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 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