Candles come in all shapes and sizes, from huge pillar candles to tiny tea lights and every form imaginable. Candle making can start as an arts and crafts hobby. For people with entrepreneurial skills, their passion can lead to a small business venture.
Equipment and Materials for Candle Making
People interested in starting a candle making enterprise should try less expensive tools first before investing in professional equipment. While double boilers are common and safe to use, this isn’t an efficient method because it melts wax more slowly. On the other hand, commercial-grade wax melters cost hundreds of dollars. At a fraction of the cost, beginners can buy a good-quality kitchen kettle with a thermostat and nonstick surface.
Tools / Gadgets
Kettle or pot with a built-in adjustable thermostat, heating element, and nonstick surface
To melt wax faster, regulate heat and easily wipe off wax
Maintain temperature below the flash point of the wax type.
Thermometer suitable for candlemaking
To monitor correct candle wax temperature
Check the wax temperature every 15 minutes. It’s easier to read the precise temperature with a digital thermometer..
Heat-resistant pouring pitcher or glass measuring cup
To pour melted wax into molds
To weigh wax to be melted
To break solid wax into chunks before melting
Not necessary for granulated wax
To stir the dye and fragrance oil into the liquid wax
Candle making kits are available from candle shops for complete single orders. A kit conveniently provides the basic materials for beginners to try making a sample batch of candles.
If available, buy in granule form; slabs are hard to break and take a longer melting time.
Professional-grade wax dye or colourant (liquid, powder or colour chips)
Use dye or colourant specially formulated for candle making. Don’t buy inferior-quality colour blocks made of diluted colours and paraffin. Don’t use crayons or paint because their pigments clog up the wick. Don’t use water-based food colouring because it ruins the candle.
Pretabbed and prewaxed wicks; wick pins
Wick size must be in proportion to candle size to burn properly.
Use quality fragrance oil to ensure strong, longer-lasting scent. Test a sample size first.
Metal or heat-resistant glass molds
Use a seamless container for a smooth finish on the candle. Use a mold without a top lip for easy removal
Safety and Saving Tips
Beginners should start with a small batch. Melting wax presents the most hazard in the candle making process. Never do it directly on a stove. Keep a fire extinguisher handy and know how to operate it. Water should never be used to put out a wax fire. Cover the work area with newspaper to catch spills and drips. Don’t leave the melting wax unattended. Once the wax turns liquid, its temperature rises quickly. When the flash point is reached, it produces highly flammable vapours. An electric stove is safer to use because a gas stove’s open flame will ignite the vapours on contact. Those who are experimenting with candle making for the first time don’t need to buy some of the gadgets. For example, suitable mold substitutes are readily available around the house, such as waxed paper cups. These disposable molds can be torn for easy removal of the candles. Put them on a baking pan before pouring liquid wax into them to catch spills. Should an individual decide to go ahead with the candle making venture, then it’s sensible to buy reusable molds, because they are more environmentally friendly and economical.
Basic Candle Making Procedure
There are variations in the procedure, depending on the type of candle. It’s recommended that beginners start with easy ones, such as votive candles. Here’s a step-by-step guide for novice candle makers.
Cut and weigh the right amount of wax to be melted.
A pound of wax will produce 8 votive candles. If the wax is in granule form, it saves the step of cutting from a slab and breaking it into chunks.
Heat the wax until it reaches its melting point. Regularly check to keep the temperature constant and avoid overheating.
The product label or instruction sheet provides information on the melting temperature of a particular wax. A temperature range of 76-85 degrees may be suitable for votive candles.
While waiting for the wax to melt, prepare the votive molds and drop the auto wick pins inside. Line up the molds for easy pouring.
Make sure the molds are clean. Check if the pins are straight. Although wick pins are not necessary, they are suggested for beginners to perfectly centre the wick.
Pour the liquid wax into the pour pitcher or measuring cup.
Use a pot with a spigot, a ladle or a funnel, whichever method is easier.
When the wax has cooled down to the right temperature, add the colourant slowly and stir until dispersed evenly.
Refer to the product instructions for the right amount of dye. The colour in the liquid wax appears darker than in the final product. Test the colour by putting a few drops of the liquid wax on a paper towel and letting it harden. Add more dye as necessary.
Add the fragrance oil at a wax temperature between 74 and 85 degrees. Stir it well.
The suggested proportion is 0.5 – 1 oz of oil per pound of wax. The fragrance oil is measured by weight, not by liquid volume. One tablespoon is equivalent to half an ounce. Don’t add more fragrance than necessary; it will only seep through the candle. The wax temperature has to be just right for the oil to bind properly with the wax, but without evaporating the oil’s fragrance.
Pour the wax mixture into the molds up to the brim. Let it cool completely.
For best results, warm the molds in the oven at 65 degrees before pouring the melted wax into them. This avoids the appearance of streaks (drag lines) along the sides of the finished candles. Pour slowly to avoid bubbles from forming.
Re-heat the remaining wax for the second pour. Pour to the top and stir well.
As the mixture cools, it shrinks and sinks toward the centre, requiring a fill-up. To blend well the second pour with the first one, heat the wax at a temperature 10 degrees higher than the first pour.
When the mixture has cooled completely, pull out each candle from the mold gently by the wick pin.
In case of difficulty, freeze for five minutes for easy removal. Don’t leave them too long in the freezer to prevent the candles from cracking.
Remove each of the wick pins. With the candle upside down, tap the pin against the table to slide it out.
Another trick is to pry loose the pin from the bottom with a thin utensil such as a butter knife.
Push the wick into the candle from the bottom and firmly press the wick tab into place. Trim the wick.
The wick must be just the right length (0.6 cm) for the candle to burn properly.
Allow a couple of days for the candle to set before lighting it.
For safety, stick a warning label on the bottom of the candle.
The warning label on the bottom of the finished candle should state: Follow the directions for use to avoid fire and personal injury. Keep out of reach of children and pets. Remove all wrapping before use. Before lighting the candle, trim the wick to 0.6 cm. Place the lighted candle on a level, heat-resistant surface. Keep it a safe distance from drafts and flammable materials. Never leave a lighted candle unattended or burn more than two hours at a time. Handle the candle carefully when the melting wax is still hot. Stop using the candle when it is down to 0.6 cm. Dispose properly. The alcohol content of the fragrance oil evaporates. Seal scented candles with plastic wrap to retain their fragrance longer.
Find Candle Making Supplies on eBay
Candle making gadgets and supplies are available on eBay at reasonable prices. On the eBay homepage, search field, type candle making supplies to show product listings. Refine the search by clicking on the categories on the left pane of the page. For example, click on Crafts and check the appropriate boxes under Type. Click Choose more… to open a popup window for more selections. Another option is to drill down to the Crafts subcategory, Candle & Soap Making.. Alternatively, open the Categories tab on the homepage, look for the Crafts section and click the Candle & Soap Making link.
When the basic candle making technique has been mastered, one can advance to fancier types of candles. Decorative candles are fun to create and they make delightful gifts. Some examples include ice candles, cookie cutter pillars, tilted layer candles, candles embedded with fancy shapes, pyramid multicolour candles, and more. Diversifying the range of product lines will expand a candle shop’s customer base and generate increased revenue.