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How to Make Candles

February 18th, 2011 No comments

Candle making has been around for many years. It was once a necessity to be able to have light at night; it is now a hobby that many men and women enjoy. Candle making continues to be a popular hobby for a variety of reasons. People make candles for their own personal use, it is a great craft project to do with older children, people make candle to give away as gifts, and people even make candles to sell and create a business out of it.

how to make candlesMaking candles for your own personal use or to give away as gifts is extremely rewarding and easy to do. Many of the local craft stores supply all of the tools you will need in order to make your own candles. You can buy wax, wicks, and molds from almost any craft stores. With the popularity of the hobby, craft suppliers have also made things like color, decorations, and fragrance readily available for homemade candles. The rest of the supplies needed for candle making can be supplied by the hobbyist. The first step in candle making is to prepare the wax. You do this by melting it in a double boiler. A double boiler is simply one large pot filled with water and placed on the stove top. Another smaller pot that contains the un-melted wax is sat inside the larger pot. Wax will burn when you try to melt it so using a double boiler makes it easy. Once the wax is melted, hold the wick in place in the middle of the mold and pour in the wax. Allow the wax to cool for about four to six hours before you attempt to remove it from the mold. Sometimes putting the entire thing into the freezer for about a half an hour will make it easier to remove the candle from the mold. You can also spray non-stick cooking spray into the mold before you pour the wax into it so it is easier to remove the finished candle.

There is practically no end to the different types of candles you can make at home. With the different aromas, colors, and decorations your only limit is your imagination. Some candle making enthusiasts have gone as far as to make their own molds using liquid latex in order to create amazing candles. The only problem with using latex molds is that they typically are too flexible to stand on end to pour the wax into the bottom of them. What you will need to do is to cut a hole in a piece of sturdy cardboard. The whole needs to be big enough for the mold to slip through but only up to the lip. All latex molds need a lip on the bottom for this purpose. The wax can then be poured into the bottom of the mold and the cardboard will act as support.

Some entrepreneurs have found that selling candles can be a profitable business. They have taken their love of the hobby and their talent and turned it into a great way to make money. They do this by buying their supplies in bulk at discount prices. They also take time and effort into packaging their products attractively. The thing that really drives them is their imagination. People are always looking for something new when it comes to this old custom.

Wax for Making Candles

February 18th, 2011 No comments

Today, with the growing popularity of candle making, candle making wax has made strides to become better, more available, and with more diversity then before.  People are constantly looking for the new thing and since wax is the main component in candle making, the changes have been there.

Most of the wax used in candles today is refined from petroleum like paraffin wax.  This is the type of wax that is in most candles.  Paraffin wax is readily available and inexpensive.  Other types of waxes are natural and refined from vegetable or plant materials like soy, palm, or bayberry.  A natural wax growing in popularity is soy based wax.  It is processed by hydrogenating soybeans which makes them suitable for candles.    Soy wax is a renewable resource that is eco-friendly.  The best part about soy wax is that the majority of soybeans are grown in the United States primarily in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana.  Palm wax is also natural and a renewable resource.  Unfortunately with the growing popularity of palm wax, countries like Indonesia and Malaysia were clearing our vast areas of rainforest in order to plant palm plantations.  This is devastating to ecosystems and compromises the populations of endangered animals like orangutans, rhinoceroses and the Sumatran tiger.  Thankfully, the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) stepped in and founded RSPO.  This organization was founded to develop and define the best practices for sustainable palm cultivation.  They also help member organizations to implement and verify the procedures.  So when you are shopping for palm wax make sure that they are obtaining wax in an eco-friendly way. 

Some candles are made from animal based materials like beeswax.  Candles made from beeswax, palm, and bayberry were offered by companies in the past.  Recently there has been a new and growing interest in making candles out of these natural products.  One of the more popular natural waxes is beeswax.  It is available in yellow or white.  Although the cost of beeswax can be expensive, candle makers are drawn to its pleasant fragrance, the burning characteristics it contains, and the hardiness of the product. 

Gel candles are also a new kind of way to make candles.  It is a clear, rubbery texture but works the same as wax.  Gel wax is available in three different densities.  The density of the gel that the candle requires depends upon the type of candle you are planning to make and how much fragrance you are planning to use.  Low density gel wax is best for candles with a 0-3% fragrance load.  Also, the low density can be poured at a lower temperature.  The medium density gel wax works well with candles that have a 3-5% fragrance load.  It is probably the most popular gel wax to work with.  High density gel wax is better for candle with a heavier fragrance load. 

With so many different kinds of wax available, candle maker are able to pick the type that works best for them.  When a candle maker is able to understand each kind of wax, they are able to fully experience every inch of the candle making market and get double, triple or even quadruple the fulfillment.

