Welcome to my blog! Candle making is a fascinating hobby. Check in with my blog regularly to read about my new ideas, industry trends and products we feature.
Candlehaven.ca: The Beginning
I first learned to make candles with my Mother when I was a young girl. She is a deep pool of creative talents of which I’ve never seen the true depths. I remember my fascination as I watched her ready the wicks, the wax, and the molds. I would stand beside her on a stool and watch in awe as the wax melted in a double boiler on the stove. She explained that we would add colour, scent, and crystals and sparkle to make each candle unique and special; that when they were done, they would be one of a kind, and even more beautiful than what you could buy in a store; that when we lit them they would glow and make any room feel warm and inviting.
My Mother managed to make our modest home a haven every single day with her kindness, her warmth and her love, and somewhere in the background, always a homemade candle glowing. Because of her, candles always make me think of home, and love.
Throughout the years, I have lived in many homes. Each has had one thing in common; the radiant ambience of candles. I have always strived to re-create the same haven as the home of my youth. It is in this spirit that I decided to take what I had learned about creating candles from my Mother, and apply it using the newest and most luxurious products on the market. I set out to make masterpieces, inspired by two generations of artisans, our love of candles, and the warmth they evoke.
I want to share the gift of happiness that candle making has brought to my life. Browse our products and make the candle of your dreams. If you don’t want to make it yourself, you can still enjoy hand poured candle with my signature candle line, iLite Candles, now managed by my beautiful and creative daughter.
Each candle is hand poured in Toronto, Canada using the finest quality materials. From the elegant vessels, to the cotton wicks, and the natural, clean-burning wax, no detail is overlooked to ensure quality and elegance at every step.
Sept 8, 2021
Our Candle Supplies
In my previous life before I was a candle maker extraordinaire, I worked in international trade. This taught me all the complexities of importing and exporting. Though this was not necessarily a career befitting an artistic candle maker, these skills have proven to be invaluable in the business of candle making and candle supply.
In my quest to make the worlds most perfect candle during a global pandemic, I used the few hours before lockdowns began at craft stores such as Michaels. Michaels is a great craft store located in Canada, but their candle making supply section is limited, and in my opinion, a little over priced. I then started sourcing throughout North America, looking for those candle making supply stores that were rated very highly in the Candle Supplies Directory for North America. I became very excited when I found the store CandleScience located in the USA but CandleScience does not ship to Canada. I then found the Wooden Wick Co. I love their supplies. They are also located in the USA and they have a wide range of products. As their name suggests however, they carry wooden wicks, and not the non-wooden varieties. I also found their supplies expensive. Next I found Lonestar Candle Supply. Lonestar is not sexy, but they have a wide selection of wicks, and information related to Candle Wicking. I learned so much from their website.
Finally I came upon P&J Trading Co where I found an extensive selection of premium fragrance oils. Sourcing oils from P&J allowed me to begin combining to make my own custom scents as part of my candle making kits and my line of customizable candles.
All of this was wonderful except for the fact that importing from the USA is expensive. I did find some supply stores in Canada, specifically Western Canada, but by in large the best supply stores were in the USA. I decided to change that. I celebrate these companies. There is room for all of us in the Candle Supply space, but I made it my mission to sell quality products of every kind, and because of my skill set, to make the supplies available for seamless export worldwide. This is what candlehaven.ca can offer that no one else can; One stop shopping and the ability to export anywhere in the world.
Sept 12, 2021
Our Customs Candles
When I set out to make the most perfect candle the world had ever seen I came upon coco apricot creme wax. It is stunning, luxurious, and is unmatched in beauty when you see it in glass. I chose and designed opulent signature scents. I sourced beautiful vessels, crystals, candle safe glitter, elegant custom fit packaging, and the perfect wicks….and then…..the pandemic struck again, and global importing slowed to a crawl. I could not import quality vessels in high enough quantity from anywhere.
Because my elegant (and expensive packaging) was custom made for my vessels, there was no option to begin mass production of candles, and so for almost a year I focused my efforts on candle supplies and carried only a limited supply of candle jars.
I became a content creator on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube to teach my customers, my subscribers and followers how to make candles, and the many types of candles they could make using my products. This was and is still fun for me. It allows me to make candles every day. I love the feedback and the community of candle makers and candle lovers. What I found though, was as much as I tried to convince prospective customers to buy candle making supplies and make their own custom candles in the most cost effective way possible, that some customers preferred to have ME make candles for them.
This was so flattering to know, and so I enthusiastically began making signature candles for sale. I use only the finest ingredients, and I lovingly hand pour each candle. Every candle I feature, is a candle requested by customers. They are all customizable. The social media platforms allow me to know exactly what my customers like and I appreciate every word of their kind feedback.
