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Making Jar Candles or Glass Container Candles
While pouring wax into glass containers is a simpler process than molds, there are also several problems that could arise. A little know-how before starting will make the job easier and guarantee a successful creation of an attractive, properly burning candle.
The most important step is first selecting the right wax and wick. Softer waxes best suit any container candle due to their even melting across the top. A hard wax does not melt around the outside edge, producing an unsightly ridge of wax clinging to the side of the glass. The soft waxes eliminate this problem, regardless of the diameter of the container. If the diameter is fairly small, the wax melts; if large, the wax is soft enough to press down with your fingers. For container candles, use a wax with a melting point between 120 and 135 degrees F.
As for the proper wick, a paper core wick is recommended for two reasons:
Because of its firmness, the wick will not drown itself in a pool of liquid wax, which is normally deeper in container candles. This also prevents a floating wick while the wax is in a liquid state and even permits the insertion of the wick after the wax has been poured.
After you have the proper wax and wick – then you can proceed with the following steps of creating a glass container candle.
Equipment and Materials Needed
Step 1 - Before starting anything, we recommend spreading newspaper over your working area to catch any wax spills. Also, be careful not to pour any wax in or near your sinks because it will clog your drains if it gets into them. It may be liquid now, but when it cools, your drains will have a nice thick coating of wax which could be very expensive to remove!
Step 2 – Begin by melting your wax and additives in a double boiler on your stove top. Fill the bottom pot about a quarter full with water. Place the pouring pot inside the bottom pot and begin heating over low to medium heat. Stir every so often. As the wax melts, gradually add more, until your pot is full. Keep a thermometer nearby at all times so you can test the temperature of the wax. It is critical to pour your wax at the right temperature. If the wax is too hot when it is poured, your candles might crack. If it is too cool, your candles may become lopsided. Once the wax has melted, cool it down to the correct pouring temperature. (See the Melting Wax Guide for more information about wax temperatures). When the wax has reached the right temperature, add the fragrance and/or color chip. Continue thoroughly stirring the wax to make sure the color chip is completely dissolved and the fragrance is dispersed.
Step 3 – Prepare the wick and tab by cutting it long enough to fill the container with at least 2 inches more at the top of the container. Fasten one end of the wick in a wick tab by clamping on the wick tab with needle nose pliers.
Step 4 – If you don’t have any sticky dots, fasten the wick tab (with wick attached) to the bottom of the container by pouring a bit of wax into the bottom of the container and using the wire hanger, press the wick tab firmly into the wax. Pour wax into the bottom until it covers the wick tab and allow it to harden in place. If you do have sticky dots, place one on the bottom of the wick tab and fix it to the bottom of the container. This will help keep the tab secure while you are making any adjustments with the wick after pouring the wax.
Step 5 – Place the wick bar across the top of the container and insert the wick into the notch in the bar. If you don’t have a wick bar, you can tie the wick to a pencil or another type of rod. Be sure the wick is straight and pulled as tightly as possible.
Step 6 – Warm the outside of the container by holding it under warm running water, being careful not to get any water inside.
Step 7 - Carefully remove the melting pot from the boiling water and wipe off any excess moisture that might have collected on the sides in order to avoid water droplets entering the container.
Step 8 –While holding the container with a pot holder, slightly tilt it and begin to pour the wax slowly. Fill the container with wax within a ½ inch of the top. If needed, adjust the wick to center it. Save a cupful of wax from the original pouring which will be used later to refill the well that is formed due to shrinking of the wax when it cools.
Step 9 – If you are using paraffin or beeswax, the candle will shrink as it cools and form a well around the wick. How long it takes to form will depend on the size of the container, so check it every few minutes. When the well starts to form, using the wire hanger, pierce the wax around the wick two to three times. This relieves surface tension and will allow air into the void area formed by the settling wax. With your leftover wax, refill the cavity. Be sure it’s at the correct temperature when pouring and be careful not to overfill the well. Repeat this process until a well no longer forms.
Step 10 – Allow the candle to harden completely. Trim the wick to ½ inch from the top of the candle.
Get more candle information from the National Candle Association.
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