Molds for Candle Making

February 18th, 2011 No comments

The different types of candle making molds that are available to buy to make candles at home are almost as endless and the amount of different candles out there.  It is realistic to think that with such a popular hobby like candle making and the popularity of people buying candles for their homes, there would be a lot of different types of candle making molds available on the market.

A candle mold is a container that the wax is poured into while it cools.  The wax will hold the shape of the mold when it has cooled completely.  Candle molds are made out of a variety of materials, sizes, shapes, and styles.  They also offer a variety of different uses.  Aluminum molds are a very popular type of mold candle makers use.  They are durable and heat resistant.  Plus, they leave a smooth finish without leaving any seams in the finished candle.  This gives the candles the appearance of being professionally made.  These types of metal molds are widely used in making votive and pillar candles.  They are also inexpensive when compared to rubber molds.  A plus about aluminum molds is that they are easy to clean.  All you need to do is to put them on a baking sheet in your oven.  By placing them upside down and heating them to about 150 degrees the leftover wax will milt and run out of the mold onto the cookie sheet.  Just remember to line your cookie sheet.  The down side to aluminum molds is that they are not flexible so there are very little choices when it comes to varying the shapes or textures of the candles and that they require a releasing agent to get the candle out of the mold.  

On the other hand, rubber molds like polyurethane, silicone, or latex molds are very flexible.  Polyurethane molds are flexible but they do not stretch well.  They are usually a little bit cheaper then silicone molds.  Unfortunately, they have a strong odor that may be able to be passed along in your candle and they will need a releasing agent to get the candle out of it.  Often times pillar and taper candles are made from these types of molds.  Silicone molds are another type of rubber mold.  They are the most expensive molds because of their outstanding qualities.  They leave no parting lines, they are flexible but also stretchable to a point so getting the candles out of the molds is easier and requires no releasing agent.  Although latex molds used to be used very often, with the advances in other types of rubber molds they are loosing their luster.  But, it is very easy to make your own molds at home by using liquid latex and painting it onto a structure at home.  This process requires a lot of coats of latex but, the options of different types of unique molds are endless.

Plastic candle molds are the cheapest but they are not always the best.  They have a shorter lifespan then the rest because they are more brittle.  On the plus side, plastic molds are easy to clean.  All you need to use is some warm water and a little soap.  Just make sure that the mold is completely dry before you use it again or you will get water bubbles in your candles.  They are good molds for beginners but if you were to take your candle making hobby into the next level and turn it into a business you are probably going to have to invest in different types of molds.

Making Soy Candles

February 18th, 2011 No comments

Soy candles are natural and burn cleaner then paraffin candle wax.  The popularity of them is growing.  Although soy wax is a little bit more expensive then paraffin wax, people who have used and made soy candles are quickly becoming addicted to them. 

Soy wax is a vegetable wax that is made from soybeans.  The oil is extracted from the soybean flakes and hydrogenated.  The majority of the world’s soybeans are grown in the United States in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana.  It is believed that soy candles burn cleaner then paraffin candles.  This is true to an extent.  All candles emit soot.  There is no way around that.  But, paraffin candles emit black soot while soy candles emit white soot.  While soot is not harmful to people, white soot is a little cleaner then black. 

The only thing that is really different about making soy candles then paraffin candles is the wax.  They both use the same techniques and equipment.  You can use a double boiler to melt the soy wax.  A double boiler is a smaller pot with the wax is placed in a larger pot full of water that is placed on the stovetop.  Heat the soy wax to 150 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Be careful not to keep the melted wax above 150 degrees Fahrenheit for too long because it could burn which will give the wax a yellowish appearance.  Ounce the wax is fully melted you can add the color you would like.  You can then remove it from the heat and add the fragrance.  It is best to use 7% fragrance by weight.  That simply means that for every one pound of soy wax, you can use 1.12 ounces of fragrance oil.  If the fragrance concentration is too high, it may bleed through the candle.  The soy wax can be about 140 – 150 degrees Fahrenheit.  You can then pour the wax into the mold to cool.  Be careful not to pour the wax at too low of a temperature or the candle could crack.  The wax should be between 95 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  You should also not use water to cool the candle quickly.  This could also cause the candle to crack.

Although soy wax candles and paraffin wax candles are mostly the same, there are a couple of differences.  Soy wax is a softer wax so it is not suitable for some types of candles.  For instance, soy wax does not work well when you are trying to make novelty candles.  It also do not work well for pillar candles.  You can also not make taper candles with soy wax.  Floating soy candles can be made if they are up to 3 inches in diameter.

If you can make candles with paraffin wax, you can make candles with soy wax.  Making candles is kind of like trying out a new food recipe; sometimes you have to try things one way then the other to see which works best for you.  The bottom line is that soy wax and paraffin wax both hold scent and color the same in candles but, it is great to learn how to make a new kind of candle and offer a variety in your candle making whether you are making candles for pleasure or a business.

