Walter White cooks meth; I cook candles. We're basically the same person. Except maybe for the whole drug part. He had a Bunsen burner, I have my stove top. Cooking meth involved mad chemistry skills, and although candle making doesn't involve a ton of chemistry, there is still some science and math involved (fragrance calculations, ratios and flash points). Cooking meth seems far more dangerous though - fortunately with candles there is little to no risk of blowing up my house.
My candle addiction started when I first moved in with Markus. Wanting our place to smell delicious all the time, I used to hoard candles from Bath and Body Works every season and would burn through them so quickly. This habit proved costly. I then started buying soy candles from local small businesses (while still costly at least I was supporting a local businesses). I found that soy candles burn longer and are less harshly scented than the BBW candles. I wondered if I could make my own, did some research and decided to give it a shot. I quickly became obsessed. It's such a fun process and my favourite part is mixing custom fragrances. My process is HIGHLY scientific. It involves me taking a few Q-tips, sticking them in different fragrance oils and figuring out what combination of scents I like and what ratios to use. SCIENCE.
If you've ever felt like giving candle making a shot, I encourage you to give it a try. It's fairly easy and a pretty zen and relaxing past time. For those of you who are thinking about making your own candles or want some tips on caring for your candles, I thought I would write a few posts and share a few tips I've learned along the way. So here we go, post #1...
Candle Cooking 101: WICKS
When it comes to wicks, size does matter.
The actual candle making part is a little bit of Goldilocks-type trial and error. First, you need to find the right wick size for your container. If your wick is too small, you won't get a full even melt pool and your candle will tunnel and look terrible. You also won't get a strong scent release. I ruined many a candle that way. On the other hand if your wick is too large, you'll get a great strong scent release but your candle will burn through very quickly. The "just right" fit is somewhere between the two.
Candle Care Tip: Trim 'dem wicks!
Trimming your wick is an important part of caring for your candle. If you don't, you'll end up with a lot of soot deposit on your container which isn't pretty. You don't want to trim your wick shorter than 1/4" otherwise the flame might be too small and will cause a small melt pool and tunneling. The Atkins & Pearce wicks I use are designed to be self-trimming so there is little care involved after the initial trim before lighting.
That's it for now! Stay tuned for more tips...