Guest Author - Shanda Lynn Markham
In my quest to help my readers I recently read Basic Candle Making: All the Skills and Tools You Need to Get Started. This book could be helpful to those interested in candle making who have not done any research or read anything on the process. If you already have a rudimentary knowledge of candle making you might not find this book as useful, although I am sure you will still appreciate the shopping lists!
I really like the way this book is “bound”. It is spiral bound with a light weight cover. This makes it very easy to have the book with you while making candles as it allows the book to lie flat and open. The book is full of pictures of every step of the process. The new candle maker will find this helpful. In some areas there are perhaps too many pictures. For example, on the hand dipped taper section it has 3 ˝ pages of pictures of just prepping your wicks for dipping.
Although this book is good for the person who has not done any research or read any other books on candle making, it does have some discrepancies that concern me. My first concern being the advice and use of 140 degree melt point paraffin wax for all its projects. This is medium melt point paraffin, but not well suited to tapers and pillars as it will not be as hard of a wax. The only additive it discusses it Stearin, which is a good additive. Vybar has become more popular than stearin in recent times. It also does not explain that if you are using a pre-blended wax, you are not going to need additives. A novice could ruin their project by using a pre-blended wax and then adding stearin or vybar to it. It may be personal choice, but their directions of use of a thermometer concerned me. I personally put my thermometer in as soon as I begin to melt the wax. Once wax is liquefied, its temperature can raise very quickly. At approximately 250 degrees, a wax fire can happen. This book does not say to put the thermometer in until you have melted the wax. I would be concerned if you got side-tracked prepping molds or answering a phone, your wax could reach a dangerous temperature before you could even begin to realize it. This book advises adding the scent at 180 degrees. The potential problem with this is that if your fragrance oil has a flash point of 160 degrees, you could nullify the fragrance by adding it at 180 degrees. The oil would essentially burn off without being absorbed. As part of its pouring process the reader is instructed to transfer the wax from a double boiler to a pouring pot. My issue with this is that that process may cool your wax much more than what you wanted for the pouring temperature.
Some of the features that I really enjoyed were the shopping lists for each project. This helps you know in once place exactly what you will need. You could make a copy of it and take it shopping with you and avoid forgetting anything. It also had a chart of dye combinations for different colors and scent blending combinations. These are very helpful charts for any candle maker.
Over the entire book was worth adding to my library. The writer did at times seem to “talk down” to the reader, but made every attempt to break down all the steps of the candle making process. The pictures alone are a great tool for the beginner candle maker.
This book was purchased with my own personal funds and I have in no way been compensated for this review.