Making candles is a relaxing hobby with endless possibilities for expressing your creativity. However, candle making also comes with a few dangers that you’ll want to stay on the lookout for. No matter your experience level, it’s a good idea to brush up on these safety basics before starting your next candle making project.
What are the dangers of making candles?
Making your own candles is generally safe, but like most hobbies, it’s also possible to injure yourself if you’re not being careful. Because candle making involves melting and pouring hot wax, burns are the most common types of injuries that may occur. Testing wicks to see how they perform can also lead to burns if you’re not careful.
With that in mind, here are five easy ways to prevent injuries during the candle making process.
1. Have Safety Equipment on Hand
It’s important to take precautions when embarking on any DIY project that involves handling hot liquids such as melted wax. Here are a few ways to stay safe.
- Make sure you have potholders for handling pans and other hot equipment.
- Use safety goggles when pouring wax into your vessels so that the wax doesn’t splash into your eyes.
- Wear appropriate clothing during the candle making process. It’s a good idea to wear shoes and long pants to avoid burns from droplets of hot wax that may fall. Avoid loose clothing if you are working around any open flames.
- Have a fire extinguisher Using water to put out a candle-making fire may cause your hot wax to splatter. This is because hot wax behaves much like hot oil.
- Keep a first aid kit accessible in case you need to tend to any injuries.
2. Use Proper Candle Making Equipment
One of the best ways to stay safe making candles is simply to use appropriate equipment and materials during the process.
- Use a double boiler if you’re melting wax on a stove top. Wax melted in a double boiler won’t get too hot, and the heat will be distributed more evenly. You may wish to invest in an electric wax melter if you plan on making a lot of candles.
- Use a wick stabilizer bar or wick centering bar to keep your wick in place while pouring your candles and waiting for them to cool. Tools like these prevent the need to make adjustments when your wax is hot.
- Make sure the wax, wicks and other materials you use are intended for making candles. Always read the instructions for each product you use.
- Only use vessels that are appropriate for candle making. Ensure that any containers you use will not crack, leak or catch on fire. Do not use containers made from porous materials that may absorb wax. Always check each container for defects before pouring your wax.
3. Keep Kids and Pets Away
Some candle and soap-making projects are safe to do with children, but it’s important to use your discretion. Small children should generally be kept away from the area where you are making candles. Children who are old enough to help with candle making should be under constant supervision.
Pets – no matter how well behaved – should always be kept in a separate area when you’re making candles. Pets can easily cause things to spill in your workspace, but it’s also important to remember that pets may be more sensitive than we are to fragrances released during the candle making process.
4. Keep Things Tidy
Having a clean workspace is key when it comes to making candles safely. If you’re doing a project in the kitchen, be sure to clean up any cooking oil that may be left on your stove, as this can create a fire hazard. No matter where you’re working, flammable materials should be cleared from the area.
It’s also important to think about ventilation when making candles. If you’re working on a stove, use the fan on your range hood to keep the air moving. Opening a window or using a fan to circulate the air in your room can help no matter where your workspace is.
If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to tie it back or even use a hairnet. Not only does this keep your hair safe from open flames, it also prevents the chance of stray hairs falling into your product.
5. Don’t Leave Your Workspace Unattended
Making candles can take a long time, but it’s important to keep an eye on the process. Never leave wax to melt unattended or walk away from a lit stove. Even electric stoves and wax melters can pose a fire hazard if you leave the room while they’re on.
Making your own candles is a fun and meditative process, but like most projects, there are a few potential risks involved. Safety should always be your top priority whether this is your first attempt at making a candle or your hundredth. By keeping these safety guidelines in mind, you can limit the chance of injuries while keeping the focus on fun.