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  • Best equipment to start with?

    Having great fun reading the forum and learning, even got the hang of abbreviations (you wouldn't believe how long it took me to work out FO).

    My lovely partner has said he wants to buy me all the equipment and supplies to take me through the first 6 months as an extra Christmas pressie!

    Although I know it would be difficult to estimates ingredients amounts, (depending upon how obsessed I become). I would like to get an idea on the best equipment to buy.

    Particularly how to melt wax,I've been wondering what is the best approach,should I use pan/jugs,double boiler,tea urn etc

    Could anybody suggest from their experience what they would and wouldn't invest their money in, for the first 6 months candle making?

    Thank you for sharing your experience.
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  • #2
    Hi Anna,
    I recently started making candles and I currently us a pan on a pan. One pan I already had I bought a milk pan with a spout to help with pouring for a couple of pounds. They fit comfortably and have allowed me to melt wax without any trouble. There are specific things you can buy for melting wax but a pan on a pan has been an inexpensive start. I'm sure I'll be investing in something more substantial with greater capacity in the future but for now it's just fine.
    Cali

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    • #3
      Oh Anna Rose how lucky you are, your partner must be a lovely person.
      I only started making candles in October of last year and, like you, I didn't know where to start buying equipment.
      To make a candle you need
      Wax -what kind Soy or Paraffin, containers or pillars/votives?
      Wicks - Depends on the wax you want to work with, good starting points are the websites who offer sample lengths of wick, I'm sure you've already realised wick testing is a BIG part of candle making! You can also buy pre-assembled primed wicks or buy the sustainers (the wee silver disc at the bottom) and assemble and prime yourself.
      Wax melter - The best way (and safest) is to use a double boiler- a kind of Bain Marie. Until this week I used an old pasta pot to boil the water in and some SS jugs. Thats probably the best place to start. You can pick up SS1lt jugs in Ikea for less than £7 each but there are many other places you can buy them. Several of the regular posters have bought Genware jugs from Amazon and rate them very highly.
      Containers -(If you're making container candles) Decide what type of container you want to use. Many of us on here started with tea-lights (waste less ingredients when testing) Other try jars/glasses/or go straight to votives or pillars.
      Thermometer - Really important piece of kit since so many things are affected by wax temperature. You can buy a clip on thermometer for a few pounds from suppliers websites. I've just bought an infra red one from ebay thats just the cats pyjamas!
      Scales- Accurate scales are essential, ordinary kitchen scales are ideal for weighing wax but best to invest in jewellers scales for weighing FO's accurately- Amazon have them for about £5
      Thats really all you need but most of us want scents and colours for our candles. Try to buy good quality FO's it'll work out cheaper in the end. There are several companies in the UK but not as many as in the US. Sensory Perfection is one Scent Perfique another, you'll find that the FO is probably the most expensive part of the candle so buy in small quantities until you decide what works for you. Dyes can be bought from your wax supplier.
      The other thing to do is keep an eye on ebay, I bought various bits and pieces on there too.
      Safety is really important and having a fire blanket or extinguisher where you make your candles is sensible. If you intend to sell your products you'll need public liability insurance and you'll also have to register with HMRC.
      I'm sure others will be along to add to the list of essentials but I think thats a fair starting point.
      The other things you need but can't buy are a sense of humour, patience and a the staying power to get to a successful product!!
      It all may sound a wee bit daunting but I love it! The forum is a great source of information. inspiration and support, there's always somebody here more than happy to help out.

      Hope this helps and its the kind of info you were looking for. I look forward to seeing the products of your labour!
      Good Luck

      Isabel

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      • #4
        Now Isabel how do I follow that reply!!!!!

        Hi Anna! Wow you are one lucky girl- does he realise how expensive chandlery is!!?! Don't tell him!

        I started making candles about 14 months ago and after months and I mean months of testing etc I got there! so what advice do I have ?( or what of it is worth listening too!!) if I was starting again I would buy a few metal pouring jugs (amazon or eBay) a double boiler set up (this can be a proper double boiler or I used an old chocolate smelter pan over another saucepan!), thermometre, stirring thingy (very expensive and posh 99p plastic spoon outta B&M, scales (digital kitchen scales £10 or less in Argos) and jewellers scales (they weigh in small amounts for FO and dyes).

        After all that and you decide whether to go paraffin or soy (this is completely personal choice- I personally opted for paraffin) and choose a container or tealights or votive or melts (now I'm confusing myself!! there are several reliable websites 4candles etc that are a great place to start (all under one roof type thing!)

        It can be done cheaper than you would think and for me has turned from a hobby into a business so who knows where it might lead- but either way it is incredibly frustrating and you will feel like tearing your hair out but it is so much fun! This forum is an absolute wealth of info and our wee family on here rocks!!

        Hope any of this rambling helps!!

        C

        Ps oh and as Isabel said if it does turn into more than a hobby - HMRC need to know- boo!!!!

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        • #5
          Thanks for the advice and quick response, i'm loving this forum, I think it could be as addictive as candles seem to be .

          I haven't told him how much, but I know he thinks if he buys me this I'll let him spend "stupid" money on his true love...his pile of junk rally car! Then tonight he said he might help me as it sounds like a science experiment, so maybe he is interested in learning as well and it will be nice to have a hobby together (optimistic I know).

