make time to make.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Candle making is HARD.

So instead of knocking some items off of my to-do list yesterday, I randomly decided to try making candles for the first time. I found some awesome vintage candle molds at a thrift shop recently (an owl and a mushroom!) and have been itching to try making candles with them.

It was harder than I thought.

I had gathered all of the items I thought I would need according to the 1978 instructions (ha!) --- wax (pariffin,) dye, scent, candy thermometer, pyrex pourer, double boiler, lots of newspaper in case I spilled...and I googled a couple of last questions I had like could I re-melt if I screwed up and at what temperature should I add the dye and scent, etc.

Well here's what happened: I melted the wax to correct temperature, poured into pouring container, added in the dye in small pieces...and before I could even stir it in the wax was already starting to solidify. I quickly added the scent and poured in what I could. I re-melted the wax and tried again, this time letting the wax get a little hotter...and then poured again, a little more successfully but STILL the wax started to solidify pretty quickly. CRAP! Does anyone have candle making tips? Am I just not letting the wax get hot enough?

I finally filled the mold and this morning I was happy to open it and find an adorable avacado green owl that smells like peppermint. (I'll add a picture tonight.) YAY!!! But I have a looong way to go before I perfect this craft.

I think I will give it another shot tonight. I'm super excited to try again and hopefully get an even better final product. Hopefully one that doesn't take like four hours to get right. Any advice is appreciated!



glitterstar said...

Sounds like quite the adventure. I thought about trying to make candles before but haven't done it yet. Someday maybe.. Good luck on perfecting it. :)

Anonymous said...

Not everybody knows it, but metal casting has the same problems as making molded candles... the stuff ahs to be kept liquid and at a certain temperature, and it has to fill the mold including all of the small corners and spaces, and it has to do it all in one shot or the stop and start locations will usually show, and it shrinks as it cools.

You've already seen that the stuff has to be hot enough -- but becasue of shrinkage it also has to be not too hot. More temperature means more shrinkage which can mean distortion and voids.

Since the not-too-hot stuff still can't be allowed to get solidification-cool before filling the mold, you have a careful heat balance to achieve. The way a metal caster gets a leg up on this problem is to preheat his molds and then insulate them or even heat them during the pour. That way, the mold isn't constantly sucking heat out of the stuff and colling it to its solidification temperature before it fills the mold.

Overfilling can also be a good thing -- not overflowing, but with some extra stuff in the top of the mold to be drawn into the space left by shrinkage.

Kala Pohl Studio said...

What fun. I think the best part is the journey, no doubt you will perfect it in time:):)

oriental banana said...

ooh, i haven't been quite as daring... yet. i'll be back to see the candle pics!

Meekiyu said...

lolol sounds like fun! I am curious on how it looks like too!

Space Oddities said...

thanks for all of the feedback and tips! i think finally have a little better handle on this now. :)