Sunday, December 21, 2008

Candlemaking 101 : Molded Candles

I'm pretty new at candle making still, but a few weeks ago a friend who is an avid candle user asked me if it was more cost effective to make a candles or to buy them. So I investigated. And in general (as with many crafty things) it is much more cost effective to make candles rather than buy them... in the long run. Buying the supplies may add up at first, but once you have them, wax is not very expensive, and if you enjoy doing it, well then why the hell not? Its really pretty simple:

First you need ingredients and equipment. For the ingredients:
  • Wax (with a medium melting point of 135-145 degrees. I found paraffin wax that meets this requirement for only $3/lb. Beeswax is more expensive but also works.)
  • Stearic acid, 10% of the weight of the wax needed for your mold. (The recipe I used called for this, but I forgot to use it a couple times and it turned out fine for me without it, though the finished product was probably more fragile without it.)
  • Scent, as desired.
  • Color, as desired.

And for the equipment:

  • double boiler or rarely used crockpot-like device (I use an old mini crockpot I originally bought for hot dips and have never used in about 5 years. Works like a charm, but I doubt I'll ever be able to get all the wax back out so keep that in mind,)
  • a mold of some kind (I used a votive mold as shown above.)
  • a wick appropriate for the diameter of the candle you wish to make (it will say on the packaging of the wick how think it should be.)
  • chopstick, pencil, or skewer
  • a ladle
  • large bowl or bucket

Step 1 - Figure out how much wax you need by filling your mold with water and measuring it.
Step 2 - Melt the wax in double boiler or crockpot type device.

Step 3 - While the wax is melting, prepare the wicks and mold. First, apply vegetable oil to your mold. Then, if you are using scent, soak the wick in the essential oil for a few minutes before tying them to to your chopstick, pencil or skewer.

Step 4 - When the wax is melted, pour about a half inch into the mold to secure the wick in place. Let cool.

Step 5 - Pour in the rest of the wax, and place to mold into your cool bath. You might have to weigh it down if it decides to float.

Step 6 - Once they are cool, pop them out and you're done! If you are having a hard time getting them out, put them in the fridge for a bit and try again. If that still doesn't work, then you might be out of luck.


mp2athome said...

Okay! We must do this together. I love the idea of making candles. Let's schedule a craft day.

jenn said...

Yey!!! Candles!! I am excited to try this out :D BTW, we got your gift in the mail- thank you so much! Everything smells so wonderful, and Mike was very impressed that you made everything yourself from scratch!