What makes a candle?
It's no secret that we at Studio Indigold handmake and handcraft our candles. In a time where we are immersed in the free spirit look, desert festivals, and the New Age look is trending, we had a vision of a gypsy-type woman manning her stall, in full kimono garb. Today, we share with you the types of wax, colours and scents that goes into candle making.
Types of Wax
1. Paraffin wax
Paraffin wax is traditionally used for candle making and sculpting for centuries, and is still the most popular ingredient for candle making today. It is a by-product of petroleum, so it is not the safest option out there. However, because of it’s sturdy form and hardened solid state, it’s good for making standalone candles, pillar candles, or candles for sculpting and crafting. It melts in a colourless form, giving pure colour pay-off.
2. Soy wax
Soy wax is from soybean oil, which gained popularity after being praised for their 100% natural origin. It is much softer than paraffin wax, so they make good waxes for votive, container, or glass candles. They are of an off-white natural soy colour, so keep this in mind when you’re mixing colours. For example, if you’re mixing black, the same amount you use in paraffin will make your candle grey.
As its name suggests, beeswax is from bees, and a by-product of the honey making process. It comes in a natural golden colour, so keep that it mind while mixing colours. Beeswax is the oldest candle making ingredient, which artefacts of this have been found in archeological digs in ancient Egypt. Coming from bees, this is pricer than the other waxes.
4. Palm wax
Palm wax is from you guessed it, palm trees. This is the least eco-friendly of all options, as it was accelerating the destruction of tropical rainforests in South East Asia to make space for palm tree plantations. Save the rainforests, chimpanzees and tigers! We do not use palm wax, ever!
These are usually a blend between soy and paraffin or soy and bees. Most commercial candles are made with a blend of these waxes, for optimum production of the candle.
Oils and Fragrances
1. Essential Oils
Candles made with pure essential oils are made with plant-based ingredients derived from nature. They tend to enhance the natural aromas found in a space. A home that is free of added synthetics will showcase the natural candle's fragrance better. Of course, a huge pro to the natural candles is that you will actually receive the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils themselves! I'll never forget the customer who reported having her sinuses clear as soon as she stepped into the room she was burning her Smoke Candle in!
At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference. Personally, I find candles made with synthetic fragrance oils to completely overtake a room. This is very overwhelming to my nose. I find this to be distracting at best, and headache-inducing at worst (yes, even with high-quality synthetics). However, some people prefer this strong scent throw. I appreciate how the Smoke Candle can add a subtle shimmer to the space I burn it in. In fact, my nose appreciates this subtle scent more than an overpowering synthetic throw because it smells real! I continue to be enamored by the mysterious ways the plant-derived natural essences work, and find that as I've switched my life over to a more natural one in my home, dining, and beauty routine I've found that less is more!
2. Candle Fragrances
Synthetic fragrance oils are much cheaper than essential oils, and thus more commonly used. While synthetics are improving in quality, Many synthetic fragrance oils are derived from petroleum, and may contain chemicals that may lead to allergic reactions or act as hormone disruptors, which may lead to tumor growths, cancer, birth defects, and more. Yikes!
Synthetic fragrance oils do offer a much stronger scent throw, while the naturals will be more in the background. Natural candles do better in a smaller space free of drafts (like a washroom), or next to your bed (a personal favorite spot for mine!).
Colour Pellets and Dyes
1. Liquid Dyes
Liquid dyes have very concentrated colour, allowing for a more intense colour payoff. A few drops are all you need to get a vibrant colour. They can be added during the boiling process, or at the end just before you pour. It can get messy, with most liquid dyes coming in a dropper type apparatus. They can affect the texture of the candle by affecting the cooling process by a few temperature degrees.
2. Solid Dye
From our experience, it is harder to find solid colour pellets, but they are not impossible to find. They are more rarely used than liquid dyes though, as they don't give as vibrant a colour as liquid dyes. You have to use more pellets if you want a more intense colour. If you do find them, they are a much cheaper option, and easier to use than liquid dyes. Just drop them into the already boiling wax. Solid dyes are made from vegetable-based wax with some dye already pre-mixed, allowing them to be added directly into melted wax.