Love to give homemade gifts for the holidays? Besides baked goods and jams, candles are one of the most thoughtful DIY gifts you can create. But many environmentally conscious people have ditched candles to avoid indoor air pollution. After all, traditional candles are made from paraffin, which is a byproduct of petroleum. Traditional candles also give off benzene and toluene, noxious chemicals that vegetable-based candles don’t emit. So if you focus your efforts on soy candles or beeswax candles, you’ll avoid that hazard.
Here’s how to get started:
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours
Yield: 1 candle
- 2 cups soy or beeswax wax flakes, available at craft supply stores
- 1 wick long enough to fit your container
- 5-10 drops essential oil for a nice holiday fragrance (peppermint, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, frankincense)
- 1 glass jar, vintage tea cup, mason jar, shot glass or other pretty glass jar or vessel
- 1 glass bowl
- 1 saucepan
- 1 candy thermometer
- 1 clothespin
- 1 pair scissors
- 1 wooden spoon
- Melt the wax flakes in a glass bowl in the microwave for one minute at a time until melted, or use the glass bowl over a saucepan of water, creating a double boiler. Heat on medium until melted thoroughly.
- Once the wax is smooth and registers about 120 degrees Fahrenheit on the candy thermometer, add 5-10 drops of the essential oil (about one ounce) and stir.
- Place the wick inside the glass jar, teacup or vessel and spoon a few tablespoons of wax onto the bottom of the container. Place the wick into the container all the way into the wax, making sure the wick is long enough to hang over the container rim. Hold the wick in place until the wax hardens; it should only take a few minutes. When it has hardened, pinch the top end of the wick with the clothespin, pull it taught and lay it across the top of the container, keeping the wick centered and straight.
- Stir the wax in the bowl making sure it’s smooth and pour it slowly into the container being careful not to spill. Be careful because the wax is hot. Fill all the way up to about one-quarter inch from the top, making sure the wick extends past the wax.
- Let the wax harden overnight. Then trim the wick to desired length. Voila! You have a beautiful soy candle. Try different fragrances, use interesting vessels and give all those on your gift list a homemade, environmentally friendly present.
Candles make excellent hostess gifts or small tokens for people like your hairstylist, child’s teacher, neighbor or others you want to remember over the holidays.
By: Jennifer Nelson