How Do You Use Essential Oils to Make "Aromatherapy" Candles?

The term “aromatherapy” is a branch of alternative medicine which claims that the specific “aromas” carried by the essential oils have curative effects. The healing art “aromatherapy” traces back to 4,000 B.C. where the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Persians use to burn herbs and flowers for curative and cosmetic purposes. In ancient Egypt, plant oils were widely used for spiritual relaxation, cosmetics and for embalming and mummification of the dead.

The term “aromatherapy candles” is used loosely in Western societies, because, unlike other cultures, we mainly use “aromatherapy candles” for “aesthetic” qualities vs. healing qualities. We want the calming, soothing aromas to aid in meditation, bathing and relaxing activities.

Natural candles are becoming more popular with the development of natural waxes such as soy wax and palm waxes. There is a greater desire by consumers to go “green” with all natural ingredients in candle making. Using all natural soy wax that is a renewable resource, grown right here in the U.S.A. has gained popularity in the few years, since the development of soy wax in 1998. Soy wax is hydrogenated soybean oil that is non-toxic, biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Combining all natural ingredients, including natural scents, to make an “aromatherapy” candle is highly desirable.

A lot of so called “aromatherapy” candles out on the market today contain paraffin wax (which is a byproduct of the crude oil process) and fragrance oils that are chemically derived. Some major manufacturers have paraffin wax, combined with natural scents. Some have natural waxes combined with chemical derived synthetic scents. My idea of a natural “aromatherapy candle” is one that is all natural. So, what are natural scents? They are essential oils.

Essential oils are volatile parts of plants, trees, fruits and roots that are extracted by various methods: steam distillation, cold-press extraction, chemical solvent extraction and the effleurage method. Essential oils that are “pure” will mostly have their botanical name on the jar, and come in dark colored bottles for protection from sunlight. They should be stored in cool, dark places, and out of reach of children and pets. Other essential oils are blended with carrier oils such as jojoba and are considered “diluted”. Some candle manufacturers sell “essential oils”, but they come in clear plastic containers, and are synthetically derived, or are blended with alcohol or other solvents.

Because of their concentrated nature, pure essential oils can be more expensive than fragrance oils and come in small bottles – drams (1/8 oz), 1/6 oz., etc. They either have a closed lid or a dropper to distribute the essential oils. Price can range from anywhere from $5 to $75 for a fraction of an ounce of pure essential oils.

So, how do you use essential oils in candle making? Good question – and there are many answers to that question, depending on who you talk to. When I originally tried to research this topic a year ago, there was very little information out on the Internet, with candle supply companies, or any e-books I purchased. One year later, there is a wide variety of answers published in articles, candle supply websites, and so-called “candle gurus”. Some experts claim that usage per pound of wax is 1 oz – which is similar to using fragrance oils. Now, 1 oz of pure essential oils can be either incredibly strong or incredibly expensive. Others claim that using as little 3-20 drops/pound of wax.

I personally believe that the aromatherapy candles should use much less essential oils than fragrance oils for two reasons:

1 Style & Taste. When using essential oils in aromatherapy candles, I want a milder, less dominant, natural scent aroma from the essential oils. I don’t want an over-powering Cinnamon Spice fragrance oil aroma that’s going to fill my entire house for days. I want a “natural” candle, because I want a soothing, relaxing, mild, fresh, natural aroma that gives just enough scent to soothe my senses for a beautiful bubble bath, meditation, yoga or Pilates exercises. I don’t want the aroma competing with what I’m trying to achieve – relaxation.

2. Cost. Essential oils are expensive, and cost should be considered when buying and using “pure” essential oils in candle making. First of all one dram (1/8 oz) of 100% pure Peppermint oil (made right here in the U.S.A.) on sale was $5/dram plus shipping. Honestly, do you think you it’s cost effective to use $5 of Peppermint oil in one 8-12 oz. soy candle? I don’t think so, besides, it may be too strong. Fragrance oils (mainly synthetics) can be 10 times less expensive when purchased in bulk. I’ve used blends of essential oils with 1/6 oz. and made three 12 oz. soy candles, and they were perfectly scented. So, it’s the cost/benefit rule you have to apply in determining how much you’re willing to pay to achieve your desired outcome.

