Humans, throughout time, have used the power of fire and fragrance to add depth and drama to ceremonies and celebrations. In terms of scented candles, we have come a long way from ancient times. Why use toxic candles when you can make your own natural ones at home? Here at VINEVIDA, we offer some of the best essential oils for candle making.
Aromatherapy through handmade candles will not only lift your mood but offer something to cherish. Candlelight can turn eating into dining, resting into meditation, and prayer into devotion. Making scented candles takes it one step further by combining visual beauty with a fragrance derived directly from nature.
Every person has around 450 scent receptors, allowing us to recognize a wide variety of different smells. This is why aromatherapy can be such a powerful contributor to our well-being, and why using natural essential oils for candle making can offer comfort to both your soul and your spirit!
In this article, we will discuss the best essential oils for candle-making, as well as a few DIY candle-making instructions to help you get started.
DIY Candle Making Supplies
Before you start your DIY candle making venture, there are a few ingredients you will need to have on-hand. These supplies and materials are essential to your DIY candle-making kit. The majority of these complete DIY candle making kit supplies can be easily bought from a local craft or grocery store, or purchased online. Make sure you are using pure essential oils for candle making, such as those we sell here at VINEVIDA.
The following tools and supplies are necessary for creating candles:
- Candle wax
- Candle containers/ molds
- Measuring cups/ Measuring scale
- Essential Oils
- Color/ Non-toxic crayons
- Candle wicks
- Double boiler
- Wooden spoon/ Silicone spatula
- Stove/ Microwave
- Microwavable bowl
Using the Best Essential Oils for Candle Making: A Note For Beginners
Essential oils are basically the essence and aromas of plants. Core components are extracted out, ideally retaining as much of the original make-up as possible. Aromatherapy uses pure essential oils to enhance physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. It is important to use only the best essential oils for candle making, as this will ensure your fragrance will remain strong throughout the life of the candle.
Know Your Scents
When using essential oils for candle-making you have many different oils and combinations to choose from. Whether you wish to use bright, citrusy scents for summer or smoky, woodsy scents for autumn, your options are endless. Let’s take a closer look at the different categories of fragrances to give you a better idea of where to begin.
- Camphorous: pungent, sharp scent: eucalyptus, pine, tea tree
- Citrus: fresh, crisp: grapefruit, lemon, lime, sweet orange
- Floral: flowery: jasmine, lavender, rose
- Herbal: intense and herbaceous: basil, marjoram, rosemary, sage
- Mint: cool, fresh: peppermint, spearmint
- Resinous: earthy scent: frankincense, myrrh
- Spicy: sharp and strong: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg
- Woodsy: freshly cut wood: cedar, cypress, sandalwood
Perfumers divide essential oil scents into categories which they refer to as notes:
- Top notes smell light, fresh, and airy. They are normally the first scent noticeable, but also dissipate the quickest—usually within five to fifteen minutes.
- Heart notes make up around 70% of a fragrance. They are noticeable as the top notes wear off, and are usually strong and aromatic.
- Base notes add depth to a fragrance and can linger for longer than six hours. Popular choices of base notes include woodsy scents like cedar and sandalwood, or even vanilla and patchouli.
When creating a blend it is important to incorporate all three types of oil to create an aromatic, long-lasting fragrance. Keep in mind that the oil blend will merge and alter as it matures. If you are not certain about a blend, allow it to age for a day or two and smell it again—you may be pleasantly surprised!
How to Blend the Best Essential Oils for Candle Making
You need not be an expert to create your own beautifully scented blends, nor do you need recipes. Although they tend to be useful in the beginning, you can do well enough on your own. All you need to know is which scents you prefer! To figure out what your nose thinks are the best essential oils for candle making, either sniff directly from the bottle or put a drop onto a blank piece of paper. Decide whether you perceive a scent as calming, energizing, grounding, or sensual. Become acquainted with the individual oils by using them until you become familiar with the various aromatic qualities each oil carries.