Sept 12, 2021
Adventures in Candle Making…
If you’ve read my blog you know that I was inspired to create candles by my Mother who showed me how it was done when I was little. The part I left out however is that I’m not crafty. I figured that “crafty” was a gene that skipped a generation because my Mother was basically Martha Stewart, and I was the furthest thing from that.
With a twist of fate the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and I was left wondering what to do as the world prepared to lock down. At the request of my daughter we did some last minute shopping at Michael’s Craft Store in Canada. On a whim I picked up a candle making kit. My daughter has the crafty gene so I figured that between the two of us we could figure this out.
In addition to my crafting aversion, I also don’t like to read instructions. I know, at this point you’re probably wondering why I thought candle making would be for me, but that’s because what I lacked in skill and talent, I more than made up for in bravado and over confidence. After all, I had seen my Mother do it so many times, and she was only a phone call away.
I called my Mom, and she began telling me a host of candle making instructions that I had no idea were part of the process. I didn’t bother to write them down. I knew I could wing it, and all would be fine. BTW this is kind of my approach to cooking as well, but with cooking it usually comes out alright.
So we began, all confidence and no know-how, and with some really terrible quality products with waxes I cant pronounce. The candle making adventure began…
Instead of buying wax dye chips or coloring oils I opted to use food coloring because I just knew it would work. SPOILER….IT DIDN’T! Undaunted, I just added more food coloring, as I was sure that was the problem, but as it turns out, no matter how much food coloring you add, it won’t work. Food coloring isn’t soluble in wax. Google confirmed this for me. My candles did set, and my sweet daughter mustered a “it’s not that bad” remark, and offered to take the candle off my hands.
Amazon to the rescue. I bought some wax dye chips that are soluble in wax. When I tried them I was delighted, but without having any idea how much I should add, and thinking my candle would dry almost the same shade as the melted wax I again realized that I had no idea what I was doing. Compounded by this was the fact that I decided to use scent for this round of candle making. Again, the idea of measuring was lost on me. You just add enough until it smells good, right? WRONG!!! If you add too much oil it’s a fire hazard. I’m not even gonna go there, just trust me.
Round about this time I ran out of wax. What was a girl to do with everything locked down? I certainly couldn’t let candle making beat me. After all I really do love beautiful candles, and so I wanted to be able to do this.
In my search for wax I found a lot of cheap stuff on Amazon and eBay that were questionable at best, and so I widened my search. Internationally I found the Wooden Wick Co, P&J Trading and Lonestar Candle Supply to name but a few. In Canada I found Canwax and C&C Candle Co.
This is when I started realizing that there was a whole science to candle making. In fact I found a store called CandleScience that I really admired – but they don’t ship to Canada. I started researching premium waxes, and then I splurged and bought myself several types of waxes from the Wooden Wick Co. The verdict? Coco Apricot Crème wax all the way! Its luxurious. It’s actualy used by high-end candle companies. Its natural, with excellent scent throw and wonderful glass adhesion. Every time you pour a candle, it sets perfectly with a silky, smooth perfect top; A quality that was very important for a novice like me.
I used these many waxes, and my candles came out okay. Definitely better than the first batch, but something wasn’t quite right. I was buying top tier luxury materials, but I wasn’t making luxury candles.
I broke down and bought a journal. I figured I should start documenting what I was doing so I could find the sweet spot, the perfect pour temperature, the perfect wick, the perfect vessel. And yes, you can do that if you have months to kill – which I did. You can also opt to READ INSTRUCTIONS which still had not occurred to me. The idea finally dawned on to me one day when I watched a candle making How to video on YouTube. There’s a lot of good videos for beginner candle makers, but there aren’t many that will give you all the information you need, and until that moment on that day I had never heard anyone say, “if you’re like me you don’t like to read instructions” DING DING DING!! “but when making candles you really have to” BOOOOO! She went on to say that the manufacturer of the waxes would know better than anyone the perfect pour temperature, and so in this case it was a MUST to read the instructions.
A lightbulb went off, and from that point I started making candles that were nice, even accidently good….but something still wasn’t right, and I was starting to get a clue from the instructions.
“Maximum scent load” What was that? Did people really measure that? I wanted a really strong smell so it’s alright to add more, possibly double the recommended scent, right? WRONG…refer back to my fire hazard comment. Also, the wick you choose doesn’t matter, right? WRONG!
This is when helpful resources like wicking guides on websites such as the Wooden wick co and Lonestar became so important. I didn’t necessarily read every word, but I read enough to know that the type of wax you use determines the wick, and that the vessel you use determines the size of wick or wicks you need. PROFOUND!!
