As the holiday season approaches, here is some green gift-making advice from Sashka
Many people don’t realize just how unfriendly traditional candles can be to the environment. They are made with paraffin wax, a petroleum by-product, and the soot from these candles contributes to indoor pollution. The scented varieties are especially toxic because the fragrance oils used in production are petroleum-based synthetics. Candles that are made from beeswax, soy wax, or palm oil are eco-friendly alternatives to traditional candles. There are a variety of places to purchase eco-friendly candles, but making your own will ensure that they are 100 percent eco-friendly.
Choosing Your Wax
Starting with the right eco-friendly ingredients for your candle is essential. Craft stores, health food stores, and many online stores offer all-natural ingredients for candle making. Choosing which base to use is a matter of preference, availability, and budget. A few things to consider when choosing which base to use:
• Beeswax burns clean with no smoke and has a natural honey scent
• Soy wax burns longer than traditional candles, and comes in easy to use flakes
• Palm wax holds color and scent well, and easily releases from molds
The type of candle you want and the container will also help determine what type of wax you use. Beeswax comes in sheets and can be wrapped around a wick for a freestanding upright candle, or can be melted and poured into a container. Soy wax is melted and poured into containers, and is probably the easiest to use for beginners. Soy wax is often referred to as a one-pour product, because it can take nothing more than melting wax and pouring into a container. Palm oil wax requires techniques used in traditional candle making, and the temperature of the wax is crucial to the outcome of the candle. Palm wax can be used to make poured candles or free standing pillar candles.
Other Supplies You Need
Regardless of the type of wax you use, you will need wicks and containers. Only wicks specially made for natural candles should be used. Two eco-friendly wick types are cotton core wicks and hemp core wicks. Colors and fragrances can also be added to the candles. Make sure to use only natural dyes and essential oils for eco-friendly candles.
Advantages of Using Eco-Friendly Candles
Since eco-friendly candles are made with all-natural ingredients, there are many benefits over traditional petroleum-based wax candles. Products like soy and beeswax are natural, renewable resources that are relatively low cost to grow and harvest. They burn clean, which means they do not emit carbon dioxide and other toxic fumes in the smoke and soot the flame produces. Soy wax is slow burning, which means your soy candles will last longer and will be more cost effective. They also hold scent well, and essential oils will fill the room better than artificial scents used in traditional candles. In case of wax spills, soy is much easier to clean from surfaces and carpets than paraffin.
Decorating with Soy Candles
Soy candles can be used in any room of the house. With a lower flame than many traditional candles, soy candles are perfect for creating an intimate setting such as a romantic dinner. They are also great for aromatherapy, and can be a soothing addition to a quiet bath. Small clusters of coordinating candles are an easy way to incorporate candles into any décor. Grouping candles of different heights will add to the impact of your display. Using other design elements such as mirrors, fireplaces, and window sills can add a dramatic flair to a room’s focal point. Keeping your display simple and adding it only as an accent to the rest of the room will ensure your candles blend with the design of the room.
Soy Candles as Gifts
Handmade gifts are often less expensive and more personal gifts for any occasion. Combine that with the advantages of eco-friendly products and natural candles can be perfect gifts for almost anyone. Weddings, showers, birthdays, holidays, anniversaries – soy candles are appropriate for any occasion. Make sure to give a complete gift, not just a candle. People want to be able to use their candle, and if they have nothing to set the candle on, they won’t be able to use it. In fact, they may have to go out and buy something to add to the gift, which means it will probably never be used. Soy wax candles make a unique gift, as they are not as widely available as traditional candles.
Sashka is a writer and a part time blogger from Australia. She writes about home improvement, lifestyle, green living, decorating. This post was inspired by eco-friendly candle making ideas and tips.