Making A Custom Candle At The Candle Lab

When planning my trip to Ohio to visit my brother and my sister-in-law, I looked up some fun things to do in Columbus and Cincinnati. I came across The Candle Lab, a brand that specializes in natural, gourmet soy candles and custom fragrances. You can literally walk in, choose the scents you like and make your own custom candle. Basically a dream come true for my candle-addicted self. So, a couple of weeks ago while in Ohio, we stopped by the Short North location and made our own!

When you first walk through the door you're hit with a wave of different scents. The left wall of the store is basically covered in shelf after shelf of their scented candles, each with a single fragrance that they've created to be used on its own (in their pre-made, ready to buy candles) or mixed with other scents for a custom blend. If you're making a custom candle you're handed a clipboard with a prepared form and sent over to the Great Wall of Candles to smell all the things and jot down some of your favorite scents. Don't worry that the scents you like won't smell good together. The salesperson will give you advice on which fragrances will work well together once you have your list and are ready to start creating.

My recommendation when approaching the wall would be to smell everything. Yes, that might seem excessive but if you're in a rush you shouldn't be making a custom candle. The reason you should smell everything, including scents that you think might not appeal to you, is that some of them will really pleasantly surprise you. I smelled Tomato Leaf, which I thought I would never want in a candle, but it smelled so natural and real – fresh, like my family's garden – and a really nice homey wave of nostalgia hit me. Now, I would totally mix together Tomato Leaf, Verbena and something herbaceous, like Rosemary to make a fresh scent for my home. Who knew? Also, I found some of the scents I thought I would adore, like Eucalyptus, just smelled a little different than I thought they would. So, smell all the things.

Next you head over to the shelves filled with empty containers. There's a huge variety of jars and ceramic pots to choose from. You can even bring in your own heat-proof vessel in which to make your own candle. The prices vary based on how many ounces each jar can hold. I went with the classic 8oz jar, which cost $16.

Once you have your list ready and your jar selected you take them up to the bar and the salesperson will ask you to star a couple of the fragrances you liked most. I went for Grapefruit and Lemongrass. I love citrusy scents, both for myself and for my home, but find that grapefruit can often smell a bit like sweat (Am I the only one who thinks so?). But The Candle Lab's version hit the perfect note and I knew right away that I wanted to use it in my candle. You can put up to three different scented oils in your candle, so the saleswoman recommended a couple of options. I happened to have a cold that day which made the process a bit tougher, but I settled on Teakwood to give my candle a woody base.

We were then given blank labels and a variety of markers and pens so that we could name our custom candle and decorate our label. If your drawing skills aren't great, don't worry. The label actually gets placed on the bottom of your candle. I was a little stressed over my stuffy nose and worried that my candle wouldn't smell as good as I thought it did, so I just called mine 'Citrus Woods' and simply wrote out the notes for my future reference. You're then asked to fill a jigger (the hourglass shaped measuring tool that bartenders use) with your selected scent oils. You can add as much or as little of each scent until you fill it to the brim. I like that you get to customize which notes play a more prominent role. I added my oils slowly, alternating and sniffing in between, to make sure that the balance was how I wanted it. I ended up using more Grapefruit and Lemongrass than Teakwood, because I wanted it to be more bright and citrusy, but you can still definitely make out that woody base.

Once I'd filled the jigger, the saleswoman brought over my jar filled with liquid soy wax and told me to dump all the oil in in one straight shoot. I did, and she mixed the concoction around and around with a metal spoon. And that was pretty much it! The candles take about half an hour to set so we went off to have a delicious lunch and a browse at some of the nearby shops and came back later that afternoon to pick up our little wax babies.

I have to say, The Candle Lab does a really great job of wrapping up your candle in paper and a pretty bag which just makes it feel like a gift to yourself. The whole process was a lot of fun and the scents were so good that I'm definitely going to add some of their pre-made candles to my wishlist. Fig, I'm lookin' at you. That place is incredibly addictive. I know that next time I'm in Ohio I will definitely be making another custom candle. If you're not really into candles but love bath and body products, they also have a great selection of scrubs and creams which I believe you can also customize. I've been to painting and drinking events before and I think this is an even better way to spend a girls night out because you get a great product you can actually use for all your work. This would be such a fun thing to do for a birthday or bachelorette. Plus, some of the locations even serve alcohol and have tasting events. Just make sure to call ahead if you're going with a party of more than five people.

Take a look at the scent list. Do any of the fragrances appeal to you? Which would you like to mix in a custom candle? Let me know in the comments below.