Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Christmas rush, candle making ombre christmas trees and Valentines?

Hello candle friends.  I hope you're having a wonderful December. 

Our lights are finally up outside and the tree is trimmed.  Christmas shopping is nearly done, it just wouldn't be the holidays with out last minute gift buying, right?  Although to be fair I did most of the shopping from the couch with a lot of help from amazon.

The Christmas season is a sneaky one at times, isn't it?  Once Halloween is over I find myself sitting down to a turkey dinner, I no more than clear the dishes away from that and we're wading through a sea of wrapping paper and ribbons.

All my fun christmas candle project lists lay buried and forgotten under layers of invoices, which are vastly more important.  I did get at a few sets of green ombre christmas trees made before the rush came in swinging, but only to give out as gifts. Perhaps next year I'll have them available on the sites.

In the all too strange world of retail, all the holiday candle molds are neatly stored away till next year and my pour tables are being consumed by hearts and cupids and pinks. Pink EVERYWHERE! Because if it doesn't get made now there won't be time for Valentine's Day shipping.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.

ps.  did I mention that I have finally got my instagram account back.  It had been lost to the internet gods for a few years but it's back and I'm attempting to use it more.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Woodland mushroom candles

I love Fridays..not that I have anything against the other days of the week but when Friday morning commences my rejuvenation begins too.

Fridays are filled long coffee breaks while I mull over what to work on for the next week. Its also the day where I do a bit of tidying up, need to make room for new messes!

Sometimes ideas form while I'm cleaning up the weeks clutter.  Like these woodland mushroom candles. I've had the mold for a while and I originally only poured them in beeswax but they never seemed all that interesting, until a bit of scrap wax accidentally blended in to some soy wax I was working with.  I love when oops turn out to be pretty surprises. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Glowing Eyes Skull Candle

Happy Friday the 13th candle friends.  Does anyone know why Friday the 13th is considered an unlucky day?  After a quick net search I'm still unclear on what makes this superstitious date combination frightening.


I spent a few months trying to make a bleeding skull candle; you know the ones right, the skull that has a black outer shell of wax and the inside is a deep blood red and as it burns the waxy blood drips over the skull. Gross but so cool looking and I just had to try my hand at making some!

It was a head banging candle making experience full of filthy words and curses.

1.  It is very difficult to get a thin enough black shell so that the red interior wax doesn't show through causing the black wax to take on a purple tinge.
2. As my tests burned, the black wax mixed with the red and dribbled grayish purple down the candle
3.  If it dripped at all.
4.  I changed wick placement so often that one of my skull molds looks like Pin Head now.

I decided to shelve the whole project back in August, since I wasn't coming close to the effect I wanted..

But as I scrolling through photos on my phone this afternoon something caught my eye.   Sure, I didn't get that awesome drippy blood but I did get a pretty cool effect that was totally on accident and I didn't even notice it at the time. 

As much as I like the glowing red eyes I do really want a drippy blood candle.  If anyone has had success or has any helpful advise or tips, please share.   It's definitely a project I'll return too in the future so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Halloween Candles, Witches Cauldrons

Since I'm a little sleepy I'll quickly post an oldie but goodie.

Witches Cauldron Candle.  I changed these up a bit this year.  They're still poured in that gorgeous deep black color but in a beeswax blend with a soy blend of purple bubbling witches goop.

Friday, October 6, 2017

31 Days of Halloween Candles, Zombie Brains in a Jar

Happy October candle friends! 

I've have been wanting to share these Zombie Brain candles on the blog for months!  I made them in back in August and I'm so excited that I finally get to share them with you.

Since I don't know what Zombie Brains actually smell like, probably something really gross....I scented them in a fresh cotton with a hint of fall spice.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Hello Autumn

I know what you're thinking, that's a very summery looking candle.  With it's pineappley shape and pool blue hues it certainly doesn't scream, Welcome to a new FALL season!

I've been pouring fall candles for several months now and as much as I have a fondness for the warm autumnal palette I needed a serious break from it and from the headache inducing fall fragrances!  Does anyone else think fall fragrances are just too strong? Too spicy?   If you have any suggestions or favorites that aren't the typical fall scents, I'd love to hear about them.

