Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reed Diffisers

As we bring in 2014, I keep thinking of all the wonderful scents I love to have around me all winter. For me, it's warm comforting scents, scents that remind me of the crisp outdoors and spicy scents! 

This months blog is on how to turn this into an all day, every day scent by making Reed Diffusers! Unlike wax melts that require electricity and candles that require a flame or even a room spray that only lasts so long, Reed Diffusers are a full time fragrance option! Great for your office, bedroom, bathroom, dorm room or anywhere you want scent!


Here is what you will need to make the Reed Diffusers:

Window Front Bags

4 oz Bullet Bottle PET with Black Flip Cap
Reed Diffuser Base
8 oz Mason Jar
Vented Daisy Lid
Aroma Flex Wands
Fragrance Oil



First, measure out the amount of fragrance you want. Recommended use is 20-40% fragrance. I used 40% or 1.6 weight oz of fragrance for mine and the remainder of 2.4 oz Reed Diffuser Base. Blend these two items together in your PET bottle. Next, place the jar with the lid on, inside the bag and the reeds. I find they fit best if you "pre-twist" the reeds around a pencil and place them in the jar, then place the oil next to it in the bag. Simply place directions for use on a paper inside the bag and label the bag with your business label.

Reed diffusers are best placed in areas with good airflow to carry the fragrance through the room. A bottle of reed diffuser can last up to several months, depending on the size of the bottle, and the number of reeds used. Make sure the bottle or jar you use is short enough to allow the wands to "fan" or spread out for the best fragrance diffusion. We also recommend labeling your product with a caution to place in an area out of reach of children and pets, where it is least likely to be knocked over, as the oil can stain or damage some surfaces and can be harmful to children or pets if spilled on them or ingested.

 
Our Reed Diffuser Base is formulated to blend with most fragrance or essential oils. Reed base is VOC compliant. It is a clear, odorless, low viscosity liquid designed to easily "wick up" or absorb into the reeds without clogging. This allows for complete dispersion into the air for maximum fragrance throw. Simply mix this unscented base with any of our fragrance oils or your favorite essential oils! Recommended usage is 20% fragrance, but up to 40% fragrance can be used. You will need to test small batches to determine the best results. Adjustments may need to be made depending on the strength and viscosity of the fragrance oil being used (thicker oils may need a higher dilution ratio in order to facilitate proper reed absorption and diffusing, clarity and thorough blending). Our base is alcohol-free and has no detectable odor or color. A tiny drop of liquid candle dye can be added to color your diffuser oils for a more exciting look in clear glassware. Be aware that fragrance oils often have a color of their own, which can affect the finished color once dye is added.

Measuring Examples: 20% fragrance load = .8 oz FO to 3.2 oz Base = 4 oz total bottle 30% fragrance load = 1.2 oz FO to 2.8 oz Base = 4 oz total bottle 40% fragrance load = 1.6 oz FO to 2.4 oz Base = 4 oz total bottle.

Reed diffusers make a great flameless alternative to candles for those who prefer not to use flame or electric warmers. They can also be accessorized to make a beautiful decoration! Try adding small sea shells, colored glass marbles, small river rocks, etc to the bottom of your diffuser bottles! Sets of 6 to 12 diffuser reeds, 4 to 16 oz reed fragrance and a diffuser bottle/vase currently retail in the marketplace for anywhere from around $29.95 or less in chain stores, and up to $76.00 in upscale boutiques! Lots of room for great profits!


Happy Crafting!!!
Flicker

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Test Burning Jar Candles

This is a subject that is often hotly debated by candle makers. What is the criteria for properly testing your jar candles burn? This blog will help you to determine how to most effectively burn test your candles for the proper wick size, proper burn and also for the best possible scent throw BUT it also addresses specific testing criteria set forth by the ASTM for SAFETY!!!

For my test, I will be making a paraffin blend container candle. When using paraffin wax, you must cure your candles at a minimum 24 hours before burning to ensure the wax is properly cured, for soy, soy blends and palm, a 48 hour minimum is required. Keep in mind that contrary to popular belief that scent in paraffin candles and ALL candles may also take up to two full weeks to cure. But to test the burn, not the scent throw, you can test starting at 24-48 hours post production. This candle is made using the IGI 4630 Paraffin Blend (Formerly Astor J-50) wax. 

My first test is always to test a four complete hour burn and look at what I have. Be certain always to time this. (To test, don't test more or less, just the four hours exactly at first.) I examine the melt pool depth and width, the flame height, how hot the glass feels on the outside of the candle and of course if it has fully cured two weeks, the scent throw of the candle.


