Susan Stivaletta's Blog
Making your own candles is a fulfilling endeavor to take. You’ll learn about the art of candle-making, get the chance to make something for your home yourself, and reap the rewards once you get to burn it and diffuse whatever (if any) fragrances you choose to use.
Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t all that hard to make a candle. However, to make one that will burn well and smell nice can be tricky.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to make your own candle for your home.
In the times when households weren’t yet powered by electricity, candle-making or “chandlery” wasn’t just a fun skill to have--it was downright useful.
Since the earliest times in recorded history humans have been making candles. First from tallow, or beef fat, and then of beeswax and other animal-produced substances.
Today, however, the most common candle wax base is paraffin, due to it being the cheapest base. As a petroleum byproduct, many people are concerned with potential health risks of paraffin and have elected to use alternatives. The two most common are beeswax and soybean oil.
The wax base you choose is up to you, but you’ll likely find that soy is a good middle ground between quality and price.
Gather your supplies
Once you’ve decided on a wax, you’ll need to think about a few other ingredients--namely your wick, container, and any oils you’d like to add for fragrance. You’ll also need a way to melt the wax, such as a double boiler.
When it comes to wicks, it’s easiest to buy them pre-assembled. However, you can buy a roll of braided rope and tabs to make and cut them yourself. When cutting your wick, leave an inch or two extra so that you can cut the wick to the proper size later on.
In terms of a container you have several options, some of which might be laying around in your house at this very moment. You could reuse an old candle container, use mason jars or coffee cups, and most other heat- and flame-resistant containers. If you plan on making several, buying a pack of candle tins of mason jars online is an economical way to go.
Finally, you’ll need to choose some fragrances if you want your candle to smell like anything. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from. However, they don’t all go nicely together. It’s best to do a bit of research and find out which oils make good pairs. Some examples: Cedarwood and bergamot, lavender and rosemary, orange and lemongrass.
Making your candle
Put water in the bottom of your double boiler and add roughly ½ lb wax to the top pan. Heat slowly until the wax melts, stirring and chopping up the larger chunks throughout the process.
Once the wax is melted, take your wick and dip the tab into the wax, then carefully press the tab into the bottom of your container. Use a pen or other tool to do this to avoid burning yourself on the wax.
Next, add your essential oils to the double boiler. A pound of wax typically requires only an ounce of oil. Then, stir it for a minute or so to distribute the oil throughout the wax.
Then, pour the wax into your container with one hand. With your other hand, keep the wick held in the center of the container.
Finally, you’ll need to keep the wick in the center of the candle until the wax dries. You can do this by tying or taping the wick to a pen or pencil and resting the pencil on top of the container so that the wick stays in the center.
Responsible Insect ControlFortunately, there are ways for us to stay safe while also looking out for insect populations. Let's go down the list, bug-by-bug, and talk about some of those methods.
- Mosquitos Mosquitos repellant is one option. However, as you may have heard, one of the strongest repellants, DEET, has been shown to cause health problems when used often and in large amounts. We also know that many gimmicky mosquito repellants don't work at all. Among these are "ultrasonic" repellants which claim to use sound waves to repel the bugs, and mosquito repellant wristbands. They might protect your wrist, but probably aren't strong enough to keep mosquitos away from the rest of you. There are mosquito repellants that do work and haven't been shown to have adverse effects on your health. Lemon eucalyptus is a natural mosquito repellant that is often found in bug sprays. Picaridin is a new chemical alternative to DEET that doesn't come with the health risks. And, finally, you should always wear layers and thick clothing when outdoors in mosquito territory.
- Bees and wasps No one wants to have a bees' nest where they walk every day. However, you might be surprised to find that those bees are keeping your flower beds blooming each year. To protect the bees in your yard, avoid using herbicides and pesticides in your lawn and garden. In terms of bee hives, we recommend that you only move the nest if it is in a particularly inconvenient location like around your door. Otherwise, leave it be. Do some research on the type of bee or wasp you're dealing with and decide if you're really in any danger before deciding to remove the nest.
- Other insects Just like bees and mosquitos, when you're dealing with other insect issues, be it in your lawn or garden, it's best to avoid chemical insecticides when possible. Not only are they bad for your lawn and for the insect population, but they can also enter groundwater and become harmful to humans as well.
When it comes to the marketability of your house, appearances are everything! If your house is up for sale or you have plans to put it on the market soon, there are a lot of details you need to attend to before prospects stop by.
Although it's difficult to make a lived-in house look immaculate all the time, the closer you can come to that high standard, the better! Whether they're actively looking for signs of cleanliness or just noticing it subconsciously, the overall condition of your home can and does make an indelible impression on prospective buyers.
The reason "curb appeal" is emphasized so strongly by real estate agents is that the initial impression you make on house hunters can impact the amount of time your property stays on the market. That's especially true in "drive by" situations in which prospects quickly check out your house from the street and make a snap judgement about whether or not they like what they see. If your house and yard look appealing to them, then they may follow up with either the listing agent or their buyers' agent. On the other hand, if there's peeling paint visible, an aging roof, or weeds growing out of cracks in the driveway, they'll probably drive on and continue their search elsewhere. As you can imagine, there's a lot riding on curb appeal, so it pays to keep your lawn looking manicured and other landscaping features well maintained.
Once prospects are inside your home, they're going to notice everything from scuffed walls and cluttered furniture to the smell of toast you burned that morning or greasy cooking odors. Pet odors can also be a major turnoff for many prospective buyers, especially if they're not dog or cat fans to begin with! A worst-case-scenario, of course, is to have a last-minute pet accident happen on the floor when prospects are touring the house. That's not just a hypothetical situation; it occurs more often than you might think. To prevent that potential "disaster," some home sellers make arrangements with friends, relatives, or pet daycare services to have their dogs or cats taken care of outside of the house when tours are scheduled. While that's not always practical or even possible, it can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on potential buyers.
The bottom line when it comes to effective home staging is that people are going to notice "the good, the bad, and the ugly." Your objective, of course, is to do everything possible to diminish the negatives and accentuate the positives. Your real estate agent can be an indispensable resource for providing you with the unvarnished truth about what needs to be repaired or cosmetically improved to present the best possible image of your home to the public.
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