The cost of making a candle continues to rise and the profit margin is shrinking. It gets harder to charge higher prices, to cover your costs, when the box stores are charging so very little for cheap, Chinese candles. It is important to save money in every way you can. One of the best ways is to re-use your left over candle wicks. It is pretty common to have a length of wick that needs to be trimmed, after you’ve poured your candle.

Poured Candle with Excess Wick
This is what most candles look like after they’ve been poured. See how much wick remains? Normally you would just trim it down, put the lid on and you are done. Right? But then what do you do with your left over wick? We will now show you exactly what to do. It is very easy and only takes a few minutes.

What you will need:
Equipment you will need

  • A pair of pliers
  • Your left over wick
  • A Wick tab

Wick tabs can be purchased in small packs or by the pound. It is more cost effective if you buy them by the pound, but it depends on how many candles you make in a year. Sometimes you can get by with a smaller number. Your wick tab size should be determined by the type of candle you are making. 20 mm is the standard size. 15 mm is for tealight size, or very small candles.


Begin by placing the wick into the tab. This is easiest if you have the tab directly on a flat surface, you can then “feel” if the wick is all the way to the base of the tab.


Next, squeeze the stand-pipe of the wick tab until it is firmly pinched the wick. Be sure you don’t squeeze the wick out of the tab. It needs to be compressed firmly. If you have arthritic hands, this can hurt your hands, so be careful.


Next, take and flatten the tab, as much as possible.  It is soft metal and will bend easily. The flatter, the easier it will go into the jar, but a wick sticker will help make up for any issues.

That’s it! You now have a brand new wick and you are ready for your next container. For our candles, we can generally get 2 jars and a tin out of one wick. That is 3 containers for the price of a single wick, which takes the cost down to pennies!

Fun with Bath Recipes

Posted by: CandleLightin Bath & Body, Recipes
5
May

One of the great joys of having your own craft business is trying out your own products. We always say our products are never tested on animals, only on family and friends! Most of the time we get it right, sometimes not so right. But practice makes perfect! We thought we would list a few of our favorite, very versatile, bath and body recipes.  These can be modified with other ingredients where noted. Enjoy!

Rose Milk Bath Beads

I am always surprised at the number of people I come across who tell me they don’t take baths.  I find baths to be one of life’s simple pleasures.  Crawling into a tub, after a hard day, with my Kindle, and a cold glass of ice tea, is an absolute joy.  I love taking that little bit of time to myself and just relax.  Not to mention, it helps take the chill off a cold Montana night. This is one of my favorite recipes for a nice skin softening bath.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c Epsom Salts
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1/4 c  powdered milk
  • 2 T distilled water
  • 2 t sweet almond oil
  • 2 t apricot kernel oil
  • 20 drops of rose fragrance oil

You can substitute any other nut oils, like hazelnut, or even olive oil if you wish. You may also use any fragrance of your choice.  Mix the ingredients well.  If it is too thin, you can add flour by the tablespoon until it gets to a dough like consistency.  Then roll into 1″ balls and wrap tightly.  I’ve also used a spritz (cookie) gun with the large star nozzle to make very elaborate looking beads.  Drop into tub when dry, for the perfect milk bath. 

Note: These beads will not last more than a few days without molding.  The milk in them grows bacteria rapidly.  If you need to keep them longer, refrigerate and add an anti-bacterial preservative like Germaben.  You won’t need to  add much, but that is the only way to preserve them.

“Baby” Powder

This is an incredibly easy recipe to make and it is pennies on the dollar compared to buying it.  Plus, it is much safer than talc powder.  The ingredients are readily available from most health food stores.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 c cornstarch
  • 1/3 c arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 c oat starch

Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a wire whisk.  Pour into shaker bottle. That’s it! You can add tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil and then shake in shoes for a nice odor eliminator/anti-bacterial powder.  You can also add a few drops of other essential oils like lavender to give it a little bit of fragrance.

Basic Salt Scrub

This is a nice universal salt scrub that is an excellent exfoliant for feet, elbows and knees.  It should not be used on the face.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c sea salt – bokek, dead sea or sonoma salt works very well
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c vegetable oil, like apricot, oil, or hazelnut
  • 1/2 c liquid castile soap
  • 1/4 t Vitamin E oil
  • 10 – 15 drops of essential oils

Put the salt in a bowl and add the oil until completely absorbed, whisking well.  The salt should be completely saturated.  Different salt will absorb different amounts of oil, so play around with it until you get a consistency you like. Add the castile soap and the Vitamin E oil. Whisk until blended.  Add the essential oil, blend in. 

This recipe can be easily modified to your own personal taste.  Add in different essential oils based on your needs.  Peppermint and Ginger add a very nice “zing”. Lavender is relaxing. Chamomile is excellent for inflamed skin.  Lemon and lime are excellent exfoliants, but can make you sensitive to the sun, so use in moderation. Be creative!

