The making of Mydas Candles
Updated: Apr 5, 2020
Funding conservation projects can be pretty tough, which we think is really sad. We want to take a truly sustainable approach to how we fund our own projects and help finance other amazing projects too if we can. Conservation work benefits us all and it should be easier to get conservationists on the ground, doing incredibly important work.
We want to bring you products that we love and believe in that can double as a way to raise funds. Our candles are the start of that. Mydas Candles are all made from glass bottles that would have otherwise found their way into recycling or landfill. Whilst raising money to do the conservation we don't want to contribute to a problem, so we set out to find a solution to combat waste, use less resources, giving the conservationists on the ground a head start.
The candles are high quality soy wax- to produce a healthier burn with high quality delicious fragrances.
You get a handmade boutique beautiful sustainable candle, we use the proceeds to fund vital conservation work. Win-Win. Although the big project we fund may change, our Primary project at the moment is the Turtle ID project, lead by Lee Hankinson. Find out more HERE.
We collect wine, spirit, beer and other glass bottles from restaurants, the public (and sometimes us…shhh..) and bring them back to our central Richmond location. We pick out the bottles with the least intrusive rear- to prevent wax waste but also promote the best cost effectiveness for our customers. Bottles with a particularly large “bubble” are used for tumblers and plant feeders.
The suitable bottles are all hand scored with our glass cutting device. Some bottles don't score correctly, due to imperfections in the bottle, or, tapered bottles are terribly hard to score and at this stage about 25% of the bottles wont be good enough and will be recycled. The bottles that perform a clean score go onto be broken. Splitting the bottles is done simply by running the bottle under cold and boiling water a few times until they satisfyingly snap in half.
However, again due to imperfections, up to 25% of bottles at this stage will crack or break unevenly rendering them useless. Not all bottles are made the same, and from the collection stage to successful breaking, only about half the bottles will be usable. The top of the broken bottles and unusable bottles are all sent for recycling if they aren't further up-cycled ( even newer projects coming up).
So, now the bottles that are cut in half- the process of sanding begins. Each bottle takes between 20 and 30 minutes to polish down to a useable candle tumbler. This part can be sweaty work- but its incredibly important that the bottles are safe and each is hand sanded until we're absolutely certain it is smoooooth.
Most of our bottles won't have a straight rim. This is part of their charm and a natural part of upcyling.
The Waxy Stage
We don’t prepare batches of candles. We only prepare an order when you put it through, this ensures a better quality scent for you and reduces our potential waste. We don't want to produce a surplus of candles and we want to ensure the quality of every single little candle baby.
So when your order comes in, we melt down enough soy wax for your candle and individually scent the wax with your choice of oil (this process is our favourite). We use high quality oils to scent the soy. Sometimes this can lead to a little bit of "curdling" or separation on of oil and wax. This is completely normal, is due to the high quality of oil we use and will not effect the product. We use organic, hemp wicks.
The candles are left to set for two days. Although the candles are effectively set in 24 hours, they are best left for 48 to produce the best burn. When fully set, we handwrite your label with the scent specifics and we stick the all important safety sticker on the bottom. All of the packaging that we use is either recycled or reused whenever possible. You'll probably receive your candle in the post, in some pretty random packaging... These aren't products we've bought or advertise but boxes that have been donated to us. By using preused packaging it saves us all money, uses less resources and makes the world a better place.
How to get the most from your Candle.
Burn Safely and Bottoms up!
We really really want you to enjoy your candle safely. Safety benefits everyone, read your safety sticker that we have lovingly squeezed onto the bottom of all our candles.
Always burn on a non flammable surface and never ever leave your candle unattended, especially around children. Glass tumbler can get hot whilst burning. When you get down to the last 1cm of wax- stop burning. It can cause the glass to get extremely hot. (Read below to see what to do when you finish your candle!)
Burn Baby Burn.
When first lighting your candle, let it burn until the whole top layer is a pool of liquid wax. This can take a few hours, but if your first burn creates an even pool on the top- it will prevent "tunneling"and wasting wax.
TRIM YO' WICK!
If you keep the wick trimmed you'll promote a small flame- which produces less "soot" (the black stuff on the side of the candle- not pretty) and will mean your candle will last longer and smell the best.
What to do with your Tumbler.
Once your candle is finished, don't be sad. You are now left with a beautiful, hand crafted and unique tumbler. Basically, a whole NEW product altogether!
Firstly, give it a good thorough scrubbing.
We use them for drinking because they are a splendid size. Otherwise for make-up brushes, as a vase, for a toothbrush holder, desk organiser.. the list is pretty endless. If you find a nifty way to reuse your candle, tag us @mydas_candles on insta!
Why name them Mydas Candles?
The first reason for Mydas comes from our favourites- Turtles. The latin for Green Turtle is Chelonia Mydas. We were inspired to start this initiative through our frustration at wanting to get out into the field and conduct conservation projects namely on Turtles, but we were held back by lack of funds.
Second part of forming this name was the legend of The Midas Touch. Midas was a Greek King, who loved riches almost more than anything, second only to his adoration of his daughter. He was granted one wish, and he wished for everything he touched to turn to solid gold. Whilst enjoying the new found ability to increase his at the touch of his finger, he embraced his daughter, who immediately turned to solid gold.
He wept and begged the Gods to reverse his wish. He had soon realised that some things were more important than riches. His wish was reversed and his daughter came back. Having learnt from his mistake- he distributed his wealth to his Kingdom to make everyones lives better.
Conservation is all about protecting whats important. We want to take something that is "rubbish" and convert it into "gold" and give the profits of the conversion, to the wonderful community of conservationists helping to save our planet.
And so whilst thinking about the Morals of why we're doing this and who we're doing it for (Turtle's being the flagship species) we came to the name, Mydas Candles.
What does 100% NOT FOR PROFIT Mean!?
The inspiration for us to sell these hand made goodies, is to raise money for conservation. So all profit we make from selling the candles is donated to a conservation cause. Click here to see our conservation cause at the moment. This means, once we take away costs for the price of equipment, pay our staff a fair wage to cut and make the candles, and admin costs like keeping the online shop open we're left with a profit margin- of which 100% we are donating to a conservation cause. It really is win win.