Years ago when my kids were little, we didn’t have a lot of money for Christmas. We spent everything we had on our kids, so the extended family got whatever we could at the last minute. One year, we were a little ahead of Christmas, so I logged in to our dial-up internet service and set out to find the best homemade gift ideas. Back then you actually had to look up search engines because Google was one of a few. I searched all of them in hopes of something unique and cheap. I found a website for a company out of Washington that had a candle-making starter kit. I got to choose the fragrances, and the kit came with everything else I needed including step-by-step instructions. What luck!!!!!

I was so excited when my package arrived. I sent the kiddos to grandma’s and set off on my candle-making adventure. Who knew that 20 years later I’d dive in as I have? Certainly not me. That first experience was fantastic. Here sat these beautiful little candles that smelled amazing. I decorated the jars with little flowers and ribbons. I was looking forward to Christmas more since I had real gifts to give away.

My family told me the candles looked great and loved the fragrances. I was ecstatic. Next time I visited my mom. I saw her candle sitting on the shelf. It’s ok, I thought. I know she’s not the biggest fan of stinky things. At least she put it where it’s visible. A few years later, my aunt had a family get-together at her house. Again, there sat her unburned candle. Hmmm…

I lost both of my grandmothers after that. Both of them had my candles in their bedrooms, touched only by the dust. Why? Why didn’t they burn them? Turns out, I have a very polite family. It’s best to keep things instead of using them. Huh… I guess it was a respect thing. Instead of using and tossing, they thought of me every time they walked by and smelled it. (No, I am NOT crying. It’s raining in my kitchen, thank you.) I still have both of my grandmother’s first candles. I take the lids off occasionally and they still smell wonderful after all these years. So what helped them think of me, helps me think of them.

So here’s my first piece of advice (and the start of my beginner’s guide to candle making) …. RESEARCH…RESEARCH…RESEARCH!!!! I cannot stress enough how important this is. I didn’t have a lot of choice way back then, but you do. I got very lucky with the company I chose and the quality of the product they delivered. Nowadays, there is a lot to sift through. Start by researching waxes. That’s the only place to begin. And research thoroughly. Don’t write off paraffin because someone said so. Don’t choose soy because someone said it was best. You will find positives and negatives for every choice. Look for things like burn qualities, fragrance loads, how the wax holds color, whether it is a container or pillar wax, how fast/slow it burns, if it needs additives or it has them already. It may sound overwhelming, but suppliers are very good about listing all this in item descriptions. Feel free to leave a comment for suggestions on reputable suppliers, waxes, or any other thoughts you may have. 

While you do your research, stay tuned for what to do next. Waxes are not the most glamorous part of candle making, but it is the most important. Good luck and happy hunting!!

May the odds be ever in your favor.

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