Still in the dark about scent I kept reading and watching videos until I realized how you must stir the oil into the wax for a minimum of two minutes to give the wax time to bind to the wax. This will allow for your candle to smell as you had intended. I also realized that some scents are just naturally more robust, and that most wax types have a max scent range around 8 – 10%. You can adjust slightly to accommodate your preference. I also learned that adding too much scent will just ruin your candle and waste money as premium scents are expensive.
Armed with this knowledge I made candles again, this time with what I deem the finest luxury wax, coco apricot crème, the finest vessel, iLite with silver electroplated lid, and the perfect cotton or wooden wicks suited to my vessel size and wax type. My max fragrance load is 10%, and I stay right in that percentile for all my fragrances.
I made candles that were stunning, that smelled as good as they looked. As it turns out I wasn’t missing the crafty gene. I just needed to find something that I loved to do and then work at it until it was a masterpiece.
I truly believe you will appreciate the premium quality materials as much as I do. I’m happy to have hopefully taken some of the guess work and trial and error out of your candle making journey.
Oct 27, 2021
Fun With Scents
Ever the over achiever it wasn’t enough to make the world’s most beautiful candle. It had to smell the best too. Who doesn’t love to bury their nose into lovely scented candle or enhance the ambiance in a room by adding the gentle feeling and lovely aroma of a candle?
In my quest I sampled (and spilled) many scents. I found many that I liked. I don’t even want to think of what I must have spent on scent sampling over a two year period. Like anything else, scents are not all created equal, nor do identically named products smell the same company to company.
After accumulating roughly 100 different scents I started mixing them together. My over confidence led me to believe that I could become a fragrance expert as well as a candle expert. Slowly I began learning about top notes, heart notes, and bass notes of a fragrance. I learned what makes a well-rounded scent, but I knew I needed a lot of feedback and advice in this area, and so I invited everyone to try to make scents with me. It became a family affair. When I found about ten blends that I really liked, I made sample candles and had everyone I know weigh in on all of them. This allowed me to narrow down my signature scents.
In my candle making collection there is a scent for everyone. It’s difficult to sell a scented candle based on description alone, but I’ve done my best to identify the different notes in their individual descriptions, so you should get a sense of each decadent aroma. If you can’t decide, try them all! I love them all and I hope you do too.
Nov 15, 2021
The Circle of Creativity
I make candles every day. Whether I’m fulfilling orders, testing new products, or just making a candle to enjoy on a cold winter day, I seem to always be making something beautiful…..well, sorta. Let me explain….
Yes I make candles every day. Every kind of candles. Ones with wood wicks, cotton wicks, spiral wicks, and S wicks. I make coloured candles, glow in the dark candles, sparkly candles. I’ve even made a few fire hazards (and if you follow my social media you know this is true), but as wonderful as candles are, and as experienced as I am, my creations are NOT all gems. Sometimes they don’t turn out at all.
Have you ever thought to mix two colours together only to find out how crappy those colours look when mixed together. Trust me, I’ve seen it and done it. I’ve made a gross mud colour on more than one occassion. Same goes for scents. Not everything mixes well, and not everything smells as good as you hope it will.
Have you ever tried a product that looked beautiful only to find out that it turns your candle into a torch, or causes soot, or just plain sucks?
Have you ever found the next miraculous product that was going to make you into the next candle making sensation – only to find out it isn’t soluble in wax, or would just sink to the bottom of your vessel? I have. In fact, I do that almost daily. The important thing is that you try, and that you allow inspiration to rule, and when you hit a wall try something else.
Making candles is fun. If you let it, it will always be fun, and if you ever find you’re running out of inspiration just check our create tab or our social media for inspiration, and if you’re brave enough, please contact us to submit your works of art. Inspire us with your creations in this lovely little circle of creativity we’re all forming together. Who knows, you may even find yourself featured on our website!
Jan 13, 2022
The Family That Crafts Together, Stays Together
I recall watching my Mother crafting when I was a young girl. I cannot even begin to describe every crafty piece of art she ever made. I can only say that making something pretty was an every day occurrence. Candle making was just one of the many lovely crafts she designed. Any time I showed interest, she would patiently show me how she made her latest creation. This was the case with all of my siblings, whether it was teaching one of us how to paint, sketch, make a wreath from scratch at Christmas time, or pour a candle. We spend hours creating whatever idea would pop into my Mother’s head on any given day.
She would collect natural treasures wherever she roamed such as pinecones, or popsicle sticks. I never knew what these items would turn out to be, but they all became something fabulous with a little time and imagination.
I can’t possibly tally the number of hours and days we spent all together making special creations, and I suppose all of us grew to have a little of the crafty gene in our own right thanks to my Mother, her creative gifts, her patience and extraordinary kindness.
