Trees in Snow Candle

The holiday season can be a real challenge when it comes to deciding what type of candles to make for gifts.  Beyond extreme-design candles that you might make for family members or close friends, there are the other designs that are more suitable for associates, co-workers, neighbors, or as gifts to mail away.  The main factor I personally see in the "mail away" candles has to do with fragility of the design and the weight.  The fragile part is a bit easier to deal with, as wrapping and padding can often overcome much of that aspect, but the weight is another issue entirely.  With postage rates taking a bit of jump between First Class and Priority Mail, it's nice to be able to keep the weight low, especially if you want to send candles to several people.  Sending several candles to a few people usually entails Priority Mail ... but, if you go over the one pound rate, the cost is going to take a little bit of a jump.  Some people find votive candles a good option, as you can send many candles without too much worry about the weight issue, but I personally need something in between my heavier chimney candles, for instance, which can vary from about ten ounces to almost a pound, and very little candles.  First Class rates are for packages up to 13 ounces, so if your candle weighs around six ounces, even with packaging, it will qualify.

Here is a candle design I've made that doesn't weigh much, but has a lot of personality ... I think so anyway!  Believe it or not, I have used a plastic cocoa container for my mold.  The trees are made with a candy mold.  And, under the icy surface of the "pond" where the wick is, lies just a bit of blue candle gel, making this candle burn longer and giving the "pond" a nice watery effect when the ice melts off.  
I made these last year and I'm going to try my hand at it some more shortly ... my trees sunk into the snow a little too much, so now I know to wait just a little longer before setting them in.  


I started with the base of the candle, which is a light blue. When this cooled, I poured some white wax, making an indent in the center when the was was partially cooled, and placed just a bit of candle gel in the center.  Then, I poured more white wax, this time, inserting the trees while the wax cooled.  All of this took place while still in the mold.  Then, when everything was cooled, I gave it a cool bath and removed it from the mold, adding a bit of snow to the trees and a hint of glitter ... anything that spilled over the side was carved off.

This candle (below) was the first one I made ... I was a little "off" in trying to work with this design ... too much ice or snow or something, kind of lost the "look" I was shooting for.  But, it shows how awful something you may have in mind can look before you get the hang of actually creating something a little more like what you are envisioning!  I'll see how I do this year and hopefully have a successful update for you! 

Happy Holidays!!

Old World Candle Carving

This candle carving technique is so amazing, I just had to share it!

It's a video worth watching if you have the time ... very inspiring! 

Old World Candle Carving

Molded Fizzing Bath Salts

Here is a design idea for
molded bath salts that can be fun,
especially if you like a bit of a
challenge! Now, please don't ask
me why I tackled this idea, but I can
tell you that I was after some shell
designs for fizzing molded bath salts
(aka bath bombs), and the majority of
shells are very fragile ... dainty
designs do not seem to hold up in
a molded bath salt. From my experience,
molded salts need a sturdy and solid
mold, otherwise little appendages can
break off very easily, either during
mold release or during any handling
after packaging.

Although this particular method is
a bit more difficult to make than using
candy molds or other simple molds,
the end result is a nice handmade
bath salt with an imprinted design ...
in this case, a sea star, (otherwise
known as a starfish).  It can be a
bit tricky at first, but once you
get the hang of it, you can create
unique molded fizzies with a variety
of designs, such as flowers, leaves,
butterflies, shells and other shapes.

The following is the recipe I have
the most experience with. This is
for a single batch of the mixture,
which can be doubled if preferred.
But, for beginners, a single batch
is best, as once the mixture gets
moistened and is ready for the molds,
you need to work fast ...
so it's best to start off making
small batches and then after some
practice, a double or triple batch
may be easier for you to work with.

Here's the recipe ...

2 T. citric acid (fine or extra fine)
2 T. corn starch
4 T. baking soda
1 T. light carrier oil
1/2 t. scented oil

Witch hazel in a spray bottle

Bath Salt Mix - Dry

There are several carrier oils you
can use ... for instance: sunflower,
almond, apricot or peach kernel,
rice bran, and grapeseed all work well.
Some carrier oils can be too heavy
for bath salts and will be too oily,
such as castor. This is important
to note, not only for the skin, but
also for the shower or bath tub!
Your scented oil can be either
fragrance oil or essential oil,
but if using essential oil, you
only need a few drops or so.
(You will find additional oils
mentioned at the bottom of this post.)