After the first burn, and during the last moments of the burn cycle I evaluate several things. First, how does the melt pool look? Is it edge to edge? If not, how much wax is left on the glass? Is it in just a few spots? Is it less than 1/8"? If so, the first burn is promising and it appears my wick is correct. If there is more than 1/8" all the way around the jar, I would likely replace the wick using one size larger the next test. If it is correct, I wait at least 6-8 hours and repeat the process. I am also of course in this time evaluating the scent throw (Specific to the diameter jar I am making of course). I will burn 4 full four hour burn cycles exactly like this before determining if the wick is indeed correct. 

With each test burn I check the following:
What is the length of the charred wick? Be sure to always trim it before each burn. If using a paraffin wax, it should be 1/4" if using soy, 1/8".

How deep is the melted wax against the glass? It should be at least 1/4" but no more than 1/2" for both optimal scent throw and safety. 

What is the height of the flame at the beginning and

end of each burn cycle? This you will read more about with the ASTM standards below. I like mine to be around 1/2" and just a hair over 1" at a maximum at the end of the burn cycle.
Did the melt pool reach from edge to edge?
Was there any smoking at all? Dancing flames?
Was the scent throw poor, good, great or outstanding?
 

If indeed based on the four test burns my candle is performing to my expectations I then move on to burning the rest of the candle fully to be certain that the life of the candle burns as well as the first four burns. This is not really something that should be skipped. It is a fire, you are placing it in someone's home. Safety First!

Below are the ASTM fire safety standards for testing candles. Once you have your candles burning to what you feel is correct, evaluate it using the exact standards as outlined below:
Per the ASTM, this is the standard for test burning candles. Every person/company testing should use the same criteria without exception.

F 2417- 09 STANDARD SPECIFICATION
FOR
FIRE SAFETY FOR CANDLES

•Burn Test parameters:

– Candles burned in 4-hour burn cycles until end of
useful life except tea lights and gel candles
– Wicks to be trimmed to manufacturer’s label instructions
– Burned in laboratory with minimum draft
– Laboratory temperatures between 68°F to 86°F
– Candles spaced a minimum of 20 cm apart
– Flame heights observed at periodic intervals and recorded at the end of each burn cycle

F 2417- 09 STANDARD SPECIFICATION
FOR
FIRE SAFETY FOR CANDLES

•Maximum Flame height requirement

– UP TO 3 INCHES (MOST CANDLES)
– UP TO 3.75 INCHES (CERTAIN RELIGIOUS CANDLES)
– Candles intended to be burned outside are exempt

• No secondary ignition

• No container failures

• For pillar candles no flame impingement of flame on the supporting surface at end of life

F 2417- 09 STANDARD SPECIFICATION
FOR
FIRE SAFETY FOR CANDLES

• STABILITY

• Initially candles must remain stable when tilted to 10* off level

• Tilt stability of candles while in test
– “BURNING CANDLE SHALL NOT TIP OVER DURING
BURN TESTING” WHICH APPLIES TO FREESTANDING
CANDLES ONLY

I hope that this has given you all a bit more insight on test burning candles. It isn't something that should ever be skipped. Your testing now for safety of your product will prevent possible fires in the future!

Happy Candlemaking!
Flicker

Saturday, November 30, 2013

It's Hot Cocoa Season!

With Jack Frost already nipping at my nose (it was 0 degrees outside in Duluth, MN the other day!) and BCN having Hot Chocolate fragrance as the scent of the month, it's the perfect time to make a delicious 'mug' of chocolate delight, only with a wick!

Here is what you need to make these cute candles that smell like a slice or at least a mug of heaven!
IGI 4636 Wax 
IGI 4794 Wax
Brown Color Block
Hot Chocolate Fragrance
60-44-18z Wick
Wide Mouth Mason Jar or any glass coffee mug (the wick will change by changing jars!)




Instructions: Heat your IGI 4636 wax to 175-185*. Once the wax reaches desired temp, add your dye, blend well then add fragrance and again blend well. This wax should be poured between 155-165* into heated containers and cooled as slow as possible for optimal adhesion to glass and a smoother finished candle top.
*For jelly and mason jars or other jars that are taller than they are wide, we recommend pouring the wax at about 180-185* into heated containers and cooling as slow as possible. The increased pour temp will allow for more even cooling and less sink holes. 

