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Learn to make candles

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I picked up boxes of 72 taper candles for £1 each at a recent close down sale. This weekend I'm melting them down and casting them into stubbier 'safer' non tip over type candle with thicker wicking. Actually I must admit I've always 're-cast' candles rather than mess around with wax and stearin etc.



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we are always making new candles whenever we run low.

*** Here is a hint for all you that are useing tapers/candles melted down and then adding wicks. If you are having trouble keeping you wicks straight? just fill the jar or whatever with the wax then as it starts to 'set up' push one of your tapers into the center making sure it goes to the bottom. It helps if you cut this candle off to the height you want the 'new' candle to be ahead of time.

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I have made column candle holders by cutting the top off shampoo bottles, then making a very small hole in the center of the bottom, I then thread a waxed wick up through the bottom or down from the top whichever is easier, make sure the wick is out the bottom by at least a 1/4 inch, and securing it by screwing a short metal screw into the hole in the bottom, fasten the top of the wick to a skewer across the top and fill with melted wax.

Is that clear as mud?

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  • 11 months later...



There is a post about sand candles in another forum, and so I thought I would put a couple urls here so you could see how to do it. smile






"If you're like me, you probably made a sand candle at some time in your youth. For me, it was when I was a second grader and participated in a summer program called the Beaver Bug Club. We dug holes in the sand box and the teacher poured the wax into them. That candle has been sitting on my mom's curio shelf for over 30 years!

And while it is a great kid's project (if carefully supervised), there are lots of fun things that us grown ups can do with sand candles.


For this project, you'll need:


A large bucket or plastic dishpan. (I prefer a dishpan.)

Clean sand

Spray bottle with water

A jar, glass, votive holder, ball, or other object to use as a form.

A tablespoon you won't mind getting wax on

Wax to fill whatever size hole you're going to make - I usually use a pillar blend wax, or just straight paraffin. You don't want to use container wax, it will be too soft.

Primed wick appropriate for your mold/form - If my mold/form is votive size, I just use a standard zinc core votive wick.

Dye and/or fragrance, as desired

Heat gun

Thorough understanding of Candle Making Safety" And there is a picture there too. smile





Make A Sand Candle


This is a project for parents and children to do together.


What you will need:


Canning Wax

Old Crayons

Candle Wicking

A Couple of Paperclips or Candle Wick Bottoms

A Deep Tub or Box

Clean Sand

An old Pot or Can for Wax Melting

A Stove or Hot Plate

A Larger Pot for Water

Pot Holders

An Old Clean Paint Stick for Stirring

Another Stick or Pencil to Hold Up the Wick


Adult: Melt a block of canning wax over low heat in the old can placed in the pot of water - like a double boiler.


Child: Pick out the old crayon color you want to use. Break the crayons into small pieces.


Adult: Put the crayons into the wax to melt. Stir gently to distribute color.


Adult and Child: Put sand into the tub or box. You will want a good 5 to 6 inch layer of sand. Dampen the sand if it is very dry, you will want it to hold a shape.


Child: Make a bowl shape in the sand. Use your finger to make some legs for the bowl.


Adult: Cut a piece of candlewicking the depth of the bowl plus about 3 inches. Secure the wick to a paper clip or the candle wick bottom. Tie the top of the wick to the stick or pencil.


Child: Bury the wick bottom in the sand in the middle of your sand bowl. Place the stick or pencil across the top of the sand.


Adult: Fill the sand bowl with the hot, melted wax. Double check that the wick is straight.


Adult and Child: Let the candle cool. Go eat lunch and an ice cold popsicle.


Adult: Check the candle by very gently moving the wick. If it moves easily you will need to let the candle cool some more.


Child: When the candle is completely cool - according to Adult -, dig it up out of the sand. Wipe off excess sand over the tub. Enjoy your candle!!


Warning: Please do not leave young children unsupervised near hot wax!



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Thanks for bumping this up again; I'd like to learn this skill too... both "just for fun" and "just in case."


I've gotten a couple dozen scented candles in 1/2 pint mason jars from Dollar General for a dollar apiece; I figured that they won't tip over and they're easily re-fillable as candles or for other canning needs.


Your bringing up the topic got me interested, so I did some quick googling and found that we may have to check out some safety issues (fumes) with all of this...particularly for candles that we are using for preps, since these will get a lot more than just occasional use.


I came across this




It's a "100 hour emergency candle" that is made of paraffin. I found it interesting because if we're gonna go to the trouble of candlemaking, we should do so in a way that maximizes the "burn time" of the candle, as well as making it as safe as we can as well. However, I found some negatives in using paraffin that got me a little concerned, along with positives and negatives for the use of other types of materials.


I didn't realize there were so many kinds of wax; I haven't actually tried any of this out but I thought I'd just post what came up on my quick search; hopefully it will add to the discussion of different methods and materials for candlemaking...maybe we can come up with a winner.


Here's an unusual one using NAIL POLISH REMOVER. Not too sure of its safety, but here it is:



This looks like a good summary of supplies needed using different types of waxes...










Just in skimming over these, it appears the Gel candles can be really hot, the paraffin can give off some mercury and lead, so that's not a good trade-off for the long burn time...seems like the soy wax is a lot less expensive than bees wax, but I'm not sure about the burn times...this is getting complicated!!


Here's one opinion about how to save money on supplies and how to look for cheaper sources...




Personally, I like the idea of using the canning jars or different sizes...they're made to be heat-resistant, they don't tip over or spill over, they're re-useable...not "fancy" but if we're talking emergency prep here, and not gifts... that's not important.