After your dry ingredients have
been measured and mixed together,
add your oil and scent and mix well ...
this mixture can sit for as long as
you need it to until you are ready
to wet your mixture to press into molds.
Then, when you are ready to mold your
mixture, (and not a moment sooner!),
spritz the mixture with witch hazel.
Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl)can also 
be used, although it has a slight
odor and is not a natural ingredient.
Unless you have purchased a true
witch hazel hydrosol, most witch
hazel has some isopropyl in it.

Bath Salt Mix - Wet

The number of times you will need
to mist will vary depending upon your
spray bottle. My misting bottle that
I use for these requires that I depress
(spray) about seven times for a single
batch ... as soon as they've been
spritzed, mix well with a fork and
hurry to get your mixture pressed
into molds. A dough scraper works
quite well to level out the backs
of your molds once they've been
filled. Tip ... if you scrape in
the direction of nearby empty molds
on the tray, some of the excess
mixture will fill the empty molds
and you will have less waste.
You want the mixture to be wet 
enough to stick together in the 
mold, but not overly wet ... 
it should be similar to a "dough" 
texture, NOT a "batter!"

If you wish to add some color,
soap-safe colorants can be used,
or, you can mix some powdered
botanicals for natural colorants
into your carrier oil before mixing.
Cosmetic grade oxide powders can
also be mixed with your oil to
dissolve ahead of time ... if you
add them directly, you can make
speckles, if you should desire
such a look. Food coloring is
not preferred, although they
can work in small amounts if
you want to practice making
these prior to ordering your
real supplies.

The following design came about from
a combination of two mixtures being
pressed into one mold ... it kind
of gives a crumbly effect. For instance,
a "tart" such as this could be scented
with a berry scent and with the use
of another color, with the same
mold, another type of scent can
be used to create an entirely
different result.

Molded with two mixtures at the same time

To make an imprinted design, such as
this sea star, you will need a shape
to insert into the bottom of the mold.
This is a plastic piece, which has
been coated with some carrier oil
and placed in the bottom of a
mini muffin tin. (It is my opinion
that this step keeps the plastic
shape from sticking to the bath
salt mix.)  Simply press your salts
mixture into the mold, making sure
you have pressed firmly up against
the embossing piece. After your
salt mixture has hardened enough
for easy removal from the tray
(tips will follow), use a thin
metal pick (a poultry lacer does
the trick for me) to gently pry
the edges of the plastic design
piece (sea star in this case)
from the bath salt, and allow
it to sit, untouched to harden.

Ready for mixture to be pressed into tray

Whether using the imprinted design
or a candy mold design, allow the
mold tray to sit untouched after
filling the molds until the mixture
has dried ... depending on the humidity,
this can be anywhere from fifteen
minutes to a half hour. To release
from your mold, you will do these
in similar fashion to a pineapple
upside down cake ... secure and
flip over. For instance, if using
a candy mold, place a piece of wax
paper over the filled tray and then
a rigid piece of cardboard or a
flat tray over that and turn it
all upside down (making sure to
securely hold the wax paper and
rigid backing or tray in place)
so the mold will release its
contents onto the wax paper
and tray. By using a rigid
backing of some sort, or a tray,
you can then move your molded
salts to a dry place where they
can cure (harden) before placing
them in an airtight wrapping or
container; this can take about 
a day or so.  (If humidity is high, 
they can be placed in an oven
that is not turned on.)

Ready for shaped insert to be removed

When removing the shape, it seems 
to make things easier if you first 
gently pry the outside edges of it 
up first, all the way around, then 
go around again once it has been 
loosened and it will then come up 
easily.  Be careful not to disturb 
the bath salt when lifting the piece
away from it ... the use of tweezers
may help.

A word of caution ... never let
bath salts sit in the molds for
too long ... they can stick to
plastic candy molds, or in the case
of using a plastic imprinted design,
it can make it almost impossible
to remove the plastic design piece.

These can be used in the bath, as
well as in a shower ... simply use a
large plastic tumbler with a small
bath salt, or a portion of a larger
one, fill with water, and use
for an emollient rinse.


