself,

A photo of Drew OdomAs part of our “crafty Christmas” Pan and I decided to make some homemade candles. Now we have seen a host of this DIY craft on other sites and in books. But we wanted to kind of go out on our own and do something we had available to us and that intrigued us. So about a month ago we headed to our local craft supply and bought the following:

  • Microwaveable soy wax
  • Pre-waxed wicks

And then got together a clothespin, a microwaveable measuring glass/cup, some wood from our land and about 1 hour of time.

Materials include microwaveable soy wax, wood columns, wick and clothespins

Before we could begin though Pan set about finding just the right wood from our land that she felt would make good candles. We decided to make both cylindrical “candlesticks” as well as bored out candle chunks. Once she got the wood, she used her 1-inch chisel and stripped the bark off. Using 180 grit sandpaper she smoothed the surface and gave it a very artistic look rather than a “rustic country cabin” look. The last prep step was to rub linseed oil on all the wood and allow it to dry completely.

Pan prepares the wood.

Once the wood had completely dried we took them all inside and laid them out on paper towels with the holes upward ready to receive the wax. Before melting the wax though we measured and cut the wicks to there would be right at an inch of wick for each candle.

8/31/2011 9:02:26 PM

You may be able to make these to be able to burn if before you put in the wax make the hole big enough for a metal or glass tube to slide in first then put the wax and wick in. Just a thought.

8/31/2011 8:57:15 PM

Great idea for decor or for gift giving but i agree that when giving them away you need to put a warning on them that the wood could catch fire.

1/24/2010 8:39:55 PM

@vickie - I am so glad you enjoyed the DIY. That is absolutely something I strive to do - making easy to read, easy to follow, easy to do posts. I hope the ones you make look fantastic and make you as happy as ours made us. @kindredscents - Thank you so much for reading and your kind words.

1/24/2010 6:46:14 PM

That is so cool. They look great!

1/24/2010 4:55:47 PM

Andrew, Your post was very useful! I can't wait to make candles- and it was a great post to watch you go through the process. Actually the kind you made would look so good in my den. Thanks vickie

1/24/2010 2:15:45 PM

@Cindy - I do think they would accent a table or a mantle nicely. We grouped them in threes (different heights) and put rafia around them as well as a small jingle bell. They looked fantastic (if I do say so myself).

cindy murphy
1/24/2010 11:39:49 AM

I fall on the opposite end of the spectrum than Dave. Burn, Baby, Burn. Never unattended, of course, candles, decorative or not, are made to light. I love the smell of a burning candle. There's not a candle in my house I haven't lit at least once. I'd definitely make an exception for these, though. I love their look of simplicity and at the same time, elegance. I can imagine them on my dining room table nestled among gourds and leaves in autumn, or fresh greens and berries in winter. And in regards to your comment, Andrew, on promising "more useful" posts in the future - just as your candles, not everything has to be functional to be considered worthwhile.

1/24/2010 9:54:10 AM

@Nebraska Dave - I have gone through many stages of candles in my quest to sustainability. In my college years I put taper candles in empty wine bottles for that bohemian feel. Then in my 20's I used them to add what I thought was adult sophistication to my otherwise bachelor pad. Then I moved into only soy and beeswax candles to support my feelings on natural products. These particular candles were birthed out of pure gift giving. My father is a retired professional firefighter and will NOT allow anyone he is near to burn a candle in their home unless absolute emergency (to which he has even supplied everyone a wind up, solar power flashlight). So to match that strong feeling as well as other family members desire not to burn candles but to "admire" them, my wife designed and we built them. You may have read that I personally have not tried to burn one and we don't, in fact, even have any in our house (this style). They simply aren't functional and our simple lifestyle just doesn't allow for extraneous decorative or non-useful products. I did put "for decorative purposes only" on the gift tags and I know that the receivers thoroughly enjoyed them - unburned as they remain. Thank you for taking time to comment and I promise our next posts will be a little more useful! hahahahah

oz girl
1/24/2010 8:58:14 AM

Nebraska Dave ~ Yes, I'll agree about controlled fire - absolutely mesmerizing. And I just love these candles that Drew's wife made, whether they are functional or just decorative! Out-of-control fires are not so fascinating, such as when I caught my house on fire (in my 20s) and the way out-of-control pasture burn that hubby is still living down from last spring. But that's a future blog post, with photos. :-) Oz Girl

nebraska dave
1/24/2010 7:57:15 AM

Andrew, after your discussion with Oz Girl I was curious about the amount of decorative candles in the house. Actually there are more decorative candles that will never see a match than actual useable functional candles. Then the thought came what if I actually had to use a candle where would I find one in the house. I had to search a little to come up with one. That would not have been a good thing to stumble around in the dark trying to find a candle to light. Then, of course, the thought came, “now where did I put those dog gone matches.” It’s a good thing to be ready for lights out in this not so reliable power grid day. Decorative candles actually fascinate me every time I walk down the isle that contains them in the big box stores. It’s one of those crafts that can be totally elaborately creative or rustically simple like your method. Isn’t it amazing that after many centuries have past that mankind is still fascinated by fire? Whether it is candles, a fire pit, a fireplace, or a bonfire, it simply mesmerizes those that sit and watch the dancing flames. Controlled fire just seems to have a relaxing effect of those watching it. I’m looking forward to reading more about your life experiences. Nebraska Dave

1/22/2010 11:35:01 AM

@vickie - I have no idea what keeps them from burning. I have yet to light one yet. The initial idea was that they would be for decorative purposes only as they were put in Christmas baskets. In fact, the gift tag even said "for decorative purposes only." So, I am just not sure. I would light one up but we gave them all away.

1/22/2010 11:26:35 AM

Andrew, I love your candles -and I would love to make some -but I was wondering just like Oz girl what kept them from burning! It would be so fun to make some. vickie

oz girl
1/22/2010 9:29:43 AM

LMAO... you're too funny. :) So I'm thinking maybe a fat column candle might be a better solution? But I sure do like the look of your taper candles. (Oh, and sorry about that typo, "Andrews", LOL) I'll email you in a bit... time to head outside to feed the horses. I'm sure they are getting annoyed by now!

1/22/2010 9:15:33 AM

@Oz Girl - and for this, I shall get blasted. Um, we haven't burned one yet so I have no idea. Email me directly and I will show you some other designs that DO burn that you can consider. (oops, huh? I should have tested them. hahahaha)

oz girl
1/22/2010 9:11:56 AM

Andrews - quick question... what prevents the wood from catching fire? Does the linseed oil rubdown protect the wood from the flame?

1/22/2010 9:11:53 AM

@Oz Girl - Thank you so much. I have to admit that they were the idea of my wife and she is the woodworker, not me. I just kind of got the materials together and figured out how we could do them. The only thing I caution you on is that the taper candles will ultimately burn the wood if lit too long. I would suggest making something that involved a more robust amount of wax and burned toward the center than straight down like a taper. Keep me posted though, for sure!

oz girl
1/22/2010 8:48:34 AM

Andrew, I'm lovin' these candles! I've had candle making on my self-sustaining list for awhile now, along with a few other items that I never seem to have time for! Your post motivates me to move the candlemaking up in priority and try something similar to what you've done here. :) Susan

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