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Candle Making Tutorial
Sandy Sand Candles
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Copyright 2003-2004

There are two types of sand candles. One type uses sand to shape a candle, but there is no sand on the completed candle. The other type of sand candle actually incorporates the sand into the finished candle as a shell.

These instructions for Sandy Sand Candles will show you how to make the second type of sand candle, which results in a candle inside a sand shell. This process involves super-heating wax, which requires caution and dedicated attention. The added effort will be worth it, when you light up your own unique sand candles to enjoy!

What You Will Need - Supplies

Molding Candle Wax


Bucket or large bowl

Shapes to use as forms (candle holders small bowls, etc.)

Pre-Tabbed Wick OR

Wick which is suitable for your size of candle AND Wick Clips

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



Candle Fragrance (optional)

Color Dye Chips (optional)

Vybar (optional)

Parol Oil (optional)

Small Spoon

Large Spoon or scoop

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.

Create Form for Sand Candle

You can use any shape you like as the form for your sand candle: shells, bowls, candle holders, cookie cutters, etc. Fill a bucket or large bowl with sand, and wet it. The sand should be wet enough to stick together when you ball it up.

Before pressing your form into the sand, level it, and compact the sand in the sand container. If the sand is too loose, the wax will seep out of the form quickly and create a thick sand shell.

Place the form on the surface of the sand and using even pressure, press it into the sand.

Pull the form out carefully. The sand should retain the shape of the form. If the sides of your form collapse in, add more water to your sand and start over.

The thickness of the sand shell is dependent on the compactness of the sand, the wetness of the sand, and the temperature of the first pour of wax. To get a thinner shell, pour water into the sand around your form while the form is still in the sand. Do this shortly before the first pour. The wax will still seep into the sand, but it will solidify more quickly than dryer sand, and the shell formed will be thinner.

In this photo, you can see the different shells achieved by wetter or dryer sand and hotter or cooler wax. Each of these candles was created using the same square form. The blue candle on the left was poured at 275 degrees into dryer sand. It has a thicker wax shell which has retained a vaguely square shape. The purple candle on the right was poured at 261 degrees with wetter sand. It has a thinner shell and is still distinctly square on the outer edges.

Melting Sand Candle Wax

For the initial pour of your sand candles, you will be bringing your wax to a high temperature, between 261 and 275 degrees F. In order to achieve this high temperature, you will need to apply your wax to direct heat. Extreme caution is advised during this process. Do not allow yourself to be distracted in any way from your heating 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. To bring your wax up to high temperature, first, melt it in the double boiler to 200 degrees.

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 has reached 200 degrees, remove the melting pot from the steamer pot, and remove the steamer potfrom the burner. Place the melting pot directly on the burner. Keep a thermometer in the wax and monitor the wax temperature continuously. Do not do anything else while you are heating your wax to high heat.

Heat the wax on the direct heat until it reaches between 261 and 275 degrees F. 261 degrees and wet sand will give you a thin sand shell, 275 degrees and dryer sand will give you a thicker shell.

DO NOT add color dye or fragrance to this first pour wax. The color may be distorted by such high heat, and the fragrance may reach its flash point and ignite.

275 degrees F


Pour Sand Candle First Pour

Use a spoon to deflect the force of the hot wax from the sides of your form. Pour the wax over the back of the spoon, and allow the wax to dribble off the spoon and into the sand form.

Fill the sand form up to the top. You will see that, as the wax seeps into the sand, the level of wax goes down in the form. This is how the sand shell is formed, and is to be expected.

Let Sand Candle Settle

Allow the hot wax to set in the sand form. You will see the wax on the bottom of the form get murky and solidify. When a skin begins to form on the surface of the wax, it has finished seeping into the sand. This indicates that the sand shell has been formed, and you can add colored and fragranced wax to fill it up again to the top.

Melt 2nd Pour Wax

Use your double boiler (melting pot and steamer pot) to heat the wax for your 2nd pour. Since the temperature of the 2nd pour wax only needs to reach normal temperatures, between 190 and 200 degrees F, there is no need to apply the melting pot to direct heat during this phase. You can add color, fragrance, and additives to this 2nd pour wax.

