Making Palm Wax Candles

I was so excited to be able to go out and make some candles this week.  It gets too cold during the winter for them to cool properly and I’ve been busy lately, so this was the first chance I had.  It is so relaxing and fun to get out and create something!

I’m going to walk you through how I made these candles.  It’s always frustrating when people don’t give enough information, so you are going to get LOTS of information along the way.  To start with, I purchase most of my supplies from Candle Science.  However, they are no longer carrying Palm Wax as they found out their supplier was not being “green”.  So, soon I will have to switch to a different type of wax.  I really like the Starburst Palm wax because of the fun, frosty finish that I get on the candles.

To start with, I figured out that I wanted at least 2 3×3″ candles and a few votives with the scent “Hazelnut Vanilla”.  So I figured 2 lbs of wax would give me what I wanted.  I wound up with 2 3×3″ candles and 7 votives.  My recipe is as follows:  2 lbs Starburst Palm wax, 3 drops color and 2 oz scent.  After lots of testing, I found that this recipe works well.  I can use up to 1.2 oz scent per pound, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the strength of scent.

After I measured out my 2 lbs of wax, I started it warming in a double boiler type way.  What I do is fill an old coffee/food pot almost half way up with water (there is an old tuna can turned upside down inside with holes punched in the bottom), then put my pot with the wax granules in that.  I have the water in the pot turned up to high while I measure the wax, then turn it down to medium high when I put the pot of wax in.  What you do will depend on your stove.

While that is starting to warm, I start getting my molds ready.  I knew I was doing 2 3×3″ molds and then as many votives as I could out of the rest, so I started getting my 3″ molds ready.

I start by threading my wick (I use CSN14 for the 3″ molds) through the wick holder, the wick tab, then down through the mold.

I do it this way so I don’t waste wick.  I purchase my wick by the spool as I get more for my money.  (Yes, I’m thrifty.)  When approximately 1/2 inch is through the wick hole at the bottom (top of the candle when it’s done) of the mold, I use heat-able duct tape to seal it.  (This is available at Home Depot, etc.)  I have found that my piece needs to be a bit longer than the mold is wide, so it can go just a bit up the sides of the mold.  I start by folding the wick over, then pressing down over the wick hole and right along side of the wick, then pressing out so there are no air bubbles.  I then take another piece perpendicular so there is no part of the bottom of the mold showing.  If this is not sealed well, the mold will leak, but if pressed down properly, it works quite well. 

I make sure the corners are folded up, so I have something to grab a hold of when trying to remove the tape at the end.

When done sealing the mold at the bottom, I flip it over, pull the wick tight, while holding the bottom so it doesn’t slip, and pulling it through the wick holder.  Then I take a small piece of the tape to hold the wick tab up next to the wick holder.  I fold it over, so it sticks to the tab, then back over so I have something to grab onto when I need to remove it.

On votive molds, I use wick pins, then wick them after they are cooled.  I use CNS9 wick for the votives.  This seems to be much easier and work much better with votives.

As soon as the large molds are wicked and the votives have the pins in them and are ready to be used, I put them in a toaster oven at 150 degrees with “convection” chosen to warm while the wax is warming.

Then I measure the scent and make sure I have my color out.  I use liquid color that I have purchased from Bitter Creek Candle Supply.  It works quite well and doesn’t take much to color the wax.  For a dark color, I will use 10 to 20 drops per pound, but usually use 3 to 7 drops for a medium color.  For these candles, I was using Hazelnut Vanilla scent and just wanted a bit of color, so I used 3 drops of Coffee/Caramel color.  Make sure that just before adding the color, you shake, rattle and roll the color jar to thoroughly mix the color.

I always measure my scent by weight, not by volume. 

Now, it is a waiting game.  The wax needs to get to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, then have the color drops added and be stirred for 2 minutes.  After that, the scent needs to be added and stirred for approximately 2 minutes.  As soon as that is done, the wax is ready to be poured.  It needs to be poured at 185 to 195 degrees, so I usually take it off the heat before adding the color, then put it back in the water pot when I add the scent to get it to the right temperature.  When I am about ready to pour, I pull my molds out of the toaster oven and then immediately pour.

After that, it is another waiting game.  I put my molds in a cooler, but not too close together, so they cool slowly.  I don’t seal the lid on it, but leave just the tiniest bit of space so they actually cool.  After about 1/2 to 1 hour (depending upon how quickly they are cooling), I look to see of the top looks to be hardening and whether or not holes are forming.