My home has smelled like a perpetual pumpkin spiced bakery, even my neighbor came over to see what I've been up to because she can smell it from her house and when we left on a 5 day holiday at the begging of Sept the aroma traveled with us AND greeted us upon our return.

So I decided to play around with a new dipping technique and I've been wanting to test out my pineapple mold that I made few months back and never had a chance to pour.  The technique is amazing and the gold dip is more lustrous than I thought possible to achieve with a wax alone.  In the past I've had to over dip in gloss or add glitter to make it sparkle and shine.  The next steps are wick sizing and getting a burn from it, that dip is super thick and heavily concentrated with dyes so I definitely have my work cut out for me.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Death Stars for Christmas

Hi candle friends.  Yes, I know it's way to soon to be thinking about the holidays...or is it?

I've spent a lot of my August gearing up for the season and honestly that's about 3 months behind where I should have been...but I was enjoying my summer so much the last thing I wanted to think about or spend anytime on was Christmas!

So August first hit and I literally had to force myself to sit at my dusty desk and write out a list of what I should offer this year for Christmas.

I started the list with molds that I've bought or made and never used.  For one reason or another I have a ton of really cool designs that have never seen the light of day, or better put, poured with wax.

This Star Wars candle is one of them.  I picked this mold up from Amazon of all places and in the drawer it went where it was properly ignored for close to THREE years!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Acrylic candle molds

When you need to have a better visual of what you're creating, clear candle molds help tremendously.  Now that the heat is settling somewhat I think it's time to get them out have a go.  I have several techniques I want to try my hand at, like layering with designs, marbling, shells and finishes.

Wish me luck, some of these I have never done before plus I haven't used a plastic mold in 10 years, I hope the learning curve is short one!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Eiffel Tower candle revisited

Hi candle lovers, thought I'd share what I've been up to this past week. Besides getting ready for the fall season which I'll share later.   I've been pouring some old friends in new ways and testing out a few different types of finishes.

Palm wax has rejuvenated my creative side.  I am amazed every time I pull a candle from a mold.  Ok, almost every time, there are some pieces that it detracts from the candle too much...but certainly not when it came to the Eiffel Tower candle.

And it's not just new waxes I've been pouring but new colors too.  I've had a lot black wax in the melters since Halloween stock is top priority right now so I decided to pour an Eiffel Tower in black as well, but it looked so bland and boring I had to find a way to spruce it up.  And so the oil rubbed bronze look was born.   

Have a great weekend. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Tiki bars, tiki rooms and Tiki Candles

Who knew tikis were all the rage!  Seriously, in preparation for getting my tiki candles out I was looking up ways to display them, since the bulk of the candles I make are for weddings and reception decor I kept returning to boho beachy weddings but in my searches I found a whole amazing subculture of tiki rooms and tiki bars. Personal oasis' decked out in dream like jungle decor.  With exotic wood fixtures, bamboo furniture, grass skirts and palm trees.

It was a long hard road making these Tiki Candles.  I was scheduled to have these out at the begging of May for the summer season, palm wax turn out to be more difficult to work with than I ever thought it would be.  But the results are totally worth it!
Scented in tropical tuberose and mango beechwood and let me tell ya.  They smell divine!

Friday, August 4, 2017

making silicone candle molds

Good morning candle friends.  I bet you've guessed by now, that I am very fond of shaped candles.

The flip side to that is, I have a strong aversion to making candle molds.  The process is long, monotonous and messy and I inevitably stick a finger or the side of my hand in a glob of burning hot glue causing an unsightly and rather painful puffy blister.  But as much as I dislike the whole mold making affair; you don't get fun shaped candles with out it.  Soooo, over the weekend I built forms and mixed silicone for 11 new pieces.

These are a few of my favorites and I can't wait to play with all these fun new shapes, especially that turkey, just wait till ya see him, he's so stinkin cute?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summertime life

When it's so hot outside that the pool feels like bath water what do you?  You find a bigger pool.

Friday, June 30, 2017

How to use the SUN to bleach candle wax.

Happy Friday candle friends!  Are you tired of me complaining about the heat?.... even I"m tired of me complaining about the I decided it was the perfect time for a positive ball of fire post, aka the sun.