Making Scented Candles

February 18th, 2011 No comments

Scented candles add a certain amount of elegance to a room.  The candlelight from any candle gives the room a romantic feeling.  However, when a fragrance is added to the room through a scented candle, the elegance of the room grows.

You can use fragrance oil that is available at most craft stores or online for your scented candles.  It is better to use oil rather then a water-bases or alcohol-based perfume in wax because most waxes are close to oil in their chemical composition.  Water and oil do not mix.  So, by using water-based perfumes, the liquid will simply float to the bottom of your melted wax.   

The wonderful thing about scented candles is that the fragrance is noticed even when the candle is not lit.  They make wonderful gifts and are appreciated even more when they are handmade.  The process of making scented candles is the same as making regular candles.  You will need to consider which kind of wax you are going to use.  There are several kinds of wax that are available today.  There are natural waxes like soy, palm, or beeswax.  There is also paraffin wax which is your basic wax that most candles are made of and there are also gel candles.  Both of these types of wax can be used to make scented candles also.  Although, with gel candles, you have to consider how much fragrance you are planning to use before you choose your wax.  Gel wax with a lesser density can not hold as much fragrance as gel wax with a higher density.

In order to make any type of candle, you have to first melt the wax before you can pour it into your candle mold.  You have to use a double boiler to melt the wax.  Place a smaller pot that has the wax in it into a larger pot that is filled with water.  Be careful not to put the temperature of the stovetop too high because wax can burn.  You can use a thermometer and heat the wax to be around 170-180 degrees.  Add the wick to the mold.  After the wax is melted, you can remove it from the heat source.  It is now time to add the fragrance oil.  You can add one ounce of fragrance oil to one pound of wax.  This will give you a 6% fragrance concentration.  Make sure that you do not add too much fragrance.  Although it may seem like the more fragrance the better, this is not always the case.  Certain problems can arise from using too much fragrance.  One thing that could happen is that the candle will not burn properly because of the higher concentration of liquid.  You might end up with pools of liquid in the candle.  You can always experiment with you candle making.  You can keep records of how much fragrance you use to how much wax and find you own scented candle recipe. 

Using things like scents and colors gives you much more variety of the things that you can create in your candle making.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to give a loved one a gift of a candle with the essence of relaxation and a calming sent to go along with it?  Now that you understand a little bit more about how to make scented candles, you can do it.

Making Gel Candles

February 18th, 2011 No comments

Gel candles are growing in popularity.  They work the same as regular wax candles in the respect that they will burn in the same way that wax candles burn but they are made a little differently.

Wax candles are made from oil.  The same is true with gel candles but they are made of 95% mineral oil and 5% polymer resin.  The resin starts out as a powder but when it is mixed with the mineral oil it is transformed into a solid state.  Gel wax comes in three different states: high density, medium density, and low density.  The higher the density, the more fragrance the oil can hold.  Plus, the thicker gel will hold the suspended decorations with in the candle.  But, keep in mind that the thicker gel takes longer to meld and it is harder to pour.�

The steps that go into making a candle out of regular wax such as melting the wax and pouring it in a mold to dry are the same steps you need to do in making gel candles.  But, the equipment you use and the techniques are slightly different.  With other types of candle wax most people use a double boiler to melt the wax.  But, trying to melt gel wax in a double boiler would take way too long.  Some gel candle makers have turned to multi-cookers to get the job done.  A multi-cooker is kind of like a deep fryer.  They typically are metal with a non-stick coating.  They have a separate heating element with a temperature dial so you can get the proper temperature to melt the gel wax.  Rather then using two separate pots one with water and one to melt the wax in, the gel wax is placed directly in the multi-cooker to melt.  Although the multi-cooker comes with a temperature dial, it is still a good idea to use a separate thermometer to make sure that the gel is melted at the proper temperature.  Use something metal or hard plastic to stir the gel wax.  Wooden spoons can sometimes add bubbles to the gel.  The most important thing to remember is that gel candle wax can catch fire.  Make sure you have a chemical fire extinguisher near by. 

It is also possible to change the color of the gel candle wax by using dyes.  Liquid candle dyes are perfect for gel candles because they can maintain the translucency of the gel.  It only takes a very small amount of the dye to actually change the color of the wax.  Sometimes even a drop of dye is too much.  You should never use crayons, clothing dye, food coloring, or soap dyes in gel candle wax.  They will no burn right because they are not made specifically for candles. 

Learning how to make gel candles is fast and easy.  There are so many possibilities when it comes to creating wonderful candles with gel wax.  The best thing about gel candles is that you can add decorations directly to the wax so that they float within the candle.  This is a clever and unique way to personalize a gift if you are making the candle for someone else.  Plus, gel candles burn slower then regular wax candles so they will last a little longer.