There are usually holes, so I save some of my wax for a second and sometimes third pour.  When doing the second pour, I use a knitting needle to poke holes in the top of the candle and pour the hot wax (make sure it is the same temperature, or 10 degrees warmer than the first pour) but try not to overflow the original level of the top.  Wait another 1/2 to 1 hour and check again.  When I’m done with my pours, I usually have a bit left and pour out the last into an additional votive cup (hence the 7th votive).  It isn’t as pretty, but is perfect for burning in my bathrooms.

When the candles are completely cool (this takes from a couple to several hours, I usually leave them until the next morning) I can then pull them out of the molds, wick the votives and wrap them up.  If you are just making ones for you, make sure you wait at least 24 hours before burning them as they need time to cure.  Not sure quite what that means, but they burn better and smell better while burning if you wait.

These are what I had when finished, 2 3×3″ and 7 votives, and the picture on the next is what they look like.

It may seem like a lot of work, but I love making my own candles as I can use whatever scent and color I want.  I can make a coconut candle that is purple, or a cherry candle that is yellow.  Whatever I want I can make.  My candles also tend to burn longer and have a much better smell than what I can purchase in the store, as well as getting more for my money.  It is a fun and relaxing thing to do, too.  I can’t tell you how good these smell, but I wish you could smell them and enjoy them as much as I am.  I enjoy the process of making them, as well as enjoying burning them in my home, later.

Thanks for joining me on this experience.  I hope it was useful for you.

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Blue Suede Shoes with Flock

I am hosting one of the challenges in the CardMaker “Break Out of the Blues” crop.  My challenge is to be Elvis and give me some Blue Suede Shoes.  Use blue flock to make some shoes (any type of shoe is fine) look suede.

To start, I gathered supplies.  The pair of shoes is a clipart image I found online and printed out.  To get started, I put my image on a light table and used a blue pen to trace the image onto my cardstock.  If you don’t have a light table, you can use a glass table with a light underneath, or just tape the image to a window with the sun or a light behind.

Then I used a glue pen (mine was a Martha Stewart Fine Tip Glue Pen, but there are many different kinds and any will do) to fill in the areas I wanted the suede look on the shoes.  After I got the glue on the image, I covered the image with blue flock and pressed down with my finger to get it to stick fairly thickly.  I let it sit like that for about 15 minutes to make sure it was good and dry before dumping off the extra flock (I poured it on a sheet of folded paper so I could get the extra back in the container) and tapping the back to get off loose flock.

I used a glitter gel pen to color in the heels and give it a bit of sparkle.  That is also what I traced the image in.  Next I cut the image down to the size I wanted for my card.

While the glue was drying, I cut my background paper and embossed it with the Allegro Cuttlebug embossing folder.  The song was my theme, so I wanted to make it a bit musical.

After embossing, I used some blue ink and a dauber (you can use a small sponge) to lightly rub a bit of color over the background and make the music stand out.  As long as you rub lightly, it just highlights a bit.

Then I put it all together and came up with my finished card.  I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Please check out the crop and make a card with some Blue Suede Shoes for my challenge.  CardMaker is offering some fabulous prizes for each of the challenges!  You have plenty of time to play.

Nestabilities, Pop Ups and Putting Things Together

Sometimes, when making a card, you have a great idea, but realize you don’t have what you need.  So, you figure out what you have to work with and come up with a modified idea.

Here’s a card I did at the end of December.

I started off using two “spring” colors that I thought went well together.  After making my base card, I knew I wanted to use my Spellbinders Nestibilities Labels 8 for the main focus.  I cut that out, then embossed the piece. 

As I wanted to make a pop-up card, I needed to make a “door”, so used Spellbinders Nestibilities Labels 1 for that.  These two label dies seem to go well together. 

To make the “door” I layered Cuttlebug Plate A, Plate B, my Labels 8 cut out paper, the Labels 1 die ridge side down, then Plate C.  Because I did not want to cut the entire Label 1, I pulled the Plate B – paper – die – Plate C slightly down so just the edge of the die was NOT over Plate A.  It took a bit of jockeying around to get everything lined up correctly.  When I was done, this is what I had (this piece is not embossed, but if you are going to emboss, it needs to be done before the partial cut is made). 

You can then fold back the door.  For my inside “pop out” piece, I used the Cuttlebug A2 Tag Team Butterfly die and embossing folders.  This is such a fun die and with the 4 different embossing folders it can be used in so many differing ways. 

Underneath the butterfly, I used small strips of the green paper and accordion folded them.  As I wanted the butterfly to look like it was flying out, the pieces on the top and left are a bit longer than the ones on the bottom and right.  To hold my door shut, I found a “latch” that I though went well with my design.

