Uses for Scented Candles

Posted by Rain Shadow Labs on 4/26/2012 to Candles
Scented candles are one of the top gifts in the United States, because they are an item of universal appeal. Scented candles make excellent presents, especially when you know what scent or scents your gift recipient really enjoys. For example, if your mother loves the smell of cinnamon, a candle that has a true cinnamon aroma may be just the thing.

But candles are not just for gifts. Real estate professionals have long since learned that a home that smells nice sells faster. So, at home showings and open houses, you should expect to see a burning candle or two.

Aromatherapy is a use for scented candles that usually prompts people to buy the candles for themselves. Lavender is excellent for de-stressing, meditating, or soaking in the bathtub. Orange is an invigorating scent that can cheer up a room.

Candles often work for odor neutralizing. Just make sure you get the right candle for the job, or you might get forest pine-scented litter box smell. Some candles come with added odor neutralizing properties and others can do it simply with a strong enough scent and the natural effects of a little bit of smoke.

Finally, scented candles are a great visual addition to a room. With different colors, containers, and sizes, they can be used for almost any dcor. Additionally, when they are lit, the little flame creates a warm ambience in the room. Whether it is for romance or a home sale, scented candles can give that extra something that makes the atmosphere more pleasant and appealing.

Three Ways to Make Beeswax Candles

Posted by Rain Shadow Labs on 4/18/2012 to Candles
Beeswax candles became popular in Europe during the Middle Ages. They were expensive enough that most people could not afford them. Today, although still a bit of a luxury, households across America are enjoying beeswax candles for their classic look and their pleasant sweet scent.

Rolling beeswax candles is very easy and fun, simple enough for children to do as a supervised project. Purchase sheets of colored and/or scented beeswax (according to your preference) and a few wicks. The wick should be about 2 longer than the height of the candle.

You can cut the sheet for a shorter candle, or keep it the full height if desired. Place the wick near the edge of the sheet and begin rolling it evenly, tightly, and firmly until you have rolled up the whole sheet. Press the end of the sheet into the candle. Then, trim the wick and your candle is done! Or, if you want a thicker candle, add another sheet and keep rolling.

If you would prefer to melt your beeswax and form it into a mold, you need to heat the beeswax in a double boiler, to 170F. Color and add scent, if you like. Just make sure the dyes and perfumes you use are intended for candle making. You can spray the candle molds with releasing spray for a cleaner finished product. Place the wick as the mold requires and pour your beeswax in.

Finally, beeswax candles are really fun to make using the dipping method. This old-fashioned method requires taking a wick or wicks (lined up on a thin rod) and repeatedly dipping them into the heated wax (at 170F or a little less), allowing each layer to cool and harden briefly before dipping again. Layer will build upon layer until you get to your desired width. Hang them to dry and enjoy your homemade beeswax candles.

Making Gel Candles

Posted by Rain Shadow Labs on 4/12/2012 to Candles
For making gel candles, you will need to purchase a kit or pull these items together yourself: gel candle glasses, candle gel, your preferred essential oil(s), zinc wicks, a candy thermometer, liquid dyes, and if you like, you can also purchase embeds to decorate your gel candles.

Make sure that the dyes are intended for gel candles and that you do not use cotton wicks, because they will absorb the gel. You have several options for embeds. You can use polished stones, colored glass gyms (used in vases and aquariums), glitter, colored gravel, glass beads, shells, and even little metal charms. Whatever you choose just needs to be non-flammable.

Use a hot glue gun to attach the wick to the bottom of the gel candle glass. After the glue cools, cut up the gel into pieces to melt faster. Put them in a stainless steel pot. Dont overheat them. Just use a low-medium heat to melt them evenly.

The goal is 200F. Much higher than that and the gel will not set clear. So check your thermometer frequently until you get it right. Once the gel is smooth, you can start slowly adding your color, checking as you stir for the desired shade. Dont over-color if you want your embeds to show.

Approximately 1/3 teaspoon of essential oil should give each glass of gel a strong enough scent, but you can add a little more if you like. Make sure that before you pour, you heat up the glass to between 150F and 160F so you dont get bubbles in the gel. Dip the embeds in the hot gel before you place them in the candle and place them towards the outside of the container for increased visibility.

Pour your gel into the heated glass over a flat surface. Pour slowly to further avoid those undesirable bubbles. After you have filled your container, pull the wick up and wrap it around a pencil you can set over the top of the glass, to keep the wick straight while the gel dries. Once it is dried, you can trim the wick and present your finished project.

History of Candles

Posted by Rain Shadow Labs on 4/4/2012 to Candles
Candles go back more than 5,000 years. As electricity is a relatively recent invention, various forms of candles were used for light for many centuries across the world. While the actual wick candle was probably invented around 3,000 BC or a little earlier, ancient Egyptians from an earlier time used to dip the pithy core of reeds into melted animal fat to make what we refer to as rushlights or torches.

As far as history can tell, the ancient Romans made the first wick by rolling papyrus and dipping it over and over into beeswax or melted tallow. These simple candles were used at night, to light the interiors of their homes. It is not known exactly when this practice began.

But back in Egypt, we know they were making wick candles by 3000 B.C. During approximately the same period, Chinese citizens were rolling rice paper for a wick and using wax from insects and seeds to form candles. The ancient Japanese were using tree nuts for wax and in India, they boiled the fruit of the cinnamon tree for wax.

Much later, in 165 B.C., Hanukkah began to be celebrated, being called the Jewish Festival of Lights. Candles have ever since been a part of this religious ceremony. Many other cultures also have used candles as a part of their practices and rituals.

The early Western cultures used tallow, which is animal fat, to make their candles. The tallow candles emitted a foul odor. Moving into the middle ages, Europe began making beeswax candles because they burned more cleanly and had a pleasant sweet scent when lit. But, because of the expense, beeswax candles were only used for ceremonial purposes and by the wealthy for many generations.

It wasnt until colonial times that wax made from crystallized sperm whale oil was discovered. Unlike tallow candles it did not emit a foul odor, it did not soften on warm days, and it produced a brighter light than tallow candles could.

Later developments include stearin wax (made with a chemical extracting process of animal fatty acids), paraffin wax (made from petroleum), and soybean wax. Each of these improved upon older versions, burning cleaner and smelling better. Todays candles use these waxes, many being made of combinations of stearin wax and paraffin. While candle-making dropped substantially with the advent of electricity, today they are popular for their ambience and variety of available scents and colors that give a room that special something which only candles can give.