Candlemaking Methods



Functions and Parties

Simple Candles to Make

This section contains information on some simple methods of candlemaking.

Candlemaking, like cooking, can be very simple or as complex as you want to make it! Like cooking you need a few simple implements - pots or tins to melt the wax in, a thermometer, a tray to catch wax spills, knife and scissors, and some plastic containers for water baths. You don’t necessarily need a double boiler with water or oil in it as the wax will melt directly on a low flame. Don’t heat the wax over 90 degrees C or it might start to smoke. A fan to ventilate the room is also a good idea. You can get some recycled large metal tins from cafes which are good if you want to have a few different colours. These hold about 3 kg of wax each. A metal candy thermometer is the best type to use and these are available from catering stores.

Beeswax Candles 
The simplest candles to make are rolled beeswax candles. These are made by rolling a flat sheet of beeswax tightly around a wick. It is important to make sure that the wick is firmly in place. Shorter candles can by made by folding the patterned sheets along a line and splitting them into thinner sheets. Thicker candles can be made by rolling additional sheets around thecandle until the desired size is reached.

Dipped Candles 
A dipped candle can be made by repeatedly dipping a piece of wick in wax until the wax builds up on the wick and a candle forms. This can be sped up by dipping it in water between wax dips thus cooling it. Alternately, plain candles can be dipped in coloured and scented wax to change their appearance, or the wax can be dripped or splattered on for interesting effects. The extra wax on the outside of the candle will also increase the burning time.

Dipped candles can also be carved while warm and this gives an interesting effect if the candle has previously been dipped in different coloured waxes. Dipping the candle in water the final time it is dipped will give the candle a shiny finish.

Moulded Candles 
Moulded candles are produced by pouring molten wax into a mould and letting it set. Candle moulds are best but for starters you can use an old plastic food container as a mould - even an aluminium can with the top cut off will do. A hole needs to be drilled in the middle of the bottom for the wick. The wick is attached at the bottom with some tape (ducting tape works well and is available at hardware stores) and at the top with a skewer or pencil. The wick should be firm so that it goes straight down the centre of the candle. The seal on the bottom of the candle must be airtight so that the wax doesn’t all run out the bottom after pouring (every candle maker has done this!). The wick should be primed by dipping it in molten wax and letting it set before wicking the mould.

The wax is heated to about 90 degrees C and any colour or scent to be used added. If you are using just paraffin wax add 10% stearin, more if beeswax is used. This is important as the stearin will make the candle contract and come out of the mould easily. The wax is poured into the mould and the mould left to set. After some time check the candle - the wax on top will most likely be contracting as it cools. A hole should be made releasing the pressure and the indentation filled with some hot wax. It may be necessary to do this 2 or so times.

The candle must be completely cooled before any attempt is made to remove it from the mould otherwise you risk pulling the wick out of it. You can also cool candles by using a water bath. To do this the mould is placed in a plastic container and weighted so that it doesn’t float or tip over. Once the wax has been poured you fill the container with cold water. This speeds up cooling and gives a good shiny consistent finish to the surface of the candle. However, it is more difficult then air cooling and more problems can arise such as water getting into the candle through the wick hole.

Once the candle is completely cooled it is removed from the mould and what was the bottom becomes the top. The excess wick is trimmed. There are many variations on this basic method such as pouring multiple layers in different colours and putting wax chunks in before pouring the molten wax.

Candlemaking home page Materials Methods Pricelists Materials Wick & TabsOils

Stacks of Wax Pty Ltd - 239 Australia St Newtown 2042 - Ph 61 2 9557 0306 - Fax 61 2 9557 0804