If it is not completely obvious, candle making involves tons of soy wax. About once a month we drive 5 hours to Ohio to buy as much wax we can shove into our car (currently 1,000 lbs). It is insane to think that we go through over 1,000 lbs of soy wax in one month, and this is just the beginning.
The wax we buy comes in small flakes and is specially made to be melted and turned into candles. It is 100% natural soy wax, which burns much cleaner than parafin wax and is much better for the environment.
That shiny box you see in the background is an industrial wax melter, it holds about 50lbs of wax at a time and keeps a constant temperature of 190 degrees - perfect for wax. Before we purchased this wax melter we were heating all of our wax on a household stove. Heating wax on the stove is totally fine if you plan on making a couple of candles, but if you are looking to make hundreds, you really want to invest in a wax melter, it makes the process so much easier.
Once we have chosen the perfect vessel, we fill special containers with this liquid gold (soy wax), add scent and color and pour until almost full.
We have experimented with a couple of types of soy wax for our candles to get the best results. Currently we are using a special mix that is designed to melt at higher temperatures. We found that the melted wax dries with a bit of texture, meaning we have to spend a bit more time with a heat gun fixing up the top before we finish the candle. We have decided to not re-order the wax with a higher melting point, and go with our original mix.
Each one of our soy wax candles is unique and handmade, and many candles contain multiple scents. At first we started making multi-scented candles for fun and quickly realized we had something special on our hands. As a candle burns down, the color and scent changes with it, giving you a different experience over time.
So how do we keep track of our candles with multiple scents? We came up with a numbering system for the scents. When we add a new scent into our catalog, it gets a special code that we use internally to organize and keep track of inventory.
Some candles contain as much as 10 different scents and colors, taking days to complete. Each layer takes at least a few hours to dry, so in order to make these multi-scented candles, we need to set aside a few days per candle. By the time the candle is complete it can be difficult to remember which scents went into the candle, this is where our numbering system comes in.
As you can see in the image below, each bottle has a few post-it notes stuck to it, each with a hand written number. This number corresponds with the scent in that layer of the candle. After the candle is complete, we create a custom label with each scent printed in order.
Making multi-scented candles is a labor of love and takes much more time than a traditional candle, but we believe the experience is worth it.
To add a bit more depth into the multi-scented candles, we pair different scents together, much like you may have a food and wine pairing. Blue Spruce slowly melting into Oakmoss & Amber produces a unique and beautiful bouquet.
Here you can see an example of how we have our scents organized and numbered. When you are balancing unique bottles, scents, and colors for each candle, organization is paramount. We invested on a metal pegboard wall system that is completely modular to help us with organization.
Every couple of months we will remove shelving, hooks and drawers to make room for a better organizational system.
Currently we have all of our One-Gallon jugs of scents placed on shelves in the order of their unique number. We can see all of our scents at a glance and know when one is missing from the wall. This system also helps us keep track of inventory and supplies, making it easier to know when we are running low on scents.
On the left side of this photo you can see the special containers we use to pour wax into each candle. Melted wax comes out of the soy wax melter and goes into these containers. From there we add scents into the containers, perfectly measured out to 8% by weight. Too much scent and you wind up with an obnoxiously strong candle, too little and you won't smell anything when you light it.
Below our pouring surface we house empty recycled bottles, ready to be turned into candles. All of our candles available in our online store are Made-to-Order, meaning our customers can design the exact candle they want - from vessel to scent to color.
Because these candles are Made-to-Order, we have to have a steady supply of empty recycled bottles in stock. We partner with bars and restaurants around Chicago who are nice enough to give us their trash (so that we may turn it into treasure).
After we pick up the empty bottles from our partners, we bring them to our cutting and grinding facility to give them the perfect cut. We use a wet saw with a diamond coated blade to cut each of the recycled bottles, and a diamond coated spindle sander to smooth the edge. After cutting and sanding, each bottle is hand-washed and placed on a shelf, ready to become a unique one-of-a-kind handmade soy wax candle.
Here you can see rows of bottles just waiting to be turned into candles.
Comments will be approved before showing up.