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Candlemaking is fun and rewarding, and is essentially easy.

The physical ingredients of a candle, the wick, wax and the additives, are what gives candles special properties. The key to making good candles is using the proper wax formulation. In addition, wick tabs and wirecore wicking are important, they allow the wick to stand erect in the container. A paraffin wax with a low melting point is the best. The ideal melting point for the wax or combination of waxes is 128F.

Wire core or lead core wicking is a special type of wick that has a stiff wire as its center. The thickness of these wicks allows them to stand upright in situations in which another wick might fall over and extinguish itself. Wick tabs are used to hole the wick to the bottom of the container while the wax is poured and help to keep the wick upright. Additives are what makes the candle unique. Experimenting with fragrance and color can yield endless possibilities.

Fragrance and color are some of the joys of candlemaking. There are a wide variety of dyes and fragrances available. Many candlemakers believe fragrance to be one of the most appealing qualities a candle has, and indeed scent can have a powerful effect. Fragrance has the ability to set the mood of a room and can, with one whiff, transport us back to childhood or to a specific time and place. When an odor is associated with memories, pleasent or unpleasant, even a hint of the scent will cause recollection of these memories.

Fragrance oils are manufactured on a large scale for a wide variety of uses. Fragrance oils refer to oils that are synthetically made. They are not natural, but are developed in a laboratory. Fragrance oils can be made to smell like a coconut, an apple pie, an orange blossom, newly mown hay or a famous perfume. They are available as a single fragrance or as a combination of fragrances.

Essential oils are made from plant material. They are all natural and unaltered. Most essential oils are quite expensive. For some types of essential oils, it takes one ton or more of plant material to make one ounce. Like fragrance oils, essential oils have their place. Because they are the very essence of the plant they are derived from, essential oils deliver powerful medicinal effects.

You can also use finely powdered herbs to add fragrance and color to candles. The key is to use the herbs sparingly. Powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, frankincense and myrrh will add a subtle scent to your candles.

Color adds a lot to a candle. Candle dyes are not dyes in the traditional sense because they do not actually change the color of the wax. Candle dye pieces are specially formulated so that the color will be distributed evenly.

Many people have become accustomed to using crayons to color candles. But, the availability and economy of candle dyes make them the best choice for the home based candlemaker.