 

Allow the candle to cool for about 4-6 hours. Then heat your IGI 4794 to about 175. Add your scent, and then allow to cool until the wax forms a skin on top and start stirring or whipping with a fork. I just allowed mine to get a bit foamy and poured it, you can actually whip the wax so it looks like whipped cream piled high on the cocoa too!

This candle can be done with coffee scents as well making the froth for cafe' au lait! With winter a reality, at least lighting a warm and cozy scent will make you believe it's warmer than it really is ;)



Happy Candlemaking!
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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Lush Lava

What is Lush Lava? It's a Hair & Body Mist with a twist! This month I tried something that I've had in my head for a few years. To try "layering" our Cyclomethicone and Hair & Body Protein Mist. It was a huge success! I like products that can be used multiple ways as do my customers. I always feel that people are more willing to buy when they feel they are getting more bang for their buck. I tend to agree that is how I shop as well.

Lush Lava when shaken prior to use will allow for the products to temporarily 'mix'. Since oil and water don't actually mix this part is essential to get the benefit of both products during use. It is awesome feeling on the skin and when used lightly in the hair has the benefit of a light conditioner AND a shine spray! I love it!


For this project you will need only a few items:
Hair & Body Protein Mist
Cyclomethicone
FD&C Body Dyes
Fragrance
PET Bottle for Packaging
Fine Mist Sprayer

*A Pyrex Measure Cup and a digital scale are also needed.



First, make your Protein Mist.
Instructions for use:
Add 1/4 to no more than 1/2oz. of lotion safe fragrance oil to 1 gallon of base. Add liquid Bath & Body dye in drops until desired color is achieved. Stir thoroughly. Pour into bottles with a funnel. For smaller amounts, there is a measuring chart found here: http://cart.candlesupply.com/Bases-c-332.html This chart is based on 1 oz per gallon so be sure to adjust accordingly!
Caution: Adding more than the recommended amount of fragrance oil may cause separation. Shake well before using! This product has a milky appearance so clouding is not an issue.
Some fragrances will cause separation of this base, please test your fragrances if this may be a problem. Shaking will incorporate it and it is still usable. 



 Next make your Cyclomethicone. Because this may go on both the hair and skin, I used only 10% fragrance. You can use a bit more or a bit less just be certain to check the IFRA percentages for each scent you plan to make because many are not skin safe to 10%! Incorporate the fragrance into the Cyclomethicone by gently shaking. 

*Some scents do NOT blend into cyclomethicone as easily as others. For this project I would recommend only using those that do without any separation. Using the method where you blend with vegetable oil then add to the cyclo may cause the hair or skin to become excessively oily. 



Once you have both products made, it's time to mix! Just pour your Protein Mist into the bottom of the bottle, filling it half way. Once this is done, GENTLY pour (I tilt the bottle) the Cyclomethicone on top of this. Once it settles, there will be two clear layers of product in the bottle. Be sure to note on the instructions to SHAKE WELL before each use to get the full benefits of each product. Your ingredients list will look like this:
Clear Layer:
Cyclomethicone J and Fragrance Oil
Colored Layer:
Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Cetrimonium Chloride, Isopropyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium PCA, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Hydrolyzed Collagen, Dimethicone, Sea Salt, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, DMDM Hydantoin, FD&C Colorant (which ever one you used) and Fragrance. To the left are two bottles. The one with the white cap shows the product shaken up to show what it looks like "mixed" the second shows it in the layers as it's settled. This is an easy product that is fun to make!


Happy Crafting!
Flicker!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

New Wood Rose Packaging Coming soon!

We have some new packaging coming to Bitter Creek that should be on the cart soon! There are three new bags for packaging the AromaMagic™ Wood Roses! I am pretty excited about this! There are a large and a small with the standard floral film print in clear and one that is stamped and reads wooden roses. They are awesome! If you have never worked with Wood Roses, here is your chance. Sell by the single or the bouquet or even use singles as promotional items to "give away" with your card and perhaps a discount? 

Our delicate, hand crafted AromaMagic™ Wood Roses look very realistic, and last forever! Never worry about your beautiful roses wilting again. These make great keepsakes and gifts that will last much longer than real cut flowers. Available in a great selection of over 20 gorgeous colors to match any décor! Here is what you will need to create fantastic Wood Roses!

Wood Roses
Reed Diffuser Base
Fragrance (I used Spring Rain for these)
Wood Roses Sleeves (COMING SOON!)
A Spray Bottle
A Bowl etc. to catch any over-spray. I use a Pyrex baking dish.