Did you know that you can bleach your candle wax using the awesome rays from that big ole burning orb up in the sky?  And it's totally easy too and by golly we sure have a whole lot of sun here in the south west.   I've been putting it to good use.

Quick note; my wax formula is pretty simple, it's a plain ole food grade paraffin with additives, epolene or vybar to make the wax opaque and UV inhibitor to help the color not fade.  I know what your thinking, but don't worry the direct sun ignores UV inhibitor completely.

All you need is a metal baking pan, I use an old cookie sheet with sides, some waxI use scrap wax and lots and lots of sunshine!  

Step 1.  Melt your scrap and pour a thin layer in to your metal pan.  An 1/8 inch is ideal.  The thinner your layer the quicker the sun can work its magic and bleach out that color.

Step 2.  Choose an area outside with lots of direct sunlight.

Step 2. Wait.

Step 3.  Binge watch something on netflix or prime.  The first season of The Expanse was amazing!

Step 5. Wait until the sun has removed all the color.

This pan had been sitting in the sun for several days, the pan in the top right corner was in direct sunlight for over  5 days, it looks white in the photo but still had a light pinkish hue.   It took close to a month to become fully bleached in April.

It could take a few days to a few weeks.  When I did this in April, I set out 6 pans and it took close to a month to fully remove all the color.  (my scrap consists of a rainbow of colors all melted down) We also had a bit of rain that month and I had to sprint outside to retrieve my pans.

The last week of June, however was much quicker. It took only three days for a pan of reddish wax to bleach out to a pale translucent-ish/white.

If you have plexiglas or plates of glass to put over your pans that could be very helpful in keeping out dust and other debris that blows around outdoors.   I don't have any of that and my pans do accumulate debris from my yard.  I have to filter the wax afterwords.

Sadly I don't have a lot of images to share of the process. it was after the fact that I thought it would make a nice blog post, but I promise the next batch I bleach I'll document it better and update it here.

Have a great weekend and wonderful 4th of July. :)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Shipping candles in the summer.

Happy weekend candle friends!  Oh my word.. is it HOT outside.  Are you feeling it?  I sure hope it's cooler where you are and if you can, send some cool thoughts my way. 

The high is climbing to a scorching 109 degrees and we'll be experiencing 120's by Tuesday.  My poor poor garden is a sad sight indeed, droopy and struggling for life even with the shade canopy we built last month.   I don't know if I should just give up or continue to baby them through the rest of the summer......It's even too darn hot to be in the pool, can you believe that! When it's this hot out the pool is't very refreshing when the sun above in flambeing your skin.   So I'm curled up inside, grateful for the invention of the air conditioner and worrying about packages that I shipped out today; so very nervous that my customers may open a box of goopy waxy mess.  Actually, I haven't had a complaint of melted candles in years, stopped typing to knock on wood  but I still worry...I'm a worrier.  

I wrote a post way back when this was a candle making blog about shipping candle in the summer heat.  Figured it was the perfect time to update and share it.    

First up..The faster the better.  It's the whole ground vs. air debate.  One may be cheaper but the other is super duper fast and I've come learn something very important about transit time.  The faster your items travel, the risk of your candles melting during transit decreases significantly.   Sure the cost is more but if your giving out refunds or sending replacements you're loosing money. 

Trucks aren't air conditioned....but neither are planes.  Just remember, the air is cooler way up there.  And planes are FAST. 

The United States Post Office offers relatively affordable prices for air mail.  Using Priority Mail or First Class (under 16 ounces) can get your candles to your customers in 1-3 days.  And as a bonus you can order FREE Priority Mail boxes from the website.  They'll even deliver them for FREE to your door.  But you don't have to use those boxes if they aren't the right fit for your business. Although the Priority Mail boxes you order from USPS are exclusive to the Priority Mail rate, the Priority mail rate is inclusive.

Ground shipping can be slower, anywhere between 3-10 days. But that doesn't mean its impossible to get your candles to their destination safely.  When I first started shipping candles in the early 2000's I used DHL and FedEx and boy did I learn a thing or two or three......or four

Regardless of the carrier, even when shipping airmail, at some point your candles are going to be sitting in the back of a steaming hot truck.

When shipping ground during the summer months consider scheduling your pick up time so that it's your drivers last stop.
 Last on the truck = first off the truck. Keep those boxes moving!

