Do you enjoy the fragrance of air fresheners or commercially manufactured scented candles, but worry the chemicals in these products may be affecting your health and that of your loved ones? The good news is you can have these flower fresh scents and preserve your well-being.
Making homemade scented candles can be a fun and easy DIY project. You can choose safe and natural waxes, like beeswax or soy wax, for your candle. Herb plants from your own garden can provide the fragrance. You can also create beautiful works of art by using plants in candles for their decorative value.
How to Use Dried Herbs for Candles
When using herbs for candle making, start by thoroughly drying the plant material to prevent mildew. To scent a candle, herb plants can be finely chopped or crushed to help release their fragrance.
Some candle makers prefer to steep the chopped herbs in the hot wax for a period of time to allow the fragrance to be incorporated into the wax. The wax is then strained before making the candle.
An alternate method is to add the chopped herbs to the candle as it is poured. The powdery herbs add a design element to the candle, especially if the herbal mix contains colorful flower petals.
Adding sprigs of leaves and small flower stems around the edge of the candle while it's being poured is another decorative way for using plants in candles. This method works best for wide, clear candle jars. Keeping these larger pieces far away from the wick will prevent them from catching fire or sparking.
Best Herbs for Candle Making
By now, you may be wondering what herbs are best for candles? Aromatic herbs, like those used in aromatherapy, are popular as are herbs that evoke emotion. Flowers bring a gentle fragrance inside the home and many types of leaves can be used to decorate the outside of the candle. Consider the following candle herb plants:
- Lavender – One of the most popular choices of dried herbs for candles, lavender elicits calmness and reduces anxiety. Use crushed dried lavender to scent candles and dry flower buds for decoration.
- Mint – Use homemade peppermint scented candles for a holiday table centerpiece or give them as Christmas gifts. Burn spearmint scented candles year-round for that clean, fresh minty fragrance.
- Rosemary – Like lavender, rosemary can be used for both fragrance and as a design element in candles. Rosemary can be grown in a container or in the garden as a perennial shrub. Harvest the leaves before the plant blooms for the richest aroma.
- Chamomile – With its daisy-like flower, chamomile imparts both aroma and decorative value to candle making. Harvest chamomile flowers midday when they are fully open, but after the dew has dried.
- Lemon Verbena – This lemon-scented perennial shrub is so aromatic it releases a fresh citrus scent every time its leaves are touched. Harvest and dry lemon verbena leaves individually on screens. Dried leaves can be stored in zippered bags.
Burning your homemade scented candles will release their herbal aroma and are a wonderful alternative to chemical air fresheners. To preserve their fragrance longer, try storing your herbal candles in an airtight container.
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Laura Miller has been gardening all her life. Holding a degree in Biology, Nutrition, and Agriculture, Laura's area of expertise is vegetables, herbs, and all things edible. She lives in Ohio.