How I started Candle Making

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Like a lot of Woman and Men out in the world, I love candles. When I walk into a store, or walk through a craft show/market and I see candles I can’t help but stop and hardly never walk away without purchasing at least 2 candles. I just love candles.

Now I have known candle purchasers who seem to purchase candles but never burn the candles, I however,  am not that person. I buy a candle,  I go home and  lite one up  letting its amazing fragrance flow through my house almost as soon as I walk in my door.

My mom, like me is also a lover of candles. One night while  I was sitting on my parents couch talking about candles my mom said “Why don’t we just making our own candles?” and I was just looked at her and said “wouldn’t that be difficult, its so much easier to just go buy a candle?” So started our hunt for how to go about making your own candles. We found the process appeared fairly easy as long as you just want to make simple container candles or wax melt cubes.

Off topic for just a moment,  I know on Etsy there is a shop  I just love ran by Michelle Boswell called Home Made Scents, the link to her shop is:  etsy.com/shop/HomemadeScents  . She makes some of the most deliciously edible looking candles that just smell amazing, burn well and make the most awesome gifts for candle lovers everywhere.   I know a little odd for a candle maker to mention another shop that sells candles, but I make simple container candles and wax melt cubes, I do not make Artisian candles like the decorative amazing looking candles you will find at Home Made Scents.

So getting back to how we started, we did several weeks of research on candle wax, candle containers, scents, and Candle Wicks. We ordered some wax, Color chips/and liquid, candle containers, wicks, wick tabs, wick holders and we got started. After trying several different containers we  landed on Mason Jars for our container of choice, and a Hybrid Candle wax ( a mix of Paraffin and Soy). Overall we are very pleased with the Hybrid wax, very simple to use,  burns well,  and holds the scent well.

The most important items needed to begin Candle making are  Thermometer, fragrance or essential oils, Candle Wax, Candle Color Cubes or Liquid, Candle Wicks, Candle Containers, a Double Broiler,  and a metal Pouring container. I would recommend clearing off your kitchen counter of all unnecessary items before getting started and found laying Freezer paper down and lightly taping in place over our Granite counters made clean up a breeze.

To start out fill the bottom of your double broiler with water, place the empty top half of the broiler on top of the water filled bottom half of the broiler. Add your wax and heat your wax up in the top of the  double broiler until it reaches the recommended temperature.

While you are waiting on the wax to reach its desired temperature, now is a good time to add your wicks to your containers, I use wick tabs they make the wick stick to the bottom of your container and keep them in place even after you pour your wax in.

Once the temperature of your candle wax  is met and your containers are ready with the wicks in place, you now want to add color to your wax first if you wish to have a colored candle then add 1.5 ounces of fragrance per pound of wax used,  and stir your candle wax  until you feel the color and scent are all mixed together.

Then pour your wax into your metal pouring container (this makes pouring the wax into the containers you have chosen much easier than trying to pour the wax from the pot) and then pour the wax into your candle containers, straighten your wicks if needed (they also have wick holders available which will help keep your wicks straight while cooling)  and wait for your candles to cool.

Again like Soap making I find the aspect I appreciate most is having complete control over what goes into my candle and what scents I make. I never have a candle made that I won’t burn because I made them all, I love all the scents.  Being a very simple person who loves things that are just plain useful, I don’t really need my candles to be pretty,  just useful.  So that is what my candles are just plain awesome smelling useful candles meant to be used and enjoyed. I especially find I appreciate the odor eliminating scents I have come across that work wonders for the home.

You can see some of my candles here etsy.com/shop/BearsHeadMountain

Rose Clay Charcoal Cold Process Soap

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This is a recipe I used to make an awesome Rose Clay Charcoal Peppermint Tea Tree Soap. I will not be putting the amounts of water and Lye used only because you should always run your recipe through a lye calculator which will give you the Distilled Water and Lye amounts to use.

6 oz  Avocado Oil

2 oz  Babassu Oil

4 oz  Castor Oil

6 oz Coconut Oil

6 oz Mango Butter

16 oz Olive Oil

4 oz Rice Bran Oil

4 oz Sunflower Seed Oil

2 tsp Rose Clay

1 tsp Charcoal

1.4 oz Peppermint Essential Oil

1.6 oz Tea Tree Essential Oil

3% Superfatted.

If you have never made cold Process soap, Make sure you look up safety precautions when  using lye.  Always add your lye to water, never add your water into your lye.

This is how I make my soap, but you can come up with your own routine, and what works best for you when you are creating your soap. I always mix my Lye and Distilled water first so the Lye Mixture  has time to start cooling while I mix and combine my oils,  I then Melt and Combine all oils, and prepare my color mixtures of Rose Clay and Charcoal.

  • Disperse the 2 tsp Rose Clay with 2 tbs Sweet Almond Oil  mixing the powder with the oil until you have a nice smooth color mixture.
  • Disperse the Charcoal 1 tsp with 1 tbs Sweet almond oil mixing together until you have a smooth mixture.

