A few weeks ago, Marie (my niece), a candle addict, asked me some questions about making scented candles. I thought it would be interesting to share a summary of our conversation with you.
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What does candle pouring involve?
It involves melting a blend of waxes, mixing it with essential oils and/or fragrance oil, and then pouring the scented wax into a container with a suitable wick. I find there are similarities with baking. It’s a demanding exercise that mixes creativity, curiosity and rigor. Moreover, in discussing with my baker, I noticed he uses the same precision scale as me to weigh his yeast!
As an artisanal scented candle maker, there are 3 essential things:
Carefully choosing the wax(es), essential oils and/or fragrances. As well as the wicks that will be used. Based on the project and objectives you want to achieve.
You need good tools to produce consistently over time. It’s entirely possible to make a successful scented candle at home. But if you have to make thousands, you’ll need reliable, high-performance professional equipment. That meets current safety standards. So each customer can have the same scent experience. Whether today or in 6 months.
Respecting quantities, temperatures and timings is very important. To obtain candles that scent well, burn evenly and are aesthetically pleasing.
What wax do you use?
I use 100% natural waxes, with which I make a “home blend”. Generally a base of GMO-free, pesticide-free soy wax. I like its subtle whipped cream smell and its natural white appearance. It can sometimes be temperamental to work with because it shrinks, expands, can crack or become powdery. But once you get to know it, it’s easy to adopt. It’s natural, has a neutral smell and diffuses fragrance very well.
How many candles do you pour at the same time?
It varies a lot! It depends on the project, and the size of the containers. From a few dozen to several hundred pieces.
How long does it take to make 100 candles for example?
Same again, it depends on the project and the size of the containers. For example, if there are 10 different fragrances, that means the equipment will need to be cleaned between each batch, so it takes more time. In any case, you have to allow for several hours of work. Checking and preparing the equipment, melting the wax, straightening the wicks and cooling, cleaning the equipment.
Is the manufacturing difficult?
It depends on the way of working and the objectives sought.
The use of non-plant-based or non-natural materials to facilitate pouring and fragrance diffusion, simplify wick centering, improve candle aesthetics, etc. For example:
- Using paraffin or certain additives will make it easier to achieve a very smooth surface and good fragrance diffusion.
- Using adhesive glue dots to affix the wick tab to the bottom of the glass will facilitate candle making by keeping the wick base centered during pouring.
Personally, I prefer to find innovative, responsible solutions. In order to offer products that match my values. It’s exciting, but it necessarily requires a little more time and know-how.
Why did you decide to pour the candles yourself?
For some projects, I work with a candlemaker I particularly appreciate. But I produce candles to have more flexibility and better understand the products I sell.
“Candle Say” specializes in customization. It is possible to customize the label printing and casing from a single piece. With a name, message, sweet words. Which is quite rare. We also have an offer for professionals that gives them the possibility of creating candles with their own brand. Managing production internally makes it possible to respond precisely to needs, with greater reactivity.
How long does it take to master the pouring technique?
It’s a constant questioning. Each project is different, which sometimes forces me to find new solutions. It’s enough for the properties of the waxes to change a little, for the season to change from summer to winter, for the equipment or work environment to change, for adjustments to be necessary.
It’s quite similar to starting a new job. Even if you have experience in your profession, it will take you several months to fully understand the role. And even after a few years, you will still face unprecedented situations!