For anyone looking for a unique activity perfect for winter time, we got you covered. There are a ton of interactive (and BYOB) candle-making classes located nearby Essex County that are just the right vibe for a winter activity. Each class will leave you with a beautiful candle that not only smells delicious but is also a great gift for the holidays. Candles have become increasingly popular for their ambiance, home decoration, and fragrance. And luckily, the process of making candles is fairly simple — and the method and tools used to construct them are as simple today as they were five thousand years ago. The Montclair Girl has rounded up a list of places where you can take candle-making classes in and near New Jersey. Keep reading to learn more about the candle-making process and where you can learn how to make your own poured candles, the ultimate winter activity.
A Brief History
The earliest use of candles is attributed to the Ancient Egyptians in 3,000 B.C., who made torches by soaking the stalk of long woody branches (reed plants) in melted animal fat. However, these torches did not contain a wick as a true candle does. That wasn’t until the Roman Empire, when there was also the first documented evidence of a candle made with beeswax. These candles were known to be used in religious ceremonies as well as for lighting their homes and assisting in travel.
In colonial America, early settlers obtained a more appealing wax by boiling the berries from the bay-berry shrub. Then, in the 18th century, it was discovered that Spermaceti wax could be used as a replacement for tallow, beeswax, and bayberry wax. It wasn’t until the 19th century that candles went from being the main source of light (and a household chore in most houses) to a mass-produced product. Although more efficient, machine-made candles do not have the same luscious shape or vibrant colors as homemade candles do.
Today, candles are used to symbolize a celebration, mark a ceremony, spark romance, soothe the body, or add to home décor. They have gained much popularity in recent years for their unique scents — and many candle companies now offer classes where you can learn the craft behind it (and take home a new hand-made candle to show off your skills)!
The candle market offers candle lovers a wide variety of candles produced from many different waxes such as paraffin, vegetable waxes, and beeswaxes. Candles are offered in many different colors, shapes, designs, and fragrances. Wax, wick, and oil are the basic ingredients involved in candle making. The steps, which you’ll learn in greater detail during a class, are fairly simple and include measuring the wax, melting the wax, adding fragrance oils, attaching the wick, pouring the wax, securing the wick, and cutting the wick.
- Putting candles on cakes is a tradition from Ancient Greece. It is said the Greeks created round cakes to honor the goddess, Artemis, who was the goddess of the moon. The candles, when lit, represented the moon’s glow. When they blew the candles out, they believed the smoke carried their wishes to the gods living in the sky.
- The first time you light your candle, you have to let it burn long enough so that the entire top layer of the wax becomes liquid. If you do not do this, then your candle will not burn evenly.
- Blowing a candle out (using your mouth) is incorrect. It produces soot and smoke and you can cause droplets of hot liquid wax to drop in the surrounding area. The best way to put out a candle is to use a candle snuffer, as it puts the flame out by depriving it of oxygen.
- It is believed that during famines, many candles were stolen and eaten by the hungry.
- It is cheaper to make your own candles if you buy more than 5 per year (assuming each individual store-bought candle costs around $26).
- A candlemaker is called a chandler. The term is related to “chandelier,” meaning an ornate, branched light fitting that held lots of candles.
- Candles are not all vegan and natural — candles have been made out of cows, insects, and whales.
Types of Wax Used in Candle Making
Choosing the wax for your candle is the most important part of candle making. Your choice of wax for candle making depends on various factors, including: the form of the candle, the kind of wax (all-natural wax or not), the amount of scent, and the type of finish. A few of the most popular types of wax include:
This is a very inexpensive wax and is most widely used across candle brands, because it can hold a high amount of fragrance and color. It also comes in various melt points, making it suitable for making many different types of candles. However, it is not considered the most eco-friendly type of candle wax, since it’s made from a byproduct of the oil industry.
This is a mid-range wax with a slow burn, making it a great value. This wax is made from soybeans and is considered more eco-friendly than paraffin wax. Yet, it can also be difficult to work with because the wax doesn’t hold quite as much fragrance either.
Beeswax is one of the oldest forms of candle wax and is another eco-friendly option, since it’s derived from bees during the honey-making process. Because of this, beeswax has a very subtle naturally sweet aroma that helps purify the air. Beeswax is also a harder, more solid wax that’s often used in blends for container candles or to make unscented pillars.
