When making great candles one should consider not only how they will “smell”, but how they will burn (as the burn will affect the scent throw). Think about what you look for when choosing a candle and give that same quality, or better, when making your own. Each person has their own ideas of what they want to achieve, but here are some fundamentals to help get you started in the right direction:
Choose a Wax
There are numerous waxes available for candle making. Each differs in their performance with fragrances, appearance, how they receive dyes, etc. Look at the characteristics of the waxes you’re considering and make an informed decision. Your retailer should be able to recommend a wax for the types of candles you are looking to make.
Fragrance oils can be purchased from candle supply companies, fragrance companies and even hobby stores (I do not recommend the hobby store route, however – they are usually pretty weak). There are probably 1000’s of fragrances available and each company will offer their own variation of a specific one. Here’s the biggest piece of advice I can give you: Order samples (or a small 4oz bottle) first before buying a larger quantity – make sure you like it.
Also, when making candles, fragrance is measured by weight, not volume. Also, the amount you use needs to be compatible with your wax for proper mixture. Not all waxes hold the same amount of fragrance. When too much is used you could find some of it sinking to the bottom of the jar!
Choosing a wick is as important as anything else when making candles. A wick not strong enough for your jar will leave wax behind causing the waste that can be so very irritating. A wick that’s too strong will burn your candle too quickly. Like everything else, finding a proper balance is a good thing.
Choose a container before purchasing your wicks. Measure the diameter of your container and ask a candle supplier which wick is the proper one to use. They should be able to tell you. If not, trial and error usually does the trick. Just like wax, there are numerous types of wicks that have their own characteristics. I suggest purchasing a sample package of several and decide which one fits your needs.
To make the most of your candle making effort, do some research before investing in your supplies. Check what ingredients great companies like The Big Damn Company use for their candles. This will help minimize mistakes, which translates into money spent.