I was fascinated watching a candle being made and carved in a shop in South Devon and thought I would have a go.
This is one of my hobbies that I only do occasionally as it is quite time consuming and needs lots of patience. The results get better with experience and it is trial and error with moulds. I prefer the hard plastic moulds rather than the rubber ones, but every candle maker has their own preferences. Clean empty yogurt cartons are a good cheap alternative, but literally anything can be adapted as long as the base is wider than the top otherwise you have to cut the mould to get the candle out. Good quality wicks are essential and the correct size (diameter) for the mould. To small and the candle floods the wick and it can’t burn, too large and the flame is large and the candle will smoke and burn down very quickly.
Use proper candle wax dyes to colour the wax and sterrin which is an additive to help the dye melt and harden the wax to help release the candle from the mould. some makes of candle wax already have the sterrin in them so read the labels carefully. Scents can also be added but again make sure they are suitable for candle making.
Once you have mastered the basics you can experiment. Good effects can be made by putting ice cubes in the mould first, pouring in one colour of wax and letting it set. Pour out the water and then refill the mould with a different colour. the effects are stunning. Another idea is tilt the mould and half fill with one colour wax, let that set then straighten the mould and fill with another colour. Just doing several layers or colours can look good. There are lots more ideas in books and on the internet.
Step by step to making a candle
First of all make sure you have everything you need before you start.Candle wax, sterrin, wax dyes, wick, mould, lolly stick or or something similar to hold wick, large eyed needle, and mould sealant. A saucepan of water and a jug to melt the wax in. You will also need something to make a cooling bath, depending on the size of your mould it could be an ice cream tub or a glass anything that will hold the mould and cold water.
Put the saucepan of water on the heat and place the wax into the jug, put the jug into the water and heat very gently until melted.While this is melting you can prepare your wick. Cut a length of wick that will go into the mould and out the top and tie around your supporting stick e.g.. lolly stick.
Next dip the wick into the wax to prime it and let it harden. Then thread it into the mould, this is where the large eyed needle can help. Make sure it is central and seal the top with mould seal, making sure the wax will not flow out or water get in.
By now the wax should have melted, so you can now add dye, sterrin or scent depending what you want. Mix the dye in thoroughly.
Now fill your mould almost to the top.After about 30 seconds carefully put the mould into it’s cooling bath.
Now is when you have to be patient and let the wax cool down, if it cools to quickly you will not get a smooth finish. When it has cooled it will have shrunk a little in the centre. Prick some holes with the needle so that when you top up with more wax it will bind together.
Now be even more patient and let the wax go completely cold, at this point it can go into the fridge, but that will still take a few hours. The harder the wax the easier it will release from the mould. Remember to take the sealant off before trying to get the candle out of the mould. Pull gently on the lolly stick and it should come out easily.