The making of – my first candle

There are many first times in our life when we think about it. First breathe and cry after we were born, first tooth, first word, first ride in a car, bus or train. Everyone probably remembers their first day at school, their first best and worst grades. Later was the time for first crush, first date, first kiss, first break-up. I have experienced many of those first things and I know that there are many more to come. One of those things happened to me last weekend – when I created my first candle.

All of you around me know that I want to be a perfumer one day. But becoming a perfumer is not a short and easy thing to achieve. At the current level of my ‘sniffing skills’ and with the knowledge I possessed at the university and on my own doing a lot of online research I think I would be unable to create a perfume. Sad but true. But I wanted to create something scented, so I thought about a candle. People love scented candles and they are not as difficult to make as perfumes are.

materialsFull of energy, hope and positive attitude I created a list of things I would need. First of all – a wax. The one that would be easy to use, that would be scentless and friendly for environment. My choice – eco soy wax. It doesn’t produce harmful substances while it burns and it lasts longer that the paraffin. Then the packaging. I knew from the start I want to keep it clean and simple, my first thought was a brown glass jar, to make it look a little bit like from apothecary or a lab. The label was meant to be white, made of paper and I found a great font that looks like from an old typewriter.

Finally I ordered everything, including the wick that would be suitable for a candle size that I wanted to make. Last but not least my candle needed a scent. I didn’t want it to be just a single note candle, that would be too boring, unoriginal and ordinary. So I came up with my mind of a composition consisting of 3 notes, blended together by me to create some pseudo-perfume for it. Having all that I proceeded to the kitchen to do the magic. I have an older type oven with gas burners – those would simply burn the wax. I had to think of some sort of intermediate way of how to melt it. A short google research gave me an answer – I needed to prepare a water bath.

1-candleI took two pots – one bigger and one smaller. I poured a glass of water to the big pot, placed it on a heat station. Then I took the small pot and I put it on, or should I actually say into a bigger one. The handles perfectly kept the small pot few millimeters above the water level in the second pot. I measured the necessary amount of soy wax. It wasn’t easy as the wax is sold in some sort of flakes some pieces were big, some were small. I took like 2-3 spoons more than I needed to fill my jar as I knew that once the wax melts it will fill the jar entirely and flakes definitely didn’t fill it.

The wax was melting really nicely in the water bath, it was a great idea to do it that way. Once the wax melted completely it was a yellowish liquid. Now was the time to add the scent. It was the moment of ‘to be or not to be’ for this candle. The essences that I decided to use featured rosewood, grapefruit and olibanum. I used essential oils of aromatherapy grade and I believe they were quite alright for the candle. I wanted the smell to be slightly woody and sweet, with a transparent smokiness and a bit of juicy flavor. Something that would make people think of autumn.

3-candlesOnce the oils were added to the molten wax I had to stir, stir, stir it so that the aroma composition is evenly distributed in the entire mass of the candle-to-be. Once I did that I slowly poured the mixture into my little glass jars. Luckily I didn’t cause much mess in the kitchen. Placing a wick inside of it was a bit frustrating as it was sliding in every possible direction, instead of staying in the center. But I somehow managed to place it correctly. Laundry clips came in handy, helping me to keep the wick in the right position until the wax starts to get thicker. Almost done!

After 15-20 minutes of standing in the jar the wax started to become solid again. You could see how it’s becoming blurry-white at the bottom and that this effect was going up the candle as its temperature was going down. After around 1 hour the candles were all white, the wax crystallized again. I didn’t touch them until the other day, that’s when I removed the clips and trimmed the wick to the desired length. Last step was to make a label and the candle will be finished.

chasing0firefliesDesigning the label was a challenge because the jars are small and so has to be the label. I needed to plan how to use the small writing space and what to write on it to include some information and not to overdo it. After creating a few versions I decided on one that uses different font size for different parts of the label and that has some separations to make it clean to read. The candle also needed a name. Someone made a good point – it is my baby, I should give it a name. Something original, not a copy of a name. And something funny. I named it #01. Chasing Fireflies.

