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.