Learning How To Make Candles in London

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Last month, I was invited along to Lumiere de Londres studio to make candles in a workshop with a lovely lady named Sakeena Edo. In the workshop, we completed three projects in a relatively short amount of time – an aromatherapy candle, a massage candle and wax melts. The latter I hadn’t heard of prior to the event but Sakeena advised that a previous attendee was now running a rather successful business making them.

Previously, Sakeena was Operations Director at the YMCA, but decided to take a change in career direction and qualified to be an aromatherapist. There was one big problem with this new vocation; Sakeena did not like touching people she doesn’t really know! She started thinking about other ways in which she could transfer her aromatherapy skills to another job, and after a really bad experience at a candle making workshop, Sakeena’s eureka! moment happened. She took a sabbatical, went to the states to do an apprenticeship, then to Nice to learn about candle making, and then took a tip to the world famous candle area of Gras.

Sakeena offers many workshops – make your own beauty products, herbal remedies, as well as several different types of candles. Sakeena’s enthusiasm and innate storytelling ability makes the workshop a lot of fun, and she takes great amusement in sharing a little claim to fame in that one of JLS attended her workshop with his wife. At the beginning of the workshop, Sakeena asked if she knew him, and he replied “I don’t know, do you?”, then at the end he asked “so, do you know me?” to which Sakeena responded “I don’t know, I guess you just have a boy band look!”

Making Your Own Candles At Home

Sakeena dispelled a myth that I had thought about on previous candle-making sessions at home; you don’t need a thermometer! I’ve never used one but often wondered whether one was required or not, i.e. does the wax need melting to a certain point? The answer is no! Sakeena has done various experiments with regards to scents and their dispersal when candles are created at different temperatures and from her experience it makes no difference.

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Candle Making Recipes To Try At Home

Here are some ratios to keep in mind.

For the soy wax varieties use up to 10% essential or fragrance oils (we used 5% in the workshop).

I made a Sandalwood scented Aromatherapy Candle

For massage candles, you need 2/3 wax to 1/3 oil for recipes, and use up to 5% essential oil – no more, as excessive amounts could cause irritation to the skin.

I made a May Chang scented Massage Candle

It’s easy when you know how, isn’t it?! You can use all sorts of vessels to create your candles, tumblers, old candle jars, glasses, teacups, the list is endless! To make, as well as a vessel you will need a wick, a sustainer, a hot glue gun to apply glue to the sustainer and hold it in place, and an orange stick to hold the wick in place as the candle sets. Previously I have used wax to hold the sustainer in place but this melts as you burn the candle.

  1. Heat your oil and/or wax mixture in a saucepan you have set aside especially for candle making, till the viscosity is even all the way through.
  2. Thread the wick through the sustainer right to the end.
  3. Apply a good dollop of glue to the bottom of the sustainer, and place bang in the middle of your vessel. Use the orange stick to press the sustainer down and ensure the glue bond is strong.
  4. Pour your candle oil and/or wax mixture into your vessel.
  5. Place the orange stick across the top of your vessel, and knot the wick to it to ensure the wick runs straight through the middle of your candle.2015-biteable-beauty-natural-organic-blog-candle-making-workshop-london-3
  6. Leave to set. To speed up the process of setting you can place in the fridge.

For the wax melts, you can use as much essential oil as you like but make sure the final product doesn’t look oily. Also, if you are planning to use on the skin, keep in mind the aforementioned point. Heat the mixture then pour into ice cube moulds to set.

I made Pomegranate Noir Wax Melts, based on my all-time favourite Jo Malone fragrance.

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Uses for Wax Melts

You can place in an oil burner, use as a hand and body cream, keep in your knicker drawer to fragrance the contents (or any other drawer for that matter!), or place in a bowl to fragrance a room.  

Once you’ve made your candles, that’s not it just yet. You need to cure your candles. For candles made with essential oils, cure for two weeks, ones made with fragrance oils, one week.

Another top tip – pop your candle in the fridge for an hour before you burn it in order to extend the burn time.

A final top tip – wax has a memory. The first burn of your candle must be for at least two hours in order for an even burn.

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It’s almost two weeks since my workshop, and I’ve patiently waited for my candle to cure. I can’t wait to burn it, and as I said to Sakeena after my Lumieres de Londres experience – I will definitely be back at some point to take either a candle or beauty course. What a lovely way to spend a very rainy afternoon!

Many thanks to Karina for inviting me and Sakeena for having me along to her workshop.

For more information on the Lumieres de Londres candle making workshops in London visit www.lumieredelondres.com

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