Another important consideration in how much essential oils to use in candle making, is using the wax manufacturers guide in how much fragrance/essential oils that the wax will absorb in order to make a safe candle. I primarily use 100% soy waxes for my candle making, and the manufacturers recommendation is to use 3-9% of fragrance oil per pound of soy wax. There are additives which can increase those percentages, but I mainly use 1 oz. of fragrance oil/pound of soy wax, which is approximately 6%. When using essential oils, I use much less than 1%/pound of wax. It all depends on how strong or pure the natural oil is and my taste, of course!

So, with those facts explained, using essential oils is a matter of style, taste and cost. If you are selling your candles, you pass along your costs to the consumer, but hopefully, you can market and price your candles effectively to sell them at a profit. If you are making candles for your own enjoyment, then it’s a matter of what you’re happy with – milder/stronger, and whether cost is a factor for you.

Source by Laureen Falco

Making Soy Candles – Anyone Can Do It

Candles can be traced back to biblical times. For hundreds of years they were the only source of light in people’s homes, the earliest of which were made with tallow. It was not until the 1800’s that paraffin replaced this.

A hundred years later and electricity replaced candles, with candles being relegated to fulfilling other roles such as decoration for festive occasions, for the calm and sanctity they evoke in religious ceremonies and the general mood of warmth, relaxation and even romance.

The greatest innovation in the candle industry today is the replacement of the “paraffin” based candle with a natural wax alternative. The soy candles we make burn cleanly releasing no toxins into the air, and they produce no soot or smoke. As they burn cooler and for longer (25- 50% longer) they allow the fragrance to be released into the air for a longer period. This natural, environmentally friendly wax is biodegradable and all containers can be washed with hot, soapy water to be reused. An added bonus to this throw-away society.

Soy Candles are so easy to make when you have simple instructions to follow.

1. Choose the appropriate container for your candle. Container wax can only be used in heat-safe glassware as it adheres to the glass. Estimate how much wax you will be using.

The wax can be melted in either a double-boiler or as a do a rice cooker. The easiest way is to heat and melt half the wax, then allow the heat in the container to melt the rest.

2. While the wax is melting, prepare your containers by selecting the wick you will use and the fragrance and colour. The best thing to do,is to at first try making an unscented and uncoloured wax, so that you can get your technique right.

3. You can use a thermometer, but it is not really necessary. The wicks can be stuck down by either dipping the wick into the wax, or by using the double-sided wick stickers.

4. The room temperature can affect the finish of your candles, so make sure it is not too hot or too cold.

5. Remember, not to overdo the fragrance. 30 mls/450 mls is sufficient. The best way to use the concentrated colours is to grate them on a cheese grater. It is much easier to darken a wax colour than it is to lighten, so be careful.

6. The wax is ready to pour when the container is cool to touch or the wax is starting to cloud. If you find it has set too much, reheat it slightly or sit the container in hot water.

7. It is recommended that you leave your candles for 24 hrs to cool and set. Longer time is necessary if multi-wicked or large containers are used. If you have problems, go to our problem solving and tips for suggestions.

Selecting Your Containers

As soy candles are in jars, the most important decision after your wax is your jars. There is an endless variety you can choose from. Once you get the candle making bug, all containers will be looked at in a very different way. Half the fun is finding new and interesting jars.

There are numerous jar suppliers in Victoria and interstate, so get catalogues from all of them, compare sizes, prices, minimum orders & payment terms. Easy to do with internet access. (Suppliers, listed)

Purchasing through jar suppliers means all the hard work has been done for you by selecting the glass that is suitable for your candles.

