By Ana de Villa Singson

I’ve been pouring my own candles since 2005. I started when I took a long break from work (my first semi-retirement!  It took 2 semi-retirements before I actually said good-bye to the corporate world where I was a onetime marketing and sales director).  I was fortunate to come across a Dutch liberal arts professor who was vacationing in Manila. I was even more fortunate when he agreed to give me one-on-one lessons on  painting, mould making and candle making.  In no time, I was fashioning my own candle moulds out of clay and Plaster of Paris and rubber,  a messy “get your hands dirty” affair that I incongruously did on my bathroom counter! I made moulded candles (my favorite was an egg shaped paraffin candle that I hand painted in pink and silver!  I made pillar candles all scented with high concentrations of fragrance oils and eventually found my way into selling them in some shops in Shangri-la Edsa Mall.  I received custom made orders too for candles inlaid with dry leaves and spices partnered with bespoke narra candle holders. Nowadays, I get requests for bespoke candles made with specific color and custom fragrance blends with personalized labels.

Scented Soy container candles in yummy color and fragrances. Dyed in lavander and cotton cany pink. They feature wooden wicks, a nice alternative to the regular cotton ones.

I had a long hiatus before making candles again.  Recently, during the pandemic, I took it up again mostly because I was racking up huge bills buying candles for the house and for my husband and son who consume them voraciously (they light up daily when they are reading…the wafting scents and warm lights seem to soothe them).  In no time, I taught my sons to pour their own candles and my staff too.  After putting up AAA CLUB-BING, I became one of the Crafts instructors and had a one day session on Candle Making.

Pretty gel candle lit up to show the wax cubes inside them. Gel candles are dramatic luxe candles with jelly like translucence.

Back in 2005, paraffin was the wax du jour.  Paraffin is cheap, plentiful and is easy to work with.  It shapes beautifully because it hardens well and can easily take the mould’s shape and it accepts fragrances readily.  But as I told my AAA CLUB-bing students, paraffin is a byproduct of the petroleum industry and each time you light it, carbon molecules fill the air, visible through the black soot it marks your shelves, walls and ceiling with. Happily, in this age of environmental protectionism, there are many new options.  The current wax of  choice is soy.  It is vegan, 100% natural, friendly to the ecosystem, lasts long because of its slow burn and has a trendy off-white look. While it has many benefits, it has its drawbacks too:  it’s more expensive, it’s too soft to mould and shape on its own, so it’s usually combined with paraffin if you want to shape them by pouring them into moulds ( pillar candles, wax melts, et al), it has large molecules so it doesn’t accept fragrance as readily as paraffin.  There are easy solutions to these drawbacks though. Soy candles are usually sold as container candles precisely so they don’t need to be unmoulded.  And for the fragrance, they are “cured” for 10 – 14 days (one of the longest curing times among the available waxes) to allow the fragrance to seep through and wrap around those largeish molecules.  Problems solved!  Nowadays ,there are many other wax options too:  beeswax ( beautiful, with it’s own distinct honey scent; it’s not vegan though), coconut, palm ( both beautiful vegan, all natural waxes but a bit more expensive!). But for AAA Craft Club’s CandleMaking 101, we focused on soy wax container candles, candles scented and poured into containers.

There is a science to Candle Making and it infuriates me when I watch Youtubers blithely saying that you can just pop your chosen wax into the microwave to zap and melt them.  That is dangerous!  Different waxes have different flash points, the point at which they will ignite and cause a larger flame than you had anticipated.  They also have different fragrance incorporation points, the temperature at which you add the fragrance into your melted heated wax.  Different waxes tolerate different levels of fragrance.  Gel fragrances, beautiful jelly-like, transluscent creations can only accept 5% level of fragrance ( so they are gorgeous and dramatic to look at but not strong on aromatherapy). They also have different pouring temperatures ( the temperature range at which you can pour them into your selected container or mould) and curing times ( the interval  between the time when the candle is poured and it is first lit).  All these have to be considered to make sure that your candle actually lights up, has a good cold throw ( smells divine unlit) and hot throw ( diffuses the fragrance  and throws it far and wide when actually lit) and doesn’t have imperfections like cracks, sink holes, bubbles.  So here’s a cautionary tale:  avoid a potential flare up and candles that don’t light or smell good by taking the time to read up from credible sources.  If they tell you to melt and pour and microwave without giving you proper temperatures and curing time, ignore them and move on.  There are many more credible sources and references.   

As I promised my students, here’s a quick guide on different temperature points and curing times.  I’m also adding a few tips on Candle Care. Watch the video too! Before you know it, you’ll be pouring your own candles.

I enjoy candles!  I call mine WINK, BLINK, NOD.  A notorious insomniac, sleep comes to me very fleetingly.  So I often light up a candle and pray that it’s fragrance and warmth help lull me to relax and sleep.  In a wink, in a blink, I hope to nod off!

Happy Candle Making!  Be safe, be sure… and follow the guidelines.






