Like most of my ‘projects’, my first time making DIY scented candles started with a whim: I had a long Christmas break and thought it would be fun to make my own candles at home. Lazada sells convenient candle making kits, most of which are from China. I ordered them in early December, and they came just in time for Christmas!
Although I like artsy stuff, I am not someone who is skillful with my hands – I’m clumsy af, so I suck at things like sewing, weaving, painting, crocheting, embroidery, etc. Fortunately, making candles is relatively easy, or at least easy enough that even I couldn’t mess it up too badly.
The kit cost me RM65, and came with everything I needed to make eight medium-sized candles, including metal containers (they sported bright, colourful designs), cotton wicks, four packets of soy wax (200g each), a stainless steel jug for melting, sticky tape to fasten the wick to the bottom, wick holders to keep them in place, a stirring spoon, dye blocks as well as four bottles of 10ml fragrances. I think it’s a reasonable price, as after making the candles I still had a lot of wicks left over, and I since I can reuse the equipment, I’d only need to buy wax and fragrances the next time I want to make candles.
I didn’t want the kitchen smelling like fragrances, so I used the portable butane stove we usually reserve for hotpots. Didn’t have a big stainless steel pot either, so I used a clay pot (necessity is the mother of invention) to double as my boiler. The jug should not be heated directly over the flame as the heat would be too intense for the wax, which would cause it to scorch. Using another pot filled with water helps to ensure a low and steady temperature.
While waiting for the water to boil, I trimmed the cotton wick and fixed it to the bottom of the container using the included sticky tape. The wick holder can be placed across the top to hold the wick in position when you pour.
Using the spoon, I stirred the wax until it was completely melted.
Professionals who make candles to sell usually use a thermometer while making their candles, since different types of wax (beeswax, soy wax, paraffin) have different melting points. As I didn’t have one, I just winged it (ie making sure the pot wasn’t bubbling too much).
Once everything had melted, I added my desired dye and stirred it until the colour was even. Once it had cooled down a little (but not to the point of solidifying, I poured the mix into the containers.
I made a couple of mistakes here.
- I added the fragrance right after the dye had melted. The temperature must have been too hot, which caused the fragrance to evaporate (?), so the result was that the throw (how far the scent carries across the room) was pretty weak.
- I poured everything in one go, which caused the candles to ‘sink’ in the middle once the wax had cooled. Apparently this is because the wax cools down faster at the sides, since the container is cooler. To avoid this, you’ll either have to keep the containers at a warmer temperature, or use the double pour method, where you first pour 3/4 of your mixture, allow it to cool, then top up with more wax to make the surface more even. I think this is quite a hassle though, as it means you’ll have to keep some of the wax. In my case, I couldn’t do that as I had a bunch of different colours and scents to work on, and only one jug.
Despite the flaws, I was pretty happy with the end results!
I had four scents: lavender, vanilla, rose and lemon. The scents were actually quite pleasing when I held the candle up to my nose, but as I mentioned, I think I put them in too early so when I lit the candles I couldn’t smell much of the fragrances.
Making my own candles was surprisingly fun (although it did take me three hours and my back felt extremely sore from having to sit on a low stool – sorry lah I’m old lol) , and I did feel a sense of accomplishment even if they didn’t turn out perfect. Maybe once I’ve had a couple more practice runs, I can start making more luxurious candles – like those pretty ones with flowers and stuff.
My candle making kit from Lazada : link
Have you tried making your own candles? Share your tips with me below!
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So I finally joined a soap making class!
I’ve wanted to go for the longest time, but always found some excuse ie no time/lazy/classes are expensive. Recently work has been stressing me out so much, I needed some activity (that didn’t involve eating, lol) to take my mind off things – and a soap making class sounded about right.
The class was conducted at Natural Wellbeing, a soap and cosmetics retailer in Publika KL, on a Sunday. If you’ve been to Publika you’ll know the place is like a maze, so the store can be a bit hard to find. Just look for Nando’s, go past the escalators, turn left and walk outside. The shop faces the main road.
Soap making classes are held as and when, but their core business is selling products, from handmade soaps and essential oils, to bath products and cosmetics. They also supply raw materials for students and small/medium businesses.
Decorative soaps in the shape of cupcakes and teddybears. The cake ones looked especially realistic!