Lightly mist the wood flowers with any of our fragrance oils mixed with our AromaMagic™ Reed Diffuser Base in a spray bottle to scent. Be careful not to overly saturate the petals as they can fall apart if too much fragrance oil is used. Spray evenly with a fine mist so as not to leave visible oil spots. Be aware that some fragrance oils may cause discoloration, so we recommend testing each fragrance on a single flower before making a large batch. Do not dip or submerse the flower in fragrance oil!


Sell refresher mist in a 1 or 2 oz spray bottle or in a glass dropper bottle for customers to freshen their flowers! Great for fairs, festivals, craft shows, flea markets, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, mother’s day, get well soon! Great for table centerpieces (do in wedding colors, school colors for graduation parties, sports team colors, etc). Great items for fundraisers! Use wire cutters to cut stems to varying lengths and add silk leaves to create your own floral arrangement. Wrap a dozen long stemmed AromaMagic™ wood roses with some dried baby’s breath in a Floral Sleeve tied with a sheer ribbon for a romantic bouquet. Mix several colors or just one single color to create a stunning bouquet. Use as a classy drawer freshener in your lingerie drawer! 


 
Single roses sell great in bars… why not sell scented wood roses that will leave a longer lasting impression (wrap a blank white label around the stem for those who want to write a note or give their number)! Great gift for mommy-to-be at her baby shower… pink roses scented in baby powder! Real Estate agents, these make the perfect gifts for your clients to welcome them to their new home! Bosses, perfect gift for secretary’s day! Interior designers can now make custom floral arrangements in designer colors to match any décor! Great in bathrooms, bedrooms, offices, hospital rooms (especially for people who may be allergic to real flowers!).



We’ve seen crafters sell scented wood roses for $1 to $2 a piece, or an average of $18.00 per dozen. Great profit item!

Caution: Direct sunlight may cause colors to fade over time. Colors shown may look different on your computer screen than in real life.

Petals are hand crafted of birch wood and are finished with green silk leaves and a 13” long bendable green stem. Available in bunches of 8 closed bud roses.

 



Happy Crafting!
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Holiday Crafting with Kids

With Mason Jars & Water Crystals on sale this month at BCS what a PERFECT time to visit making these gems!

These are a great project for the holidays. If you are a Scout Leader or a are in charge of a Sunday School Class or even a Grade School Teacher, these make PERFECT take and make projects for the kids to give Mom for the Christmas! If you have a craft show booth, have the product on hand and have the kids do them as take and make where they  "help" and picks their own scent (This can get messy so make sure to have an extra set of hands if you choose this route!) but in general these make great air fresheners for the bathroom or other small area.

Supplies List:
Fragrance (I used Mistletoe & Ivy)
Mason Jars
Vented Daisy Lid
Plastic Sealing Disc
Water crystals
FD&C Bath and Body Dye (I used Green) *DO NOT USE CANDLE DYES!
Distilled Water

Fill your jar with water. For every ounce the jar holds, use  .75 oz distilled water. So for an 8 oz jar you would use 6 oz water, for a 12 oz jar 9 oz water and for a 16 oz jar you would use 12 oz water. Warm the water up so that it's not boiling but hot, this helps the water crystals to absorb the water MUCH faster! Add now your dye. I used the green FD&C Bath and Body dye for this and just added until it was the color I wanted.  Now for every 6 oz of water, use 1 tablespoon of the beads for the best results. You can use less but I find more is better. Add these items together. Photo shows what the beads look like as they are placed in water before they are fully swelled.



Once this part is done, it's a waiting game. I like to wait until the water crystals have absorbed all the water and are plump. Once this happens add your fragrance. I find that depending on the scent, I like about 1/4 oz of scent per 8 oz jar. Add your scent to this and let it be. I don't stir or anything at this point, I find that the less floating water in these the better off you are. ONLY use distilled water to prevent the possibility of mold and pass this tip along to your customer who will refresh them as well. Distilled water only. :) 

These are not over strong with most scents so are best suited to small areas. You can decorate the jars, you can add labels, different colored Daisy lids and more!   

Smelly Jellies are the PERFECT item for Holiday Crafting with Kids!

Happy Crafting!
Flicker  

Monday, September 30, 2013

I is for Ingredients!

This month we have a few great oils on sale at BCN that a lot of people may not use or understand. If you make soap or cosmetics or want to, this blog is for you! 

