Candles have been used to light and freshen homes for over 5,000 years. Historians have found the use of wickless candles made from soaking the core of reeds in melted animal fat first in Egypt, and soon after, the Romans developed a crude type of candlewick. It is ingenious the types of wax and wick material that has progressed through the years from dipping rolled papyrus in melted tallow or beeswax in Italy to making wax in Japan extracted from tree nuts. The Chinese candles were molded in paper tubes using rolled rice paper for the wick and the wax, an indigenous insect combined with seeds. In India, the wax was produced by boiling the fruit of the cinnamon tree.
Time has moved on, and thankfully, today, we no longer have to go to great lengths to enjoy the beauty, light, fragrance, and air freshening benefits of candles. Especially in dreary months where there is cold, wet weather, it is nice to be able to bring light and fresh scents into a home. Candles of today come in many sizes from the tiny tea candle to the large ornamental candle on a stand. Most homes use candles in a bowl or jar-like containers, which can be set almost anywhere and will burn for hours, depending on the type of wax used. Every color of the rainbow and multiple scents are used to create today’s candles. Costs will vary according to the kind of wax and complexity of fragrance, but even dollar store candles are lovely, have pleasant scents, and are very cost-effective.
But what about making your own candles? This creative project is easy and can provide you with just the right type of candle you desire. You can choose the best wax, color, and, if desired, the scent for your home’s needs. For example, scents provide healing, restorative properties for people such as lavender for calming and soothing, peppermint for feelings of peace, and nutmeg for energizing and uplifting. When you make your own candles, you can choose just the right container, color, and scent. You can even determine the strength of the scent you want though never use more than 10% of the amount of wax for a scent measure. The usual amount is between 6% and 10%, 7% being the average. And be sure to check that the wick you choose will burn hot enough to melt the kind of wax you use.
If you would like to try making your own candles here is the basic recipe:
- First gather supplies needed and find a safe place to work, covering the work area with newspaper or old towel.
- You will need a sturdy container, candle wax (chipped wax melts the best), a double boiler, wick (purchased from the most variety and drug stores), popsicle sticks or something similar to hold the wick while the melted wax is hardening, food coloring, scents (can be fragrance or essential oils)
- Place the wick in the bottom of the container
- Carefully melt wax in your double boiler
- Add food coloring and scent to the melted wax, keeping the temperature no higher than 200 degrees F
- Carefully pour melted wax into the container
- Use supports to hold the wick until the wax has hardened
- When the wax has hardened, trim the wick to the desired length
Truly, candles are a joy to use in a home. On a final note, there are different types of wax you can use to make your own candles. If you are looking to freshen the air in your home as well as bring color and a feeling of warmth, use soy wax as it is known for its ability to clean the air.