Christmas is coming and it is ‘Candle Making Day’ today. Time to use all the wax we and all our family and friends have collected throughout the year.
First job is to assemble the moulds.
There are different sizes of wicks to use depending on what type of wax is being used and what diameter of candle is wanted.
Today we are using 3 x 18P (20 m) wick, which we purchased online from www.4candles.co.uk good for making 75 mm diameter candles, this wick is also good when using old recycled wax or paraffin wax. www.4candles.co.uk have a good chart and an easy to follow guide online, very helpful for people new to candle making.
First feed the wick through what will be the top of the candle, which is the small hole at the base of the mould, leaving about two centimeters of wick poking through and secure this with a piece of blue tack.
Take the wick and cut it slightly longer than the length of the mould, thread a standard sustainer, which is the little silver round cap onto the wick, you can thread it both ways but it is much harder to thread it tube side first than flat side first and either way works well. The sustainer is very important and must be used, it is the bit that snubs out the wick at the end of the candle life.
Then take a candle wick pin and push it through the end of the wick, rest this across the rim of the mould.
We put the double boiler onto the Rayburn and heated the water in the bottom pan to boiling, we added the used wax to the top jug and let it heat until all the the wax melted. GD put twine over the pan to keep the jug sunk in the water a bit when there was only a bit of wax left and the pan was light, but you must be very careful if you do this so as not to let the twine fall on to the heat and catch fire.
When ready take a conical sieve and strain the wax into a pouring jug, any debris will collect in the sieve. You have to move quickly as the wax will begin to cool and solidify as soon as it is off the heat.
Once you have the filtered wax pour it into your mould making sure the disc is completely covered.
Before the final top up remove the pin from the wick across the rim of the mould and trim the excess wick there which will be at the base of the candle.
It is important to stay with the process throughout and not leave heating wax melting by itself. Any spilt wax can be left to harden before trying to clean it as it will harden and scrape off surfaces easier when cooled.
The wax in the mould will shrink on cooling and will need a top up with fresh melted wax, which can be up to three times, to make sure the mould is full and the disc is covered.
It is not essential to have metal moulds, we are experimenting today using a pringles tub, some people have used lined milk cartons with good results, but you must be sure to use a container that will not melt, crack or leak the hot wax.
We are mostly making standard pillar candles today, but we do have some coloured and some scented wax to make a few special gift candles as well. You can get new wax, dyes, scented oils and such like from a candle making supplier.
pic above- some candles using scrap coloured wax and scented residues..
We love making candles and make lots for gifts at Christmas, we mainly use recycled wax but are looking forward to making some beeswax candles and some dipping candles soon.
The moulds are left after the final topping up to cool overnight. Remove the blue tac. The wax will have shrunk back very slightly overnight allowing the candle to slip away from the mould. Should there be a stubborn one place it in the fridge, chill and try again.Trim the wick at the top of the candle to about 1 cm.
Picture above shows the turned out candles still waiting to have their wicks trimmed.
These have a speckledy appearance on the top as we like to leave some like this, this effect is achieved by only filtering the candle wax once when removing the debris from the old melted wax. If you don’t want this effect filter the wax until pure.
Once you have your candle there are candle paints, crayons and decoration that can be added.
Picture above shows the finished candles baring trimming the wicks. The pringle experiment worked, see the tall candle far right.
Candles can be dressed with coloured cord and leaves etc., but these can be flammable and should be removed before lightening.
Once when GD was just beginning to make candles he added lots of lavender seed to the wax and when lit the whole candle burst into flames fueled by the oil from the seed and valentines day was nearly much hotter than GD had anticipated !.
pic above- another batch finished.