The first product is Sesame Oil. One of my favorite oils! 

This is a highly conditioning oil and is EXCELLENT in soap!!!! This is an excellent choice as a conditioning oil, and it also helps create a nice stable lather. This is also an excellent oil when used in massage oils as well and works wonderful as conditioning after bath oil when blended with Cyclomethicone


The second product is Liquid Glycerine. This is one of those things that really has a lot of uses but most people have never used it. Works great for mixing oxide colorants for use in soap making, you can use this to make Lava Lip Gloss too! 

We at this time do not carry the roller ball bottles for this but we do carry all the other ingredients to make it! The Castor Oil, the Liquid Glycerin, The Flavor Oils! This is an awesome stocking stuffer item and this is the perfect time of year to try it!



The third is Castor Oil. Oh how I love Castor oil too! It's the best thing on earth to make soap lather like there is no tomorrow! It's one of those I can't live as a soaper without it oils! It is also excellent for use in the Lava Lip Balms, and it's super for adding gloss to other lip products as well.

If you ever plan to make a shampoo bar, this will be your go-to oil! If you haven't tried it do so, you won't regret adding this rich oil to your line up!




Finally is Sweet Almond Oil. Sweet Almond is probably the best oil I have ever used for massage! I love a great massage and sweet almond gives the perfect glide! Ahhhhhhhhh! Along with being an excellent choice for massage oils it's great for an after bath oil mixed with Cyclomethicone, it's wonderful for use in CP and HP soaps, it works amazing in hand crafted from scratch lotions and so many more applications. This is one of those oils that truly everyone should have on their shelves and use it often!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Soap Pouf-on-a-Rope!

Soap Poufs, the 2013 version of "Soap-on-a-Rope"!

These easy to make poufs are fun, and are something you can market to men, women and even teens and children! Everyone washes so everyone can use them!

Use poufs that match the color of the fragrance and offer fun seasonal scents! The only limit is your imagination!


Supplies:
Microwave
Microwave safe glass (Pyrex) or HDPE Plastic measure cup
Sharp knife to cut soap
Rubbing alcohol in spray bottle 
Stainless steel spoons to stir soap
Mold for the pouf (I used a ziploc storage bowl. Find something that fits your pouf!)
Bath Pouf
Melt and Pour Soap. I used clear but you can use white and you can also color it using FD&C dyes)
Fragrance (I used Candy Corn *this scent MAY in time discolor)

First, cut up and melt your soap in the microwave. The pouf I used was quite large and required 6 weight oz of soap base. You will want to test to determine how much each of yours will hold. Melt your soap in the microwave using short 30 second burst and stirring between each just until the soap is melted, do NOT over-heat the soap. 

Once the soap is fully melted add any fragrance or color you desire and stir well. 

Pour a small amount of soap into the bottom of the mold. 











Spritz the pouf liberally with rubbing alcohol then the top of the poured soap and insert the pouf into the soap. 










Pour the remainder of the soap over the top of the pouf SLOWLY to be sure to saturate as much as possible. Using your spoon gently push the pouf down into the soap....be careful doing this or the soap can start to foam.









Wait until the soap completely cools and remove the pouf and your soap is ready! You can now package and sell. I recommend packaging in cellophane bags tied off with a cute hang tag for retail sales. 

Use your imagination and create some super fun Christmas poufs for sale at your next show! They are easy to make! This is also a great project for a Sunday School class to be made into Christmas Gifts for Mom! 






Happy Soap and Candle Making!
Flicker

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Lip Balms & Solid Perfumes

Today I will be using our creamy, all natural base to make Lip Balms AND Solid Perfumes that are just plain awesome!!! Just follow the instructions below using the recommended supplies.

You will need:
Lip Balm & Lotion Bar Base
Lip Balm Tubes, Pots or Tins

Flavor Oil
Fragrance Oil
Mica which is optional


Scoop out your desired amount (a standard lip balm tube like I've used holds .15 WEIGHT ounces each) into a glass pyrex measuring cup. I find the 1 Cup size perfect for making balms as it is easy to handle.

Melt the base in the microwave on the low setting, stirring often until it liquefies completely. 

Add your flavor oil or fragrance oil if you are making a solid perfume and stir well (With our flavors and fragrances, I would typically use 6% or 1 weight oz of flavor or fragrance per lb of base. Average use is 3-6% or 1/2 to 1oz per pound, sweetener is optional with non-sweetened flavor oils or essential oils (our Kiss Kwenchers flavor oils are pre-sweetened). 