Make arrangements with your carrier that you want your packages to ship low in transit,  hot air rises.

Ship during the beginning of the week.  Mon-Wed.  You want to limit the amount of time your candles are riding in the back of that truck.

The next thing to really consider..or perhaps reconsider is marking your boxes.

I've been shipping candles for over 18 years, I learned early on that marking your boxes makes them a target.  

I've used fragile stickers, I've written in big bold black sharpie "leave in shade on porch"  I've custom made stickers specific for candles and I even purchase stickers that were specific to sun sensitivity.   I use to pay to have my candle company printed in beautiful script on every box I ordered.  I've come to learn that all those markings are food for a contentious shipper.
The less that I marked my packages, the less complaints of damaged items I had.   I now ship in plain ole non de-script boxes.

Well, I guess that about wraps it up....If you have anything to add, please do so in the comments down below I'd love to hear from you.

Oh and a quick shout out to all those incredible Dad's out there.  Happy Fathers Day!  I'm so blessed to be married to one the worlds best DAD's 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Gemstone Candles

 I have a secret love for rocks..I live in the desert and am so lucky to have an abundance of them all around me.

These are all hand formed with hand cut facets.  The process takes a while from start to finish. Forming layers with different types and colors of dyes and blending and forming the wax to achieve the varying striations.   The outcome is so beautiful.

But it's scorching outside and sometimes it feels just as hot inside; so many projects are being shelved until the weather cools down which means the blog may be on hiatus for a short time.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ladybug candles

I've been working on so many new projects I did't even realize that the roses out back had been blooming.  Stopping to smell the roses had never rang so true.

Last year aphids had invaded two of my rose bushes so badly that no amount of hose spraying would rid them from my beloved plants.  I'm not a huge fan of neem oil, it stinks and leaves my roses sticky.

I resorted to ordering ladybugs from the net and released them one evening.   The next morning I woke, eager to see the progress those adorable and hopefully hungry little beetles had made...but there wasn't a ladybug in sight.  A few days passed and I was lounging outback when I heard the neighbor behind us calling to his kids "Come look!" he shouted "look at all these ladybugs."

"Traitors" I thought

His little ones started giggling and I could hear the thudding of their foot falls as they raced around the yard for the next hour "get that one daddy"  So I grabbed the dusty bottle of neem oil and set to work listening to their laughs, delighted that at least someone got to enjoy them.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Giant Sunflowers and Soy

These are the big mommas to the smaller sunflower floating candles that I've shared in previous posts.  Come to think of it, I think I did share these back in the candle making blog days.. jeesh that has to be 10 years ago or so. 

I decided to dust off the, well, dust from the molds that have been living on a shelf, forgotten, ignored.  Their immense size use to put me off.  They are more costly to make being that they weigh close to a pound.  Over the years I've shelved a lot of the bigger molds opting for the smaller more manageable pieces.

But I've been rethinking the larger candles recently and with summer approaching faster than I can say, grab the sunblock, lets hit the pool, I've decided to give them another go.

Lets face it, summer is pool time centric in the Valley of the Sun and there's no better way to spend those too warm evening bbq's than pool side, lit by candle light.

I've been playing with soy wax the past few weeks and even though I enjoy the soft creamy ease of it, I have huge reservations on how well it can stand up to the upcoming summer heat.  I swear, sometimes I think soy wax can melt at the slightest touch, I can't imagine what it'll be like when summer actually comes.  Mixing it with paraffin has yielded better results and burn tests have been amazing too.  Pool testing is next on the list...long lazy days of floaties and sunblock are next....

As I'm typing this post the temp outside is an irrupting 103 degrees.  Yesterday it was only in the 80's, so I'm gonna grab my towel and floatie and head out with thoughts of soy melting in my head and as I bob along through the rest of my afternoon maybe I'll come up with a way to ship soy wax during the summer.

Friday, May 5, 2017

playing with palm wax

I can't believe it's taken me so long to try out the awesomeness that is Palm Wax.  The feathery crystalline effect of it's finish is beyond stunning; now I have a new wax to add to my collective addiction.

