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How to make your own candles at home the easy way

Updated on February 9, 2011

Hand Made Scented Candles

The Easy Guide To Making Candles

One morning I was sitting on the edge of the sofa thinking "I'm really bored"! I had just finished college and was only working part time and as a creative person I found it difficult to keep still! So my thoughts turned to what can I do to amuse myself and just like that, I said, "I'm gonna make candles today"!

So it was summer time and the hobby shop was still open then (sadly it is no longer with us), so I popped down the high street into Turtles hardware store and asked to be shown to the candle section.

I wasn't quite sure what I was doing, but I thought if I buy a bag of paraffin wax, other additives, some wicks, colours, a few cheap moulds and get a book from the library, I’ll be good to go!

So I got home all excited and headed for the kitchen and got out some old pots, poured water about 1/3 of the way, then placed the smaller pot inside to create a wax boiler. This is the safe way to begin slowly melting paraffin wax while pawing through a candle making book!

As a rule, if you want good quality candles which are strong, long burning, vibrant in colour with good scent throw, this is what you need to do.

1) Everything has to be weighed. This is the only way to guarantee consistency and work out what additives you need to tweak. Follow this recipe and you can’t go wrong.

Use a candle making book for instructions, and take careful note of the temperature guidelines and use a thermometer.

2) You will need to measure the diameter of your candle in order to use the correct wick.

As a general rule, measure.the radius of the mould and this will give you the correct wick size. If the candle mould has a 1” radius then you will require a 1” wick – it’s that simple.

3) You’ll need paraffin wax, vybar, stearin (stearic acid) and microcrystalline (if you can’t get the latter it is not essential) Paraffin, Vybar, Stearin and Microcrystalline are all types of wax.

4) You need between 10-15% of stearin to every 1kg of paraffin wax. Experiment with the 10-15% use what works for you (stearin - palm wax is used as a hardener and gives the candle an opaque colour). For every 1kg of paraffin wax add 3% or 3-5 teaspoons of vybar (without this product it is nearly impossible to achieve flawless layers without bubbles and cracks, your layers WILL NOT BOND PROPERLY if you don’t use this product – it also helps with scent throw and adds lustre and shine to the candles. This means your candles will withstand more handling as appose to looking greasy. Add about 1 - 2 tablespoons of microcrystalline wax if you can, this also adds strength to the candles.

5) Once all your wax is melted you can add some colour, but personally I like to make lots of different colours at one time so I usually add a small amount of dye into the moulds just before pouring then mix it quickly with a kebab skewer.

6) When using perfume you have to be really careful especially if you are using POLYCARBONATE moulds. The perfume deteriorates the plastic and you will never get smooth candles from that mould again. Be aware that you must protect your skin from such products as they are highly concentrated. Also pour perfume into your wax at the last minute, this will guarantee maximum potency. The strength of perfume will become weak when heated for a prolonged amount of time.

Now You Are Good To Go

First I put down newspaper everywhere, work tops and floor, of course this minimises the chances of you ruining your kitchen and it must be noted that due to the concentration of the wax dyes you should wear gloves if your skin is sensitive. Dyes can stain your hands for up to a few days (depending on how much washing up you do) and they will stain a form mica worktop!

Now we have to “wick up” which means you have to boil out the wicks in wax until all the bubbles disappear. This will ensure that you don’t get any crackling and popping (rice crispy style) while burning your finished products. This usually takes about one minute. Once this is done you carefully lift them out of the wax and onto a non-porous surface and when cool enough you simply thread the wicks through your moulds and leave about an inch or two of overhang so that when you are ready to pull your candle from its mould you have something to hold onto, when the extra wick is too short in some instants it can prove difficult removing your candle from its mould.

So you have now wicked up, now all you have to do is plug up the hole the wick went through to prevent the wax leaking out once it has been poured. I personally prefer to use wax which is beginning to cool down to plug the base then place into water until set, but mould seal is available.

Candle Making Books

You are now ready to pour in your wax (at the correct temperature). You can now add some colour to your hot wax and pour carefully using a heat proof jug.

Once you have done this you will need to use either a cocktail stick or a wooden kebab skewer to centralise the wick. Most candle moulds have 2 halfway points round the top edge. This allows you to rest your sticks across the mould in a central position without fear of your wick moving.

If you want a multicoloured look you need to wait for each layer to semi set (approximately 20mins for each layer) or layers will melt into one, wait too long and the layers could retracted meaning than the hot poured wax will run down the small gap between the candle and the mould surface which doesn’t look nice, also waiting too long means that the last poured layer will not adhere to the one before causing it to separate – this also is not a good look :-(

So if you where making a 7 layer 10 x 2 inch candle, it would take you 2hours and 20 minutes to complete the colour pouring process.

During the setting process to speed things up you can place your candle in a water bath and weight the mould down with something heavy to prevent it from turning over, or you can place it in the fridge (this is my personal favourite and you can also place your mould in a water bottle then in the fridge, it speeds up the setting process even more).

Now that you have left your candles to set, this is not the end!!! You now have to make sure your candles won't create a “vortex” this is when the top exposed part of the candle sets then wax contracts sucking on one side of the candle. Keep the exposed wax broken so that the candle can contract evenly from the top.

After about half an hour take the candle out of the water bath/fridge and with the wick held taut make circular motions in order to create a central cavity. This cavity should be filled up with hot wax and left to set ensuring at all times that the wick remains central. This is also a perfect time to add a little more scent to your candles without fear of your moulds being damaged. Repeat this method until the wax stops contracting from the middle.

If you have used a good quality recipe your candles should slide right out of their moulds once your mould seal has been removed. To finish, get a shallow baking tray and heat up onto the stove (not too hot), and place your candles bottom end down onto the hot tray as straight as possible and move quickly around the tray in order to neaten the bottom so it will be smooth and stand up right!

Now you have beautiful candles! ;-)

All content of this web page is © Copyright to K. Sinclair Orb Collection Candles 2011


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    • Glow Pebbles profile imageAUTHOR

      Glow Pebbles 

      7 years ago

      Rhonda, you are a darling, I mostly like to make them in the summer but February 14 is coming soon!!!

    • Rhonda Waits profile image

      Rhonda Musch 

      7 years ago from The Emerald Coast

      I use to always make my own candles. I have not made any in awhile though. This was a great idea for a hub. Voted up. Awesome.

      Sweet wishes Rhonda


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