Candle Making Tutorial
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Copyright 2003-2004 CandleHelp.com
The Crystal Overdip
finish gives candles a frosted, shimmering, almost dewy appearance. You can use
the crystal overdip technique outlined here with almost any candle. As long as
you can dip it, you can use this technique!
You Will Need - Supplies
a good idea to have around:
butcher paper, or scrap paper to cover work surfaces
Extinguisher (just in case)
to Set Up Your Work Area
down newspaper or butcher paper on tables and countertops to catch spills
and for easy cleanup.
paper towels and Windex on hand for cleaning stovetops.
stove burner bowls in tin foil to catch drips of wax,
and for easy cleanup afterwards.
Melt the Stearin
Pour two pounds of stearic
powder into your melting
pot. Add about two inches of water to the steamer
pot and place on the stove burner. Turn burner to High. Place the melting
pot in the steamer
pot to create a double boiler. When the water begins to boil, turn the
burner to Medium.
Melt the stearic
powder to liquid (which I call stearin),
adding more stearic
powder as needed until the melting
pot is full enough for you to fully submerge the candle you are going to
dip. Do not fill the melting
pot to the top with liquid stearin.
Remember that when you dip your candle it will displace the liquid stearin
somewhat. If your melting
pot is full to the top before you dip your candle, dipping your candle will
to overflow from the melting
powder as it melts. When the liquid stearin
reaches about 195
degrees in the double boiler, remove the melting
pot from the steamer
pot. Remove the steamer
pot from the burner, and place the melting
pot directly on the burner.
Extreme caution is
advised while your melting
pot full of stearin
is directly on the stove burner. Monitor the temperature
continuously. Do not allow anything to distract you from the melting
pot full of stearin
directly on the stove burner.
Bring the stearin
to between 201 and
210 degrees F. Keep a thermometer
in the stearin and monitor the stearin temperature
the stearin often to ensure uniform temperature.
critical part of this process is the temperature
of the melted stearic
powder. If the stearin is cooler than 200
degrees when you dip your candle, the finish will not be
pronouncedly crystalline. If the stearin
is hotter than 210
degrees, the finish will be uneven, and possibly entirely matte.
I highly advocate
using scrap candles or wax chips to test dip before dipping your good candles.
The test dip will show you if your stearin
is the proper temperature
to crystallize. If the temperature
is too hot or too cold, you will not get crystallization.
You can only dip
your candle in the liquid stearin
once. If you dip it twice, you will simply get a murky white matte coating of stearin
on your candle.
Monitor the temperature
of your stearin
it often to ensure even distribution of heat throughout the liquid.
Dip the Candle
When you have
verified that the liquid stearin
is the proper temperature
201 and 210 degrees, and your test dips are satisfactory) it is time
to dip your candle. Remove the melting
pot from the burner during dipping.
To dip the candle,
grip the wick
of the candle in your pliers firmly. In one smooth motion, swiftly submerge the
candle into the stearin
and then pull it back out. The stearin
will have coated the surface of the candle. Hold it in the air by the wick
with the piers for about 15 seconds. You will see the crystallization immediately.
Let the Candle
Set the candle down
on its base, and release the wick
from your pliers. It doesn’t take long for this crystal overdip to harden
completely. Perhaps a minute or two.
If you get an
Sometimes it helps
wipe our candle down with Windex before dipping in the stearin.
This removes any oils from your fingers on the surface of the candle. These
oils can mar the finish of the crystal dip. Wet a paper towel with windex, then
grasp the candle using the windex soaked paper towel as a buffer between your
hands and the candle. Wipe it all over with the windex soaked paper towel.
Handle the candle by the wick from this point forward.
If the Finish
Allow the stearin
to cool below 200
degrees, then reheat it. Stir
often. As it heats up, from
201 to 210 or hotter, perform continuous test dips. You will see a temperature
at which your stearin
is crystallizing nicely on your test dips. Note that temperature,
and aim for it when dipping your candles. (I have used stearin that didn’t
crystallize properly until it reached 215 degrees F.)
Ball candles are especially suited to this crystal overdip
technique. To make your own ball candles, visit our instructions on How to Make Ball Candles.
Also try round pillars,
either home made or store bought.
flowers upside down and dip only the tips of their petals into the stearin
for added shimmer while burning.