Alright folks, here it is! The soy wax melts and tarts. You can use this same technique for palm or paraffin wax too!
First I'd like to talk about wax for a minute. I used soy wax for this pictorial but you can use paraffin or palm wax as well, or a mixture of waxes. Soy wax gives you a pretty creamy finish, paraffin is the standard wax you'll find in store bought candles, and palm wax makes a beautiful crystalline finish.
And here we go!
Make sure your work space is clean and free of clutter! Not having enough space could risk a spill of hot wax! You'll also want to get your tools ready; a scale, spoons, and melting vessels. I used anchor glass measuring cups today because I wanted to use the microwave for melting... and because my metal melting pot is in a box in Canada!
You'll also need wax (of course), colourant and scent, as well as molds of some sort. You can use many things for molds; plastic egg cartons (NOT the foam ones!), plastic yogurt contains, ice cube trays, silicone "one bite" molds, tart molds, clam shell molds... pretty much anything heat safe! I went with clam shell molds and a wilton "one bite" mold.
Decide how much wax you need to fill you vessels. I wanted 6 clam shells and a handful of tarts with one scent, and some tarts with the other. I need ~21 oz of wax for the apple cinnamon batch and ~5 oz of wax for the pumpkin. Weigh your wax in your melting vessels, I use that big steel spoon to scoop the wax from the bag. If you want to use your hands I would suggest wearing a glove. I like to keep my materials as germ-free as possible!
Melt your wax. You can either do this in a double boiler or the microwave. If you chose the microwave, like I have you want to do 30-45 second bursts. Melt the wax until it is around 90% melted, then stir until the rest melts.
Once your wax is melted take the temperature, if it is below the flash point of your fragrance then you can move on to the next step!
When your wax is cool enough you can add scent and colour! I prefer liquid dyes but you can also buy them in a block form. For those ones simply shave off small bits of the block and mix the wax until the dye melts. If you use the liquid add a drop at a time until you get the colour you want. Not sure if you're there yet? There are two tricks for testing your colour; 1) drip a small amount of a piece on white paper and let it dry or 2) dip a refrigerated spoon into the wax and pull it out, the set wax on the spoon will show you your colour! I went with the paper method.
If this is your first time making melts or tarts you should stick to 1 oz of fragrance per pound of wax. After you have more experience you can increase this to 2 oz per pound. I generally stick to 1.5 oz per pound myself. Especially with this wax, which has a great scent throw. Please DO NOT use more than 1 oz per pound until you know what you are doing! Too much scent will ruin the wax causing it to become soft and grainy.
Fill your molds! Fill clam shells to the top of the inside lip and tarts to the top of the cavity. If you're using paraffin you will want the wax to form a bubble of sorts that is slightly raised above the mold surface. Paraffin tends to get very convex (dipped in the middle) when it cools. The "bubble" is extra wax that fills the dip! After you fill your vessels you will need to wait for an hour (at least!) to move them. Wait until they are completely cool! Do not use the fridge or freezer as this can make your wax crack. Let them cool slowly on the counter.
While waiting for the melts to solidify we need to clean up. The faster you start this step, the easier it will be! Take some clean paper towel and wipe the liquid wax out of the melting vessels. After that wash them with a grease cutting dish soap, I recommend Dawn as it seems to work the best at dissolving the wax. To clean your spoons simply wipe the hardened wax off them with your tester paper then wash them with the same dish soap.
Close the clam shells and pop the tarts out of the molds! That's it! Super easy right? To package the tarts you can use cellophane baggies, organza baggies, boxes... pretty much anything! For the clam shells you can add a label and decorations.
This silicone mold is really great for tarts BUT as you can see the edges tend to break off. You can use a spray mold release to help with this. I simply didn't have any on hand, and these are also just for me!
**Some fragrances will cause what is called "frost" on the surface of soy wax. The pumpkin scent I used did just that. I like how it looks when I get frost, but not everyone does. If you want to avoid this you can use other types of waxes or a mixture of waxes. Not all fragrance does this! Here is an example of wax frost:
Next up: the last Christmas soap!
Next pictorial: making woven face cloths!