One great thing about making your own blends is that there will always be new combinations to try as you gain more experience. An unlimited bounty of olfactory adventure awaits you while using the Best Essential Oils for Candle Making!
When blending essential oils, you will need a clean glass bottle. The following steps explain the process:
- Select the oils you wish to blend. When it comes to DIY candle making for beginners there are no rules about how many oils should be in a blend, however, we recommend starting with 3-4.
- Place an equal number of drops of each oil in the glass bottle.
- Shake the bottle and test your results.
- Introduce additional drops of oil a few at a time until you achieve the desired scent.
To make a perfectly scented candle, you will need to know which fragrance load is suitable. Generally speaking, the amount of fragrance should be 10% or less than the total volume of wax. 5-10% fragrance load is the usual recommendation for scented candles. If you choose to use soy wax, it may take a bit more fragrance than the other waxes. A fragrance load of 12% is more suitable for soy. The best essential oils for candle making are premium, natural oils, which will offer the strongest fragrances for your blend.
For every 8 ounces of molten wax, you will need 1-ounce of whichever oils you choose!
Mixing in the Essential Oils
The melting and pouring temperatures of wax are all different, and it is important to keep a thermometer on hand to monitor. If you do not mix your essential oils at the right temperature, they may not be as fragrant as they could be.
For paraffin wax, melt it till it reaches 180°F - 185°F. Then, add in fragrance and color at the same temperature. Pour it into molds or containers when it cools to 160°F-170°F.
For soy wax, heat in a double-boiler till it reaches 180°F - 185°F, then mix in your favorite scents and colors. Let soy cool till 140°F- 160°F before pouring.
For palm wax, the melting temperature is a bit higher. Wait until it reaches 205°F-210°F, then mix your fragrance as soon as possible. Pour the mixture into the container right away! Reheat the mixture to 205°F-210°F if it begins to harden.
The 10 Best Essential Oils for Candle Making
1. Lavender Essential Oil
The subtle, relaxing scent of lavender essential oil is highly popular among lovers of aromatherapy. It works to promote sleep and a sense of calmness, making it one of the best essential oils for candle making!
2. Frankincense Essential Oil
The holidays bring to mind a happy, joyful time. When you use frankincense essential oil you can enjoy the holiday season year-round! In addition, its aroma offers up a peaceful, spiritual feeling, which will lift your mood and encourage relaxation!
3. Peppermint Essential Oil
The use of peppermint essential oil is common in many aromatherapy candles because of its pleasant, refreshing scent. Its fragrance has a cool, calming sensation that reduces stress and anxiety. In addition, it may help relieve symptoms of congestion!
4. Rosemary Essential Oil
The scent of rosemary essential oil is a favorite of many avid candle makers. It can also help to reduce stress and tension and promote clarity and concentration.
5. Bergamot Essential Oil
Bergamot is a sweet, refreshing scent, offering up a hint of citrus. It is undoubtedly one of the best essential oils for candle making as its fragrance can also help reduce anxiety and fight symptoms of depression!
6. Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon essential oil has a warm, spicy aroma that is reminiscent of the holiday season. During the colder months, it can be a particularly comforting fragrance.
7. Sweet Orange Essential Oil
Sweet orange essential oil has a citrusy, sweet, and subtle aroma. It is great for stress-relief and promotes cheerfulness. Add sweet orange essential oil to your candle and feel your mood lift within minutes of lighting the wick!
8. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus has a purifying, refreshing scent that is distinct from any others. In aromatherapy, it is known for its antidepressant effect, as well as its ability to promote energy. In addition, it is often used to treat nasal congestion and colds.
9. Grapefruit Essential Oil
Grapefruit is another refreshing, citrus oil that has made its way onto our list of the best essential oils for candle making. The subtle, uplifting aroma of grapefruit is a great mood booster, helping to reduce stress and rejuvenate your energy.
10. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Clary sage essential oil has a sweet, herbal aroma. It works as a natural antidepressant and stress-reliever, helping to relax the mind. It is a middle note, meaning it can be a great addition to boost up your blend.
Which Wax Should I Use for DIY Candle Making?
If you are trying to choose the best essential oils for candle making, there is one important thing to keep in mind. The softer the wax, the more fragrance throw the candle will have. Soft wax does not seal its surface as tightly as hard wax does. This means softer waxes allow more scent to permeate the atmosphere around it.
Soft wax is more appropriate for container candles. Using soft wax will cause tapers, pillars, or free-standing candles to lose their shape. Most manufacturers of candle-making supplies offer wax compounds that are designed specifically for containers, molds, tapers, etc. This is why it is important to determine which type of candle you wish to make. Another thing to consider when searching out ingredients for candle making at home are the different types of wax available.
Beeswax is very popular among candle makers because it burns beautifully and contains its own pleasant aroma. Beeswax is stickier than other waxes and requires a slightly larger wick. This may cause problems when releasing the candle from the mold. Beeswax works the best for container, dipped taper, and rolled candles.
Beeswax also has a higher melting point (146°F) than most other waxes. It works well when mixed with lower melting-point waxes and used in container candles. Pure beeswax candles will burn directly down the center of the container, leaving wax on the container walls. The most expensive of the waxes, beeswax is available in its natural color or a bleached white. If your sheets of beeswax form a dusty-looking film on the surface, remove it by carefully warming the wax surface with a hairdryer.
- Vegetable-based waxes are also available, coming from a variety of different origins. You can find soy wax, jojoba wax, and palm wax, among others. The majority of these waxes are suitable for container candles rather than pillars or tapers. They burn clean and are long-lasting. These waxes may be more difficult to find at the local craft store but are readily available online.
- Bayberry wax originates from boiling the berries of a bayberry bush. The wax is a sage-green color, with its own spicy aroma. The majority of candles labeled bayberry consist of fragrance added to a regular wax base. When ordering or purchasing bayberry wax, carefully check your source to make sure that it is authentic.
Paraffin Wax comes from synthesizing mineral oils. It is commonly used in the commercial production of candles, though many people prefer to avoid it as it is not of natural origin.
Paraffin is inexpensive and readily available. It is also more rigid than natural waxes, making it a good choice for molded candles. Due to its lower oil content, it has a higher melting point. It is also translucent, making it a favored choice for dipping candles. However, paraffin is more likely to smoke and does not burn as cleanly as natural waxes. Some candle makers report a nauseating side effect when melting paraffin, and report the wax making it harder to breathe. It is also known to leave black soot on walls and surfaces.
- Gel Wax is convenient because of its ease in use and its visual appeal. It is made from mineral oil combined with substantial amounts of thermoplastic resin and butylated hydroxytoluene. Gel wax is not the best choice of wax for use in aromatherapy candles as it does not react well with essential oils used in candle making.
Do I Need to Use Wax Additives?
Even if you have chosen the best essential oils for candle making, you cannot expect perfection on the first try. You may face many complications, some major and some minor. A wax additive is something that can come in handy in these situations.
A wide variety of wax additives are available to help with numerous problems candle-makers run into. They can increase luster, make the wax more pliable, conserve color, and aid in mold release. Though most candle makers prefer to keep their candles as natural as possible, if you are facing a particular problem a wax additive may hold the answer!
- Luster crystals can provide a brilliant sheen as well as a longer-burning candle. The recommended use is 1 teaspoon per pound of wax.
- Microcrystalline Wax is a type of wax produced by the de-oiling of petroleum. A wide variety of microcrystalline waxes are available and can be divided into two main types. One type is pliable and increases the elasticity of wax for modeling, as well as enhancing its ability to adhere. The other type makes the wax harder, increasing the durability of the candle. Take note that adding more than 2% of microcrystalline can cause wick and burning problems.