Adding Vybar

After the wax is entirely melted, you can add additives, such as Vybar 103. Vybar 103 suppresses mottling, to give your candle a solid opaque finish. Standard usage with our wax is 1 teaspoon of Vybar 103 per 1 pound of wax. Add the Vybar 103 and stir it until it is completely melted and thoroughly mixed in.

Adding Parol Oil

Parol Oil promotes mottling, which is popular and charming effect. Parol Oil also acts somewhat as a lubricant when the time comes to remove your taper from the mold. Standard usage with our wax is 1 oz of Parol Oil per pound of wax. After your wax has melted, you can add your Parol Oil, and stir it until it is thoroughly mixed with the wax.

NOTE: Adding both Vybar and Parol Oil will, more often than not, prove a waste of Parol Oil.

Adding Dye

After the wax is entirely melted, 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

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.

Pour 2nd Pour Wax

When you have added your fragrance, color, and additives, make your 2nd pour of wax into the sand candle form. The wax for your 2nd pour should be between 190 degrees and 200 degrees F. Using the same technique of deflecting the force of hot wax with the back of the spoon, pour the wax into the form to fill it to the top again. The 2nd Pour wax will mix with the first pour wax, but will not melt the shell.

Place Wick

After you make your second pour, place your wick into the candle. Use a tabbed wick. (For instructions on how to tab a wick, see our reference section on How to Tab a Wick.) Lower the tabbed wick into the wax and center it using a wood stir stick or chopstick. Press it gently into the warm wax at the bottom of the form.

To keep the wick centered in the candle while the candle cools, you can use two wood stir sticks or chopsticks pressed together to hold up the wick, like so.

Alternately, you can use a Jiffy Wicker Bar lowered over the wick and set on the level surface of the sand to keep the wick straight and centered as the candle dries.

Set Candle and Refill

Let the candle set and cool. As the wax cools, a sink hole will form around the wick. When your candle is completely cool, you can reheat the 2nd pour wax to 190 degrees F and fill in the sink hole. Then let it set again and cool completely.

Remove Candle from Sand

After the candle has cooled completely (from an hour to several hours depending on the size of your candle) you can remove it from the sand.

To do this, use a large spoon or scoop to loosen the sand around the sand shell. Take care not to scrape the waxy sand with the spoon, as this may mar the outer sandy finish of the candle.

With the sand around the candle loosened, position the spoon under the candle and grasp the wick. Lift up on the wick and lever the candle up with the spoon.

Use your fingers to scrape off any loose sand on the outside of the candle.

Rinse Off

Run the candle under the faucet or wash it off with a hose to remove loose grains of sand which are not integrated into the sand shell.

Level if Necessary

Due to the very organic nature of sand candle process, your final candle may not sit entirely level. This is easily remedied.

To level the candle, place a pie tin over a pot of boiling water. The steam from the boiling water will heat the aluminum of the pie tin. Take care not to let the steam or the hot pie tin burn you.

Place the sand candle on the pie tin, and allow the heat to melt the wax on the bottom.

Hold the candle in the position you would ideally like it to sit on its own, and make swirling motions with the bottom on the hot pie tin. The wax will melt and the sand will come off. Performed properly, you will end up with a perfectly leveled candle.

Trim Wick

Before you burn the candle, trim the wick to ? inch.

Finished Sand Candles

Use a variety of techniques to dress up your sand candles! Add shells (far left candle) to enhance the beachy feel of these great decorations. Use the whipped wax effect (far right) to create sea-foam. (See our section on Whipped Wax for instructions on this technique.)

The sand shell of your sandy sand candles should act as a container when you burn your candle. However, be sure to burn your candles on a pillar holder, platter or other safe holder to catch unexpected drips, or if one of the sides of your sand candle collapses.

Adding Seashells

If you would like to add seashells to your candle, follow the process outlined in the instructions above for making a sand candle.

After you have make your form in the sand, add shells to the edges.

Pour the wax following the instructions outlined above for making sand candles.

Refill the candle if a sink hole appears.

Use special care in removing this sand candle from the sand, so as not to dislodge any of the shells.


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