The result of my work is a scented candle made of eco soy wax and aromatherapy essential oils, in a 30ml brown glass jar, containing approximately 25 grams of wax. It is scented at the level of around 6%. Of course I had to try it myself and in my opinion it gives a very gentle and nice aroma with rosewood as a dominating accord, exactly how I wanted it to be.

fireflies-with-cinnamonI had a lot of fun creating this candle and I’m very happy that some people expressed their interest in trying the first candle I created. First #01. Chasing Fireflies candles flew yesterday to their new homes. I hope that they will be loved and I’m looking forward to any feedback people might want to give me. I would love to know if they liked the candle or not, if they think of something that needs improving I will try my best to do that. If the time allows, I will be creating some new candles in different aromas once in a while. And I’m taking one with me to Pitti to show it around. Opinion from the people in this business matters twice.

[note] All pictures are my own, all rights reserved.

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20 thoughts on “The making of – my first candle

  1. Ines says:

    That’s great! 🙂
    I always like hearing about people doing stuff like this on their own.
    Plus, I love candles. 🙂

  2. jillie says:

    So fascinating to see the birth of your candle. Lots of good luck – really looking forward to smelling it!

  3. hajusuuri says:

    Bravo, my dearest Lucas! Great description of your process and an impressive result. I wish I were a candle person or know someone who is (well, at least someone who appreciates the finer candles and not the huge Yankee Candle type jars which I am guilty of gifting them).

    Wishing you success in showing your candle at Pitti!

    • lucasai says:

      Thanks sweetheart, glad you enjoyed the post. If you ever get converted into liking candles, I’ll be happy to gift you with one that I make 😀

  4. shellyw says:

    Sounds like it well. The labels look great, appropriate. I am sure they will be enjoyed.

  5. Anka says:

    Cool, I hoped you share the whole adventure of creating your first candle with us! (Now I want to create a pseudo-perfume, too…)
    “Chasing Fireflies” sounds very original, I bet it smells thrilling.

  6. tammy/JolieFleurs says:

    Oh my goodness, I seldom comment, because i never have anything interesting to say, but…. I AM SO EXCITED! And so proud of you, which seems silly, as I don’t “know” you, but I feel as though I do.

    It’s been such a joy (and privilege) to have watched you grow along your journey. Please let me know when you put them on the market, because I am a total candle addict!! And as fate would have it, I adore fireflies, so the name is especially wonderful to me.


    • lucasai says:

      Oh, please don’t say things like that, I’m sure you have something interesting to say. And thank you for being excited and proud of me.

      If you send me an email we can figure it out how to get a candle to you 🙂

  7. Laurels says:

    Congratulations! I really love the name you chose.

    I’m not a fan of candles myself–our house caught fire when I was a child, so I find open flames the opposite of relaxing. Many perfume people seem to be very passionate about them, though.

  8. Undina says:

    I loved this post! It almost makes me want to make a candle (“almost” – because I like the idea of making it but I don’t feel qualified to scent it). Did you affix wicks to the bottom of jars? I’ll wait to hear what your first customers think about Chasing Fireflies.

    I have just one complaint: your pictures aren’t big enough to see all the details. Can you make them “clickable”?

    • lucasai says:

      Thank you my dear, glad to hear that. You could always make a candle scented with just one aroma, that would be really simple.
      No, I didn’t affix the wick to the bottom of the jar. I should’ve done that. I could use a drop of wax to ‘glue’ it to the bottom, wait for the wax to thicken and then pour the wax to fill the jar.

      I just made the pictures clickable, especially for you 😉

  9. Good for you, Lucas, how fabulous that you made your own candle! I’m glad you’re pleased with the scent. The label you chose looks very cool, it’s definitely giving an apothecary vibe. I love scented candles, especially in winter. So cozy and festive. I’m sure lots of people will love the results of your candle.

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