HOW TO MAKE HERB scented candles
Infuse fresh plants such as lavender, lemon verbena and rose in melted wax for beautifully fragrant 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.