Some other light carrier oils:
Hemp Seed

Some that are heavier and most likely
should not be used in bath salts: 
Macadamia Nut

Note that we have purposely left
off some available oils as we have
read that they can go rancid rather
quickly. Since some people keep
bath salts around for awhile,
it may be best to select oils
that have a longer shelf life.
However, grapeseed is listed,
as it's considered a nice,
lightweight oil, although it
may not have a prolonged
shelf life. Carrier oils
that have gone rancid take
on a funny smell, so it's
best to keep your oils in
a cool, dark place ... this
includes your refrigerator.
Other items, such as hydrosols,
are also best kept there ...
just make sure you have
properly labeled your bottles
so everyone else who uses
the refrigerator is aware.
Although natural ingredients
are not toxic, one would surely
be surprised to take a sip of
witch hazel if they thought
it was water!


Happy Molding!!


Stacked Hearts Candle

Stacked Hearts Candle

Let's say you have a particular shape
for a candle in mind ... like a heart
for instance, that you have found
appealing in the form of a mold,
or even a little porcelain jewelry dish,
such as I have and you would like to
make a candle out of it, but it's too
shallow to be a candle mold in itself ...
can a candle be made from this?
Quite possibly ... but in the form
of a stacked candle, since it's not
a tall enough mold to be a candle.

First, you must determine that the
dish will allow you to pour wax into
it that can easily be removed.
Once you know that you can do this,
you may proceed. For my candle, a
little bit of mineral oil was applied
to the inside of my dish before
pouring the wax.

Here are the three layers for my
candle ... each one
in a different
shade of pink ...

Note that I was experimenting
with polka dots on the sides of
these, with some on top of one
of them ... the design on top
ended up being covered up in
the long run, but the dots on
the sides, which were "tap marks"
made with a piece of metal,
seem to have served well in
the end, creating a rough surface,
which you will see later.

Once these are made, you need
to pierce a hole in the center of
each one ... making sure you
have it in the same spot for each
piece. Pierce a hole into one
of them (with a heated metal rod),
then, before going onto the
second one, set the first layer
on top of the second and thread
the rod into the hole on the
top piece to make a mark in
the center of the second one.
This gives you the position of
your wick so all of the layers
will line up correctly when the
candle has been put together.
Repeat this process for the third
layer, using one or both of the
other pieces (layers) for
placement guidance.

Your wicking needs to be cut
longer than your candle height
so you have room to work ...
about three inches should be
enough. After you have cut
your wicking, dip it
in wax to
prime it and then secure a
wick tab onto one end.

Here is the type of wick tab
I used for this candle ...

Now, stack the three pieces,
threading the wick
through the
three layers, making sure you
have a nice fit and that all

of the layers line up.

Heat some wax ... sorry,
I did not record my temperature
this time around, but it's well-melted,
as it needs to be on the "hot side"
to serve as glue for the layers.
Place the candle on a ceramic or
metal plate and when the wax
has melted, pick up the top

two pieces (together) and pour
some wax between the bottom
layer and the middle, quickly
pressing the middle layer to
the bottom, doing the same
with the top layer
and the
middle. Note that there is
going to be a pool of wax
on the plate from this,
which will need to be peeled
off of the bottom of the
candle when cool enough
to handle. Now the candle is
one piece.

If you wish to do a bit of decorating,
there are lots of different things
you can do at this point ... I went
with slightly grubby for this one,
as it seemed to bring it all together.
The flakes for the top were taken
from the candle itself in the form
of a little shaving off the sides to
even up the layers ... they were
applied to a bit of whipped wax,
with just a little wax poured over
them and lightly pressed into
the top of the candle. Flakes can
also be made from some of the
wax that dripped off into the tray
when the layers were being
"glued" together.

This example was the first candle
I made
with this design, so I'm
curious as to some of the color
varieties I can try for in the future.
Heart candles are certainly not
only for Valentine's Day, so all
sorts of fun things can be done
with this design.
This example
simply shows
that you do not
necessarily need a
candle mold to make a candle ...
shapes can also be cut out of
wax that has been poured into
a tray, making this a great project

for using up remnant wax ...
no need to throw old wax away
when there is opportunity to
make a candle!