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On Candles and Candle Making

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In the late summer of 2020, we decided we would try our hand at candle making. I am going to provide you with some easy tips that I have learned along the way on this journey of learning a new skill.

There are many benefits to making your own candles at home for your own spiritual purposes or just for fun or for decoration.  We made the decision to do this for several reasons. We always want to do what is going to be the most beneficial thing for our business and for our customers. Making most (although not all) of the staple candles we use in client Rootwork allows us to keep on hand everything we will need for your service when you order, rather than having to wait sometimes up to two months for a candle order from another busy artisan. Plus it allows us to stretch our creativity and make our new ideas come to fruition more self-sufficiently.  Candles for Rootwork do not have to be fancy shapes, and we don't actually have to have so much variety. But it is nice when we can have those tools and to be able to provide what we need ourselves. And why wouldn't we want to be able to do that?

Shaped, or figural candles (sometimes referred to as image candles) are a tool to help your focus and to make your intent clear. Personally, in most of my own personal workings I use plain pillars, usually beeswax. But certain shapes are nice to have for a lot of specific types of workings. Candles are the catalyst that helps you channel your focus and energy and direct it where it needs to go. They are a tool, and I consider the flame to be an entity unto itself, with a life force that calls out to Spirit and passes our message along. So we want to also be sure to dress and prepare our candles with the right ingredients and write a well-worded petition (statement of intent or goal). Those will be subjects for another time.

So, in this process of learning a new skill, I learned that all it takes for a dream to become possible is to believe in yourself and a few supplies. So I'm going to share some of what I have learned with you.

First of all, you have to know that this is going to be a trial and error process. Don't expect the first one to turn out right. It's awesome if it does, but don't be disappointed if it doesn't. And don't be discouraged or intimidated about trying something new.

First off, you're going to need wax. There are so many different kinds. You can get wax from Bulk Apothecary, Amazon, Hobby Lobby, or many other places. You can google candle making supplies and come up with an overwhelming amount of suppliers. For figural candles, you're probably going to want to go with something that is not too soft but yet not too hard. I suggest a mixture of paraffin and soy. You may have to play with the proportions a bit, start at 50/50. If you want to be specific, you can weigh your quantities and make notes of how much your formula needs to be adjusted. That was my beginning advice from a wax supplier. 

You're also going to need wicks. You can get these from the same places I mentioned above, as well. Some people like cotton, and some people like hemp. I don't have a specific preference, but for wicking a candle, I find that hemp is easier. There are different sizes (thickness) of wicks, so the larger your candle, the larger your wick is going to need to be.

What about molds? There are two different kinds of molds I use, plastic and silicone. You can buy these anywhere and don't have to have a Tax ID number. In other words, you don't have to be a business to purchase them - anyone can purchase molds or wax without being a business entity.  I find a lot of nice molds from Etsy, Ebay, even Amazon. But you can find a lot of awesome molds from Spiritcrafts.net, and their prices are very reasonable. You can get almost everything else you need from there, also - pitchers to melt your wax in, wick pins, mold clamps, and mold stands. Also mold release spray, and cleaner for your molds. They have everything you need to get started. 

This is an example of a mold that I use. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to use. They may look intimidating at first, but if I can learn how to make candles, anyone can. 

The two pieces fit together, and what you do is slide your mold clamps over the edges so the wax won't leak out when you pour. There is also a base that you can get that slides on the same way. (Like the edges of a poster frame).  The molds have a little place at the bottom where you cut a hole out to pour the wax in. The molds also have little bubbles that allow you to line up the front and back of the mold correctly so it fits together and aligns. 

So once you have your mold ready, you want to make sure your wax is cooled to about 120-140 degrees fahrenheit, depending on the type of wax you are using. Check to see the melting point and pouring point of the wax(es) you are using. This can also be a trial and error process.

Once you pour, you can insert a wick pin. These molds have a little indentation to help you place your wick pin. This holds space for the wick, so that when the candle has cooled and you remove it from the mold, you can remove the wick pin and insert your wick.

This photo on the right is an art deco flame candle mold. It looks a bit like a cow tongue if you turn it on its side. 

And here is what this mold looks like in real life, on the left. 