Basic Sugar Scrub

This scrub is designed for use on the face, but can be used all over. It is best when a coarse sugar is used like demerara, but coarse cane sugar works well too.  Do not use granulated sugar. It is too fine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c coarse sugar
  • 1/4 c vegetable glycerin
  • 1/4 c coconut oil
  • 1/4 t Vitamin E oil
  • 10 – 15 drops fragrance or essential oil

The coconut oil can be substituted out with any light weight oil, like apricot kernel. Add sugar and oils to bowl and whisk until all blended.  Be sure any fragrance oil you use is skin safe.  Don’t go overboard on either an essential or a fragrance oil in this recipe. If it is for use on the face, too much oil can cause severe irritation due to the abrasiveness of the sugar.

Beware of Shipping Scams!

Posted by: CandleLightin Running a Craft Business
25
Apr

It begins innocently enough, with an email.  One with a little something irregular enough to catch your attention.   A customer who wants to buy some of your products, but not just a few – a LOT.  To make matters even more legit, they are a minister or missionary, someplace overseas.

Dear So and So, we were at your website and want to buy 100 cases of your candles. We would like to know how much this will be.

You excitedly respond ~ who wouldn’t want to sell 100 cases of candles. And so the exchange begins…

It all seems so innocent and they seem so sincere.  But then the kicker… since they are overseas, they want to give you the name of their shipper, someone they’ve worked with before and trust.  They will make all the arrangements, you just need to get your shipment ready. Can you include the shipping payment to the carrier in their billing? Of course! For 100 cases why wouldn’t you? You eagerly bill them, the carrier bills you and off you go.  They send you a check, money order, etc.

This is where the scam gets interesting. There are several variations on it, either the check or money order will be higher than the actual amount and they will ask you for a refund of the difference, claiming they ‘misunderstood’, or suddenly some profound life event will happen and they need to back out of the transaction. They ask for a full refund. You cut them a check.

Meanwhile, their check or money order turns out to be invalid. You are out the funds.

Just remember the old adage – “If it sounds to good to be true…”.

Never ship until your funds have cleared completely. Make that clear to anyone that buys from you. Don’t ship with carriers you are not familiar with, always use a trusted carrier like UPS, FedEx or the US Postal System.  Be upfront with any customer requesting to use their carrier and just tell them, you only use one of the big 3.  99% of the time, that will be the last you hear from them.

If a customer is for real, they will understand your terms and work with you to get the product they desire. Make sure all funds have posted to your account and don’t let excitement or greed get the best of you.

 

Update:

Here is the latest email they are working with:

Hello there, I want to buy some PRODUCTS from your company to my new store in Australia, I will like to know if you accept credit card and ship internationally as I have got new shops opening inother part of the world. So please let me know if you can assist me with the order I will await your prompt response as soon as you receive this mail,I will be very glad if you treat this email with good concern… You can reply back to (email address)

Fragrance Oils vs Essential Oils

Posted by: CandleLightin Fragrance Oils
20
Apr

We are often asked – what is the difference between fragrance oils and essential oils? Aren’t they the same?

No, there is a big difference between fragrance oils and essential oils.

Essential oils are derived, usually by distillation, from plants.  They are then mixed with a carrier oil or base.  A pure, distilled oil, not added to a carrier is referred to as ‘absolut’.  It can take hundreds of pounds of a flower or plant to derive a single ounce of oil.  As a result, essential oils can be very expensive.  Essential oils, even those added to a carrier base, are highly concentrated.  For most applications, a few drops are all that are needed.  Using too much, or putting directly on the skin, can result in burns or severe irritation.

Fragrance oils are man-made.  They may contain some essential oils, but for most they are synthetic chemicals combined to approximate fragrances we love.  With advancements in gas chromatography (GC), chemists can define what components a fragrance contains and then combine compounds to duplicate it.  Fragrance oils vary in price and in quality.

Are their uses different?

Yes and no.  Essential oils can be used in soap and candles.  But because their price is quite high, it is usually not economical to use them except for specialty applications.  Also, not all essential oils should be used in skin applications.  Cinnamon oil is an example of an oil not suitable for skin products.  There are also some, like juniper oil, which should not be used by pregnant women.  Fragrance oils are more economical for use in most products.  However many, based on their formulations, are not safe for skin applications. You should always check with the manufacturer before using a fragrance oil in a skin application.  Also, fragrance oils should not be used in any application that might be ingested (like lip balms).

Welcome to Our Blog!

Posted by: CandleLightin General Topics
15
Apr

Thank you for joining us! We here at A Little Candle and Bath Shop hope to provide you with as much knowledge as we can about candle and soap making, as well as running a craft business.  We’ve been in business for nearly 15 years now and have a chemist on staff to answer your questions.

We hope you will enjoy our posts and find them useful to your craft.  Please feel free to contact us and let us know what questions you have or what topics you’d like to see covered!