I feel like a newby candle maker all over again.  Testing 20 different wick sizes and the challenges of side blow-outs, slow burns, drown outs and the dreaded melted down to a nub in 15 mins.  I swear, I turned my back for a second and the thing was a pooled mess on the counter top.

For a wax with a high point melt it sure melts down quick, even with a tiny wick...bigger is much better in this case as that fuel has to burn up fast and hot or your left with drips and blowouts.

One thing I didn't expect was how brittle the wax is, and how worse it was when I added fragrance oil.  Is there a way to combat this?  Since I use silicone molds and removing the candles from molds puts stress on the piece, I've broken a few them with the simplest of tugs.

I'm weary of using additives which could prevent the wax from creating that crystallizing effect that I'v fallen head over heals for.

I tested two different types; Glass Glow, which is formulated for containers but can be used in other applications as it isn't sticky or soft like other container waxes.  And Palm feather pillar wax which had an amazing opacity that gives that crystallizing finish a massive pop!  I can't wait to test out colors!  Does UV inhibitor effect palm wax?  Guess I'll find out soon.

I don't know yet which of my new palm wax creations will be added to the site, right now I'm just enjoying something new and all those experiences that go along with it.

Friday, April 28, 2017

it's rose season

Monday I poured roses.

Tuesday I played catch up with what didn't get finished on Monday by pouring more roses.

Wednesday, I poured roses and as a bonus I got to pour rose buds.

Thursday.  After the third rotation of roses I vowed I would never pour another rose again.

Friday.  Poured roses.......

Friday, April 21, 2017

circus roses

On occasion I feel restricted in my craft. The size, shape and materials of certain molds don't often allow for much creativity.

a rose is a rose is a rose

Occasionally I am able to play with color to create subtle differences.

Varying dye amounts and temperatures to achieve something a bit different.

Friday, April 14, 2017

I'd like one please... of everything

I forgot how hard it is to shop for candle fragrance oils.

How do you choose?  There are so many scent options and companies to pick from.  Who has the best?  Which oils are the strongest?  Do they work well in soy, what about paraffin?  Just how important is that flash point anyway and what does Wedding Day really smell like?

While I filled my virtual carts I day dreamed of a where I would store them all.   I wanted them all, just one of each.  That's not too much is it?

I settled on a small array of 1 ounce samples.  That's enough to tide me over for now, plus I don't actually have the room to store the over 300 fragrances on my wish list.

As the boxes began arriving my excitement was building and I spent the better part of a Thursday afternoon sniffing several dozen little bottles before I realized two things.  There isn't much you can do with 1 ounce of fragrance oil and it's amazing how fast a headache can come on.

I swore to myself I would start small, pick three and go from there, but its been difficult choosing which ones I like more than others.  I like them all. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

carving a pineapple

I had a pen cap in my hand, gliding it through the clay when my youngest daughter walked in the door.  She's the true artist in our family and not only has a natural talent for it, she's been schooled well..

Mom, you don't have the right tools.

She showed me what they use in class and I ordered a cheap set of clay carving tools from amazon.  If all goes well I hope to have some pineapple candles available soon, if not I have a back -up plan.

Friday, March 31, 2017

A clean work table

Apparently this is a pretty impressive thing. So said our family and friends from last weekends dinner get together.

To access the covered patio siting area our guests have to walk through the candle making studio.  I usually spend the afternoon tiding up.  (aka, picking up everything on the floor and putting it on the pour table.)   It's usually covered in molds and whatever projects I'm working at the time and some of our friends enjoy spending the evening around it picking wax off molds and inquiring about what I'm up to.

This time instead of a quick tiding up I full on put EVERYTHING away.  And boy did I get an earful.

Spent a few days playing around with soy wax and marbling techniques. Finding the right pour temp has been a challenge but it did give me an idea for some ombre style candles that I want to try out.

I've also been working on some layering techniques using paraffin for watermelon candle designs that I have floating around in my head.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

candles and clouds

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
John Lubbock, The Use Of Life

My goal is to capture lifes little joys in wax form.  Using natural waxes and calm relaxing fragrances.

 These happy things.   These little white fluff balls that bob along turquoise skies.

made using
100% soy wax
and a mixture of natural waxes, soy, beeswax and candelilla.
cotton braided wick

glowlitecandles online
glowlitecandles on etsy