The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,188 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,837 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
For this week’s Make It Easy/Candlemaking Beginning Level Merit Badge, I burned my collection of store-bought candles down to the nubbins. Nubs? Stubs? Well, no matter; the point is, waste not, want not, so although I don’t intend to purchase a lot of chemical-laden candles anymore, I still wanted to use up the old stuff (and recycle the containers, of course … wink, wink, nudge, nudge). With the rather confusing and somewhat headache-inducing aroma of Peach-Gardenia-Pine-Maple-Cotton lingering throughout my living room, I settled down for a long winter’s nap some serious researching into the lost art of candlemaking. Three pieces of knowledge were needed for Yours Truly to earn this Beginning Level Badge and I was hot to trot. I was also hot because of all the smoke, but that’s probably a coincidence.
- What kind of wax should I use (or maybe even more importantly, not use)? It turns out, in my digging for the truth, that there are several options. Among the most popular: soy-based, paraffin blend, beeswax, vegetable, and coconut. Now it doesn’t take an Expert Level badge earner to be a little wary of the paraffin wax. (Can I get an amen, sisters?) Paraffin emits all sorts of chemical-laced odors, and that’s not surprising, given that it’s basically a compound of mineral (crude) oil. And if I’m gonna burn my house down while attempting to mask the smell of my jogging shoes, I want it to be organic smoke, right? Ha ha, just a little candle humor there.
- What kind of smelly good stuff should I use? Behind Door #1 we have: essential oils. These come in just about every scent your proboscis can imagine, and if you can’t find the one you’re looking for, you can mix and match. They are a little on the spendy side though, so unless you are, say, making two dozen tea lights and you don’t care that they’re all French Vanilla, you can go for Door #2: open up your pantry/backdoor/garden gate. Lavender … pine needles … coffee beans … cinnamon. But take it from me, not all together in one candle. Lilac Pancakes are just weird. Voice of experience here.
- What kind of coloring should I use? Those leftover tabs of dye from last Easter’s egg debacle? Food coloring? Organic food coloring? Those just might be the bee’s knees (minus the Easter-egg dye), but you know what they’ve been using to dye candles for centuries? Things like paprika, comfrey, beets, tea, rosehip powder, lavender, and spirulina powder. Well, unless you’re looking for a neon green, glow-in-the-dark, totally unnatural color, of course. But if you are, you probably wouldn’t be reading this, would you, my little all-natural beauties?
Armed to the teeth (or rather nose) with my education, I was all set (and uber-excited) to put my information into motion. And my motion into a potion. And my potion into … lotion? Nah, that’s a different badge. Candlemaking Beginner Level Badge: check! Candlemaking Intermediate Level Badge: coming right up …