Sunday, November 4, 2007

Candlemaking basics

A few Sundays ago, I attended a free seminar conducted at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Project 6, Quezon City. I heard the seminar announced during mass and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to learn something new at no cost except my time.

The seminar was conducted by an Ate Timi who really wanted to teach the youth of the parish a nice way to raise funds. They were planning to make candles which they plan to sell in the coming Christmas season. I found the intention noble and the plan ingenius.

The main thing you need in making candles, either ordinary dip candles or decorative ones, is paraffin wax. They look like white slabs that you can cut into pieces and melt inside old kitchen utensils like a teapot. You also need a substance called "steric" which according to my browsing is meant to enhance the "burnability" of your candles.

Of course, candles are not candles without the wick. Wicks come in various types, from the regular to the semi-waxed, to a nylon one. Enhancements like dye wax (for colored candles) and crystal wax (for a shinier finish) may also be used. Oils or scents may also be used to achieve an aromatic effect.

The process is actually simple. For dip candles, you just need a piece of wick cut at around the length of the candle you want to make, and dip it into the melted paraffin wax mixed with the steric and other enhancements. After the dip, you just hang the wick and let the wax dry. Then you dip the thing again, and again, until the wax gets thicker and thicker, forming a candle.

As for decorative and scented candles, you just pour the melted mixture described above and pour it into molds with the wick already fixed at the center. You have to make sure that the mixture is no longer too hot so that your candle will not cave in. We were told that the best time to pour the melted wax is when it is already starting to get cloudy.

After pouring, you allow the filled-up mold to cool down and the wax inside to harden. This could last from 30 minutes to about an hour. Once the wax has hardened, you then separate the pieces of the mold to see your finished product. It can be a flower designed candle, spiral type, among others.

There are lots of candles available out there which are factory made. They are bland, uncreative and unscented. You can be creative in making and packaging your candles and get a good price for them. The peak seasons of course are around November 1 and 2, during the Christmas season, and during Holy Week.

By the way, for every kilo of paraffin wax, you use 100 grams of steric and 100 grams of crystal wax. In addition, you can use the right amount of dye wax to achieve the color you want, and some scent.

You can buy these materials and the molds at candle and wax shops in Divisoria. There are two shops in front of Tutuban Mall and one on Juan Luna Street. I don't want the names of the shops though as I was sort of dissatisfied with the kind of service they give to their customers. I wonder if there are other shops closer to home and manned by friendlier people too. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

hi, i would really like to learn how to make candles, but for u know if they still conduct free seminars like this? if so, where? tia..