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Candle Making Molds - which to choose?

Updated on November 1, 2012

How to choose which mold to buy?

Now you have decided to make pillar style candles you are probably wondering which type of mold to buy. The choice of molds can be quite overwhelming, do you go plastic or metal, or perhaps even silicone. Once you have decided on the material your mold will be made from you have so many choices regarding size, shape and style. Molds can be quite expensive and in order to really get the best value you need to choose a mold that will be useful, adaptable and will last a while. Luckily for you I have outlined some advantages and disadvantages of each type here and given you some clear ideas for where to start.

Candle Molds

Which type of mold do you prefer?

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Making Pillar Candles at Home

Candle making is a great hobby, it is easy to learn, you don't need a lot of tools and you quickly have beautiful products in hand. If you are going to make pillar candles, or candles not requiring a container, you will need some form of mold. You can buy molds commercially or you can find items around your home to repurpose into candle molds.

The most common commercial molds are made from

  • Aluminum
  • PVC
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polyurethane
  • Silicone

You can repurpose many household items into candle molds, such as

  • Cartons
  • Tins
  • Empty Food Containers
  • Muffin tins
  • Tennis balls
  • You can even make molds out of cardboard

No matter what your financial position there is an option for making molded candles.

Aluminum Candle Molds

Aluminum molds are generally a single piece, seamless mold. They produce high quality pillar candles. The aluminum provides high release capabilities leaving you will a smooth sided seam free candle. Aluminum molds are commonly available at most chandler supply stores and craft stores, there is also a wide selection available on Amazon.

Are there any disadvantages to aluminum?

  • I have found aluminum molds retail at a higher price than polycarbonate and PVC molds.
  • Aluminum is opaque and you can’t actually see your candle until you release it from the mold. That said I don’t find the opacity of aluminum to be an issue at all. Once your candle is poured you don't need to see it until you remove it from the mold.

Polycarbonate Candle Molds

Polycarbonate molds are one of the most popular candle making molds. They come in both one piece and two piece systems depending upon whether you want a standard shaped candles or a more intricate candle. You can get some really creative polycarbonate trays for making sets of floating candles. Polycarbonate molds are available in a wide variety of shapes at specialized candle supply stores. Polycarbonate molds are light weight, durable and provide excellent release and a smooth shiny finish on a candle. A couple of the real advantages to polycarbonate; your candles won't require a water bath for cooling and the mold is transparent.

Are there any disadvantages to polycarbonate molds?

  • I do find I am a little more careful with my polycarbonate mold because I don't consider them to be as strong as some of my basic one piece PVC molds. That may well be perception and not reality though.
  • They are a little more expensive than aluminum

All in all, an excellent choice for the home candle maker

Silicone Candle Molds

Just like silicone has taken the baking world by storm it has had a huge impact on the candle making community. Silicone molds are extremely easy to use and clean and they result in fantastic candles. Silicone molds enable you to achieve levels of intricate detail simply not achievable with aluminum and polycarbonate. I am particularly partial to the bakery molds, not sure why I like my candles to look like food but I really adore the variety of silicone molds available.

Are there any diadvantages to silicone molds

  • Silicone molds need a little more care than other molds. They will last for hundreds of pours if cared for correctly, but unlike other molds they do need more careful handling. You need to ensure they are stored correctly in order to maintain their shape and they also need to be washed regularly.
  • Silicone molds can be fairly expensive and you want to make sure you will pour enough candles in that style to get value from your purchase.

Silicone molds are easy to use and even a novice candle maker can produce excellent results, making them a great choice for home candle makers.

Easy and cheap DIY option

What other options are there?

One cheap and easy option for making a simple pillar mold is a PVC mold. These basic, durable and easy to use molds can be bought at many candle supply stores, however after a quick trip to the hardware store you could have a selection of sizes for a low price.

You can also use glass containers to make candles. For example in your kitchen you probably have some glass bowls, sauce bowls or hors d'oeuvres bowls which will make good molds. Don't be tempted by your drinking glasses however. There are a couple of reasons why your drinking glasses may not be suitable. Firstly, not all glass is tempered glass therefore some glasses will not be able to withstand the heat of the melted wax without cracking. Secondly, drinking glasses tend to have a small, almost imperceptible, lip around the edge. What this means is that while your candle making may seem to be going okay through the pouring and setting phase, the candle will not come out of the mold once it is set. The lip makes the opening of the glass slightly narrower than the rest of the glass.

Have a look in your pantry and you may find a few more potential molds. Pringles containers are excellent candle molds. I particularly like making candles from mailing tubes. These come in different diameters and can be cut to size.


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