However, if you do want to source your own here are some tips:

A good candle container should have a diameter wide enough so that it can be lit and extinguished easily. This also means that the fragrance throw will be better even if the candle is not lit.

Jars with lids retain the fragrance for longer and prevent dust and debris from falling into the candle. Do not extinguish a candle by placing the lid on.

Do not use fine glassware such as champagne glasses for candles. They may look great but they are not made to withstand a high temperature. And as the glass is quite thin, they also retain a lot of heat making them very hot to handle as well as prone to cracking.

Metal containers have become very popular as Travel Tins because they are unbreakable. Remember to source tins that are seamless. Some with joints can leak when the wax is hot. Hazardous when you are pouring and hazardous for your customers if they leak when being burnt. Apart from getting wax all over the surface it is sitting on, they can also become a fire hazard. If you are unsure, test it by filling it with water and letting it sit for a couple of days.

Ceramic is popular for feature items or a table centre piece as they can match the d├ęcor.

Jars that have a wide neck and a narrow base can cause problems when the candle is nearing the end. As the base is narrower, it means the wick is closer to the sides. This will result in a very hot jar and a jar that is normally fine may become prone to cracking due to excessive heat.

Silverware is popular for special events such as anniversaries.

If you are unsure of the suitability of a candle, test it first before offering it to any customer.

Soy wax has made candle making so easy that anyone can do it. Have a go, it’s great fun.

Source by Frosa Katsis

Making Palm Wax Candles – 7 Things You Must Know!

Have you made candles before but are now thinking about making palm wax candles? There are a few things you need to know before you start. This information will help you to make a safe and quality candle.

1. AIR HOLES Whether you are making pillar or jar candles, you must ALWAYS poke for air holes during the cooling process. When palm wax cools it forms a layer on top while the middle is still liquid. Air is usually trapped in that liquid and it makes bubbles in the wax. Those air bubbles form around the wick or wick pin (if you are making pillars). Those air pockets can cause problems when the candle is burning. When the melt pool reaches down to one of those pockets, the melted wax drains into the pocket and exposes more of the wick. If you have a large pocket and it drains all of the melted wax, your burning wick will be out of control. The candle is burning fine one minute and you leave the room only to come back to a huge flame. I am not saying that every palm wax candle you make will have bubbles, but it is not worth taking the chance. You must poke holes when a top layer has formed and the wax is starting to get cloudy. Timing is everything in this process. You do not want to wait too long to poke holes. It does not matter what you use to poke the holes as long as you mix the juicy slush enough to be sure all bubbles have risen to the surface. Poking holes in the wax is a time-consuming process, especially when you are making hundreds of candles. I believe that this is one of the reasons why you do not see palm wax candles being made by the large candle companies.

2. CURE TIME I have tested several hundred fragrance oils from over 30 different manufacturers/distributors. I can tell you that if a fragrance oil is going to have a good hot throw when lit, it will usually have a good cold throw. If you cannot smell any cold throw after 24 hours, chances are pretty good that it is not going to have much hot throw. I have never experienced any improvement in fragrance by waiting days or weeks. Remember this is not soy wax. This big difference with palm wax compared to other waxes is that it will get noticeably harder over time. Do a test and you will see. Make three candles without fragrance oil or dye. Make candle #1 and let it sit two weeks. After two weeks, make candle #2. Wait another 2 weeks and make candle #3. When candle #3 is totally cooled, burn all three with the same type/size wick and you will see the difference. This is very important to know because if you wick the candle without taking the curing process into consideration, you will surely wick it too small. I believe that a month after making is a good time to start trying to figure out the perfect wick size. There is nothing wrong with making a candle and burning it right away. You just won’t get the longest burn time that you could have if you let it cure. If I am testing a particular fragrance, I do burn the candle right away. If the fragrance is OK, then I make more test candles to cure so I can get it wicked properly. There is no sense in waiting a month to let the candle cure if the fragrance is not what you are looking for.

