Whether for aromatherapy, light or ritual, candles are an essential and comforting component of life. Most often people will buy candles ready-made, but we enjoy making our own candles – especially if using for ritual purposes. We typically get our candle making supplies from Candlewic.
Important – Do not leave burning candles unattended!
Candles can be extremely dangerous when not handled correctly. According to the NFPA, fire departments respond to more than 10,000 structure fires started by candles every year in the United States.
- Candles should be secure within its holder and the holder should be made with non-flammable materials.
- Keep flammable materials at least 12-inches away from burning candles.
- Extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.
- Place burning candles in a safe location away from pets and children.
Different types of wax have varying properties and burn differently. Ogres might make candles from ear wax, but I don’t believe most people would appreciate the smell or general creepiness of that material.
Beeswax is the natural wax product produced by honey bees for creating their honeycombs. Pure beeswax burns the longest and cleanest of the other waxes, but it usually is the most expensive.
Melting Point – 140°F to 150°F
Palm Wax is produced from palm oil, a renewable resource, and has a similar melting range as paraffin wax, but it burns cleaner than paraffin.
Melting Point – 130°F to 150°F
Similar to soy wax, palm wax shrinks less than paraffin wax as it cools.
Most commercial candles are made from paraffin wax or may be blended with small amounts of other waxes. Paraffin wax is a by-product of petroleum (crude oil) distillation. It is soft and it burns faster than the other waxes.
Melting Point – 125°F to 160°F
Paraffin wax expands as it heats and shrinks when it cools. This creates a control problem with candle making.
Keeping the wick short is essential for paraffin candles. A wick that is too long will result in a larger, less controlled flame that does not burn cleanly. A petroleum-based soot deposit occurs on nearby surfaces when burned uncontrollably.
Soy wax is made from soybean oil, a renewable resource, and has a lower melting point than the other waxes. Burning longer and cleaner than paraffin wax, soy wax is a bit brittle and should be blended with palm wax when used for free-standing pillars.
Melting Point – 115°F to 130°F
Soy wax has a creamy, smooth appearance and spills are easy to clean up with soap and hot water – even with carpet and upholstery.
We enjoy the aroma of beeswax and we appreciate the steady burn it gives. Beeswax is fairly expensive and we found that mixing it with paraffin wax allows us to enjoy the benefits of beeswax while reducing the overall cost.
40% Paraffin wax
Start by melting the paraffin wax and then add beeswax solids to the melted paraffin. Gently stir the waxes together until completely melted. If coloring the candles, now is the time to add the coloring.
Bring the wax mixture to a temperature of 155°F. If the wax is too cool, it will not poor well in the mold, leaving air bubbles and not filling corners. If the wax is too hot, the candle will shrink too much as it cools.
HINT – Bring your oven to about 125°F, and then turn it off. Put the freshly poured candles into the oven and close it. The insulation of the oven holds the heat and significantly slows the cooling process and helps control wax shrink.
Whether making pillars, tapers, or some other form of candle, the wax needs to be the proper temperature and the shaping mechanism must be properly supported and secured.
The thickness of a wick will determine how it burns. If the wick is too thick, the candle will burn fast, while a wick that is too thin may not burn well.
A candle’s wick needs to be properly centered throughout the candle. A candle with a wick that isn’t centered will burn unevenly and may drip a lot. We lay a dowel across the top of the mold and tie the end of the wick to it, helping keep it secured, tought and centered in the mold.
Molds are the easiest method for forming candles. They are available in a variety of materials, usually metal or silicone.
The metal molds are very stable, but a release agent is sometimes needed for getting the candle out of the mold.
Removing candles from a silicone mold is much easier, even with intricate molds. Unfortunately, the silicone tends to flex too much and can misshape candles if not properly supported during molding.
Wax poured on to a flat surface can be rolled into a pillar or taper candle. This is done while the wax sheet is still warm and pliable, but firm enough for handling. Most people are familiar with this from the honeycomb style rolled candles.
Before molds were used, tapered candles were formed by dipping the wick into hot wax repeatedly, creating layers.
Most commonly, commercially available colored candles are dipped or molded using uncolored wax and then dipped a few times in the colored wax. This is called over-dipping. Success in magickal use of over-dipped candles may vary, due to the existence of more than one color.