What do you all think about the nail polish remover idea?? I don't know about the fumes, heat generated, etc. but I thought it was interesting for an "alternative" if need be.


About soy wax:




and soy candle making:




It seems that there's a concern with the fumes some candles give off that can be harmful that I never fully realized before...not sure what's in my Dollar General bargain!!! One more reason to make our own...

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Ok, I just took a quick look at the one with nail pollish remover in it. and it looks like it works like the rubbing alcohol when we singed the chickens. smile


Don't know as it would be such a good idea but it probably would be fine if watched. But, then you have to watch all candles. Just never thought of using the nail polish remover as a candle before.


I know there are a lot of people who use the soy as well as bees wax, and of course the regular paraffin. Never heard of nor thought about the paraffin giving off mercury and lead.


So, looks like one really needs to use something else other than the paraffin. I've used paraffin all the time when I've made candles.







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  • 4 months later...

Remember that container wax is different from taper or pillar candle wax basically because they melt at different temps. Remember to use the low melting wax in containers because the higher temp wax can actually crack some glass containers.


You can also re-scent mild smelling wax with essential oils. smile


Have fun.

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  • 2 years later...

Yes, if you use oil-based scents, you can make great-smelling candles. EBay has sellers, if you check there, or use web-based businesses or a crafts store.


One easy way to color your candles is by just using old crayons. They're wax-based, so they just melt right into it. You can mix and match them... say... 5 yellow and a green, or green and blue... whatever you think you'd like. Test the look by dripping a couple of drips onto a white saucer, then scrape it back into the melted wax. (Clean them off with a paper towel first if they're especially "dirty".)



I love to use up the bits and pieces of the candles I've already burned down to nearly nothing. Say I have some "autumn" scents... cinnamon and apples and pumpkin, maybe some "cookie" scents, all with just about a tablespoon of candle left. Just about anything goes with vanilla, so I buy some wax and start melting it slowly in a clean tin can in a pan of water on the stove.


I trim off each burned part of the old candle pieces with scissors, and put them in the wax. They melt down, mixing their colors and scents together, and the leftover wicks are left on the bottom, limp.


I fish out the old wicks and if they have re-usable "weights/anchors"... something I can tie another wick onto and string through, I save them. The tiny leftover wicks I *might* save for a tealight-sized candle, but they're usually not worth my time.


I add vanilla scent to the wax, a bit at a time until it's pleasing, or if I already like what has mixed, I let that be. :)


It's best to have your jars already prepared... either with using an old taper or birthday candle as the "wick", or by using string/wick anchored and held straight with a stick/pencil on top. You can use scotch tape or duct tape across the top to hold a taper straight in the jar as you pour, if you're careful not to hit it with the hot wax.


If you're afraid you can't pour straight, use a metal funnel, but scrape the wax out soon after while it's still soft. I just pour carefully from the can, first placing each jar on a paper plate in case I drip or spill.



You can use old jelly jars that are chipped and no longer safe for canning. "Sand" off the sharp edges with a rough rock or cement chip. You can use a mug, a tea cup, a sturdy drinking glass, commercial non-reusable jelly jars or any ceramic or glass or even metal, if you're careful not to let it get very hot on something that could be damaged. (Set it on a trivet or saucer.)

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Thanks for bumping this up Cat! ANewMe was just asking me about how I make candles and I have used toilet paper rolls,but you really have to be sure you have either the stearic acid powdery stuff to add to soy wax if you want stand alone candles.

I loved Amishway's post too, on dipping for taper candles. Love the explanation on setting it up for kids to do too, how neat!

If you buy a slab of wax at michaels its likely not pillar wax and they rarely carry stearic acid. I had to order mine online. Also if you are not real careful as you insert wicks if they are not secured first center bottom like the shampoo bottle method, which is a great idea for some big candles, your wick can wobble and get too close to the side of the mold and you get a melt down with that too.

I am going to use the soy up mostly with tuna and cat food cans and make 3 wick candles that way. I think my cat will respect those better with him getting up on the table surfaces if I do light one. He will likely notice it better. I have saved alot of these cans after carefully cleaning them and removing the labels and glue. So they are simply utilitarian but will fit in a day pack and such too for BOB's.

I realized the used toilet paper rolls make a nice size stand up candle and with the right wick, the pillar wax should be great to use, but when you peel off the cardboard, sort of like the store bisquits you tear open diagonally they will often be rough textured so they are not 'pretty'. But its for emergency usage mostly, although some I do color and scent to use once in a while.

I found putty around the bottom of any mold on a new clean cookie sheet from the dollar store helped hold in the wax better than masking tape. femo clay maybe if you have some laying around might even work. Discard after use.

It would be nice to afford the molds, I only have one for a five inch pillar, not real big in diameter. I used it recently along with the paper rolls and some tuna cans, and put it in the freezer too soon and it came out shiny smooth but crackled, which I hear are something some folks really like and sell now. I don't know if it will hold together as I have not decided to use it.

A cold water pot beside the dipping pot is a great idea. It is a long process no matter what methods you will use and requires infinite patience.


I would not use the microwave however. Wax is combustible, and if it gets too hot it will catch on fire. Also any old candles or wicking can have metal in the wick or in the bottom of the candle and you might not realize it.

If you need to clean out old votives and other candle glass containers, when you put them in an old pan, heat the water up, the wax will float up after it melts off the surfaces and you can salvage it.

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Wonderful tips! Thanks, arby! :bouquet:


I forgot to address the microwave... thanks for bringing it up. I wouldn't ever use a microwave to melt wax, either. It's too "iffy", and could be very dangerous.

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