If you choose to, you can spray your mold with mold release spray. I do sometimes, but I find it isn't always necessary with these types of molds. But it helps to get your candle out of the mold once it has cooled, especially with soy and soy blends. Paraffin shrinks a bit, but soy doesn't really. I do highly recommend mold release spray if you are going to use beeswax, though. it's a bit stickier. So the photo below is what your mold is going to look like once you have it set up to pour. With the mold clamps in place and the mold affixed to the stand, with the wick pin inserted and ready. 

You don't have to have a lot of fancy equipment and a stainless steel table like I have if you are going to make candles for your own personal purposes. But these are just some things you might find helpful if you want to try and see how it goes. 

Deciding to make candles for clientele Rootwork was a big investment, but it is also been very rewarding and successful. I don't regret my decision one bit. Sometimes we have to do what is best for ourselves and for our business and our clients. And this was the best decision for me after a lot of careful thought (this was definitely not a spur-of-the-moment decision), planning, prayer, and guidance from Spirit. 

In no way do I feel my candles are better than those of any other artisan, and I never would slight another's skill. I'm certain my candles are not perfect, although they are made with love and great care. But that is the beauty of a candle. It doesn't have to be perfect, because it is the intent that goes into it, along with the best oil formulas and a well-worded petition. So when you hire me to perform a service for you, you can be sure there is a whole lot of Hoodoo in these candles. 

The mold pictured here is a silicone mold. These are super-easy to use also. And they can be purchased from artisans who make them and sell them on Etsy or Ebay. You can also find some on Amazon.

They are held together with rubber bands so the wax does not leak out. I saw this process when I worked at a candle factory several years ago. I did not make the candles at that job, I worked in the retail shop of the factory. But I remember what I learned by observing the ladies who made the candles there. I also learned about different melting points for different types of waxes. 

I have always been a crafter and love to create new things and use my skills and imagination. I used to make jewelry when I was just starting out on Etsy, and I have also made soap in the past as well, which is very enjoyable. So this is a truly rewarding process for me, plus it is very beneficial to my clients as well. It is about as satisfying as paving your own road.

Years ago, after working at the candle factory, I bought some supplies at Hobby Lobby and made some jar candles as gifts. They weren’t the greatest, LOL. But it was fun. Since then the extent of my wax abilities was limited to making beeswax poppets for clients.

I didn’t know how this venture would turn out. There were nay-sayers and it was not a popular decision with some folks. But you can’t let that get you down. There are some who would criticize even if you walked on water. So I hope this gives you some encouragement to try something new in your life. And I hope it will also maybe inspire you to do some Rootwork for yourself at home with candles you made with your own two hands. I cannot imagine anything more powerful than that. You putting your own energy into making your own candle and then preparing that candle spiritually for your own ritual would make for a very powerful ritual indeed, as well as a very empowering experience for you. I would love for you to feel what that feels like. I think that everyone should do work at home, and I encourage my clients to do what they are able to at home, and I sometimes walk them through the process of what I recommend. 

And I'll tell you a little secret - a candle from the dollar store, be it a plain white 7 (or 5) day vigil candle, or a scented jar candle is just as good as using an expensive or fancy-shaped candle. For example, you could get a sage jar candle and inscribe your intent on the top of it and spiritually cleanse and purify your home. Or you could do the same with a lemon scented candle and put a little lemon juice on it to sour someone's relationship. You can get a little honey and put on a cinnamon candle to sweeten someone to pay you back money they borrowed. You don't think so? Try it. 

When I started the Barefoot Witchery Shoppe 8 years ago, in 2013, I spent a lot of time studying before doing anything at all. I learned the metaphysical properties of herbs, roots, essential oils, and gemstones before making anything. Making candles is very different, but candles are a big part of the services I provide, and I hold myself to a higher standard of service, as well as decorum. Some of our services use candles that are only available from a supplier we chose to terminate business with, so we will either discontinue offering those particular rootwork services or otherwise suitably replace the candles used for those services. We are closely monitoring remaining inventory of certain of those candles.

Hoodoo and Rootwork is about empowering people who feel that the odds are otherwise stacked against them, or those who genuinely want to improve their lives and better themselves. So I fully encourage you to try making a candle at least once, as well as some Hoodoo formulas to use in your own workings. If you want to feel empowered, try proving someone wrong who says you can't. Say, "Why can't I?" You'll find you know the answer to that question within your heart. The answer is "No reason. You can!" Like Bruno Mars said, "Don't believe me, just watch!"

My next blog post will share some simple formulas you can make at home and some metaphysical properties of herbs, roots, and essential oils.



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