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Copyright 2003-2004

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!

What You Will Need - Supplies

Also a good idea to have around:

· Paper towels

· Wax Remover

· Aluminum Foil

· Newspaper, butcher paper, or scrap paper to cover work surfaces

· Fire Extinguisher (just in case)

How to Set Up Your Work Area

  1. Put down newspaper or butcher paper on tables and countertops to catch spills and for easy cleanup.
  2. Have paper towels and Windex on hand for cleaning stovetops.
  3. Wrap 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 cause stearin to overflow from the melting pot.

Stir the stearic 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 continuously. Stir the stearin often to ensure uniform temperature.

The 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 closely. Stir 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 (between 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 Dry

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 Uneven Finish…

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 doesn’t Crystalize…

Allow the stearin to cool below 200 degrees, then reheat it. Stir the stearin 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.)

Crystal Dipped Candles

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. Turn floating flowers upside down and dip only the tips of their petals into the stearin for added shimmer while burning.


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