Candle Making Tutorial
Basic Votive Candle Making Instructions
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These are instructions for beginners who have never made a votive candle before. There are no chemical additives, added steps, or advanced candle making techniques in these instructions. Just fun and simple instructions to get you making your own votive candles. You can have new votive candles to enjoy in about 2 hours from start to finish!
So gather your supplies, set up your work area, and follow these simple instructions for making your own votive Candles.
What You Will Need - Supplies
· Votive Candle Wax
· 1 or more votive candle molds
· Votive Wick
o Either pre-tabbed votive wick or
o 34-24 Cotton Core Waxed wick and wick clips
· Silicone Mold Release Spray (optional)
· Steamer Pot or old Sauce Pan to create a double boiler
· Standard Size or Small Size Melting Pot with pour spout
· Wood Stir Sticks, chopsticks, or something else to stir the wax
· Candle Fragrance (optional)
· Color Dye Chips (optional)
Also a good idea to have around:
· Paper towels
· Windex (Window cleaner)
· Aluminum Foil
· Newspaper, butcher paper, or scrap paper to cover work surfaces
· Fire Extinguisher (just in case)
How to Set Up Your Work Area
- Put down newspaper or butcher paper on tables and countertops to catch spills and for easy cleanup.
- Have paper towels and Windex on hand for cleaning stovetops.
- Wrap stove burner bowls in tin foil to catch drips of wax, and for easy cleanup afterwards.
Preparing Your Votive Molds
- Spray inside of the votive mold with silicone mold release spray, if you are using it. To do this follow the directions on the Silicone Mold Release Spray, or hold the spray nozzle 8 to 10 inches from the votive mold and spray the inside with one or two short bursts.
- Place votive mold open end up on the work surface, make sure it is a FLAT LEVEL SURFACE
- If you are tabbing your own wicks, do that now. For instructions of how to tab a wick, visit our section on How To Tab A Wick
- Place tabbed votive wick inside the votive mold. Try to get them at center, although during pour they will probably shift to one side a little.
Prep your votives before pouring the wax
- NOTE: Some candle makers prefer to pour the wax first and place the pre-tabbed wick in the votive mold right after the wax is poured. The choice is yours. We advocate the pre-placement of wicks in the votive molds to reduce the chance of wax overflow and drips from the votive mold.
Melting The Votive Candle Wax
You will need either a steamer pot or deep sauce pan, and you will also need a melting pot with a pouring spout. These two items create a double boiler to melt down your wax.
A simple double boiler using an old sauce pan and a meting pot with a spout.
Fill the bottom part of your double boiler (the steamer pot or the deep sauce pan) with about two inches of cool water, and place on the burner set to high temperature. Place pieces of wax to be melted into the melting pot with a pouring spout, set the melting pot in the water, and attend to it as the wax liquefies. (When the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to medium low or low.)
If you have a large block of wax and need instructions on how to safely break it into smaller pieces, please visit our section on How To Break Up Wax Blocks
When the wax is entirely liquid (i.e., when there are no solid chunks any longer in the pot) you have successfully melted the wax.
Our 130 degree votive candle wax melts at about 130 degrees F. The wax will continue to grow hotter as it remains in the double boiler. The temperature of the wax should get to 190 degrees F.
After the wax is entirely melted and at about 190 degrees F, add your candle dye, if you are using any. Each of our diamond shaped dye chips colors 1 lb of wax. Use more or less for lighter or darker colored candles. Drop a dye chip (or part of a dye chip) into the melted wax, and stir until the wax chip is entirely dissolved.
Adding fragrance is the last thing you do before you pour the candle. This is because the potency of the fragrance can be reduced if subjected to high heat for too long.
After the wax is entirely melted, and after you have added candle dye (if you are using candle dye), add your candle fragrance, if you are using any. The standard ratio for our candle fragrance oils is one ounce of fragrance oil per 1 lb of wax. Use more or less for lighter or heavier scented candles. Add the candle fragrance to the melted (and colored, if you are making colored candles) wax in the melting pot, and stir thoroughly to get even distribution of the candle fragrance.
