I'm so excited to let everyone know about the project that my family has been working on for the past few months. We have decided to expand out into the world of hand-poured soy candles all with a book theme (though we are toying with some geeky video game/tv show type themes too for later). We are calling them Book Lights and we are having a great time working through all of our favorite books and finding characters and locations and imagining which scents take us there.
I wanted to talk a little about soy candles because I was not all that familiar with soy before I started working with it and it is a pretty nifty substance. I'm hoping this will give you some candle tips in case you happen to have some Diddlebug Book Lights in your future or with any other soy candles you might use.
We decided to go with soy for several reasons, the wax is made from soybeans, of course, which is a renewable source, unlike petroleum based waxes. Not only is it made from soybeans, but those soybeans are grown by farmers right here in the midwest where I live.
Soy candles will burn longer than the same size paraffin wax candle, which is nice. They also tend to burn cleaner with less soot. It is important with soy candles, as will all candles, to trim the wick each time before you burn it to about 1/4 inches and dispose of the end somewhere not in the candle.
Because soy is a natural product, it sometimes has some frosting on the inside of the jar or on the surface of the candle. Soy is softer than most paraffin waxes, so in really warm places, it can get soft. After you have burned a soy candle, the top of the wax is sometimes bumpy and light colored. That is normal, it will continue to burn just fine the next time you light it.
The first time you burn a soy candle, it is best to let it burn for a couple hours or at least until the melted pool of wax has reached out to the edges of the container or at least close. If the wax pool doesn't have time to get big like that, the next time you burn it, it might burn down in the one spot quickly and cause the wax to extinguish your candle. The best burn times for soy candles are between 2 and 4 hours at a time.
Soy candles are not quite as scent heavy as paraffin wax and the color will also never be as dark as you can get with a paraffin candle. I haven't had any problems with that. I am finding that all my candles smell good and can fill a decent sized room with fragrance. Speaking of fragrance, the larger a candle is, the more smell or throw you will notice in a room. A tea light, for example, is a great way to test out a scent you might like a larger candle in later, but by itself will not likely fill a room with scent. Different scents also vary in how strong they are. I will put in each listing how strong I have found the candles. I know, for example, that the coffee scent is rather strong and really fills a room, which is fine with me because though I am not a coffee taste fan, I am a fan of how it smells. I do drink it every morning so it would be easier if I enjoyed the taste. Everyone in our house knows when we are making coffee scented candles because it fills the whole house.
We are starting out with just a few candles and will hopefully be able to expand into many more so keep an eye out for new scents and themes. Sign up for my newsletter to be the first to hear about new candles and new batches being created. Our first few candles are based on Harry Potter books and The Chronicles of Narnia with The Great Hall, The Forbidden Forest, and The White Witch. The Hitch-hiker's Guide, Sherlock Holmes, Lord of the Rings, and Warriors (my daughter's current favorite book series) themes will coming very soon. We are filling notebooks with ideas for more candle scent combinations. And if you have any ideas for a favorite book of yours that you think would make a great candle scent, shoot me a message and I will get it into our idea book!
We are starting with 3 sizes/types of candles. We will have .5 oz tea lights of all of our scents because that is an inexpensive way to check out a scent to see if you like it. We also have these great hexagonal jars that hold slightly under 8 fl.oz of wax. They look to me like something you would find in potions class. Finally, we are using heavy based whiskey glasses that hold 8 fl. oz of wax. The great thing about these glasses is that you can easily use them for a drinking glass when you have burned the candle. The hexagonal jars can also be cleaned and reused. (The whiskey glasses aren't listed quite yet as I'm publishing this post, but they will be here soon. I'm just waiting on labels.)
There are few different ways to clean out your glasses or jars to reuse them. When you get down to just a bit of wax left in the bottom, you can warm up the wax to get the rest out. Do not put your candle in the microwave because there is a bit of metal at the base of the wick. You can place it in a pan with a bit of water in it and heat that up until the wax melts and then pour it out and scrape up the sticky that keeps the wick in place. The wax your pour out can be used in a wax warmer, if you have one of those. Another option, is to freeze the left over wax. This will work best with the straight sided glass option. After it is frozen, it will be easier for the wax to be popped out of the glass. Soy wax is softer and easier to clean up than paraffin wax so it isn't too tough to get your jar or glass cleaned and ready for another use.
Remember that no ones nose is exactly like someone else's nose. What smells like a certain place to us in my house may not be what you imagine. If you are unsure, try out a tea light to get a little sample size.
We hope that you will have as much fun as we are here on our little candle journey here. These are great for gifts or for yourself. Pair a candle with a few roses in a bouquet made from book pages and you have a really great gift for a book lover.
Finally, make sure you burn your candle! Candles are meant to be burned. They will lose their scent and their color will fade if they are left on a shelf. The light from a candle while you are reading a good book and sipping on some tea is such a perfect, relaxing combination. Try it out!