Candles were originally made of animal fat in order to provide a light source before the invention of electricity. Today, they are still used for practical purposes, but are also considered to be lovely decorative accessories. Making decorative candles at home takes a few simple pieces of equipment and some easy steps.
Candle wax, commonly known as paraffin, can be purchased in the canning section at the local grocery store, or at any craft store. There are several different types and grades of candle wax, made of different materials with varying oil percentages. The grade of the wax and the oil content will determine how sturdy the candle is, for making tapers versus votives, and how quickly the wax will burn down. These waxes will vary in cost and quality and should be purchased based on desired need. For example, soy wax and beeswax are more expensive, but both longer and cleaner burning waxes than paraffin. However, adding beeswax or soybean wax to lower-grade paraffin can extend the life of the paraffin and greatly reduce the cost of the candle making.
Wicks also vary in composition, and different materials will influence how quickly the wick, and the candle, burn. Zinc cores, hemp cores, and paper cores all provide different burn times and burn qualities in wicks, and the style of the wick braiding may be square or flat. Wicks may be purchased by the foot on a spool, or precut and tabbed with metal. When purchasing spooled wick, be sure to dip them in melted wax to coat them, ensuring a better burn. Source: AboutHobbies
Candles, particularly scented candles, are a very popular item. They add a warmth and scent to the home that many people desire. However, because of their popularity, they can be very expensive to purchase. Making candles at home can cut the cost, and provide a fun project for those who like to craft.
Before beginning this project of homemade candles, please read the following precautions, and keep in mind the safety of children when preparing this project.
* DO NOT LEAVE MELTING WAX UNATTENDED, ESPECIALLY AROUND CHILDREN. Wax flashes over from liquid to flame at 190 degrees C. If a fire does occur, DO NOT throw water upon the fire. Use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, and leave any lids which may be in place on until the fire has been completely put out and the area has completely cooled.
* NEVER PLACE YOUR CONTAINER OF WAX DIRECTLY ON THE HEAT SOURCE. Use a wire rack in a pan to place the container on. Also, make sure to replenish the water supply in your pan---it evaporates very quickly and must be kept replenished at all times.
* Wipe any excess wax that may drip onto your container---it may catch fire.
* If water should happen to splash into your wax, remove the container from the stove and pour the wax from its container into a bowl or dish and allow to cool. Once cooled, you may pour the wax back into its original container and proceed. The water will stay in the cooling dish. If allowed to remain in the wax the water will boil, and will splash up out of the container. This can cause serious burns and injuries.
* If choosing to use scented oils in the making of your candles, test for flammability. Pour one candle, adding the scent of your choice. Burn the candle, on a safe surface with no flammable surroundings. If it burns without catching fire, from the oiled scent, all is fine. Have a fire extinguisher available in case the oil does cause a flame, however. This does not occur frequently but it's always best to be safe. As stated above, DO NOT THROW WATER on a wax fire; it should be treated as a grease fire. It is recommended to always keep a fire extinguisher ready and available when creating homemade candles.
Items you may need to purchase:
* Wax can be found anywhere from the supermarket to craft stores, and comes as plain paraffin.
* Wick is available at most any craft or hobby shop in varying sizes.
* Scent can be found in most hobby or craft shops. There are many different varieties of scents you may purchase--such as oil based perfumes, potpourri oils, etc.
* Color--Chips of color may be found in craft or hobby shops. There is a very wide variety to be found, according to your own taste.
* Of course the best place to find the cheapest price for the above materials is in Divisoria. Just ask any store owners there and he/she will point you to the exact location.
Items you may have at home:
- Heat Source---your stove will do just fine
- Double Boiler
- Thermometer---Preferably a meat or candy thermometer. It must have a clip that will fasten to the side of the boiler.
- Candle Mold---Sturdy coffee cups work nicely. Some requirements: The mold must not be larger at the bottom than at the top--the candle will not come out if this type of container is used. Also, make sure the mold has smooth, even sides.
- Kitchen Skewers--If you don't already have these tools, they can easily be found at most any supermarket.
Creating your candles:
1. Have all your equipment ready and together. Cover the work area with old newspapers so your clean up will be easier.
2. Put the wax into your container and place the container in a pan of water to act as a double boiler. Place the pan of water on the stove top at medium heat. Boil gently; DO NOT let the water boil so hard that it splashes water into the wax.
3. As the wax melts, it is time to ready your mold. If using the suggested coffee cup, make sure it is clean. If using a standard candle mold, prepare it according to manufacturer's directions.
4. After the wax has completedly melted place the thermometer into the container so that it does not touch the bottom or sides. When the wax has reached one hundred seventy five degrees Farenheit, it is ready to pour.
5. Add the color chip. A good tip: Add only a small piece of the chip at a time to ensure your wax will have the color you desire. You can always add more if you choose, but if you have too dark a color for your liking, it is very difficult to add more wax to tone down the shade. Wax changes color as it cools, so remove a small amount of the colored wax and allow to cool to check for color approval. A cupcake paper works fine, but you can also use a small dish or bowl.
6. Add the desired scent. About a half a teaspoon of the scent will work fine; if too much scent is added be aware that your candle may not burn properly. After adding the scent, stir very well and then pour the scented, colored wax into your mold.
7. Carefully lift the wax container from the water and dry the outside with a clean cloth. (This will keep water from getting into your candle.) Slowly pour the wax into the mold until you've reached the proper height. Return the wax to the water and keep hot until the candle is done.
8. As it sets, the wax will shrink. You'll need to add more of the liquid wax. First, use a skewer to poke the candle, inserting it into the candle as it cools. Do not touch the sides of your mold. This process will add air into the candle, which helps keep its shape when removing it from the mold.
9. Poke the candle several times, at twenty minute intervals. Then, pour more liquid wax from the pan into the hole that's been created from the skewer. When completely cooled, at about four or five hours, you can remove it from the mold. If the candle sticks to its mold, place it in the refrigerator for an hour; this helps shrink the wax. Do not place in freezer as this will crack the candle.
10. If using a cup, insert again the skewer into the center of the cup as the wax begins to skim over. Being held upright, the skewer will provide a hole for the insertion of the wick. Turn the skewer several times each time you insert the skewer; this helps in keeping the skewer from sticking to the wax and allows for easy withdrawal when the candle is done.
11. To speed up this part of the process, you can place the poured candle into a cold 'bath'--this is necessary for many kinds of wax. It ensures that bubbles stay out of your candle. Using COLD water, place the mold into the sink. The water level must be higher than the candle level--this will keep your candle free from a water line when it is finished. If using a cup, as suggested, there should be no problem in the wax floating. A heavy cup should keep itself submerged.
12. Inserting the wick is relatively easy. If you do, however, have trouble inserting it after the removal of the skewer, 'wax' the wick by dipping it into the liquid wax, letting it harden before placing it into the finished candle---this will ensure that it is straight, most necessarily at the end that will be cut.
13. Depending on the length of the wick, trim it as necessary. Candles burn longer and better when the wick is kept trimmed. This also helps in keeping the flame from buring too hard, which can put a black smoke into the air.
That's essentially all it takes. Of course, from there you can choose from various types of candles. and you'll need to choose the appropriate wax and wick for your project. Personalize your candle even further by choosing a fragrance or essential oil to scent your candle. As you can see, the variations of candles you can make are only limited by your imagination and your willingness to experiment. Source: Esortment
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