I made a couple of these cards: one with embossing, one without embossing, and held up different “latches” to see which I liked best.  I also tried the cards being wider rather than taller.  Taking a look at how things fit together with the pieces is quite helpful before putting it all together.

Thanks for taking the time to walk through this with me.  Please take the time to check out the “Beat the Blues” Card Crop that starts tomorrow morning 8am CST on the CardMaker Forum.  You do as many, or as few challenges as interest you, post a picture of your finished challenge and are entered into a drawing for that challenge.  Click on the link and check it out.  The crop runs Wednesday through Saturday and CardMaker Magazine is offering some fantastic prizes for each of the challenges, as well as a grand prize for one participant.  I hope to see you there!

Easel and Movable Cards

Had a bit of fun with challenges this week.  The weekly challenge at CardMaker is to make an easel card, while the sketch challenge at StampTV was cute, too.  The question was, how to combine the two.  Had fun with this card I made for my husband’s grandmother.

I have since added 3 small rhinestones to the top of the butterfly strip to make sure grandma won’t have problems getting the card to stay open.  I’m hoping she will be able to figure out how it works.

Later this week, the sketch challenge from CardMaker and the color challenge from StampTV went together quite nicely.

The truck slides along the ribbon.  My idea was to have the hearts pop out as the truck slid along, but there wasn’t enough room on the card, so they are affixed to the background.  This one isn’t too fancy, as I didn’t put borders around the smaller background piece, but I wanted simple and fun.  That was definitely accomplished.  I have since added part of a paperclip to the back of the bed of the truck around the ribbon to keep it sliding evenly along.  Because the buttons used for the wheels are so large, this is not one I will be sending through the mail.  My husband should get a kick out of it, as my son and I both think it is fun.

There is still time to participate in any of the challenges, so please click on the links and check them out.  Enjoy your weekend!

(My comments section is at the top of each post.  Thanks for your feedback!)

Quick Sketches

The weekly sketch challenge on CardMaker was to use one of the previous sketches.  The board with the sketches is here.  As we are celebrating my grandmother’s 83rd birthday tomorrow, I wanted to give her some cards and figured I would make a few of the sketches.  I only got 5 done, but that was pretty good with my time constraints.  Here’s what I came up with:

Check out the sketches and see what you come up with.  The last card was also used in the Stamp TV color challenge for this week.  You can also see that I did another pinwheel.  I like this one much better.  There is plenty of time to participate.

Spinning Thoughts

The weekly challenge on the CardMaker Magazine Forum this week is to make a pinwheel.  I came up with so many different ideas for how I wanted it to look.  What I wound up with didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped.  I will have to try this one again, soon.  The ribbon I used has glitter embedded in it, which means I have pink glitter all over, now.

Taking the time to try something new is usually worth it.  Even if it doesn’t turn out, I have ideas for ways I can do it differently so it might work better.  I like the idea of blue paper behind the pinwheel, but using a lighter blue would probably look better, maybe with some white ink sponged on to make it look like a sky.  I think even brighter papers for the pinwheel itself would look better.  Probably paper with a small pattern would look better, too.  I tried the corners by eyeballing it rather than measuring.  They aren’t too bad, but to make me feel more comfortable, I’ll measure next time.

What would you do differently?  Besides just telling me your ideas, try them out and then post your card in the challenge thread I have linked above.  Who knows, you might win a small prize!

Glitter, Glitter Everywhere

Okay, there isn’t glitter everywhere, but it does fly when being used.  I also rubbed my hands all over the dog when I was done to give her a bit of shine.

This card is a combination of two challenges.  The first one was a sketch challenge on the CardMaker Magazine Forum.  The second was a color challenge from StampTV.  I had fun figuring out what I wanted to do.  The card is for my uncle’s birthday, so it couldn’t have ribbon or flowers on it.

To make this card, I figured out what order I wanted to put the colors in, then cut out my pieces.  After I had all my brown and turquoise pieces cut, I tried something different and adhered the strips of brown to the strips of turquoise before running them through my Cuttlebug to emboss them.  It worked quite well as the embossing lines up perfectly without even trying.  It saved doing it twice, too.  I knew I wanted to layer my stamped image on turquoise, but wasn’t sure whether to stamp it in brown, or turquoise, so I did both and decided the brown looked much better.  I used a glue pen to cover the elephant in glue, then poured on the glitter and pressed down to make it stick.  After it dried for a few minutes, I flicked the back of the card to make sure all loose glitter was off, then blew on it to remove stray bits of glitter.  I had to use my finger to wipe away a few stubborn pieces.  I wound up with a fun, guy birthday card.

Thanks for sharing some of your time with me.  Please check out the challenges as anyone can enter, and they are quite fun.