Tips of the Trade
There are many tricks and tips you will learn as you develop your candle making skills, I have listed below just a few. If you would like to contribute towards this page, please email me your tip along with your name.
1. Spruce up tired looking candles with a soft polishing cloth, just rubbing all over for few minutes will restore the colour and glow of your candle, ideal for slow moving stock.
2. Before you make your candle, soak the wick into plain melted paraffin wax, remove and run it through a piece of paper towel and your fingers to remove air and excess wax and let it cool, that way the wick goes where you want it and not flopping about where it wants, it also helps protect from absorbing water into the wick during manufacture.
3. To reduce the amount of colour required for large pillar candles, make them in clear paraffin wax and stearin, then overdip in the colour required, if correct wick chosen then the candle will burn evenly down through the candle core and will always appear the outside colour.
4. Beeswax candles form a dull surface after time, to spruce up old stock and brighten the colours again , massage the all over with a toothbrush to stimulate the colour underneath the oxidised surface.
5. To remove air bubbles from the poured mould, flick gently the mould filled with molten wax to allow the trapped air to rise and not form in the candle.
6. To prevent deformation of latex moulded candles whilst setting , gently immerse the filled mold hold the base into cool water and hold for several minutes to allow a skin to form on the outside of the mould, solid enough to allow resting the latex mould in a mould stand.
7. When filling moulded candle moulds, fill up to a maximum to allow a skin to form at the base of the candle, and gently swirl the mould to coat the sides of the mould completely, this way when you top up the shrinkage, you will not form a line or seperation point around the outside of the moulded candle.
8. Clothes pegs are ideal for holding wicks across the top of your container to keep the wick central, instead of buying wick holders.
9. Quite often candle fragrance oil is denser than the melted wax in which it is poured, even if you mix last thing, the oil can still settle to the candle bottom whilst coooling and still fluid, this makes for candle more scented at the last part not throughout the burn. To help pour the candle without fragrance , let it set , making the finished level just below what you want, then drill a number of holes around the wick midway the circumference or width if square, fill the holes with neat fragrance oil and then apply a final layer of wax to close over the holes and hide them. When burnt the melt pool has significantly more fragrance.
10. When measuring a container and deciding how much wax it takes , a rough guide is 1kg of wax is approx 4 pints of water or fill with water , weigh the volume used and take off a tenth to equate to a rough estimate of 0.9 specific gravity.
11. Buying Candle moulds, choose if you can plastic, especially polythene as one they do not get as hot as aluminium and if you drop them as you invariably do, they tend not to bend.
12. When using metal moulds , standard mould seal tends to melt, use instead blutack.
13. Cannot Find or afford a Double boiler, buy a trivet from the hardware store and use a small and large saucepan to improvise.
14. Wash glassware before pouring to remove any trace of oils used during the extrusion process, as this could introduce wetspot.
15. Has your single pour wax still shrunk, after 24 hours of settting, pop the container candle into a warm oven at about 65 Celcius for 10 minutes or so , the top will flatten to a lovely smooth surface and any bubbles in the outside wall of wax will rise , remember some container paraffin waxes are recommended to be left in an oven for 2 to 3 hours to remove trapped air and remove wetspots. Allow your candles to cool in the longest possible time.
16. Do not buy wicks and wax just because its cheaper, remember the wick is most important part of a candle, also do not buy pre-coloured or pre-scented wax as you are wasting your money, every time you melt coloured or fragranced wax it loses both fragrance and colour.