HOW TO MAKE HERB scented can­dles

In­fuse fresh plants such as laven­der, le­mon ver­bena and rose in melted wax for beau­ti­fully fra­grant gifts.

NZ Gardener - Gifts from the Gardens - - Natural Gifts -

Most con­ven­tional can­dles are made of paraf­fin, which re­leases car­cino­genic chem­i­cals when burned. Soy wax is a nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tive, made from the oil of the soy­bean. It goes through an hy­dro­gena­tion process, which changes the de­gree of sat­u­rated fat, mak­ing it solid at room tem­per­a­ture. It’s biodegrad­able, re­new­able, clean burn­ing, and more af­ford­able than beeswax, but it’s also a soft wax, which means you’re lim­ited to what you can use it for. That’s why most soy can­dles are con­tainer can­dles – the non­flammable con­tainer ‘holds’ the wax with­out the need for hard­en­ers.

To make laven­der soy can­dles you need: • soy wax (work out quan­ti­ties, right) • sprigs of laven­der • dried laven­der flow­ers • laven­der or other es­sen­tial oil (op­tional) • clear, heat­proof con­tainer for can­dle • saucepan • aluminium or other heat­proof pour pot • ther­mome­ter • wick tab • wick

• glue gun • ice­block stick, with a hole in the cen­tre

Place the wax in the pour pot and place the pour pot in a saucepan that is quar­ter to half filled with wa­ter. Place the saucepan on the stove and turn on the heat. Do not let the wa­ter boil. Melt the wax at up to 85°C. Stir ev­ery now and again to has­ten melt­ing.

Mean­while, pre­pare the can­dle con­tainer. Wipe it out with a dry cloth. At­tach the wick to the wick tab. Use the glue gun to at­tach the wick tab to the bot­tom of the con­tainer in the cen­tre. Thread the wick through the hole of the ice­block stick and rest the stick on top of the con­tainer in the mid­dle to keep the wick cen­tred and up­right.

Put a spot of glue at in­ter­vals around the inside sides of the con­tainer and push a sprig of laven­der onto each glue spot so that it re­mains up­right. Tip a few dried laven­der flow­ers into the bot­tom of the con­tainer.

When the wax has melted, re­move the pour­ing pot from the heat and set it on a heat­proof sur­face. Al­low the wax to drop to 70°C. If adding es­sen­tial oil, do so now, stir­ring it into the wax. Adding the es­sen­tial oil just be­fore pour­ing avoids pro­longed heat­ing of the oil, which will cause loss of scent.

Pour the wax into your con­tainer.

Let it set slightly then drop a few more dried laven­der flow­ers into the wax. If added straight away they tend to drop to the bot­tom. Al­low can­dles to cure for 48 hours be­fore light­ing. Re­move the ice­block stick first.

TO MEA­SURE HOW MUCH WAX YOU NEED

Pour wa­ter into your con­tainer to about 1cm be­low the top of the con­tainer, then tip it into a mea­sur­ing jug and mea­sure the amount. As wax changes prop­er­ties when it melts, use the fol­low­ing for­mula to work out how much wax you need. Vol­ume of wa­ter (ml) x 0.8 = grams of wax. So let’s say your con­tainer holds 100ml wa­ter. Mul­ti­ply that by 0.8. There­fore: 100 x 0.8 = 80g of wax.

Never melt wax straight on the flame or put the saucepan di­rectly on the heat… al­ways use a dou­ble boiler. Have a fire ex­tin­guisher or a large amount of bak­ing soda on hand to douse flames in case of fire.

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