3. COOL DOWN How you cool your candles is also something that is important to making beautiful palm wax candles. The slower you cool the wax after pouring, the better the crystalline design your candle will have. I would recommend testing on this issue. You can get a beautiful design without doing anything. You can pour your wax into a room temperature jar or mold and get a nice results. I would try heating the jar and molds and see if it looks better to you. Also, you could cover your jars and molds to hold the heat in. Put something insulated under your candle (like a thick book or magazine) because it will help with even cooling. Your final product will show if it had uneven cooling. It really is a matter of how much attention you want to pay in trying to get the best crystallization on your candles. Just so you know-if you pour melted palm wax into a cold or frozen jar/mold, you will not have any crystallization at all. It will look like soy wax.

4. FRAGRANCE OILS Be prepared for the fact that some fragrance oils will not work in palm wax. I fairly good rule of thumb is that if it works in soy, it will work in palm. Many places that sell fragrance oils usually state whether they are compatible with soy. For every 10-15 fragrance oils you test, be prepared to have maybe one that works great. Again, this is my opinion and what has been my experience. You might experience something different. Be prepared to test and test. You will know when you have a winner. Your candle will smell awesome! I would start with 1 oz. of fragrance oil per 16 oz (1 pound) of wax. I wouldn’t worry about getting a digital scale so you can measure 1 oz (weight) of fragrance oil. Just get a shot glass and measure 1 oz. (volume). It will vary with the actual weight of the oil but not enough to worry about. If the candle smells great and performs good, go with it. Palm wax has the ability to hold more oil. If you plan on making large amounts of candles, then I would consider getting a scale and doing it the other way.

5. BURN CHARACTERISTICS Palm wax is a hard and brittle wax. It does not get soft and bendable when heated like paraffin wax. If you dropped a palm pillar on the ground it would dent and crumble. Let me save you money and time trying to find the perfect wick to burn in your candles. Wedo is a company from Germany that makes wicks just for palm wax. The CSN series wicks can be purchased at several places online. Palm wax is tough on wicks and will reduce a good flame to almost nothing within an hour. I have boxes full of wicks that were suppose to be the best and “work great with palm”. Go with the CSN line. They really allow for a clean burn that is almost required from an all natural wax. Remember that wicks in palm wax burn down then outward. Palm pillar candles pose an interesting challenge. Making a self consuming palm wax candle is even harder. Wick too small and it tunnels and barely burns half the wax or if you wick too large it blows out the side and wax goes everywhere. Let’s assume you wick it to have a melt pool a quarter of an inch from the edge, you are relying on everything being perfect. You can’t control whether the person will burn the candle for 10 minutes or 10 hours. Will the candle be level? Will there be a breeze? What if the wick is never trimmed? All of these factors can change the way a candle burns even if you have it wicked properly. Factors like these can make a precisely wicked pillar candle into a candle that has a blow through after only a few hours. Also remember tunneling flames are not attractive in a thick diameter candle. The candle will not glow and you will hardly notice the candle is lit unless standing over it. Bottom line you have to wick the pillar with reasonable consideration for variations in burning. Most people light candles and forget about them until they blow them out. Just a thought.

6. MIXING WAXES Combining other waxes with palm wax can create some interesting results. Remember that the more you add other waxes to palm it will reduce the crystallization accordingly. If you are going to attempt mixing enough wax to eliminate poking holes, I would make enough test candles to really see and be confident that the air pockets are eliminated. I would cut the candle length wise along the wick.

7. FURTHER INFORMATION One of the most important things when making candles is to remember that any changes you make can alter how a candle performs when burning. Adding or changing the amount of fragrance oils, dyes or additives can have noticeable differences when burning. Always take notes! You will never remember everything. Palm wax is my favorite wax because of its performance. It can be a headache working with it, but in my opinion, it is worth it. Hey, if everybody was doing it, it wouldn’t be fun. Happy testing.

Source by Steve Pattison