Keeping in mind the rules of safe candle making can make your crafting experience much more enjoyable. Safety should always be a priority when making homemade candles, especially if this is your first time attempting a candle making project.
The first rule of safe candle making is to be sure you have all of the appropriate safety equipment available before beginning your project. LoveToKnow Candles recommends that all crafters have access to the following:
- Double boiler: A double boiler is the safest way to melt wax. If you don't have easy access to a double boiler, use an old pot for the water and a smaller pot inside it.
- Potholders: Potholders help protect your hands when working with containers of hot wax.
- Safety goggles: Safety goggles prevent wax from splashing in your eyes when you're making your candle.
- Fire extinguisher: A dry chemical (ABC Type) fire extinguisher is the best way to extinguish fires during candle making projects. Never put water on a wax fire, since wax is essentially oil. The water may splatter the flaming wax, creating additional damage.
When making candles, it's also a good idea to dress in clothing that is slightly loose. If you spill wax on yourself while wearing tight clothing, the wax will immediately make contact with your skin. Loose clothes give the wax time to cool slightly, thus reducing your risk of a serious burn.
Tips for Safe Candle Making
Once you've gathered all the safety equipment necessary for your project, keep in mind the following tips for safe candle making:
- Read the directions for a project carefully before you begin. Even if you're an experienced crafter, you want to avoid treating candle making as a routine procedure. Carelessness is the number one cause of injury.
- If you have small children or pets in your home, keep them away from your candle making project. If you are allowing an older child to assist you with a candle making project, constant supervision is needed.
- Choose a well-ventilated work area whenever you are making homemade candles.
- If you're planning to use your stove to make candles, be sure it is completely clean before you begin. If you do happen to have a fire, you don't need leftover grease aggravating the problem.
- If you have long hair, make sure your hair is tied back before you begin to melt the wax for your candle. Many candle makers like to wear a hair net to eliminate the annoyance of stray hairs falling into the hot wax.
- Always use a double boiler to melt your wax. If you put wax directly onto a heat source, it's too easy to exceed the product's flash point.
- Never leave melting wax unattended. Even leaving your workspace for a few minutes to answer the phone can be dangerous when you're making homemade candles.
- If you are planning to make container candles, examine your container carefully before you begin. Jelly jars are the best choice for those who are new to making container candles, but other items can be used if you know what to look for. To be safe, a container for candle making can't leak, break, or catch fire. Terra cotta flower pots or other porous ceramic containers should be coated with at least two layers of Mod-Podge before you begin your project to provide a barrier between the material and the wax.
It's always a good idea to be cautious when enjoying your homemade candles. Keep in mind the following simple tips for safe candle burning:
- Only burn candles on heat resistant surfaces.
- Never place lighted candles in an area accessible to children or pets.
- Keep candles at least three feet from all flammable objects, including curtains.
- Burn freestanding candles in a shallow dish or bowl to catch hot wax spills.
- Keep candle wicks trimmed to approximately ¼ inch in length to minimize smoking.
- Blow out all candles before leaving a room.