Candle Making Instructions
Candle Making Tutorial
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Copyright © 2003-2004 CandleHelp.com
These instructions are for beginners who have never made a Pillar candle before. At first glance this project might seem daunting to new candle makers, but you will see that it is actually very simple to make a pillar candle – it just takes a lot of words to explain how to do it.
Following these instructions, you can have a lovely new pillar candle to enjoy in just a few hours. And probably of better quality that you could buy in a store!
So gather your supplies, set up your work area, and follow these simple instructions for making your own Pillar Candles.
What You Will Need - Supplies
· Molding Candle Wax
· 4.5” x 3” Round Metal Mold
· Jiffy Wicker
· 1/0 square waxed wick or 34-37 flat cotton core waxed wick
· Silicone Spray Mold Release (optional)
· Steamer Pot or old Sauce Pan to create a double boiler
· Standard Size or Small Size Melting Pot with pour spout
· Wood Stir Sticks, chopsticks, or something else to stir the wax
· A large needle or craft knife
· Candle Fragrance (optional)
· Color Dye Chips (optional)
NOTE: These instructions are written using a 4.5” x 3” round metal mold, which takes about 1 lb of wax and 20” of wick per candle.
Also a good idea to have around:
· Paper towels
· Windex (Window cleaner)
· Aluminum Foil
· Newspaper, butcher paper, or scrap paper to cover work surfaces
· Fire Extinguisher (just in case)
How to Set Up Your Work Area
- Put down newspaper or butcher paper on tables and countertops to catch spills and for easy cleanup.
- Have paper towels and Windex on hand for cleaning stovetops.
- Wrap stove burner bowls in tin foil to catch drips of wax, and for easy cleanup afterwards.
Prep Your Mold
Inspect your mold to ensure that there is no residual wax on the inside surfaces or seams of your mold. If there is, remove it.
Spray the inside of your mold with Silicone Spray Mold Release. To do this, either follow the directions on the can, or hold the nozzle 8 to 10 inches from your mold and release the spray in short bursts. I little goes a long way with Silicone Spray Mold Release.
Wicking your Mold
The first step in making your pillar candle is to wick your mold. You will need your wick and your Jiffy Wicker to do this.
Take a 20” length of wick, and tie a slip knot at one end. (Here is an invaluable guide for how to tie a slip knot from a knitting website.)
- Thread the unknotted end of the wick through the metal washer, and pull it through until the washer is resting against the knot.
- Poke a hole in the center of the rubber gasket with a large needle or craft knife. Thread the unknotted end of the wick through the rubber gasket, and pull it through until the gasket is resting against the metal washer.
- Thread the unknotted end of the wick through the wick hole in the bottom of the mold, and pull up through the center of the mold to the top of the mold. Keep pulling until gasket end of the wick is snuggly pressed against the bottom of the mold. The point here is to create a seal between the rubber gasket and the mold, so that liquid wax will not seep out through the bottom of your mold.
- Take the metal jiffy wicker bar and thread the wick through it. Pull the wick taut, so that wax cannot seep out, but not so tight that the wick is stretched out of shape or distorted.
- Now draw the wick into the notch at one end of the jiffy wicker bar. Wrap the wick once around the bar, then underneath the wick threaded along the length of the wick bar, as shown, to create a solid knot.
Once you are finished wicking your mold, it is time to melt your wax. (When you get experienced at wicking your mold, and can do it quickly, you might want to wait until your wax is set to melting before wicking your molds. It’s a matter of timing and personal preference.)
Melting your Pillar Candle Wax
You will need either a steamer pot or deep sauce pan, and you will also need a melting pot with a pouring spout. These two items create a double boiler to melt down your wax.
A simple double boiler using an old sauce pan and a meting pot with a spout.
Fill the bottom part of your double boiler (the steamer pot or the deep sauce pan) with about two inches of cool water, and place on the burner set to high temperature.
Place pieces of 139 degree Molding Candle Wax to be melted into the melting pot with a pouring spout, set the melting pot in the water, and attend to it as the wax liquefies. (When the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium low or low.)
If you have a large block of wax and need instructions on how to safely break it into smaller pieces, please visit our section on How To Break Up Wax Blocks
When the wax is entirely liquid (i.e., when there are no solid chunks any longer in the pot) you have successfully melted the wax.
Our 139 degree Molding Candle Wax melts at about 139 degrees F. The wax will continue to grow hotter as it remains in the double boiler. The temperature of the wax should get to 190 degrees F.
(Some advanced candle makers will cook the wax at 190 degrees F for 30 minutes to eliminate air trapped in the crystalline structure. To some degree this can reduce the appearance flaws that would naturally appear after the wax is made into a candle. It is up to you whether you would like to perform this added step.)
After the wax is entirely melted and at about 190 degrees F, add your candle dye, if you are using any. Each of our diamond shaped dye chips colors 1 lb of wax. Use more or less candle dye for lighter or darker colored candles. Drop a dye chip (or part of a dye chip) into the melted wax, and stir until the dye chip is entirely dissolved into the liquid wax.
Adding fragrance is the last thing you do before you pour the candle. This is because the potency of the fragrance can be reduced if subjected to high heat for too long.
