I picked up a couple of very fancy candle molds at SCRAP to try out. The vintage style really appealed to me, and since they were entire kits I figured I had a fighting chance of getting it right. My last candle making experiment (close to 15 years ago) ended badly, but I think enough time has passed where I can do a better job of it. During the craftfail first time out, I used crayons for coloring (DO NOT DO THIS – IT IS AN EXPLOSIVE MISTAKE) and clumsily dropped my swiss army knife into the wax. To this day, I can still see wax in it. I vowed not to make these mistakes again! Did I make mistakes? Sure. Just not those ones. The first picture shows the fancy latex candle mold suspended in a dishwasher detergent container. Great idea, yes. The problem is that wax is heavy and the plastic lid was not sturdy enough hold that much weight. What is not pictured is the lid failing when it couldn’t support the weight of the wax, and me trying desperately to reinforce the lid while preventing the mold from falling and oozing wax to every inch of my kitchen.
Eventually I gave up and poured the wax back into the double boiler so I could reinforce the collar on the mold. What I should have also done was clean the mold out completely as well. I learned this later after the candle had set.
The first candle (purple jasmine!) turned out pretty well, all things considered. The mold was a PAIN to wrestle off, but the end result looks like I know a lot more about candlemaking than I really do. Definitely needed to hang the wick higher, though, because the rod was too close to the candle base and malformed it.
I decided I needed a smaller double boiler because putting a saucepan in my canning pot is not a terribly efficient way to melt wax. Aaron picked up some cheap pots from the thrift store for me to use, I picked up more old candle bits from SCRAP, and I was ready to try it again. BTW, melting down old candles is totally the way to go when you are learning how to do this and don’t want to break the bank paying for materials.
Instead of using the dishwasher detergent to suspend the mold, I worked *with* gravity instead of *against* it, and placed the mold in a container of dried beans. This gave it support and made it much easier to get out. I also tried making candles in Mason jars, too. This is really handy when you have leftover wax that is already colored and scented.
As with anything I try, patience is a virtue I lack. You are supposed to poke the candle wax periodically after it is poured to break the surface tension. Key word periodically. Every five minutes is not periodically, but I did it anyway because it is fun to watch the wax.
The candles burn well, smell yummy, and have not exploded. My kitchen floor is wax free and no swiss army knives were harmed during these DIY experiments. I’m chalking this one up as a success.