How to Make a Jelly Bean Candle
Jelly Beans Aren't Just for Eating!
Jelly bean candles are seasonally festive and glow like stained glass when lit. They're easy to make with a few basic candle making supplies. As for the candy, the good news is the best beans for these candles are cheap - and stale ones work even better!
When I got my first insert mold, I began experimenting with all sorts of decorated candles. The jelly bean candles are some of the easiest insert candles to make. They've been very popular among my friends. I usually make a couple each Spring, as gifts. However, they're fun to keep burning year round! Check out the tip, down below, for a way to keep enjoying the candle even after it's burned down.
Photo by bossypants
Now days, jelly beans come in a bazillion flavors. The flavors in the bag I used to make my candle are listed below but feel free to tell us your exotic favorites in the comments section.
What's Your Favorite Flavor?
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
Here's what you'll need:
Candle pot in a "double boiler" for melting your wax. (The double boiler is simply the pot of water into which you set your craft pot, for safe melting.)
At least three pounds of paraffin wax. (Paraffin -- rather than soy or beeswax -- has superior translucence to show off the jelly beans.)
Candle mold with insert. (These are often sold separately. Just make sure the insert fits into the mold with at least 3/4 inch space for the beans.)
2 feet of primed candle wick. (Most commercial wick is primed. If yours isn't, just dip the wick into melted wax for about 5 minutes to prime it.)
Mold sealer (optional). (Mold sealer is used to seal the mold at the hole where the wick is inserted. I rarely use it.)
1 bag of regular sized jelly beans
Craft stick or skewer that's longer than your mold is wide. (The stick will hold the wick taut while your candle cools.)
Step 2: Melt the Wax
Place the wax in the candle pot and put the pot in a pot of water. Heat the wax over low heat.
Use low to medium low heat to melt the wax. It is always safer to start out at the lowest setting when heating wax. Be patient!
Just as you shouldn't leave a burning candle unattended, you don't want to leave your pot of wax unattended.
Take care when working with hot paraffin wax. Always allow the wax to cool thoroughly before handling a full mold.
Keep a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby when making candles. (I've never had to use mine, but better safe than sorry!)
Step 3: Wick the Candle Mold
Most molds come with directions for wicking and it's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions. If your mold doesn't have directions, here are the basics for the metal mold shown in these pictures:
Remember, the bottom of the mold will actually be the top of your candle.
Thread the primed wick through the hole in the bottom of the mold, leaving about an inch of wick sticking out of the bottom of the mold.
Insert the included screw into the hole in the bottom of the mold, next to the wick.
Finger tighten the screw part way.
When the head of the screw is about 1/4 of an inch from the base of the mold, wrap the tail of wick around the threaded screw stem.
Finish tightening the screw. You may need to gently use a screwdriver, but be careful not to damage the mold.
I find wrapping the wick around the screw keeps me from having to use sealer, but if you wish, you may apply mold sealer at this point.
Every candle maker needs at least one of these.
Always make sure your insert is taller than your mold and that there's at least 3/4 inch between the insert wall and the candle mold wall.
Step 4: Add the Mold Insert
Pull the wick up through the insert mold as you center the insert in the mold. Allow the wick to hang outside the insert and mold, for now.
Step 5: Add the Jelly Beans
Fill the cavity between the insert mold and the candle mold with jelly beans. Depending on the depth of your mold and the amount of wax you choose to use, you may wish to fill the mold half to three-quarters full of candy. Holding the insert with one hand and the candle mold with the other, shake the mold to settle the beans evenly.
I remove any very dark (dark purple, black) candy before I add the beans to the candle mold.
They don't glow nicely in the finished candle.
Step 6: Pour the Melted Wax
When the wax has melted, pour the hot wax into the center of the insert mold. The wax will rise (through osmosis) in the main candle mold, up through the jelly beans. Pause before adding more wax, and check the level of the wax as it rises. Stop pouring when the wax just reaches the top layer of candy.
Step 7: ATTENTION: Keep the Insert Loose!
Twist the insert mold to loosen it from the jelly beans and cooling wax. Continue to twist the insert mold every few minutes as the wax cools and begins to harden. (The frequency of twisting will depend on room temperature and the temperature and amount of wax used.) This is an important step! If the insert hardens into the candle, there is no way to salvage the ruined candle. (Trust me -- I speak from experience!)
Step 8: Remove the Insert
When the mold insert becomes difficult to twist, gently pull the insert mold up and out of the wax. Wrap the remaining wick around a craft stick or skewer rested across the top of the candle mold. This will keep the wick straight and taut as the wax cools and hardens.
Step 9: Backfill the Candle
Most wax shrinks as it cools, leaving a concave impression in the base of the jelly bean candle. When wax has cooled thoroughly (you may wish to wait overnight), reheat the wax in the candle pot and pour it into the candle mold to backfill the depression. This is also the time to cover up any beans that may be showing above the wax.
Step 10: Unmold the Candle
Allow the jelly bean candle to cool thoroughly before removing from the mold. (I usually wait at least 6 hours or overnight.) Invert the mold and remove the screw from the base of the candle mold. If the candle does not slip out easily, tug gently on the wick tail (at the open mouth of the mold). If the candle is particularly stubborn, place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and then remove the candle from the mold.
Step 11: Finish The Candle
Trim the wick tail on the bottom of the candle flush with the wax. (Remember, the bottom of the candle is the part that was at the open end of the mold.) Trim the top wick to one half inch.
Make sure the wick on the candle is trimmed to about 1/2 inch before burning. Any longer and the flame may get out of control or the candle may burn itself out.
You know the drill: don't leave your burning candle unattended. It's even more important with this candle because a jelly bean may dislodge and roll into the flame. Sugar burns and can cause a flare up.
If your candle has burned down the center nicely, you can prolong the enjoyment by putting a votive or tea light candle in remaining shell.
Do You Make Candles?
Photos by bossypants
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