At this time, you can also add lip safe mica to the liquid base if you'd like to add a little color! Color really makes them stand out in the crowd!


Pour into lip balm tubes, tins or pots, leaving about 1/4" if using tubes and allow to harden. 
Re-heat any remaining base once they have settled and re-pour to finish them off.


These great little perfumes and lip balms cost very little to make but can make you a bundle of profit! Lip Balms range in the $3-$4.00 price range in most locations. 


You can make a variety of products with this base easily including:

* Menthol "Vapor Rub" Stick – use eucalyptus & camphor or peppermint, tea tree oil, etc.
*Under Eye Moisture Stick (best unscented for use near eyes).
*Lip balms (use our Kiss Kwenchers™ pre-sweetened flavor oils, or edible EO's)
*Lotion bars (use lotion/skin safe fragrance oils only).
*Solid perfume sticks – great for purse size & travel!
*Elbow grease – excellent on rough dry elbows, knees and heels!
*Foot balm – funky feet, foot fetish,
*Cuticle conditioning balm for fingernails & toenails - sell in sticks, tins or jars.
*Body butter – try whipping it!
*Massage bar – use massage bar soap mold and relaxing EO’s!
*Shimmer stick – add mica powder and/or cosmetic glitter for a sparkly perfume stick!
*Make up remover stick - use unscented in eye area.
*Suntan butter bar - use a tropical scent like Pina Colada or Honey Coco Mango! *Pampered Paws Doggy & Kitty Paw Balm – for rough or cracked animal paws! 

*Market it as either a Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Soy lotion, vitamin E bar, etc.
*Use with EO’s for an all natural product.


Don't forget to label your products ingredients per FDA guidelines.

Tip: Place Lip balms near your cash register if you own a retail store or on the table in the front nearest where you package the customers items at a show. Lip balm is a small item that fits easily in a basket and works excellent as an impulse item! Bet you sell a lot of them using this method!


Happy Cosmetics Making!
Flicker

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Product Liability Insurance


Product liability insurance; It seems to be the last thing people think about when they plan to start selling their products. Weather your plan to sell one or one million, it's really the first thing they should have. Since I've been asked about this subject several times in the past weeks alone, I thought with the upcoming season of high sales and craft shows it was the best time to blog about it and give people some help in finding a policy that fits their needs. In our litigious society, people sue readily so it's best to be covered!

What is product liability insurance you ask? Product liability insurance protects the business from claims related to the manufacture or sale of products, food, medicines or other goods to the public. It covers the manufacturer's or seller's liability for losses or injuries to a buyer, user or bystander caused by a defect or malfunction of the product, and, in some instances, a defective design or a failure to warn. In a nutshell, it will protect you, the manufacturer of the products in the case of a lawsuit up to the dollar amount you are insured for. 

I have found that area by area and state by state coverage's will vary as will companies that sell policies.  I have been in the same shoes as you are now and I know how frustrating it can be.  We were dropped 2 months into our first renewal.  It seems that as we got bigger, fewer companies want to deal with the liability although my premiums keep making them more and more money.  I have yet to have a claim in all my years. 

Although I cannot help you find an agent or a company in your local area, I can help you find new coverage.  If you or any other person who is finding themselves in need of coverage, follow this you will find insurance.

  • Open the local Yellow Pages and look under "Insurance".  I know this seems very obvious, trust me sometimes it is the LAST place people seem to look. You can also try an internet search engine and search for Commercial Business Insurance in your area. 
  • The size of your area will dictate what is shown in the Yellow Pages. If you live in a smaller area, this may be a single page where as in a larger metro area it is likely to be broken down by insurance type. If you live in a larger area, be sure to look for "Commercial" or "Business" Insurance. Most agencies do not cover commercial needs as they are highly specialized so looking at companies that primarily insure Home and Auto are not what you want.
      
  • Look for "Insurance Brokers". These are smaller independent agencies that deal more with specialty policies and unlike State Farm, and Prudential, etc., they deal with a variety of carriers and can generally handle just about anything that needs to be covered.

  • Ask for the proper coverage. You need General Liability as well as Product Liability.  So many candle makers out there only have General but no Product, and that is not going to cover you in the case of a faulty product claim.

  • Generally it's best for crafters to insure for $1-5 Million in coverage. $1 Million is acceptable in some areas, $1 million is not enough in others. Look at the areas that you will be selling in.

