Davi's First Time: Wax, Wick, Candle
I love scented candles and I have often wondered how exactly they were made?
My mom's birthday was coming up, and I decided to treat her to a home-made candle courtesy of her favourite daughter. Tonisha Wright of Ngozi Sweet Blessings was the perfect tutor to teach me all I needed to know.
I arrived at her workshop early on a Saturday morning, as I was extremely excited to learn Candlemaking 101. Wright informed me that she has been making candles for the last five years, but decided to take it seriously in 2014.
The first stage of candle making is melting the soy wax into oil. Wright buys the wax in flake form, then melts it. I was a bit confused by this, so she decided to demonstrate. We made our way to the stove, where she had her makeshift, double boiler on hand. I was given the task of pouring the soy wax flakes into the measuring cup and watching it transform into oil.
"I only use soy-based wax because it's environmentally friendly and burns very clean," she explained, adding, "In fact, some persons even use it as massage oil." While the wax was melting, we moved on to the second step - inserting the candle wicks into the containers. I had chosen an 11 oz container because I wanted one big enough for mommy's gift.
Wright informed me that these were hemp wicks and that I would need three for my container. Upon hearing the word hemp, I envisioned 'high' times ahead. My hopes were, however, dashed when Wright told me that the wicks by themselves would not produce any scent. I was given a glue gun to aid in attaching the wick to the bottom of the containers. I was following all the instructions to a 'T', and Wright was singing my praises, boosting my confidence. I began envisioning myself as a professional candle maker, but was brought back to reality when I felt my skin burning. The hot glue had somehow got on my finger as I placed the final wick in the glass.
By now, the wax had melted, and it was time to choose the scent for my candle. I was given four options: rain, tangerine and peach, banana nut bread, and amaranth and jasmine. I decided to go with tangerine and peach, as the rain scent just didn't do it for me. I was fearful of constantly getting hungry from burning the banana nut bread candle, and the amaranth and jasmine just wasn't to my liking. I poured the liquid scent into the glass and then added the now-melted wax. I was then given a small whisk to combine the two.
Wright explained, "All my candles are custom made. Clients can request the scent they want, the type of container, and if they wish to add colour to their candles. Personally, I prefer white candles because they look more elegant. I won't show you all my tips and tricks today because I don't wanna go out of business. I'll just give you the basic method," she joked.
The mix was already starting to come together when Wright informed me that there was one last step - bending the wicks in order for them to be cut when the candle is set. I was given two fudge sticks and told to fold two of the wicks to the left and one to the right.
She demonstrated how to cut the wicks on a candle that was ready to be sold, as my mixture was not yet solid. Wright took out a wick trim, which she aptly named 'magic wand' to get the job done.
"Hold the wick upright, fit the wick into the slot on the wick trim and clip," she instructed.
I followed the instructions and was rewarded with a smile and 'good job' by Wright.
Then came the two-hour wait for my candle to be completely solid. I stood watch for most of the time, anxiously waiting to see the final product. While waiting, I glanced around and saw that Ngozi offered several other products including organic soaps and wax melts.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, my candle was ready. I trimmed the wicks and proudly displayed the final product to Wright. She insisted that I light it, but I declined, wanting my mother to be the first to sample her birthday gift. Instead, Wright had me light an amaranth and jasmine scented candle she had made, just to see how well they burn.
"That smells so good. I can't wait for my mom to try hers. If she doesn't love it, I'll keep it," I said smiling.