Essential oils and fragrances, for personal use as well as for making soaps.
Our class was held in a spacious back room with Miss Angel, a certified instructor hailing from Taiwan, but who has been living in Malaysia for over 20 years.
There are different classes available, but the one I signed up for was handmade cold process soap, aka CP soap. CP soap allows for better control over the ingredients and does not require heat, where as hot process, or ‘melt and pour’, has to be cooked over a heat source. Some people like hot process because it can be used right away, whereas CP takes four to six weeks of curing – but it’s all down to your preference.
All materials were provided, including two soap molds for the two soaps we would be making, stainless steel bowls for mixing, spatula, whisk and thermometer, as well as class notes.
The notes were very helpful, with easy to understand formulas and instructions on how to perform calculations. I had always been intimidated by this aspect (Chemistry was not my strong suit in high school), but after reviewing the notes + teacher’s explanation, it sounds like something I’d be able to do at home without blowing my house up.
The first recipe was for a 300gm block of Marseille soap, a traditional French soap dating back 600 years. Made primarily with olive oil, it is said to be good for oily skin, owing to its natural ingredients and properties.
We started off by adding lye into water to create lye water. This has to be done slowly and carefully, because lye heats up when reacting to water. After the lye water has cooled down, we added it to olive oil.
The next step would be to stir until it forms a ‘trace’, or in laymen terms, looks ‘creamy and buttery’. After trace is achieved is also when you add any essential oils and fragrances, although the teacher discouraged us from putting in the latter, if you really want a ‘natural’ bar of soap. We also added natural colourants made from ingredients such as clay and charcoal powder.
The second bar of soap was a 300g block of Goat’s Milk soap, which I blended with charcoal powder- hence the colour. The teacher sprinkled a bit of glitter on it at the end, which added to the aesthetics. We had to mix the goat’s milk in a bucket of ice because the lye reaction would cause it to overheat, thereby destroying any nutrients or goodness in the milk.
We had some time left over, so we also made a natural lip balm from the leftover oils, a small block of melt and pour soap and a mosquito spray solution.
At the end of the session, this is what I took home. We were each given a soap making certificate as well. 😀
The soap batter has to be left for a day or several days to harden, after which it can be cut into usable chunks. Because I wasn’t going to be home the week after, I left my mom instructions to cut it up. She did this…
Looks okay from the side but
rofl. I told her she could use the plastic cake cutter, which was what the teacher recommended, but I don’t know why everything turned out so uneven? lmao
The soap has to be cured for 30-45 days, after which I can test it with a pH paper to make sure it’s safe to use.
The soap making class at Natural Wellbeing, Publika is held as and when, so make sure to follow them on Facebook for announcements.
The class I attended was RM310, inclusive of all materials. You get to take all the stuff home as well.
Publika A4-UG1-02, Solaris Dutamas, No.1, Jalan Dutamas 1,50480 Kuala Lumpur
On a normal day, I wouldn’t buy anything from Typo (its a branded arts/crafts store) coz everything so bloody expensive, but Mabel and Jo got me a box of DIY Mini Dream Catchers as a birthday present recently, so thank you, guys! ❤ Had some free time over the weekend to assemble it…
The box said there were ‘instructions’ on the inside.. yeah right. They were basically useless and told me nothing about how to make anything beyond looping and tying random pieces of string on the hoops. I ended up looking for tutorials on Youtube. A useful one here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vmtkc7FOWLw
Anyway, there were two mini plastic hoops, some twine and smooth string, lace, decorative blue/white/teal feathers, and matching beads. Quality of the lace was the best; the feather tips were flaky and the bead openings weren’t complete – still had to poke a hard object through them to get the string through.
Tada! The web looked a little retarded coz the hoop was too small and I couldn’t follow the tutorial exactly, but hey, not bad for a first timer. Spent about four hours on it and felt a sense of accomplishment.
*While working on it, my mum comes into the room and was like ‘why spend so much time and money on making that? wouldn’t it be easier to buy it?’ lol, it’s not the same, mom..
The left is a store bought one, vs mine. I’ve run out of places to hang my stuff btw.
Also got this cute Totoro Powerbank from Carmen, Simon and Elyss, who treated me to a Korean BBQ meal.
A big thank you to everyone who has taken the time/effort to make my 26th birthday a special one. I appreciate every one of you. ❤