  • Finally, get as many quotes as you can.  We found that policies can be exactly the same in coverage but can cost you in some cases 100% more than the next company. It really pays to shop around for this kind of coverage! 
There are two Crafters Guilds that I know of for sure offer low cost insurance:
Indie Beauty Network www.indiebusinessnetwork.com
Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild www.soapguild.org.

Good luck in your quest to find insurance. If you know of other guilds or groups that offer insurance at a special rate to their members, please let me know at techsupport@candlesupply.com and I will get them listed along with the above.
 
Happy Candle & Soap Making!
Flicker
 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pretty Palms!

Bitter Creek North offers Palm Waxes that are sustainable, Eco-friendly and virtually soot free! Palm waxes are one of the most beautiful waxes. What many don't know is they can be made into a container candle that looks beautiful as well as in a pillar or votive and even used as melts! Palm has excellent scent throw and an even more incredible appearance making it a win/win in a selling environment! Palm wax creates a unique crystal structure within the candles interior and exterior during the cooling process that creates patterns that look similar to the star burst pattern of natural granite or the soft sweep of a feather. Our palm waxes come from RSPO sources and are made from 100% natural palm based raw materials and contain no paraffin/polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. Both come in granular form for easy weighing and storage. A very versatile wax with an exceptionally unique look





Shown to the left is a photo with both the Feather and Granite Palm waxes. Bitter Creek offers both. Both have a unique look to them but both are equally beautiful. For this container demonstration I used the Feather blend. What you will need is: 




Shopping List:

Feather Palm

CD 14 wick. This will work well in a Jelly Jar with most scents and this wax.
Fragrance, for this I used Persimmon Spice
Liquid Dye, I used Burgundy
Wick Stickums
Jelly Jar
Round Black Wick Centering Holder (Standard Mason Jar) 

Instructions:
Palm wax is best suited for use in seamless aluminum molds and clear glass containers. Liquid, chip and powdered dyes seem to work best in palm waxes. Other dyes may interrupt the crystalline structure and appearance of the wax.

Heat wax to 205-210* add dye, blend well and then add fragrance and blend well. Feather palm wax will hold up to 6% fragrance by weight. Pour the wax between 200-205* into heated molds for best results. This wax will require re pours. Wait until the surface of the candle has crusted over, poke multiple relief holes through the surface of the candle around the wick and about 3/4 of the way down the candle, the candle center will still be fluid at this point and fill with reserved wax heated 10* hotter than the first pour. Repeat this process as needed. Palm waxes should be cooled a slowly as possible to inhibit the crystal structure to form fully. This can be done in a Styrofoam cooler or other insulated box. It is advised to use mold release when making palm candles in any mold.

As the candle cools you will begin to see the crystals forming. It's really pretty to watch! These candles are so beautiful! They also are very durable in terms of shipping and shelf handling in a retail climate. 

If you have not tested out our palm waxes, give them a try! They are certainly wonderful attention grabbers!
Tip: (Feather Palm Pillars shown here) Try making some palm wax candles for the upcoming Christmas Holiday season! These would be beautiful on display using Christmas colors, dancing under the lights!
Some ideas are:
Mistletoe: Green
Spice: Red
Frankinscense & Myrrh: Gold

Just think of the new doors you will open with candles this beautiful to look at! :)

Happy Candle Making!
Flicker!



Friday, July 12, 2013

Squeezable Scented Wax!

With the continued use of electric candle warmers and electric melt warmers I kept thinking about a product that I saw MANY years ago, a squeezable wax melt. Of course you have to be able to "squeeze" it out of a bottle and let's be honest, wax is hard and doesn't squeeze. So my quest began to figure this out. So this week I've tested out a few various waxes I had in my shop and voila, found a winning combination! It looks smooth, it feels smooth and best yet, it really DOES squeeze out!

These are pretty simple to make really and use a lot of products you most likely already have.








Supply List:
IGI 6006
*Soybean Oil OR Mineral Oil (this can be purchased locally or through BC North)
Fragrance (I used Red Hot Cinnamon! mmmm!)
Dye
**HDPE Bottle

*Using Mineral Oil vs. Soybean Oil will GREATLY extend the shelf life of your product. If using Veg Oil the shelf life will only be about 1 year. If using Mineral Oil it will not have an expiration date. I'd use veggie for personal use and mineral oil for retail sales myself.

**Because of the higher fragrance concentration I would recommend HDPE bottles. Also HDPE is not as "hard" as PET and thus will "squeeze" better. 