Coconut wax is popular because it holds fragrance and color very well, plus has a ‘clean burn’ that produces very little soot. Unfortunately, it tends to be the most expensive candle wax of the bunch.
Palm wax is produced by hydrogenating palm oils — which, if farmed unsustainably, can wreak havoc on the environment. Always be sure to be mindful about what you are purchasing.
Gel wax is made from mineral oil and a polymer resin. With it, you can make see-through candles or embedded-object gel candles. It holds wicks, colors, and fragrances just as well as standard paraffin wax.
Types of Candles
A few of the most popular types of candles include:
- Container candles are candles that are poured into a heat-safe glass and are frequently used for decoration. They are heavily scented with essential oils and other fragrances and used to refresh the air of homes and offices.
- Pillar candles are free-standing candles without a container that are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
- Taper candles are slender candlesticks that typically range between 6-20 inches in height. They are used in candle holders.
- Tealight candles are small circular candles that are contained in an aluminum or polycarbonate holder. They are found both scented or unscented and are frequently used in home décor.
- Votive Candles are free-standing candles that are white and unscented. They are most often used in religious ceremonies.
- Hurricane candles are uniquely decorated with shells, dried flowers, or other objects on the outer wax shell and are designed to burn down the middle of the candle so the outer shell is illuminated.
Alchemy Scent Bar | 30 Church Street, Montclair, NJ
Alchemy Scent Bar is a brand-new custom scent experience in the heart of downtown Montclair. Guests can create their own custom-fragranced candles as well as home and body products from a wall of more than100 different scents. The candles are natural soy and use pure fragrance oils, burning longer and truer to scent than others in the marketplace.
ARTISANE NYC | New York City, NY
(Photo credit: @artisane.nyc)
This spot teaches the skills to make naturally-scented candles with online + physical ateliers in New York City. Owner Melanie created ARTISANE natural candles to bring light, comfort, and happiness to others. The fragrances available are inspired by the beauty of nature from her childhood in Provence and her travels around the world.
Chester Candle Company | 76 Main Street, Chester, NJ
Located in historic Chester, NJ, guests will experience the candle-making process from beginning to end with one of the master chandlers. You can host private events here, and the team can create custom candle labels for each group. Plus, classes of all sizes are welcome here.
The Electric Chic Boutique | 547 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, NJ
With both in-person and online candle-making classes available, The Eclectic Chic Boutique gives guests the opportunity to learn how to make their own candles in dozens of amazing ways. Not only are these classes fun and informational for beginner, intermediate, and advanced candle makers, they’re also a great way to relax your mind, be creative, and then enjoy your own candle creation! Guests will learn everything about using basic tools and equipment for creating your own candles at home. This boutique has also received many accolades, such as winning the Best of Essex contest and appearing on ‘The Knot’.
Midnight Candle Company | 1108 Main Street, Belmar, NJ
(Photo credit: @midnightcandlecompany)
Learn how to create, blend, and pour two candles that burn for 50 hours each at Midnight Candle Company. Guests can choose from over 30 fragrances and can learn about the materials, the process, and the behavior of scented candles from an experienced candle maker. Guests can also customize their own labels and observe wax-related science. This is available as a private event for up to 10 people and food and drinks are welcome (BYOB!).
ReWax + UnWine Candle Bar | 2 Division Street, Jersey City, NJ
Founded in 2018, ReWax and UnWine is a BYOB candle studio that offers guests the opportunity to hand-pour their own custom candles in an upbeat party atmosphere. It also offers curated private-label candle collections for businesses and candle-making experiences for large corporate events. With over 50 fragrances to choose from, guests can blend fragrances together to curate a signature scent.
Sacred Scents44 | The Bronx, NY
(Photo credit: @sacredscents44)
Sacred Scents44 has pop-up shops for a unique candle-making experience. The class includes a choice of two scents (or you can create your own by mixing them together), an 11oz candle jar with a lid using soy wax, decor for the candles (crystals, dried flowers/herbs), and a complimentary gift bag.
The Village Candles & Co | 364 N Main Street Suite 2, Manahawkin, NJ
In this 90-minute (BYOB) class, guests can learn how to hand-pour their own candle. It includes a luxury candle jar of your choice or two standard jars + fragrance oils.