- Snow wax makes candle wax opaque, giving it luster and preventing hot-weather sag. It also improves the surface texture and the burning time. Using 1 teaspoon of snow wax per pound of wax is ideal. Melt the snow wax separately and mix it into the molten candle wax to ensure the best results.
- Snowflake oil is used to add a decorative element. It creates the beautiful snowflake effect common in many aromatic candles. Follow the manufacturer's directions for the recommended amount.
- Stearic acid is added to paraffin to improve the candle's burning time. Paraffin also offers an opaque appearance to these candles. The recommended use is 2-5 tablespoons per pound of wax.
- Vybar makes candle wax harder, more opaque, and cuts down on the amount of shrinkage that takes place. It also serves as a base for scent. Use no more than 2 teaspoons per pound. Begin with one teaspoon and do not exceed the recommended amount.
It is important to choose the correct type of wick for the candle you wish to make. Neglecting this may result in improper burning. The four basic types of wicks are:
- Flat-braided wicks. These are best when making dipped taper candles. Note: Always use this wick with braid v's facing to the top of the candle. This prevents carbonized balls from forming on the end of the wick.
- Paper-core wicks are best for container candles, votives, and tea lights. However, they have a tendency to smoke more than other wicks.
- Square-braided wicks are sturdier than flat-braided wicks and are for use in pillar candles.
- Wire-core wicks are primarily used for container candles, votives, and tea lights. Some wire-core wicks come pre-tabbed and need only be anchored to the bottom of the mold or container. Caution: The metal core of these wicks is typically made from zinc—thought you may find some with lead—and may contain hazardous fumes when burned.
Candle Wick Tips
It is best to prime your wick first. If the wick does not come primed, you can do it yourself by soaking it in melted wax for five minutes. Remove the wick from the wax and lay straight on waxed paper and allow to cool.
The diameter and length of the wick are best determined using the size of the candle. The type of wax being used is also a factor. Long-burning wax, such as beeswax or paraffin, will require a larger-sized wick. Recommendations suggest using a small wick for candles up to 2" in diameter, a medium wick for 2"- 3" candles, and a large wick for 3"-4" candles. A smaller wick will be ideal for votive candles.
Determine the length of the wick by measuring the height of the mold and adding 2". In some cases, you may wish to leave a longer wick for decorative purposes.
Oftentimes a poorly burning candle is simply due to selecting the wrong wick. To achieve consistent results, keep notes and document what works best in the various candles you create. You may have the best essential oils for candle making, but you also need a correct wick if you want great results!
DIY Candle Making Tips
- Candles should always be left to cure at least 24-48 hours before lighting.
- Always melt wax in a double boiler or water bath. Never melt the wax directly, and never leave it unattended. Wax will self-ignite if overheated.
- Do not extinguish burning wax with water. Instead, smother the flames with baking soda, a towel, a lid, or a blanket.
- Always clean up spills as they happen. Melted wax collecting in the proximity of a burner is a fire hazard.
- Never pour wax down a drain because it will clog.
- If hot wax spills on the skin, do not wipe it off. Rinse the skin under cold water and allow the wax to harden, then scrape it off.
- Use pots and containers that are only for candle making. Retire these items from food use. Consider purchasing pots and containers from thrift stores or garage sales.
- Waxy residues can be removed by placing the container in the freezer until the wax becomes hard and easy to peel away.
- Save all candle leftovers because they are valuable raw materials and can be used again. Let your friends know you collect leftover candle odds and ends.
- Always be aware of flowers, ribbons, and other decorative items that are in close proximity to a candle flame. Never leave a candle unattended.
Essential oils are in high demand among candle makers. Though they come with a higher price point, they are an essential (pun intended) part of candle making. Now that you know what to do, get creative and play around with different combinations! All you need are the best essential oils for candle making and you are on your way to making your own candles!