To make, melt your wax as usual, then while still hot, add the fragrance & Color, blend and then add the oil. You may find you need to warm this up slightly to get it all incorporated well. These are very quick and easy to make! Allow the mixture to cool to about 145-150* and pour into the HDPE bottles.

I found that mixing 1 part wax with 2 parts oil worked well. If it is a bit stiffer than you'd like, add a bit more oil. If it is a bit too liquid for your taste, add a bit less oil. I did use about a 12% fragrance load in this product. I used 1 weight oz of fragrance for a combined 8 oz of wax & oil mixture. You could also use soy wax, Ez Soy would be a great choice or any other single pour container wax should do well. It would just be a matter of adjusting the amount of oil to wax.


To use, simply squeeze a little into your warmer and watch it melt! The scent will last a long time and clean up is easy! This product will store easily on a shelf in a cabinet. Give this a try! Your customers will love it!

Be sure to check out the AWESOME selection of warmers now available at Bitter Creek North for all your melting needs. There is something for everyone and with prices like ours, you can compete with the big party plan! :)

Happy Melt Making!
Flicker! 



Thursday, June 27, 2013

Luscious Lotion Bars!

With sandal season in full swing what better time than now to add lotion bars to your line? These great little gems pack some big punch for extremely dry skin and are simple to make. We have a few recipe ideas for you to try from making them from scratch to using our base and a few simple added ingredients. They will make a lasting impression on your customers and their skin!

I had a few friends and family test these out for me. They all LOVED them! The comments I heard most were that their feet & elbows looked immediately better and stayed that way with daily use! If I had the pick of ONE item for my beach bag (other than SPF 80 Sunscreen, I am a blond hair blue eyed Norwegian folks! LOL) I would most certainly pick these. There is nothing I love more than the look of my feet freshly pedicured! With these the need for that pedicure decreases immensely! These work EXCELLENT on any patch of very dry skin!



Lotion Bars from Scratch!
  • 1 Part Beeswax 
  • 1 Part Oil (I personally used avocado for this but others will work as well! Try the variable oils as they will change the outcome of this!)
Melt the wax and butter in a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave melt using 30 second burst just until its melted. You don't want to over heat oils & butters! Once melted add the liquid oil and any fragrance or color desired. You can lightly color these using our Mica Powders!

INCI Ingredients list for labeling:

Beeswax,
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter),Persea gratissima (Avocado) Oil and then you would add either the fragrance or EO here and the mica if used at the very end.

Lotion Bar Recipe Using BC Lip Balm & Lotion Bar Base with Added Beeswax
  • 10% Beeswax
Melt the wax and base together in a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave melt using 30 second burst just until its melted. You don't want to over heat oils & butters! Once melted add any scent or color desired. You can lightly color these using our Mica Powders!

INCI Ingredients list for labeling:
Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E). If you add scent or color add that to the end.

Lotion Bar Recipe Using BC Lip Balm & Lotion Bar Base with Added Steric Acid
 Melt the wax and base together in a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave melt using 30 second burst just until its melted. You don't want to over heat oils & butters! Once melted add any scent or color desired. You can lightly color these using our Mica Powders!

INCI Ingredients list for labeling:Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Steric Acid, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E). If you add scent or color add that to the end. 

All of these shown to the left are made from the above recipes. The top left Lotion Bars from Scratch! recipe. I actually did not color that, the beeswax is very yellow that I use thus the color. This I scented with Spearmint EO. The Top Right is the Lotion Bar Recipe Using BC Lip Balm & Lotion Bar Base with Added Beeswax I did color that gently using some mica I had on hand to show the colored version. I scented this with Fruity Loops and I believe that has since disappeared into a certain teen age daughters room. And the bottom is the Lotion Bar Recipe Using BC Lip Balm & Lotion Bar Base with Added Steric Acid In that I used no color and scented lightly with the BNL Warm Vanilla Sugar. mmmmmm!

I used the new 2 oz. Lotion Bar Molds for all of these. These are great because they are a. inexpensive b. can be sold with the product to protect it during shipping and on store shelves and c. the bar can be removed from the mold and placed back in between uses. They are one of the best ideas I have seen in years! I then made a simple fold over topper for the bag using my home PC and card stock and used our 4" x 6" Resealable Cello Bags.

Give one of these recipes a try and you too will never know how you survived without a lotion bar! :)

Happy Crafting!
Flicker