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Antique Dealers Secret and Essential Oil Candles

Have you ever walked into one of the really big high end antique shows and noticed a distinct fragrance? That  wonderful fragrance isn't there to entice you to buy. It is there to keep insects out of the priceless furniture.  Having antiques in a show exposes them to potential insect infestation much like taking your dog to the dog park increases his risk of fleas. Some dealers still depend on citronella candles but the past decade or so, high end sellers have developed some lovely fragrances of their own that keep away pests.
My favorite combinations are bergamot vetiver, patchouli lemon, and lavender cedarwood. All of those combinations repel pests and smell fabulous. I use these scents at home because living in the South, well, we have a lot of bugs. Woodworms have damaged more antiques than you can imagine. Spiders also love old wood. And please, let's not even talk about moths..they can reduce a wool rug to dust in less than a week and are the bane of fine antique upholstery and linens. Antique dealers often make their own  signature blends using natural oils that have a proven track record of deterring insects.
Yesterday I made some seashell essential oil votive sized candles and it is so quick and easy I thought I would share.
We start of course with some shells.
These have had a dab of metallic paint added. When the wax becomes hot and transparent, the gold adds glimmer. Then I take soy wax votives and remove the wick, setting it aside, and put the wax in a glass inside a warm water bath to melt.
You want a slow melt as it affects the rate at which your candle will burn. When completely melted, I remove from the water bath and add my essential oils. Usually 5 drops per fragrance for each candle. (A large candle, say 5 ounces, can take 50 to a 100 drops.) I swirl gently to mix, let the air bubbles subside for a few seconds,
then pour into the shell to which the wick has been set. Let them set up overnight..and you are all done!

I love using shells, as do many antique show dealers, because the shell motif  has been traditionally used in furniture design from Rococo to Chippendale to Art Nouveau..this stunning Venetian chair, a tribute to Neptune, is a beautiful example.
Dealers often set several trays among their precious antiques. The natural lines of shells are one of the most beautiful motifs found in nature and on furniture, it makes a strong statement. And you don't have to limit them to indoors. They are lovely for an outdoor gathering and help keep flying pests at bay as well.
Now that you know how easy, fast, and mess free is it, you can custom blend your own signature fragrance with your favorite natural oils!


Unknown said…
I like the suggestion of using essential oil candles to keep the bugs away from antqiue furniture or any furniture for that matter. I love sea shells and try to use them when I create art. Your photo samples of the sea shell as an impetus for furniture design is most interesting.
Nirvana Dog said…
Thank you so much. You can use the shells outdoors too and they will keep away bugs when you are outside.
Nirvana Dog said…
Thank you so much. You can use the shells outdoors too and they will keep away bugs when you are outside.
Jenna L. said…
That shell inspired chair is one of the most beautiful pieces of furniture I've ever seen! Many ocean inspired things made today come across a bit tacky, but it's obvious that the antique chair pictured was made with great skill and care.
Thanks for the tip about keeping bugs away with essential oils. :) I never knew that they would stay away from the smell of certain essential oils. In the US, we're so indoctrinated to the idea that nature must be controlled and repelled with strong chemicals, so little tidbits of info like this that point to the long standing capabilities of nature itself make my heart glad.
jerrie said…
oh, i really never knew how easy it might be to make these candles. bergamot vetiver would be my favorite. i must find where to get the oils..when i started to read the article i immediately wondered where i might buy the candles and would they be insanely expensive! :-)

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