Now, I know I've talked about this, what, three, four, eighty times now without actually posting a part two. Here it is! We covered basics, supplies, and safety in part one, in this section I want to discuss trouble shooting and more techniques.
Firstly, pillar candles are just one of many, many ways to make a candle. I'd argue that the most popular kind is votive. Votive molds might have the same dowel and string technique that theie pillar counterparts have, but some might just be metal or silicon cups. Here is what I use for votives:
This is just a metal cup and pre-waxed wick with stand. Before filling the mold, you put the wick in the center:
Different sized molds will use either this technique (a wick pin) or the string and dowel method.
Speaking of wicks.... I know there have been questions about wick sizes/materials when making candles. There is a basic rule of thumb for this.... the heavier the wax and larger the candle, the wider the wick circumference should be. I've found the best way to find what works for your needs is through trial and error. Candle making is part science, part creativity. Always keep an eye on your candle. If its falling over or going out, you have a wick size problem. There are also different materials you can use for a wick. There are braided cotton, cotton with a metal core, cotton with a wood core, etc, etc. Candle Science has more about wick size and performing a burn test, which will really assist you in finding the right size for not only candle stability, but burn time!
Lastly, I wanted to give a few troubleshooting tips. These are common problems I have had while making candles:
- Candle is stuck in mold - Always wait over night before trying to release a candle. This is a common problem still, and happens in one of two ways. Firs, either the wax was poured too cold and didn't shrink enough or it cooled too quickly in the mold (because the mold was too cold). After waiting over night and the candle is stuck, put it in the freezer for a bit and try to yank it out. Most of the time this works. The other cause is that you wanted to fill in some cracks that may have formed during your first pour. If hot wax gets between the already cooled, shrunken wax in the mold and the mold walls, it is going to stick. You can try the freezer method, but it may be a goner. Some swear by oiling their molds with veggie oil, I never do this though. Beeswax should be fine if put in the freezer when completely cooled.
- Cracks -- Beeswax also gets cracks if poured too hot and/or cooled too quickly. Always keep your mold in a water bath with water from a kettle (not boiling, but tea temp). As the water cools with the wax, you will get less problems with your candle.
- Smoking - A good beeswax candle shouldn't smoke. The wick may be too small or there is a an air pocket in the candle. Pour slower or use a larger wick
- Flame size - if a flame is too large, you need a smaller wick. A small flame = larger wick
- Candle drowning in melt pool - Need a larger wick
THAT SHOULD DO IT! Please leave questions in the comments below! I hope you are all ready to make candles! You should have fun doing it. Your first candles WILL look like pooo pooo. It's inevitable.Trial and error. You can always re-melt your wax after digging the wick out. Have fun and STAY SAFE :D