Candles are a wonderful enhancement to ambiance and mood, yet they can contribute to air pollution, sometimes significantly if synthetic perfumes are used. I feel as if my daughter and I traversed this terrain and learned how to make our own stunningly beautiful candles using sustainable, less toxic ingredients.
Here’s how we managed to make beautiful non-toxic, soot-free candles. It was easy and a lot of fun!
Here are five tips from us:
2. You can now buy vegetable wax (usually soy) in craft stores such as Michaels. One brand offers microwaveable soy wax and the process was very, very easy. No fuss, no mess.
3. Beeswax is another pure wax choice, although expensive. I personally just love the smell of pure beeswax candles, and we make candles with 100 percent of this wax for very special occasions. Beeswax needs to be melted in a double boiler.
4. For myself, I prefer unscented candles, but my daughter is looking to add scent to her candles, and many of you might like aromatherapy.
We used only perfectly pure essential oils bought at natural food stores, and only about 5 drops for 2 cups of dried wax flakes. Add the essential oils after the wax has melted and has been removed from the heat source. Stir thoroughly.
Many so-called aromatherapy candles are very soft due to overuse of fragrance, and often these candles cause serious problems with candle soot. Making your own helps you control how much fragrance/essential oil you include.
5. Use wicks without lead. We chose wicks without any metal inside, but there are now lead-free wicks available in craft stores. Wanting to be safe not sorry, we bought metal-free wicks. They have been fine.
Inspired by a beautiful photographic spread on how to make your own sand candles in last August's "Martha Stewart Living," my daughter and I took candle-making ingredients on our vacation to the coast of Maine, for a rainy-day project. We also took an inspiring new book from Storey Books, called "The Handmade Candle," by Alison Jenkins.