Once the lye/water and oils have cooled to 130 degrees or below  mix your lye water and oils together  in a large pot or deep bowl, always adding the lye water mixture to the oils and blending with a stick blender  or by hand adding in   1.4 oz of Peppermint Essential Oil and 1.6 oz of Tea Tree Essential oil and mixing until a thin trace is achieved.  Once a thin trace has been achieved, split the batch into two bowls and Combine the disbursed Rose Clay into one of the Bowls  and add the Dispersed Charcoal into the other bowl, using  a whisk to thoroughly blend the color mixtures in each bowl.

Now it is time to pour your soap into your mold, I chose to pour the charcoal first then the rose clay, but this is your soap, so you can pour them in the mold however you want. You can swirl the mix together, layer them using rose clay first, you can even make 3-4 layers going back and fourth if you choose, I encourage you to have fin while you make your soap.

If you wish to make your batch exactly as I have pictured, then pour your  Charcoal mixture into the bottom of your 5 lb wooden loaf mold, then  add the Rose clay mixture on top, very slowly pouring it into the mold over a spatula (to slow the speed at which the mix hit the top of the charcoal) so it will lay on top of the charcoal layer and not go down to the bottom of the mold. If you have bubbles spray lightly with 99% alcohol to get the bubbles to pop.  Then cover your mold and let sit for 3 days before un-molding, cutting, and allowing to cure (dry/harden) for 6 weeks before using.

You will notice in my picture of my finished bars of soap, there are slight speckles in my Rose clay half of the soap, this is because I did not disperse my Clay into oil before adding to my soap, I just poured the clay in and then blended which left me with a few speckles in my finished product. So my advice for a perfect batch is to not skip dispersing  your clay/charcoal into oil before adding to your thin trace.

 

My Start to Making Cold Process Soap

A little over a year ago I got this great idea to start making my own Cold Process soap. Let me just say I love making my own soap. Just being the one person who makes all of the decisions on the ingredients of  what goes into your soap and on your face and body is an amazing feeling.

Another Method of making soap  I have tried is the melt and pour method of soap making, and I was severely disappointed in the outcome. I found the Melt and pour soaps pale in comparison to Cold Processed soap  on so many levels,  the number one problem I had was buying the melt and pour base, what is really in that base you purchase? With Cold Process I know exactly what is in my soap because I put all of the ingredient in myself, I start with no pre-made base .

What I did not realize at the start of this cold process soap making endeavor , was the actual expense that goes into starting out making your own cold process soap.  The oils, Molds, Butters, Clays, Charcoal, Salts… So I found some basic recipes I wanted to try and ordered my oils, butters, and  charcoal and waited for everything to come in. I was  so excited, I couldn’t wait to start making my soap.

Once everything arrived, I cleared out my kitchen, placed my double broiler on the stove and went to start making my soap and encountered my first hiccup.   I had ordered 1 lb of  of the oils I needed in the recipes,  and found with the very first recipe I wanted to try,  I needed 18 ounces of Olive Oil, and found myself with only 16 ounces.  My initial disappointment aside, I am the type of person that will figure something else out to make my endeavor work. Thus my first experience in creating my own recipes from the very start, as I had to start researching oil substitutes and also my first lesson learned in ordering some oils in larger quantities especially the Olive Oil and Coconut Oil.

My advice to anyone who wanted to give cold process soap making a try,  would be to start out small, simple. 100% Olive oil soaps, or Olive Oil & Coconut oil with  some Shea butter or mango butter soaps to start out. You can order the 7-8 lb bottle of Olive oil, and rest assured you will use it all, same with the Coconut oil, or Rice Bran Oil…. You can use 7-8 lbs of Olive oil making just 2-4 loafs of soap, so by keeping the ingredient list small to give it a try will do wonders in  keeping the expense down to get started and still produce an awesome bar of soap.

I did find one of the best investments I made was the Wooden Loaf Molds.  I have found I like the loaf mold much better than the silicone shaped molds found on the market for Cold Process soap. Of course this is just my own opinion and my own experience with soap making that I have found the Wooden Loaf Molds to  work best for me and you can do a lot with them including ordering mold inserts to change up your soaps look. Other investments you would want to make, but you may already own them in your kitchen would be a stick blender and a Double broiler. Although you could enjoy the process without the stick blender I would not even attempt to start the process without a double broiler. I do know some recipes say to place ingredients into the microwave to melt, but I myself use a double broiler instead, it just seems more natural than microwaving my ingredients.

What I would recommend for someones first order to give Cold Process Soap Making a try would be:

Double Broiler – Unless you already own one

Loaf Mold

Freezer Paper – To line your mold and to save the expense of ordering a Silicone loaf mold to go inside the wooded or plastic loaf mold.and makes taking the loaf out of the mold so much easier.

Pyrex Glass Measuring Bowls (Medium to Large)

Lye & Distilled Water

Olive Oil

Coconut Oil

Castor Oil

Palm Oil

Essential Oils of your choice

Rose Clay, Sea Clay, or Charcoal – If wanted in your soap