Hello from the Charleston airport! Because of a classic summertime DC storm, my flight has been delayed several hours now, so I thought I’d check-in with a quick recap of something really fun I did on my solo trip—I took Candlefish’s candle-making workshop!
For those of you unfamiliar, Candlefish is an awesome candle company—they’re the sister company of Rewined—with retail stores in Charleston and Atlanta. They offer 100 candles in their library, each only labeled by a number. In class, we learned that they don’t name their candles or write the fragrances on the packaging so that you judge them by smell, as opposed to any preconceived notions of those scents. Their store also offers the cutest selection of paper goods—think journals, letterpress cards, cute wrapping paper. I was basically in heaven.
I signed up for the 2pm class on Sunday, which was BYOB. They provide the glassware, and I brought a half bottle of rosé to enjoy during class. While everyone else in the class was there with another person or two, this actually was the perfect solo activity because there wasn’t much opportunity to socialize—I didn’t feel awkward being there by myself at all. And, at the start of class, our instructor had everyone go around the table and introduce themselves and say where they are from. I befriended the couple next to me because they had ties to DC, and we had a great time making our candles together.
I was very impressed with how well the class was run. Organizing 12 people around hot wax and fragrance oil isn’t an easy task, but they had it down to a science. After the introductions, our instructor gave us a brief background on Candlefish and shared the exciting news that their shop is moving up a block to King Street sometime this year! We then had about 20 minutes to smell the fragrances they were offering for this month’s candle-making workshops. Since there’s no way a class can smell all 100 fragrances, they pull down a fifth of their collection each month for participants to choose from. They rotate the fragrances monthly, so if you take the class again, it’s a different experience—however, they always offer at least two scents in each “family”—i.e. citrus, floral, woodsy. To help guide the process, they give you a “library card” on a clip board so you can keep track of which scents you like the most.
In the workshop, you make two candles of your selected scent. We could have paired up with someone in the class so that we’d walk away with two different scents, but as soon as I smelled number 49, I knew I wanted to walk away with two candles of it. Unsurprisingly, it’s a citrus scent that reminds me a lot of their #3, which is very orange-y, and #12, which smells like the Volcano candle anthropologie made popular.
Once everyone in the class had chosen their scent, we went up to the scale one-by-one and measured out the appropriate amount of fragrance oil. They measure fragrance oil by weight as opposed to liquid amount because they all have different densities, so it ensures each candle has the right amount of fragrance. We learned that putting too much fragrance in a candle actually clogs the wick, which means your candle won’t smell like anything.
After we measured our fragrance oil, we were invited up to the scale again to measure out the right amount of hot wax. Candlefish candles are 100% soy, which means they burn clean and are better for your lung health than some other options on the market. The only time they use other types of wax is when they are making candle sticks, as soy is too soft to hold the shape.
We then mixed our wax and our fragrance together, and let it cool for about 15 minutes before pouring it into the glass jars. To make sure the wick dried in the center of the candle, we leaned them against popsicle sticks. The candles then cool overnight at Candlefish and you can pick them up the next day—they also offer $12 shipping if you take the class on your last day in town.
I had the best time at this class, and thought it was a great value, too! For $55, you get two candles and about two hours of instruction time. Their candles normally cost $22/each, so it’s really only a $10 fee fore the class. I’d definitely take another workshop the next time I’m in town!