Last weekend, we had another of our creative days and made candles. This time around, it was my mum, my mother-in-law, my daughter and her friend, and a colleague from work and her daughter. We ended up with four adults and three thirteen-year-old girls (or almost, my daughter turns 13 in June).
Although I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to be, it was ridiculously easy. We literally melted the soy wax on the stove (we put the wax in an empty tin can to avoid ruining a good saucepan) and then sat the can in a pot of water. A similar process to melting chocolate really. Then we added fragrance to the melted wax, and poured it into a container which had a wick set in it. Leave to set, and voila, you have a candle!
They didn’t take long to make, but the most fun part was definitely playing with scents, and mixing and matching to get the combinations we wanted. I really enjoyed it. And because each candle didn’t take long to make, it felt productive. I guess the soap making was quite productive too. The chocolate day felt less productive even though I think that was the longest day so far out of these creative days.
I’d wanted to make a candle for my sister who lives in the UK. I thought I could take it over when I went over to see her in July. So I was trying to think of what scents I could combine to make a New Zealand scented candle. I bought these scents:
– Wood smoke
– NZ fern
– Wild Piha.
The pennyroyal was my favourite. It reminded me of freshly mown grass. So nice. The wood smoke one was so strong (in the bottle) that I couldn’t bear it. Ugh. Like sniffing an ashtray almost. Overwhelming. The NZ fern fragrance is hard to describe, but it kind of smelled like plants and fresh air. I guess it really did smell like NZ ferns! Ha ha! Piha is a beach near me. It’s a surf beach, with quite dangerous waters for swimming, and black volcanic sand. It’s surrounded by native bush. The scent is apparently fresh air, salt, wood, flax, palm, cannabis and wood smoke. I didn’t like this one as much. I’m pretty sure I could smell the cannabis in it.
So I combined them, with just the lightest touch of the wood smoke, about half a teaspoon of all the others, and a full teaspoon of the pennyroyal. It worked perfectly. It smells like home. Like the farm, minus the usual smells of cattle. The main scent is obviously the pennyroyal, but beneath that, it smells…green. It really does remind me of home, of the farm I grew up on. I hope it does the same for my sister. I actually liked it so much I made another one to keep for myself.
A year or two ago, I used to have a candle from Columbia Candles called ‘The Secret Library and Writer’s Den’. It was a lovely, subtle scent, that reminded me of chocolate but without being too sweet. I’d seen a few scents out there that made me think I could try and recreate it in a way, maybe as a ‘Gentlemen’s Library’ scent. So I bought these scents:
– Italian leather
– wood smoke (okay, I didn’t buy a second bottle of this, it’s the same as the one above!).
The problem was, the whisky scent was a little smokey too, and they were all strong, pungent scents. When I combined them, in roughly equal measures, all I could smell was this incredibly pungent smokey smell. It was awful. I tried to dilute it with extra wax, and even added some beeswax to try and lift the scent a little, and then I had enough for two candles. I tried to add some more top notes, and added apple and cinnamon to one, and orange to the other. I could still only smell smoke. I was just dumping scents in, really, trying to get rid of the smoke, to no avail. My mother and mother-in-law said they weren’t as bad as I was making out, so I told them to take one each. I didn’t want them. I made another one, and left out the wood smoke scent. That worked better, but leather and whisky on their own don’t actually make a nice smell. So I dumped the rest of the apple and cinnamon scent in it, and then added some cinnamon and vanilla too. It ended up quite nice, with a sort of apple pie smell, with just enough depth to keep it being too sweet.
My colleague made beach linen scented mini candles, and her daughter made white tea scented mini candles. We’d been told to leave them for two weeks for maximum effect, but my colleague told me this week she’d already started using hers, and she was really pleased with them.
My daughter combined apple and cinnamon and cinnamon and vanilla to make a lovely apple pie scented candle. She was really pleased with it. She also combined Madagascar spice and dragon’s blood to make a really interesting incense-y smelling candle.
Mum made coconut lime scented candles that smelled so good I had to make one for myself. She also made a Madagascar spice one.
My mother-in-law used up scraps of existing candles that wouldn’t burn anymore, melting them down and adding scent to them. One of the scraps was red, giving her candle a lovely pink tinge. She went for a citrus combination, with blood orange, and I think maybe citron and mandarin. I was inspired by this idea of melting down old candles, so I melted one I had that wouldn’t burn anymore and poured it into a smaller container with a new wick. That was one I’d bought at Typo called ‘Calming AF’. It was a sweet vanilla-y scent. My mother-in-law also made a dragon’s blood scented candle.
I had a ‘romance blend’ oil that was left over from an aromatherapy party I hosted about fourteen years ago. Seriously. It has a really strong smell, so if I use it in an oil burner, I only need a couple of drops to fill the house, so it’s lasted ages. I used that to scent a candle, and although my mother and mother-in-law both said they didn’t like it, it was my husband’s favourite of the day.
So I ended up with a candle for my sister, two candles I gave to my mother and mother-in-law, and five candles to keep. Plus, two candles that my daughter made. Like I said, a very productive day!
When my mum got home, she said that not only did her car smell nice (from taking her candles home), but the one I’d given her smelled pretty good. My sister (who hadn’t been with us) said all of Mum’s candles, including the one I gave her, smelled good. Maybe I had wood smoke on my hands or something and that was all I could smell? I’ll have to go to Mum’s and see what it smells like now that my whole house isn’t overpowered by overlapping scents.
Oh, and I definitely want to do this again and make more candles. Check out these scents:
– Christmas tree
– Christmas hearth
– Gingerbread and warm gingerbread
– Brandy Snaps
– Feijoa and lime meringue
– Fresh bread
– Kiwi pavlova
– Warm bread pudding
Ha, while I was checking out new scents, I realised there was a whisky, wood smoke and leather scent. Dammit, I could have just bought one scent instead of playing with three! Ha ha!
Hi, I'm Elle. I'm based in Auckland, New Zealand. I'm a moderator at Writing.com, the mother of two gifted children, the wife of a Twitch gaming streamer and the Queen of Unfinished Projects. I've been reading since I was 4 years old, writing poems (badly) since 1994, blogging since 2001 and I started studying photography in 2010. This blog will contain poems, short stories, photos, book reviews and my thoughts on a variety of topics. Hope you enjoy it.