Updated: Jun 7
The boyfriend booked me a candle making workshop at To Be Calm for Valentine’s Day because I’ve been too busy this year to meet my goals to make stuff.
This was a simple 1.5 hour session at their store downtown, with all materials provided. We turned out to be the only two people who booked a class on that day, so it felt like a private class, which was really nice 🙂
The session started with the instructor explaining the different types of wax used to make candles (To Be Calm uses soy wax for the candles, which was what we used for ours as well). We were then taught about fragrances (top, middle, base notes), and the various types of fragrance options to build the fragrance of our candle.
There are more than 100+ fragrance oils to choose from in the shop. I started thinking about the memory and feeling I wanted to recreate, and came up with rain, the sea, and muji (which to me smells a bit like wood) – sounds super focused, but obviously being the indecisive me, I got distracted when smelling the various options.
Smelling many fragrance oils was no mean feat – after every 4-5 or so options, the nose gives up and stops working well, and we need to smell a cup of coffee beans to help reset our sense of smell.
The founder of To Be Calm came by the store while we were in the middle of fragrance selection, and she tried to help find the right mix for me. Always a difficult exercise because I am quite an indecisive and easily distracted person ha.
FINALLY decided – you’ll see what it is later
After finally deciding on the fragrance mix (which takes the most time), we proceeded to make the candle. This involves scooping beautiful white soy wax chips (which kinda looked like white chocolate), and then melting them to the right temperature, before we add the fragrance oils in.
After which, we stick the wick to the base of the candle glass, and pour the wax + fragrance mixture in and wait for it to set.
The final customization we got to do was to name our candle, and select a box where the name would be printed on it. Took me some time (as always), but finally got there.
It takes a couple of days for the wax to properly solidify and set, so we pick them up from the store after a few days. Here’s what my final product is:
The one on the left is mine: In a Room of My Own.
Dry Tobacco & Hay was a bit of a grassy smell, which somewhat reminds me of rain
Exotic Woods was a lovely blend of a comforting woody smell
Hydrangea was a random last minute inspiration – when I first smelled the fragrance oil, I immediately felt like I was transported to Mumbai, at the Trident Hotel where I spent some time back in 2016. It was such a clear memory evoked just by a smell, that I felt compelled to want to take that smell back with me
Not that Mumbai was the favourite memory in my life (although I did have a a lovely time there!), but I don’t think I’ve smelled anything that so clearly brought back memories. Music / songs do that more for me, but it was quite interesting for a memory to be triggered by a fragrance, and I think I’ll pay a bit more attention to smells in the future.
The resultant fragrance was quite interesting, and made me feel like I was sitting in my own room, and reminiscing on memories and feelings (I love the smell and feeling of rain – a little bit down and gloomy, but at the same time washing away things for a clean start).
The boyfriend was pretty clear on what he was looking for (woody notes), and hence had a faster process to getting to his fragrance :p
Details of the workshop
Duration: ~1.5 hours (can be shorter or longer, depending on how long you take to decide on what you want :p) Price: ~SGD 65, includes all materials and customized box with name of candle printed, and also a voucher to be used on other To Be Calm products
Level of “fun”: 3.5/5
Exploring the various smells was fun – some smells were lovely, some were familiar, some were strange. Coffee beans are your best friend to reset the nose!
The elements of customization was enjoyable – not easy, but makes you think about what you’re trying to create, and in this case, what emotion / mood / memory you’re trying to build (at least that was how I saw it. I’m sure you can just pick your favourite smell and that would be easier!)
Level of difficulty: 2/5
The technical aspects of making the candle itself was super simple – using a dropper to take out the right amounts of fragrance oils, and mixing and pouring the melted wax into the candle glass.
The difficult aspect was trying to put together the right fragrance for yourself – if you’re very clear on what you want, that would be quite straightforward. If you’re indecisive and imaginative like me, might take a bit more time 😀