Sunflower Palm Wax

April 17, 2012

Someday I'll learn how to take a picture of a candle made from palm wax, mine don't do it justice.  This candle is made with "Starburst" palm wax, which naturally crystalizes as it cools.  It was made as a unity candle for a sunflower themed wedding.  I dyed the base yellow and poured at about 190°.  When the wax had cooled to 150° I carefully added three drops of liquid brown dye.  At this point the wax is still liquid, giving some time for the dye to slowly swirl around and create the leaching effect.  Any hotter and it spreads too evenly, any cooler and it doesn't spread enough.

Brazilian Flag Candle

March 24, 2012
Front of Brazilian flag candle
Side view of Brazilian flag candle
Stenciled pieces fitting together
Putting it all together

I made this Brazilian flag candle as a thank you gift for a family that hosted my wife and I for a week.  I got the dimensions for the flag from this graphic on wikimedia.org.  I sketched the design on paper within a 3" x 6" rectangle and cut out stencils for the green, yellow and blue portion of the flag.  I selected colors from my recycled wax bricks that were close to the real colors, melted them down and poured them into glass pans.  It was important to melt exactly the same amount of each color so the thickness in the pan would be consistent.  After the wax had cooled for about 30 minutes it had the consitency of cheese.  At that point I laid my paper stencil on top of the wax and cut around it.  Once the wax had cooled the rest of the way the wax popped out pretty easily and I had the desired shape.  Unfortunately when I was making the green portion it cracked getting it out of the pan.  I learned my lesson and made multiple copies of the yellow diamond and blue circle.  Looking back I wish I would have redone the green section.  Oh well, live and learn.  The pieces needed a little shaving to fit together snugly.

Initially the plan was to simply have the flag on one side of the candle and use white wax for everything else.  I was afraid that after I poured the white wax the stacked flag pieces would collapse, so I decided to hold it in place with chunks which I made from the leftover green, yellow and blue wax.  I've done one other candle this way, and there again I solved the "hold the slabs in place" problem with chunks.  The pieces of this candles don't fit together perfectly, there were natrual gaps resulting from my inaccurate process.  This actually works to my favor as it allows the white wax to work its way in and hold everything together mechanically.  If there were no gaps, there'd be nothing for the white wax to grip on to, and the entire flag portion would slough off eventually.

The candle is made entirely out of recycled wax.  I'll have to do a post about this someday, but basically I melt down old candles and scrap wax of similar color, filter out the gunk, and form bricks.  I have multiple storage containers filled with bricks of wax arranged in ROYGBIV order.  Working with new wax looks better, but is more expensive.  Recycled wax on the other hand is very cheap  You can usually find old partially melted candles at garage sales for a few cents.  My candle making hobby started off entirely from recycled wax.  Nowadays I use it just because I think it is cool to give new life to the former waste.

 

Round - 3" x 9" - Palm Wax Teal & Blue

December 16, 2011 (last modified: December 30, 2011)

This candle was made using Starburst Palm Wax. It is an all-natural wax that looks like fiberglass when it hardens. The wax was dyed teal. After about 15 minutes of cooling I added blue dye flakes to the top. The heat gradually melted the blue dye, but most of it just stayed at the top. Two pours were required, but when using this wax for candles under 6" I can usually get away with only one pour. Palm wax has a higher melt point, so I use #5 square braid wick, which creates almost a perfect 3" melt pool.

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Hexagon - Magenta Mottling

December 16, 2011 (last modified: December 30, 2011)

This candle was made using leftover wax from previous candles. The wax is 140° F paraffin wax which had previously been dyed blue and had parol oil added to create the mottling effect. I added some scent and enough red dye to make it this color. The wax was poured @ 160° F. After the wax had cooled I filled the sink pit with the left-over wax which is why there is the darker band at the top.

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3x3 grid of square 3" x 6"

December 16, 2011 (last modified: December 30, 2011)

I started this candle by making red, yelow, and blue chunks. The red chunks are scented with frankincense oil, the yellow chunks are scented with sandlewood oil, and the blue chunks are scented with myrrh oil. The scents go together very well. I then used a square 3" x 6" mold and made chunk candles pouring the 140° F paraffin wax at various temperatures. It was an expirement of sorts to see how chunk candles turn out at different temperatures. When all the candles were cooled I used soft paraffin to fill the pits.
After an hour or so of burning all the candles melt together to form a gigantic melt pool. I used a cloth belt for the first few burnings to make sure all the candles stayed together. I've now burned it down an inch or so and have taken the belt off, they hold themselves together perfectly. There was a while during the winter where our heater wasn't working very well. When I came home from work I would just light this candle and the whole apartment would get warm in no time :-)

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Unity Candle & Runner-up

December 16, 2011 (last modified: December 30, 2011)

These are the candles I made for my wedding. Both of them are made using 140° F paraffin wax along with parol oil to create the mottling effect. The parol oil is added to the wax before pouring and mixed well. Then when the candle is cooled enough to form a skin on top, dye shavings were added and melted in with a butane torch.
My wife picked the pink candle to be our unity candle. The other one is now decorating our apartment.

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Square - Glowing Blue Cross

December 16, 2011 (last modified: December 30, 2011)

This candle was made using a glow powder additive from readysetglo.com. I poured the 140° F paraffin wax into a glass dish. Using a salt shaker I evenly spread the glow powder. It sinks very quickly. When the wax was cool enough I cut it into 1" chunks. I did the same thing for some non-glowing chunks of various colors. I carefully arranged the chunks upside-down in the mold, and poured some un-dyed 140° F paraffin into the mold at about 155° F.
The candle cooled in only a few hours. Being a chunk candle it didn't stand perfectly straight, so I used a cheese grater to flatten the bottom.

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Hexagon - 3" x 6" - Glowing Stripes & Chunks

December 16, 2011 (last modified: December 30, 2011)

This candle was made using a glow powder additive from readysetglo.com. I added the powder to 140° F paraffin wax, and poured it into a glass dish. Using a whisk I whipped the wax into an oatmeal consistency. This helps suspend the additive in the wax to achieve a consistent glow. When the wax was cool enough I cut three strips that would fit the mold. I re-melted the leftover wax and made small chunks to fill the rest of the candle. Finally I poured some blue-dyed paraffin @ 160° F over the chunks.
The candle took about 3 hours to cool. It came out of the mold very easily. It shines so brightly you can do shadow puppets with it!

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Square - Glow in the Dark

December 16, 2011 (last modified: December 30, 2011)

For Christmas my wife gave me some glow powder from readysetglo.com. I added the powder to 140° F paraffin wax. I also added paraflint, which helps the wax to carry light better. The glow powder doesn't stay suspended in wax very well, so as the wax was cooling I whipped it until it achieved an oatmeal consistency. When it was thick enough, I poured it over a square candle I made earlier.
The candle turned out alot better than I expected! It holds its glow for 6+ hours. I usually wake up before the sunrise, and the candle still dimly glows from the night before.

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Rounded Star Multi Color-Leach

December 16, 2011 (last modified: December 30, 2011)

This candle was done by leaching three dyes together as the candle was cooling. I started by pouring 140° F paraffin wax into the mold. When it had cooled enough to form a skin on top, I added the dye shavings. I put the yellow, red, and blue shavings on different sides, and then used a butane torch to melt them down and swirl them around. When the candle had cooled I filled the pit with black wax.

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