Over the past two weeks, we collected some tin cans and glass containers from various sizes.
Initially we thought we could use them for a DIY project related to our van. We planned on making something we could try out on our blog, and eventually re-do once we had to decorate the van.
However, we came up with the idea to start making our own scented candles, using upcycled materials and natural ingredients.
Besides creating a lovely atmosphere, using candles is a great alternative to regular lights during night time. This limits energy use and is a positive influence on your footprint here on earth. Just another reason to use candles, or even make your own.
Regular candles are made from paraffin wax. When these candles are lit, the fumes that fill the air contain benzene and toluene, two carcinogenic compounds. There are a number of other chemical pollutants in the fumes as well as high amounts of carbon.
These fumes are especially bad for your babbling parakeets and the like!
Hence, when we decided to make our own candles, we opted to use a different type of wax that didn’t pose a threat to our health (as well as our pets).
A few options to choose from are beeswax, and soy wax, and rapeseed wax. Since we prefer to use vegan products where we can, beeswax was off the list.
Soy wax is a natural, renewable alternative to paraffin. However, it is usually grown in Asia and is the cause for the destruction of large parts of the rainforest.
Rapeseed however is sustainably grown in Europe. You might recognize it from driving next to large fields of bright yellow flowers in the UK. Although rapeseed oil can be used to make wax for candles, it’s also edible and usable as biodiesel.
The waste in production of rapeseed wax is minimal as the plants themselves can be transformed into a natural fertilizer, or as an ingredient in feed for cattle.
Since rapeseed is grown in Europe and the UK, making candles with rapeseed wax doesn’t involve shipping halfway around the globe (for us). It’s also grown widely in the US, so depending on where you are located there is a sustainable option available.
A crackling bonfire at home
We were once gifted a candle made by WoodWick, and we loved the wooden wicks they use in their candles (as the name suggests). Besides from looking different, wooden wicks make a soft crackling sound.
We bought a set of 10 wooden wicks with metal clips, and these were much simpler to use than cotton wicks as they can simply be put down in the tin instead of hung until the candle is set.
Back to the essence
Commercial candles are often scented with chemical compounds that aren’t healthy to inhale. We chose to use pure essential oils. We were even very lucky to find them being on sale when we bought them!
Rapeseed wax is known for its capacity to hold scent, so we were excited to figure out whether the essential oils would change the structure of the candle once solid, but the oils didn’t affect the wax in any way besides from changing its color ever so slightly.
Would you like to see how we made these candles? We have a short video that shows the entire process.
Excited to make your own? Here’s the recipe!
DIY scented candles
- 300 grams rapeseed wax
- 2 heat proof containers (230 ml)
- Essential oils
- 2 wooden wicks with metal clips
- Step 1 Add the rapeseed wax to a large tin can. Place it over low heat in a pan with a shallow layer of water.
- Step 2 Once fully melted, thoroughly dry the tin can with a teatowel to prevent any water drops from dripping in when pouring the wax into its containers.
- Step 3 Add 40 drops of essential oils to each container, pour in the wax, and stir well.
- Step 4 Leave to cool for a few minutes before adding a wick to each container.
- Step 5 Allow to cool and set completely, before lighting your homemade scented candles!