NOTE: Excessive fragrance oil usage can damage plastic molds. If you are using a plastic mold for this project, please do not overdo the fragrance oil.
Pouring The Candles
The ideal pouring temperature for votives is 175 degrees F, so you will need to remove the double boiler from the heat source to allow the wax to cool to 175 degrees F (170 to180 degrees F is an acceptable temperature range for pouring votive candles). However, we are making simple, stress free votives here, so don’t spend too much time worrying about the temperature of the candle wax before you pour it. (My favored method for votives is to wait to pour until I can just begin to see the wax solidifying (congealing) on the inside surface of the melting pot.)
You need a spouted container to pour votives. You can also use a wood stirring stick or a chopstick for added pouring control to reduce dribbles.
To check temperature of wax, immerse thermometer in wax, taking care not to let it touch the bottom of the melting pot.
Pour: Fill the votive mold up to the rim with wax. Be sure to save about 20% of your melted wax for the second pour you will make after the candles set.
1st pour for a votive candle with wick placed before pouring the wax.
Using the 2nd method for votive mold prep, you don’t place the wick until after the first pour.
Set: After making the first pour of wax into the votive molds, let the votives stand undisturbed while the wax shrinks and they cool completely. It generally takes a votive about an hour to an hour and a half (my experience is usually no longer than 2 hours, although some people report cool times of up to 4 hours) for the wax in the mold to cool and shrink.
As the votive cools in the mold, the wax shrinks creating a depression in the center around the wick.
2nd Pour: The “second pour” is made after the wax in the votive candle mold has cooled completely. The reason for making a second pour (pouring more wax into the mold after the first pour wax has cooled) is that the wax from the first pour will have shrunk into a sink-hole around the wick. This is normal, as wax expands when melted and contracts when it cools.
The 2nd pour of a votive candle fills the depression in the center of the candle where the wax has shrunk.
To make the second pour for a votive candle, re-heat the remaining wax and pour it into the depression of the cooled wax in the votive candle mold.
NOTE: Some people like the re-pour wax temperature to be about 10 to 15 degrees hotter than the temperature of the initial pour wax. This is a matter of style and although it is reported by some that this method aids adhesion of the 2nd pour wax to the first pour wax, it is completely optional. Beginning votive candle makers need not worry over this, as all the votives will end up in a votive candle holder and, as votive candles do, liquefying as they burn.
When making the second pour, fill the votive mold up to the rim, and just a bit higher, taking care not to fill it so much that wax dribbles over the edge.
The correct level of wax for the 2nd pour of a votive creates the slight lip at the top of a votive.
Wait another hour or so for the candle to completely cool in the votive mold, and then remove the votive from the mold. Before burning the candle, trim the wick to ¼ “ (our pre-tabbed votive wicks generally run a little long, so you will likely need to trim the wick down to ¼” before burning your new votive)
Trim the wicks on your votive candles to ¼” before burning.
Here are some helpful tips for getting a votive out of a votive candle mold:
· If you have used silicone mold release spray, and the candle is completely cool, you should only have to turn the votive mold upside down and shake it a little to get the candle to fall right out into your hand
· If you didn’t use silicone mold release spray, try just turning it over and shaking it. If it doesn’t come out into your hand easily, try twisting the candle in the mold to loosen it.
· If that does not work, then drop the candle-filled votive mold into a large glass of warm water and leave it alone. It will eventually be set free by the water and float to the surface.
That is it, you are finished making your votive candle!
About Your Finished Candles – Remember:
· Never burn a candle unattended
· Votives need to be burned on votive holders
· Before you burn your new votives, put a little bit of water and a couple drops of liquid dish soap in the bottom of the holder. When the votive is finished burning, the wax shell will pop out easily, so you can recycle it again!