Here are the basic supplies you need for making candles:
- A pour pot
- Candle molds
- Wicks (described more below)
- A candle thermometer -- this is necessary. Wax that is too hot is highly flamable and if it catches fire it can not be put out by water!
- A fire extinguisher nearby in case the above were to happen
Those are the basics. This post is designed to teach you how to easily make some votives or pillars at home using beeswax. Beeswax burns clean and has a pleasant, light scent. It is my favorite candle wax, and I leave it as it is. You can dye or add scents, however I will not be covering that in this post.
Safety warning: THIS IS NOT AN ACTIVITY FOR CHILDREN. As with any activity that uses an open heat source, take all necessary precaution before making candles. Be sure to have a themometer and never let your wax get above 300 degress farenheit. Wax is best poured at 200 - 250. Use a double boiler for better temperature control. Never put your pour pot directly on a stove! If you start a wax fire, use an extinguisher! Water will not work, it will only exacerbate the fire.
Once you have gathered your supplies, set yourself up a nice workstation on a nearby countertop for pouring your wax. Set up your double boiler and add your wax chunks
Never leave your wax unattended! Keep an eye on it while you are getting your pour station ready. There are two types of wicks you can use here. One is to get pre waxed wicks with bases that stand upright on their own, the other is string that you have to manually set up in your mold. Each mold is different so depending on the type you have, you may have to take these extra steps:
1. String your wick through the bottom of your mold and through the top as so
2. Get your sealant, which is a little ball of clay like material, and squish it around a bit to get it ready. Then smush it on the bottom of the mold to totally cover the wick and hole.
You want to totally cover the wick, don't let any of it sneak out
This is important! If you don't properly seal the bottom of the candle, you will get this wax monster
3. Once you have the wick properly sealed at the bottom, you have to make it balance at the top of the mold. Do this by putting a dowel across the top of the mold and tie the wick snug on it. The wick should be straight up and centered.
Another important part of a pour station is having a water bath to put the molds in when you've poured the wax. Keep a kettle or pitcher with warm water nearby, and put some in a dish to keep the molds in. I use a glass pyrex. If the candles cool too quickly, they will form cracks in the top. An ideal pour station will look something like this:
The plastic helps keep my counter clean, so my housemates don't hate me
Once you have your pour station set up, patiently wait for your wax to melt! It takes a long time, but don't go leave it alone, as tempting as that may be! When you're ready, pour your wax slowly into the mold, and leave a little wax left over in case you need to re-melt some to fill in any cracks. Put the molds in the water bath and add as much water as needed to reach the top of the mold without the wax getting wet.
Let them sit for a long time, at least 8 hours, before trying to get them out of the mold. If you're having trouble, try putting them in the freezer for a bit (after they are completely cooled). If you are using a string wick, cut the wick to about 1/2 inch long. The pre-waxed wicks should be the right length. With no time you'll have lots of creative and beautiful handmade candles to give to friends.