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Creating Candles Using Metal Molds
Equipment and Materials Needed
Step 1 – Before starting anything, we recommend you spread newspaper over your working area in case any wax spills. Also, we urge you not to pour any wax in or near your sinks as it will clog your drains if it runs down them. It may look like liquid now, but when it cools, your drains will have a nice thick coating which could be very pricey to remove!
Step 2 – Prepare the metal pillar mold by first inserting the wick into the wick hole from the underside of the mold and threading it through the hole until it reaches the top of the mold. Then secure the top of the wick to the wick bar which will lie across the opening of the mold.
Step 3 – After the wick is tightly secured at the opening of the mold, pull it taut from underneath and secure with a wick screw. Cut the wick about an inch away from the screw and wind it counter clockwise under the head of the screw. Tighten and secure with either mold sealer or masking tape to prevent leakage. Another option to the wick screw and mold sealer is the magnetized mold sealer. To use this, cut the wick approximately one inch from the wick hole and place the magnetized mold sealer on the bottom of the mold completely covering the wick hole and the wick. Check to see if the wick is completely tucked under the magnet or leakage will occur.
Step 4 – With a silicone spray, coat the inside of the mold thoroughly to allow the candle to release easily when it’s dry.
Step 5 – To help harden the candle we suggest preparing a cool water bath. The bath should be deep enough to accommodate the entire length of the candle. For ease in filling and emptying of the bath, it’s a good idea to set it up in a sink or tub. Do not use a cool water bath for beeswax candles.
Step 6 – Begin by melting your wax and additives in a double boiler on the stove top. Do this by filling the bottom pot about a quarter full with water. Then place your pouring pot inside this pot and begin heating over low to medium heat. Stir every so often and as it melts, gradually add more wax, filling your pot. Keep a thermometer nearby at all times to keep track of the temperature of the wax. It is critical to pour your wax at the right temperature. If the wax is too hot when poured, your candles might crack. If it’s too cool, your candles may become lopsided. Once your wax has melted, cool it down to the correct pouring temperature. (View our Melting Wax Guide for more information on wax temperatures). When the wax has reached the correct temperature, add your fragrance and/or color chip. Continue stirring the wax thoroughly to make sure everything is mixed properly.
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 from entering the candle mold.
Step 8 – Make sure your molds are at room temperature or warmer. Then, while holding the mold with a pot holder, slightly tilt it and begin to pour the wax slowly.
Step 9 – After you have reached the desired height of your candle, 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 10 – Let the mold containing the liquid wax set for about 30 seconds before moving it to the water bath. This will allow any air bubbles to rise that may have formed while pouring. Before placing the mold in the water bath, wrap a mold weight around the base. Be very careful not to get any water in the wax while lowering it into the bath.
Step 11 – Wait about 45 minutes after pouring, then, insert a long, narrow stick two to three times near the wick. 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. If this happens and too much wax is poured in the well and seeps down between the mold and the shrunken wax from the original pouring, you will have a difficult time removing the finished candle from the mold. So be careful! We suggest refilling the well only to within ¼” of its top. If there is overhang, it may be trimmed off easily after you remove the candle from the mold. Plan on refilling the well at least two to three more times, allowing 45 minute intervals in between each pouring, depending on the size of the mold.
Step 12 – You may remove the mold from the water bath anytime after the second refill or around two hours after it was placed in the bath. You can continue the final cooling process in the refrigerator or at room temperature. If you choose to cool at room temperature, allow up to eight hours from the initial pouring time before removing the candle.
To speed up the cooling process, place the mold(s) in the refrigerator. Place them on the bottom shelves, since it's colder. Be sure the wax is near room temperature to prevent thermal shock cracks. One important precaution is to reverse the mold position every 30 minutes, thus exposing the colder temperature to all parts of the wax evenly, as opposed to just the smallest part at the base. Also, take the mold out of the refrigerator as soon as it's cold to the touch. The wax is ready to be removed at this point and any excess exposure to coldness will only result in cracks around the outside.
Step 13 – Wait until the mold is completely cooled before making any attempt at removing it. To extract the candle, begin by removing the wick screw and mold sealer, allowing the wick to hang free. Take off the wick bar and turn the mold upside down. Tap gently (or hard if necessary) on a hard surface and the candle should drop right out. Generally, tapping is not even necessary.
Step 14 – If he mold feels cold, but refuses to budge, place it in the refrigerator for another hour and try again. If you still have difficulty removing it, then, only as a last resort, pour hot water over the mold. However, this will soften the wax and might ruin the shape, but it will allow the wax to separate from the mold without damaging it. Never beat or forcefully remove stubborn wax from the mold. It will make indentations on the mold and will only hold the wax more firmly, thus adding to your troubles and making your mold damaged for future pourings.
Step 15 – To remove any seam line on the candle surfaces, take a spatula or knife and holding it at a right angle, slide it down the seam.
Step 16 – Trim the wick at the top to ½ inch. Trim the wick at the bottom as close to the wax as possible.
Step 17 – If your candle is lopsided, take a knife and square off the base by either cutting and trimming or by rotating the candle in a heated pie tin, thus, melting off the irregularities and smoothing off the base.
Voila! You have yourself a homemade candle. Just remember not to get frustrated if your first few sets of candles do not turn out perfectly. The more you practice the better you will be. Good luck!
Get more candle information from the National Candle Association.
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