          My initial aim was to learn to make soy/rapeseed/beeswax natural type candles in a lovely range of creamy neutral colours, with natural scents. As the price of these types of candle always seems like a bit of a splurge, making them a treat.

          I was thinking of starting in size order tealights, votives, small containers and so on. Then I read the 41 page Spyder epic and want to start with votives!

          I have been looking on ebay and ordered a couple of books for £3, so that was an economic start
          Please come see me on:

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          Or on my blog Candles From Home

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Anna Rose View Post
            Thanks for the advice and quick response, i'm loving this forum, I think it could be as addictive as candles seem to be .

            I haven't told him how much, but I know he thinks if he buys me this I'll let him spend "stupid" money on his true love...his pile of junk rally car! Then tonight he said he might help me as it sounds like a science experiment, so maybe he is interested in learning as well and it will be nice to have a hobby together (optimistic I know).

            My initial aim was to learn to make soy/rapeseed/beeswax natural type candles in a lovely range of creamy neutral colours, with natural scents. As the price of these types of candle always seems like a bit of a splurge, making them a treat.

            I was thinking of starting in size order tealights, votives, small containers and so on. Then I read the 41 page Spyder epic and want to start with votives!

            I have been looking on ebay and ordered a couple of books for £3, so that was an economic start
            I started with a jar kit (which gave me the candle-making bug), then bought some votive moulds, then bought a load of supplies off ebay from someone who was giving up their candle-making hobby (£250! for moulds, wax, dyes etc). I'm not sure what happened; it went from dabbling with a few jar candles to buying loads of supplies and making a website!

            I think votives are a great place to start as you can make just a couple very easily, or go mad and make a batch. They're easy to control volumes of wax/dye/fragrance etc and don't take too long to burn to see your results and what works best. They also teach you about candle-making basics such as using second or third pours to top up your wax after shrinkage. So I agree, votives are a great place to start (I'm still trying to get mine right!)

            I've just invested in a infrared temperature sensor and a craft heat gun (there are lots of mentions of these on candle making instructions/forums and they seem like a good investment), but these are things than can probably come later.

            Need to order more wax later - sigh - I've given up counting the cost as it was getting a bit scary!

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            • #7
              I start making candles late last year and have been on a budget to start with. So to melt my wax I use an old saucepan and baked bean/dog food/custard tins ~ great for making small batches.
              I decided on soy wax, XCEL and bought 5kg bag and a selection of wicks. I knew I wanted to my tins so bought a job lot. I bought a thermometer and wipe clean table cloth from Tesco and jewellers scales from amazon.
              I found I had bits in the house that I could use.

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              • #8
                I found I had bits in the house that I could use.
                So true! My baking scales doubled up as candle scales for a long time!!! Made for some interesting buns and scones slightly tinged with 'home sweet home', 'baby powder'.........lol!

                C

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                • #9
                  The other thing I should have added is, after you start making candles any kind of shopping takes much longer.
                  Why? Becuase you spend so much time looking at "objects" thinking..mm I could put a candle in that! and - could I use that mould for my melts?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by holehouse View Post
                    The other thing I should have added is, after you start making candles any kind of shopping takes much longer.
                    Why? Becuase you spend so much time looking at "objects" thinking..mm I could put a candle in that! and - could I use that mould for my melts?
                    I've already started doing that in the kitchen...cups,ice cube trays and my baking equipment is on borrowed time!
                    Please come see me on:

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by holehouse View Post
                      The other thing I should have added is, after you start making candles any kind of shopping takes much longer.
                      Why? Becuase you spend so much time looking at "objects" thinking..mm I could put a candle in that! and - could I use that mould for my melts?
                      So very true, and I now find myself going into junk shops to see I can find anything I can make a candle in.
                      I am only making candles for the last 6 months, and it won't be long before you become an addict..

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Auds120 View Post
                        So very true, and I now find myself going into junk shops to see I can find anything I can make a candle in.
                        I am only making candles for the last 6 months, and it won't be long before you become an addict..
                        Too late!!
                        Please come see me on:

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                        Or on my blog Candles From Home

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                        • #13
                          I just bought my first piece of equipment on eBay ..4lt double boiler for £22. I think it's a good deal, although until 10 minutes before I was highest bid with £3 and then just one other bid pushed it up (suspicious!)

                          There's no looking back now!

                          Next a electric hot plate, as I'm going to use my utility room not the actual kitchen. I've also got longing for digital thermometer gadget which Andy is thrilled about (boys and toys).
                          Please come see me on:

                          Facebook
                          Twitter

                          Or on my blog Candles From Home

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Anna Rose View Post
                            I just bought my first piece of equipment on eBay ..4lt double boiler for £22. I think it's a good deal, although until 10 minutes before I was highest bid with £3 and then just one other bid pushed it up (suspicious!)

                            There's no looking back now!

                            Next a electric hot plate, as I'm going to use my utility room not the actual kitchen. I've also got longing for digital thermometer gadget which Andy is thrilled about (boys and toys).
                            Well done that sounds like a great price. The digital thermometer is really good. Have you tried freegle for a hotplate, they often have things like that on it.
                            Happy melting!

                            Isabel

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