After the wax is entirely melted, and after you have added candle dye (if you are using candle dye), add your candle fragrance, if you are using any. The standard ratio for our candle fragrance oils is one ounce of fragrance oil per 1 lb of wax. Use more or less fragrance for lighter or heavier scented candles. Add the candle fragrance to the melted (and colored, if you are making colored candles) wax in the melting pot, and stir thoroughly to get even distribution of the candle fragrance.
Pouring the Candles
Right after you add the fragrance to the melting pot, it is time to make the first pour of wax into the pillar candle mold.
You need a spouted container to pour pillar candles. You can also use a wood stirring stick or a chopstick for added pouring control to reduce dribbles.
The wax should still be at about 190 degrees F. However, if it has cooled a little, that is fine too. Some folks like to pour their pillar candles after the wax has cooled to around 175 to 185 degrees F.
Pour the wax into the pillar mold, and fill the mold up to half an inch from the top of the mold. Be sure to save some wax for the 2nd pour.
After you have poured the wax into the mold, let it sit undisturbed until a thick skin of wax forms over the surface of the candle.
When this skin has formed, use a wood stirring stick or chopstick to poke relief holes in the candle.
Make these holes near the wick, and poke through the candle until you reach about ? inch from the base of the candle. You can make one hole, or several holes. The purpose of these relief holes is to allow the wax to shrink without forming solid bubbles of trapped air inside the finished candle, which might pull the wick off center, distort the shape of the finished candle, and interfere with proper burning of the candle.
As the candle cools further, you will see the wax within the relief holes shrinking further. Continue to poke through your relief holes as needed during the hardening process of your candle to allow air in to take the place of the shrinking wax. As the wax cools and shrinks, you will be able to see your relief holes turn to sink holes.
When the candle has hardened and cooled to room temperature, it is time to make the 2nd pour of wax, to fill the relief holes and the indentations, caused by shrinkage of the wax, in the center of the candle.
The “second pour” is made after the wax in the pillar candle mold has cooled completely. The reason for making a second pour (pouring more wax into the mold after the first pour wax has cooled) is that the wax from the first pour will have shrunk into sink-holes, which you will plainly be able to see around the relief holes you made in the previous step. This is normal, as wax expands when melted and contracts when it cools.
To make the 2nd pour for the pillar candle, re-heat the wax you saved from the first pour in the double boiler. Reheat this wax to about 5 to 10 degrees F hotter than the temperature of your first pour wax. (If the wax of your first pour was 190 degrees F, then heat the 2nd pour wax to 195 or 200 degrees F before pouring.)
When it is the proper temperature, pour the wax into your relief holes, and continue pouring until the wax reaches a level just below that of your first pour. Pouring higher than the first pour can cause surface flaws on your finished candle. (But if you make a mistake and pour higher than your first pour, don’t sweat it.)
Setting the Pillar
Now let your pillar candle sit undisturbed until it cools completely. This may take a few hours. You will know that your candle is completely cool when the surface of the mold is cool to the touch, not warm. You will also, most likely, notice the candle separating from the edge of the mold. This is a good sign.
Remove The Candle From the Mold
When your candle has cooled completely, you may remove it from the mold. Attempting to remove the candle before it is completely cooled will result in frustration and, possibly, a marred candle. Look for a little separation of the wax from the edges of the mold. This is a good indicator that your candle is cool enough to remove. Another indication is that the metal mold is cool to the touch (not warm).
To remove the candle from the mold, first, pull on the slip knot on the bottom of the mold beneath the jiffy wicker metal washer and rubber washer. The knot should pull out of the wick. Slip the metal washer and the rubber gasket off of the wick.
Next, untie the wick at the top of the candle from the jiffy wicker bar, and slide the jiffy wicker bar off of the wick.
Now that your candle is free at both ends, turn the mold upside down and gently tug on the wick at the top of the candle.
HINT: If the candle does not come out of the mold, you may want to allow it to cool longer. Some people like to put the mold in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. If the candle still will not come out of the mold, submerge the entire mold and candle in a bucket of warm water. The water will seep in and release the candle from the mold.
Trim the Wick
When your candle is out of the mold, cut the wick at the bottom of the candle off, so that it is flush with the bottom surface of the candle. Trim the wick at the top of the candle to ?”.
That is it! You are done! You now have a lovely pillar candle to enjoy! Homemade pillar candles are often times of better quality that can be bought in stores, and are great gifts for friends and family. Continue making your own unique pillar candles, and experiment with new shapes, sizes, and effects. And let us know how it goes!
· For instructions on removing the mold seams from your pillar candles, see our reference section on Removing Seams from Candles
· The candles made with these instructions have a natural mottled effect, quite a popular finish for candles. If you desire a solid finish (with no mottling), see our advanced pillar instructions, which include instructions on how to use certain chemicals which prevent mottling.
· For instructions on leveling your candles (in the event that they came out tilted for some reason) please see our reference section on Candle Leveling
· Never pour liquid wax down a drain. It will solidify in the pipes and cause a serious clog.
· Pillar candles should be burned in approved pillar candle holders
· Never leave a burning candle unattended.