Easily available
Can take the shape of moulds easily
Accepts fragrances and dyes readily
Quicker curing time

By product of the petroleum industry
Petrochemical emissions when lit
Leaves soot marks on shelves, walls, ceilings
Not eco-friendly

Faster burn than other candles so it won’t last as long

Soy ( one of the newest waxes)

100% vegan
100% natural ( if pure)
Eco friendly
Has the  currently in-demand creamy off white color
Slow burn so it lasts longer
Clean burn (almost soot-free)

Long Curing time ( 10 -14 days)
A bit more expense than paraffin
Soft, not easy to shape as a stand alone candle so it’s often prepared as a container candle
Doesn’t accept dyes as readily ,you will need to add a bit more

Natural oils of soy may cause “sweating”


100% vegan
100% natural (if pure)
Eco friendly

Very slow and clean burn
Color is naturally  white so it’s easy to color, it accepts dyes well
Odorless, accepts fragrances well

Relatively expensive in the Philippines
Consistency is very sofdt, it usually blended with paraffin or soy to firm it up

Natural oils of coconut makes it prone to “sweating”

BEESWAX ( the olden form of wax, harkens to the Egyptian times)

Natural, comes from bees
Has a nice golden color

Has its own unique sweet honey-like smell

Can be shaped and moulded into standalone pillar candles

Expensive in the Philippines and not as readily available

Not vegan
Hard to add scent because of its own distinct fragrance
Doesn’t accept dyes well since it has a naturally colored base already


100% vegan
100% natural (if pure)
Eco friendly

Very slow and clean burn
One of the cleanest burns

Relatively expensive and not as accessible as  pure palm wax in the Philippines
Not as sustainable since palm is in high demand, sometime palm wax can be synthetic so check labels before purchasing


Dramatic when lit because of jelly-like, translucent look
Easy to color since it’s transparent
Lovely when decorated with non-flammable items like shells, sand, metal accessories that can be seen through the gel consistency

Low fragrance tolerance so it won’t accept much fragrance
Very high flash points so it needs to be heated up to very high temperatures before it melts

Can ignite, so follow temperature guidelines strictly when using gel wax
It’s see-through so imperfections liked bubbles can easily be seen.  Pour low and at the right temperature to avoid bubbles.



(do not heat wax above this point to avoid “igniting”)

MELTING POINT (wax liquifies at this temperature)

( add fragrance at this temperature )


(pour your heated, scented wax into your container / mould at this temperature)

CURING TIME (storing time before you light the candle for the first time)


245 – 280


180 – 185

170 – 180

2-3 days






10-14 days



100 – 110



2 days



145 – 150

160 – 180

140 – 150

2 days


Above 240

190 – 200



1-2 days




185 – 200

185 – 200

2 days

1. Follow the temperature guides for the best throw and the most unblemished candle.
2. Check specific pouring points of each fragrance.  Some fragrances have a flash point of 160 (Fahrenheit\) and can only be be added at lower temperatures.
3. For gel candles, use fragrances only with a flash point of above 170 Fahrenheit.
4. When adding color use dyes, not pigments.  Dye will incorporate into the wax while pigments will suspend in tiny bubbles causing murky and weak colors.
5. Pour low to avoid bubbles.
6. When curing candles, avoid varying room temperature.  Changes in room temperature can cause “sweating” when wax molecules contract and expand, squeezing out fragrance oil causing “sweat”.
9.Use a heat gun to smooth out surface imperfections. You may also pour another layer of wax to cover up surfaced blemishes.
10. Trim wick to ¼ of an inch.  Sometimes, candles don’t light because the wick is too long or too rimmed with ash from previous burns.
11.  When lighting a candle for the first time, leave the flame on for 1-2 hours or until maximum melt pool is achieved.  Melt pool is the liquified wax which results from burning a candle.  Maximum melt pool is achieved when wax liquifies until the very edge of the candle or the candle’s container.
12,  Do not place a lit candle near or on a hot surfaced (i.e. oven).  It will ignite given the additional heat on top of the heat caused by burning the candle’s wick and drawing up the “fuel” from the capillary action of the heated wax climbing up the wick.  
13,  Do not leave a lighted candle unattended.  If you will be burning overnight, use wax melts which have no flame but use wax/ candle lamps which use electric bulbs as heat source to melt your wax and release the fragrance.

Our next AAA Craft  session will be on Dressmaking.  Watch out for the announcement here and through your Batch Reps.

To join, simply register AAA CLUB-BING!  It’s easy to join! Just click the link below . 

Open to all AAA registered members!  Not yet a member?  Just pay the Php 500 AAA annual membership fee and you can join all the Clubs of your choice.  2 ways to pay:

1. Deposit to ASSUMPTION ALUMNAE ASSOCIATION, Union Bank Account # 034030018335.  Please send a copy of the deposit slip to aaafinance@assumption.edu.ph and to 0917 5372066 (Ana).  Please indicate your name, batch and label as AAA CLUB-BING!
2. Gcash to 0917 5372066 (Ana D Singson).  Please send a copy of the deposit slip to aaafinance@assumption.edu.ph and to 0917 5372066 (Ana).  Please indicate your name, batch and label as AAA CLUB-BING!

Not yet ready to commit to a full membership?  You can join individual sessions for Php 200/ session. Same payment options as above!

Join us!  See you on July 14 at 11 a.m.  Let’s go Club-bing!

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