The art of candle-making
By E.C. Waldron
When the air chills and night falls early, lighting candles with your favorite scent is comforting and reassuring. To fine-tune an aroma you want in your home, you can make your own candles and even add a blend of fragrances to make your glow unique.
There are secrets to this creative DIY practice. Just ask the owner of Palmetto Scent Studio stores in Kiawah and Charleston, who knows how to make the most of your handmade candle.
“After you create your candle, if you let it rest for a week before lighting, you will get the best ‘hot throw’— the richest scent,” said Glenda La Rue, managing owner of the two stores. A hot throw is how strong a candle smells when you're burning it at home.
La Rue has been guiding and teaching customers how to make their own candles for about five years in her brick-and-mortar shops.
“Our stores work on the model where it’s almost like having a bar or restaurant, you can make a reservation to come in by yourself, or with a group,” said La Rue. Up to eight people are in a group. Walk-ins are welcome, but you may need to put your name in for a spot.
The First Step to Glowing
To get started, the Palmetto Scent Studio staff will show you the candle “vessels” that are available. Then you get to choose one or several scents for your creation.
LaRue said where the customer plans on burning the candle is important. One combination of aromas may be good for a dining area—a different combination for the bedroom.
“If you’re a yummy-yummy kind of person you probably don’t want a sugar cookie, Chia tea, or cinnamon candle in your bedroom,” she said.
Customers sample by sniffing open bottles, or by smelling candles already created.
“It’s a very fun and interactive process,” said La Rue. “What does bourbon and driftwood smell like together, or lemongrass and cedar?”
Once patrons choose their various fragrances, the Palmetto Scent Studio team brings them back to their seat and shows them how to blend the scents together. Then the wax from the studio’s wax melter is added to the customer’s own personal mixing device.
“We give them enough volume that matches the size of their vessel…and they mix the wax and the scents together for at least two minutes,” La Rue said.
Eventually a wick (or wicks) is added to the candle holder, often with a stabilizing device at the bottom. Once the wax mixture cools enough, it is poured into the candle holder, adding wick supports at the top.
Now what about doing this in your own home? La Rue stresses three things: buying the right tools, safety and mess maintenance!
La Rue says it would be best to have a set-aside studio space to make candles at home. Candle pouring and mixing can be messy! Doing your research is important in order to buy the best wax melter, for instance, or making sure you are using the correct vessel for the candle. Of course, YouTube and places like Amazon and Hobby Lobby have the materials and the reviews.
La Rue began her candle journey 15 years ago by making a single candle herself, graduating to pop-up locations and learning from mentors. Then she and her husband Jeff La Rue launched the Kiawah location, and then Charleston.
Here own personal favorite for the bedroom is a scent mixture of white tea, lavender and mint.
Valentine’s Day is unique at the stores, it’s the one holiday they do special collections. The scent theme of course is romance! Think a combo of roses, champagne and bubble bath!
So start early to get your best “hot throw” before a special occasion. Who knows where it might lead?
To learn more about Palmetto Scent Studio, visit www.palmettoscentstudio.com