Basic Ingredients to Make Candles
Before you can begin your candle making project, you'll need to pick up a few necessities.
When looking for wax to make candles, you have three basic options:
- Paraffin wax: This is the cheapest and most common choice for candle making.
- Beeswax: Beeswax is great for making natural candles, but it can be very expensive. It is sold either in blocks or sheets with a distinctive honeycomb pattern.
- Soy wax: Soy wax is another all natural alternative to paraffin wax, but much more affordable than beeswax. Soy candles are said to last up to 50% longer than paraffin candles.
Candles don't necessarily need to have a scent, but most people who are searching for ingredients to make candles do plan on adding a fragrance to their creations.
If you're just starting out and looking for a very simple way to add scent to your candles, try using a few drops of vanilla extract from your kitchen. Since vanilla is universally popular and not too overpowering, this is a great way to save a bit of cash while you're working on mastering basic candle making techniques.
For more scent options, you can purchase candle making fragrance oils. These oils come in every scent you can imagine, from floral and fruit scents to fun combinations like "Winter Wonderland" or "Summer Breeze." Some fragrance oils are skin safe and can also be used to create lotions and soaps, but many people feel oils made especially for candle making will give you the best results.
If you're interested in creating aromatherapy candles and not concerned about the cost of supplies, creating candles with essential oils can be an enjoyable experience. Unlike synthetic fragrance oils, essential oils are made from natural plant extracts.
Candle wax is usually either white or a cream color. If you want colored candles, you'll need to purchase some sort of dye before beginning your project. Dye for candle making can be purchased in chips, blocks, or small bottles. A little goes a long way, so keep this in mind when deciding what color you want your candle to be.
When making paraffin candles, it's possible to use bits of broken crayons to add color to your finished candle. You won't get as vibrant of colors as if you'd purchased candle making dye, but this is a good way to enjoy frugal candle making with young crafters. See the LoveToKnow Candles article Candle Making and Crayola Crayons for more information on this technique.
Container or Mold
Containers for candle making can be anything that is free of cracks and heat resistant. This includes flower pots, tea cups, drinking glasses, and canning jars. If you're looking to save money, check out the selection of materials available at your local thrift shop or consignment store.
If you prefer to use a mold for making your candle, you can either purchase molds made especially for candle making or create your own molds by repurposing materials from around your home. For example, muffin tins, cupcake pans, and novelty baking molds are great for using in candle making. Old milk cartons are also good for candle making since you can simply cut the carton off when the wax has hardened.
Obviously, your candle isn't going to burn without a wick. You can choose to either buy your wicks or make them by following the instructions in the LoveToKnow Candles article on Homemade Candle Wicks.
How to Make Massage Candles
Massage candles, or spa candles as they are sometimes called, can be melted and used to mositurize your skin as part of a luxurious massage. Making one of these candles is easier than you may realize, and it's also a lot of fun. Once you learn how to make a basic massage candle, you can try including different ingredients to create a unique combination you really love.
Make Your Own Massage Candles
Making massage candles is almost the same as making any other type of container candle. Soy wax is one of the safest waxes to use on the skin. It's quite soft so it melts and pools easily, and it won't irritate your skin unless you have a soy allergy (in which case you can use beeswax instead). The soy wax is melted down and combined with various oils and butters that will help the skin absorb it. Without these additions, the wax would cool and harden as it was being massaged into the skin.
Essential oils or cosmetic grade fragrance oils are also added to create a soothing atmosphere. Make sure that the fragrance you choose is safe for both candle making and use on the body. All soap-making fragrances that are also soy candle safe are perfect choices for scenting your massage candles. Try the basic directions below to make your first candle.
Massage Candle Recipe Supplies
- Good quality soy wax
- Sweet almond oil, olive oil or vitamin E
- Skin-safe essential oil or cosmetic grade fragrance oil
- Small, fire-proof containers or tins
- Candle wicking
- For every three ounces of wax, you'll add one ounce of liquid oil, and one-quarter ounce of fragrance. You can try making an even softer bar by substituting one ounce of the wax with one ounce of shea or cocoa butter. Colors and dyes aren't added to massage candles since they can stain the skin quite easily, especially when heated.
- Melt the soy wax and oil (and butter, if using) in a double boiler over simmering water, or in short 30-second intervals in the microwave in a heat-safe, non-metallic container.
- Add the fragrance and stir gently. Stirring too vigorously will create air bubbles, so take your time here.
- Once the wax has cooled somewhat but is still melted enough to pour, place the wicks in your containers and pour in the wax.
- Allow several hours for the candles to harden.
- Trim the wicks to one quarter of an inch above the top of the candle, and they're ready to burn.
Additonal Ingredients to Try
If you'd like more variety, try customizing your candle by adding or substituting one of the following ingredients in the original recipe.
- Apricot kernel oil
- Sunflower oil
- Jojoba oil
- Shea butter
- Cocoa butter
Using Your Candle
To use your homemade massage candle:
- Light the candle and allow some of the wax to pool inside.
- Blow out the flame and allow the candle to sit for a minute or two. You don't want the wax to be too hot!
- Test the wax to make sure it's not too hot, and then pour or scoop some into your hand and apply directly to your skin, or use the mixture as part of a massage.
You can burn as much or as little of the candle as you'd like. Whatever pooled wax you don't use on your skin will re-harden so you can melt it again when you need it.
Experience the Sensation
You might hesitate at using melted wax as part of a massage if you've never tried it before. However, once you experience the soothing sensation of warm wax and how soft and glowing your skin is afterward, you may never go back to a traditional massage again. The combination of aromatherapy, skin care and muscle relaxation is hard to resist once you experience just how wonderful a wax massage can be.