When another generation arrived my Mother would say, bring the kids over, we’ll go to the dollar store and then we’ll do some crafting. I’ll teach them to make something magical with their own two hands. The kids loved their time with Grandma, and still regard her as creative and wise. They can’t wait to be by her side. With all her beautiful creations, the real treasure for her was having her family close. I think what she was really creating was a loving haven for all of us to be together. This prompts me to say that the family that crafts together, stays together.
Paying It Forward
It’s a really interesting transition from creating your own brand of unique candles, bringing them to market, promoting them, eating, sleeping, living them to then becoming the supplier of candle making products instead.
There was once a time that I wouldn’t have wanted to help anyone create a better candle making business, as every other candle making company was a potential competitor, but now every candle making company and DIY maven motivates me. My goals are different now. I want to teach you. I want you to learn from my mistakes and achievements, because at the end of the day your success is mine, and mine is yours. Our wagons are hitched together so-to-speak.
It really is fortunate to be in the role of friend, and not foe; To be your collaborator so that we can both do what we love to the best of our ability.
I take everything I’ve learned about procurement, product qualify, spreadsheets and profit margins, and I’ll endeavor to answer each one of your questions. I’ll make videos about it. I’ll shout it from the roof tops. I’ll try to impart whatever wisdom I’ve learned to all of you, one by one.
Its important to say that in addition to what I learned on my own, I owe my success to every person who ever gave me a chance and placed an order with my company as it was growing, and continues to grow. I also owe my knowledge to every creator that took the time to market their candles and put out videos to help me learn how to make a viable business.
As for my initial candle company, iLite Candles, it lives and breathes still. It is now in the hands of my daughter who will make it a success in her own way, and just as I will be there for her, I will be there for all of you, wishing for you all to have great success, and to get the opportunity to earning a living doing something you love.
Put Down Hair Dryer
Okay, so you’re probably thinking this is a strange title for a blog entry, and it is, but trust me, it needs to be said.
Many of you out there are learning, or are already successful at making beautiful candles. Some of you may even be considering becoming an entrepreneur to sell your candles, and if that’s you….good for you! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that the market is too saturated. There’s always room for another beautiful candle in the world. I should know. My house is full of them.
….but back to the point….
We all work in our own mysterious ways, and even though candle making is precise in nature, and our formulations specific, we all have our methods. Wax melters vs double boilers, different styles of wick setters, different styles of thermometers….and yes, some of us are still messing around with our hair dryers.
I won’t lie to you. I started this way. Why buy a heat gun specifically for candle making when my hair dryer works just fine? This was my thought process. I continued to think that way until I ruined a perfectly good table with a mess of wax that went everywhere because of my overly angry and aggressive hair dryer.
I broke down, decided to stop being so ghetto, and invest a heat gun. It was far cheaper than my hair dryer and it used a gentler flow of air to slowly melt the wax just enough to correct little mistakes. I realized that if my candle required industrial heating to fix, I should probably just re-pour. I also realized that as a candle maker extraordinaire and all around craft lady in the making, that I deserved the proper tools of the trade, and so if you’re still slugging away with the hair dryer, please, I implore you, its time to put it down.
Is It Fall Already?
It’s important to tell you that I’m writing this post in the middle of May. Most of us are getting ready to make our citronella candles for our time in cottage county through the summer, but not candle makers. Candle makers, specifically those who have started their own candle business know that they have to be a season ahead.
While I endeavor to tell everyone that candle season is every time of year, candles at harvest time are a special joy. Those sugared pumpkin scents are among my favorites, as are the sweet smell of snickerdoodle cookies. Candlehaven.ca has decided to jump aboard this autumn trend by adding our own signature blends of those popular scents to our selective roster. Sugared Pumpkin Butter and Snickerdoodle are sure to be this season’s best sellers, and favorites amongst all candle makers and candle lovers.
To those budding candle makers, don’t forget to make plenty of hand poured pumpkin and delightfully sweet, scented candles to give out as gifts during harvest season and Thanksgiving. Make sure to keep a couple for your own home for a little ambiance.
To my new candle business owners, get ready for the fall, as this is when you’ll see your business boom. Buy, buy, buy so you have enough stock to meet demand. You will sell out faster than you think! There’s something addictive about snickerdoodles and pumpkins that customers are powerless to deny. Bring your delectable harvest candles out into the world and sell them at local craft fairs while the weather permits, and don’t forget to promote your heavenly scented candles on your website.
Don’t forget that candlehaven.ca loves to promote its customer’s work on our website as thank you for your business. Submit a picture of your creations made from candlehaven.ca products and a link to your website. The coveted top position during the candle fall frenzy will go fast. Contact us today for more information.