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we began a candle-making adventure, i messed up!

i love candles, you know this! and a couple of months ago andy got me a candle making kit so i can make my own with the collection of jars from candles i had burned through already. after rearranging my apartment, buying way too much fir tree essential oil and not enough soy wax, i'm excited to report that we finally made some candles, and that i did an absolute shit job! let me show you some of the process:

my table covered in kitchen supplies

this is my kitchen table with all the things, most catching to the eye are those little baggies full of wax dye flakes. the colors are way more pigmented in that flaky form than when they are added to the cream-colored wax, so i definitely now appreciate homemade candles with more brilliant, bold colors! andy chose "horse piss yellow" for his candle and i chose "yes i made up these color names blue" for mine.

my stove with a double boil setup and my counter has a scale on it

if you don't have a digital scale in your kitchen, why? candle making, like baking, is scientific and measurement accuracy is very important. not having the right amount of fragrance and dye can leave your candle not scented enough or too oily for the wax to cure. you also need a thermometer and a double boiler setup - my candle kit came with a metal container with a handle that i was able to hold in a pan of boiling water "safely" and "easily." fun, free fact: i found that pan, now officially my "candle-making pan," in a haunted basement in 2008.

me holding up a big bag of wax

here i am, a huge weirdo holding a bag of wax. not surprisingly, melting wax is like cooking spinach in that you start with a lot and the output is very little. this bag will probably make me 4 8 oz candles.

two candles, one is full of melted wax and the other i'm pouring wax into

shouts out to andy for taking great mid-pour photos. speaking of andy, what's the blog version of "instagram boyfriend" - is it just "blog boyfriend?" as the wax is melting in the double boiler, there's a point where you want to melt the dye flakes in and add the fragrance oil. what the amounts are depend on the wax being used, the oils being used, and probably also how well all the cryptocurrencies are doing that hour. our candles looked and smelled great in the jars, we just had to see how they cured.

a diptych of two candles hardened with cracks and air pockets in the wax

it certainly didn't turn out great but i didn't do a terrible job! i think what happened is that i poured the wax too quickly into the jars and that the wax should have been hotter when i poured. the yellow candle, which i made for andy, was scented with a fragrance oil called shave and a haircut which i'm still not sure was even made for candles, but it works!

the two candles with a layer of hot wax and below them is my heat gun

my blue candle, the problem child, was made with a mix of two different essential oils (fir + sandalwood) because i honestly don't know how to fucking chill! the morning after, we watched some videos on how to fix soy wax candle mishaps and it turns out that heat guns are another handy tool for this craft. i melted the top of the candles to fill up the craters and that worked pretty well!

my black cat pumagreg on his cat seat stretched out and yawning and the two candles are next to him

i put cute felt smiley face stickers on the jars because i'm an artist and then encroached upon pumagreg's personal space like he does to mine on a regular basis. what's the blog version of "instagram cat?" the final step to making candles, and the best part about them, is lighting them on fire on purpose.

a diptych of the two candles, hardened after they were lit, and there was massive tunneling in the wax

now, if you thought i fucked up with the quick pour and were wondering how finnicky this process could actually be, wait until your candle "tunnels" instead of melting the full width of the jar because your wicks are too small. maybe. i'll need to try this process again with bigger wicks to see.

tunneling, craters, or not, it was really fun to make these - and they still light up and smell really good! i currently have a shipment from bramble berry on the way with more wax, some new fragrance oils, and bigger wicks. i can't wait to try this again and hopefully not find some new and exciting way to totally blow it!

do you have any tips for making candles? if so, sound off in the comments. jk, i don't have comments on this blog ha ha!

xoxo jenn

this was published May 12, 2021 under living candles candle-making andy pumagreg