You have decided that you want to make your own candles. I think that is wonderful! Here is what you are going to need to get started in the candle making craft:
Thermometer – a requirement when making candles. The maximum temperature on its scale should be at least 300 F (150 C). A candy-making thermometer works well. (Don’t share the thermometer between candle making and candy making. You want a dedicated for each purpose.)
When you place the thermometer in your melting pot, set the bulb close to the bottom, don’t let the bulb touch the bottom of the pot. You want the liquid to be able to flow completely around the bulb at all times. If the thermometer does not come with a clip, then use wooden clothespins to hold it to the side of your pot.
Utensils – to stir the wax. (Again, keep these separate from your cooking utensils.) The utensils need to be able to withstand high heat. Wood is often recommended. I prefer the ones that have a paddle shape at the end as compared to a wooden spoon. You really don’t want to use metal at all, because the metal will readily transfer the heat from the hot wax to your hands.
I recommend that you get a separate one for each of the following purposes:
- Stirring the unadulterated wax – that is, before you add color or scent
- Mixing scents and dark colors
- Mixing scents and light colors
- Stirring clear gel wax
- Mixing Colors and scents into gel wax
Why so many? After all, you will be able to clean the utensils after you use them, but having dedicated utensils for specific purposes is an extra precaution against unintended mixing of colors or wax type. For example, many home chefs have a cutting board that they use strictly for onions. Some chefs have a set of utensils for savory foods, and another set for baking or making pastries.
Scale – to weigh the wax and all additives. Candle recipes are typically given by weight. The scale needs to be able to measure in at least ½ oz (14 g) increments and have a maximum load of at least 5 lb (2.23 kg). A larger maximum load is preferable if you are going to be making large batches of candles.
If you are in the US, you may find the terminology confusing, because while weights are measured in ounces (oz.), (16 ounces = 1 pound), liquids are measured in fluid ounces (fl. oz.), (8 fluid ounces = 1 cup). Just remember that everything is weighed unless you explicitly see “fl. oz.” or are given measurements in tablespoons or teaspoons.
Pot Holders with Rubber Grips (or Welders’ Gloves) – You are going to have to transfer the molten wax, so you are going to need to be able to lift up the melting pot and pour the wax into another container. You want a good grip on the handle of the pot, and you want to protect your hands from the heat.
Once you get these tools, you melting pot, and your pouring pot, you will be well on your way to making incredible candles.
Mary Martha Deane – candlewaxmaking
Photo. Steven Jackson