We’re just a few weeks away from Memorial Day (in the U.S.) which is the kickoff to “summer”. It’s a time of cooking out, swimming, and general fun outdoors. Candles in your outdoor living spaces can bring drama and practicality – giving light and ambiance, and helping to repel mosquitoes. Bucket candles can be put onto tables, votives can be placed around the perimeter of your space, or these great dipped torches can be placed in a prominent location. Most all of the candles you make during the year can be adapted for an outdoor use.
I had some soy wax leftover from a big project – four different wax blends – one is a basic traditional soy container wax, one a pillar/votive blend, and two new “modified” waxes that have been “molecularly blueprinted” to reduce polymorphism. (They both contract a bit when they cool, so they are awesome for clear glass container candles.)
Here are photos, tips and instructions from my day of soy candle making!
May and June are great months for soap and candle conferences!
In addition to the Handcrafted Soap & Cosmetic Guild’s conference, the Tennessee Soap and Candle gathering is also in May. It’s an annual gathering of soapmakers and candlemakers from Tennessee and the Southeast region, and this year’s lineup features some of the best and brightest teachers and soap/candle making personalities in the country including Amanda Griffin, Benjamin Aaron, Kayla Fioravanti, Donna Maria Coles Johnson, Marla Bosworth and more.
June 13-14 is the Lone Star Soap & Toiletries Seminar, deep in the heart of Texas and will feature the wonderful Elin Criswell, Stacy Durham, Theresa Mendez, Pat Potter, and Kathy White. Also in June is the Alabama Soap & Candle Association’s gathering featuring Lela Barker, Kenna Cote, and several other great speakers. I’ve been to both the Texas and Alabama gatherings and they are truly wonderful!
A “gathering” is a truly marvelous place to share ideas, share tips, visit vendors and see in-person demonstrations. If you have not been to one you are really missing out! If there’s not one in your area…create one. It just takes a few (two or more?) soap makers in a kitchen or recreation center to make a gathering. It just take a gathering to make a basket full of great soap and candle making memories!
Photo: Trinette Reed / Getty Images
Daylight savings time starts this weekend…and spring is right around the corner! It’s time to incorporate some of the bright, clean, green, fresh, floral and fruity fragrances into your candles and soaps. Here are my (current) favorite springtime scents for candle and soap making.
Photo credit: Donna Day / Getty Images
I remember growing up in California and seeing all of the super tall (200+ feet!) eucalyptus trees near my grandparent’s house. They told me once that the trees were imported to try to also import koala bears to California. I’ve never found evidence of that, but koala bears or not, I’ve always liked eucalyptus.
When most people smell the strong, camphoraceous scent of eucalyptus, they think “cold remedy.” And rightly so. Eucalyptus leaves and oil have been used to treat respiratory ailments for ages. All by itself, it’s probably a bit too strong and medicinal to use in soap or candles. But blended with other softer scents, it is a wonderful green top note. It’s crisp, refreshing, penetrating and earthy. It’s also very affordable (generally about $ 15 a pound) so it’s a great oil to try your hand at essential oil blending.
Photo: Getty Images / Tom Brakefield
Whether you sell your soaps and candles…or they’re just for you and friends and family, you have a little more than a month until Valentine’s Day. There’s still time to place orders for ingredients, and here’s a list of my Top Valentine’s Day Fragrance Oils. Your tastes may vary, but these are some of my personal favorites…and ones that my friends and family like a lot. So whether you’re making soap or candles for yourself, your spouse, sweetheart, significant other or whomever, give these a try. Enjoy!
And be sure to visit the discussion on the Candle and Soap Making Forum to chime in about your favorite romantic fragrances or blends.
Photo: Renaud Visage/ Getty Images
Bring in the New Year with this great variation of the Hurricane Candle and the Photo Candle. With the hurricane shell, you can embed anything that will fit into the 1/2″ or so of the shell. With the photo candle, you can embed any graphic or photo on plain white paper. I made some “Happy New Year” Candles for family and friends. A few years ago, I printed my New Year’s Resolutions on the paper so each time I lit it I was reminded of all of the things I still had to do before next New Year’s Eve! You could likewise write “Goals for the New Year” or “Words to Live By” onto the paper and embed that into the candle. Whatever you choose to float into the wax, it will be illuminated with the lovely warm glow of your hand made candles, that will be enjoyed all year long. Happy New Year!
Most of us in the U.S. are in the middle of some really cold icy weather. I debated whether to feature the Peppermint Ice Soap project, or the Ice Candles. The Ice Candles won. At least the candles will add a bit of “warmth” to the house. But take your pick. Grab some of that ice and enjoy. Maybe next week, I’ll make snowball candles…
The subtitle for my project to make a Squash Tea Light Lantern is “Who said that carved out squash were just for Halloween?” Well that goes for carved out squash as much as carved out pumpkins. This easy project uses mini-pumpkins and tea lights – though you could use slightly larger pumpkins and votives as well. In just a few minutes, you’ll have a creative and lovely Autumn centerpiece.
Most candle makers start out making votive or container candles. They’re easy to make with reliable results. These candles, using gel wax, are technically container candles, but they’re votive sized, so I consider them votives. I always have a few of these on hand for any time I just want to add a small candle accent to a table, bathroom or bookcase.