Learning New Skills

Lockdown Life

There are always some things that you just fancy trying, but can't find the time. I made a conscious effort when the lockdown started to try and pick up a new skill or two. One of these was candle making. 

I had tried this over 20 years ago using a kit that I bought for my mums Christmas. Needless to say it didn't go very well and I made a mess of a pot. I had forgot about this experience until I helped one of my daughters with her lip balm making kit. The process was very similar to candle making, although she used a very small amount of soy wax. Her lip balm turned out very well and she handed some out to her sisters. That got me thinking, making candles for relatives.

A quick check online of what I needed with regards to ingredients, so to speak, and I was off and running. I also bought some wicks, and a thermometer. I used an old large mug, one that could hold about a litre of coffee in it, and used that as a double boiler. The plan was to use an old IKEA glass candle holder. I also bought a couple of fragrance oils. The first test went well enough. I had trouble securing the wick sustainer to the bottom of the candle holder. My wicks also broke from the sustainer quite easily. The wick length was very long and I taped it at the top of the holder once the hot wax was in. 

The testing didn't work as well as I'd hoped. The lit flame was very low and was barely visible. I had a second problem though, the lit wick was tunneling through the wax, basically boring through the candle with a small pool of melted wax in the middle of the candle. I dug out the rest of the wax and tried again. I used different wicks and re- lit the candle but was faced with the same problem. 

Old Mug

Melting Wax

Obviously I was disappointed by this and I did think that maybe making candles just wasn't my thing. I came across some information that described the thickness of the wick to relation of the width or diameter of the glass holder. There are different ways of classifying this but I focused on the Eco scale. I bought some Eco 12 and 14 and tried again. 
Candle holder and new wick

This time I had a much better result as you can see in the top picture. I also adapted my wick holder by using a piece of wood with a hole in it. I know that my experimental approach may annoy some, experienced candle makers, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money on equipment that I may only use once or twice. 
Keeping the wick straight

With the wick situation now sorted, or at least, I hope so, I will begin my phase 2 of candle making. 


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