How do you make a scented candle?
Candles are timeless; Edison may have thought he'd spelled the end for our flammable friends back in 1878, but here we are still lighting candles. Despite being such a common fixture in shops and homes you may never have stopped to consider how they’re made.
Starting a candle business where we make our own candles by hand, we’ve learned firsthand—through a process of trial and error (read: spilled wax)—the reality of how candles are made. So without further ado, here’s how we make a Keap candle.
The Prep Step
Before a single drop of wax is poured, a great deal of effort goes into ensuring the candle-making process runs smoothly. In our case this means preparing our pouring area with the relevant assortment of glasses, wicks and pouring crates. Pouring crates hold the tumblers still while the wax is poured, and resemble colorful milk-crates. We place our glasses into these crates—thirty at a time—giving each glass a careful dust-off before nestling it into its new home.
Next we carefully stick wicks to the center of each glass; we do this by hand using molten beeswax as the adhesive (read more about why we don’t use glue here). Centering the wicks is critical to ensure that a candle burns down the middle, and leaves no wax behind.
With the glasses ready we turn our attention to wax and fragrance preparation. We locate the fragrance we’ll need for this particular batch and set it aside. (We make batches of one candle fragrance at a time so as not to accidentally mix scents in any way; this also means we have different equipment for each scent.) Finally we switch on our wax melter to begin melting some coconut wax.
Done...with the preparation portion that is!
Pour, Pour, and Pour Some More
Getting just the right level of scent is incredibly important in candle making. We put a lot of care into making sure we have the optimal ratios of fragrance and wax for each of our candles. Staying true to these carefully refined ratios, we obtain perfectly-scented candles every time.
To achieve this level of precision we use time-tested technology—human hands and scales—to weigh, mix and pour into our tumblers. We mix together the wax and the fragrance (both in liquid form) in a specific ratio achieved by using predetermined weights for each substance. Then the mixture gets carefully poured into each glass.
Primped and Primed
We leave the candles to solidify and cure for a day or two, and the candles are then ready to become a finished Keap candle. The wicks are trimmed; this is done with a precise pair of nail clippers.
Any candles with imperfections are corrected with a cloth and heat gun. Minor drops of wax that may have splashed onto the sides are delicately wiped off. The heat gun is a hair dryer-like device that blows hot air allowing us to gently melt and mend the top layer of a candle, removing imperfections.
Keep Calm and Use Labels
With the wicks clipped and flaws corrected, the candles need to be labeled and packaged. Our glue-less labels are hand-applied to each glass. A final polish, and each candle is slipped into its box. All that's left is for the candle to be shipped to you to brighten your home and help support SolarAid.