Follow these instructions carefully and be diligent when getting as much water out of your wax as you can (see my notes below). This fun technique may get you hooked and you could find this to be your favorite candle making style!
Please read all instructions before beginning this project.
Equipment and Supplies
• Double boiler system, with pouring pot or can
• Wax suitable for pillar candles – I’m using straight paraffin wax (24 oz. for two 3 inch by 3 inch candles)
• 1 Tablespoon of stearine* per pound of wax
• Wick(s) - I’m using a square braid wick, appropriate for a 3 inch diameter candle
• Electric heat source - no open flames
• Pillar molds - this candle is an excellent candidate for homemade molds such as, milk or juice cartons
• Mold release spray
• Wooden spoon
• Large bowl (or pan) of very cold water – should hold at least a gallon (4 quarts)
• A few large-lightweight and absorbent towels - flour sack dishtowels work well
• Salad spinner (optional)
* You won’t need stearine if you are using a premium wax that already has additives. I’m using it to harden up the paraffin and make sure it holds color and fragrance
• Prepare your pillar mold as usual - plug, seal, set wick or wick pin and spray with mold release
• Begin melting your wax in your double boiler system
• Insert thermometer
• Add any additives or dye you are using
• Once melted, test for your desired color by dripping small amounts of the colored wax onto freezer paper
• Bring wax to about 175 degrees F.
• Add any fragrance you are using and stir well to incorporate
• Pour about half of your batch (enough to loosely fill your mold) in a slow steady stream while moving your pour over different areas of the water. Make sure all wax has been cooled with the water. You may need to push down any floating wax with a spoon just to get it cooled.
• Once you’ve poured enough to fill your mold(s), and have saved enough wax for your over-pour, pull the strands out of the water, shake off excess water and spread out on a couple of towels. Gently lay another towel on top and press down slightly to absorb the water.
• Pull up the corners of the towels, creating a sack around the wax strands and spin the sack around and around until all of the water has pulled out. (More water than you think will probably fly out of your wax and towel so you may want to step outside if you don’t want water splatters on your walls or floors.) Do this until no more water sprays out. Move your strands around in the towels and continue the process until the strands show no water and do not feel moist. You could switch the batch to a dryer towel to make sure your getting as much water out as possible. You could also use a salad spinner but you would still want to towel dry to make sure all of the wax is dry. Larger pieces may hold water inside them so break up any really big pieces to release any water that may have been trapped.
• If you don't get all of the water off, your candle may sputter or make little popping or sizzling sounds. At worst though, your wick could get wet and the candle will not light or stay lit. The crackling and popping are just annoying or could be considered interesting, depending on how you look at it.
• Once your wax strands are dry, put them into your mold and press lightly or jiggle your mold to keep at an even level.
• Reheat your remaining wax to about 165 degrees F. Much hotter and you will melt the fragile strands.
• Once filled, tap vigorously but carefully with a chopstick or wooden spoon to release the air bubbles.
• Since the strands are already cooled and fill most of the mold, you shouldn’t need to do a second pour because your wax typically won’t sink or create a well with this technique. That makes this a relatively quick candle to make.
• Let cool completely and remove from mold.
• Level the bottom if necessary, trim wick and display.
You could make these candles with your strands being a different color than the fill. I tried green strands with a red fill (strawberry/kiwi) and it came out kind of interesting. Since you’re pouring at such cool temperatures, the colors shouldn’t melt or blend together.
The paraffin wax made a very hard candle that burns evenly and for long periods of time with no problems. The scent throw is great so my whole house smells like someone’s been cutting up a crate of pineapples!
Note: Occasionally a small amount of water may remain in your wax. When this happens, your candle may begin to sputter or sizzle and may even go out. Usually all you have to do is re-light it and maybe hold your lighter to the wick a little longer than normal to dry any moisture out of the wick. Once the candle is going again it will burn well.
For my first test candle I let the initial burn go well-over the recommended three hours. I let it burn for eight hours. It burned great, smelled great and barely warped so I only had to do a slight hug of the edge. The next day, however, when I lit the candle, it burned for a couple of minutes and then started sputtering and sizzling, meaning I hadn’t gotten all of the water out. The candle actually went out but I was able to re-light it by holding my lighter to the wick for a minute and it burned excellently again for another 12 hours without a problem. My second test candle did not have this problem at all, so I must have gotten all of the water out! Whew.
Be diligent about getting the water out but keep in mind, if water is trapped and your candle starts sputtering, it’s not necessarily the end of the candle.
Clean Up: When dumping your bowl of water out, scoop out as much leftover wax as possible. Do not dump directly into your sink. You could use an old fish net or prepare a colander or sifter by placing a single coffee filter in the bottom and slowly pour your water into the center over your sink. This will catch any leftover wax and keep it out of your drain. Just toss the wax filled coffee filter into the trash.