Rustic Layered Pillar Candle
With autumn just around the corner, it’s a good time to get started making some fall themed candles especially if you’re planning to sell any. Rustic looking candles have a place in every style of decor but they go exceptionally well with the fall season. The rustic look is easy to achieve and you can really use any colors you would like. By not warming the metal molds beforehand, the candle's outer finish will come out somewhat rough and rustic look instead of smooth and shiny.
This project will detail the steps to making rustic layered pillar candles using the colors of fall. The colors I've chosen for this pillar are a deep sunflower yellow, a rusty orange and a rich earthy brown. Using any type of woodsy fragrance(s) will be suitable. You can choose to scent each layer differently if you like or make them all the same fragrance or blend of fragrances. This project will use a mix of cedar wood, amber, and a touch of mulled cider fragrance. It actually smells pretty darn good.
I think pillars are the most rewarding candle project to make because they always look so impressive when you’ve finished. They are, however, not the easiest to make and require time and patience. Do not start this candle project if you are not going to have at least three hours to complete. This is because you will need to let each layer cool enough to pour another layer but not cool so much that your first layer starts to pull away from the sides of the mold. You will repeat the layers in this project three times. However, you can make as many layers as you want. The time will of course depend a lot on the size of your mold and the temperature of the room but at least this gives you an idea that you will need a good chunk of time to complete this project. To save a little time, I am making this candle with a wick pin instead of threading wick through the mold.
Equipment & Supplies:
• Pillar candle mold (I’m using a 6.5”H X 3”D round aluminum mold)
• 1 lb. 8 oz. Paraffin Wax (you can use a wax designed for pillars specifically and then skip the additives)
• Vybar and Stearine additives (optional)
• Candle dye (blocks or liquid)
• Fragrance oil(s)
• Long Wick (appropriate for 3” diameter pillars)
• 6.5" Wick Pin
• Mold Sealer
• Wick holder (if you are not using a wick pin)
• Wooden skewers (for poking relief holes)
• Chopsticks (for stirring and to help pour straight)
• 1 - Large pot for your double boiler base (add about 2” of water)
• 1 - Pouring pitcher
• 2 - Smaller pots or clean metal cans (to make two other colors)
• Silicone spray (mold release)
• Glossy white paper or paper plate (for testing drops of wax for color)
Please read through all of the instructions before beginning and have all of your equipment and supplies ready.
Also, before you begin, think about what you want your candle to look like. Remember, your first pour will be the top of your candle. I want my top to be the yellow layer with orange in the middle and brown on the bottom. That means I will want to prepare my batch of yellow wax first. I have also decided to have my fragrance the same for each layer.
Prepare your mold (and wick pin) by spraying with mold release. Seal your mold. I use a sticky wick holder (Wick Stickum) to close the hole and I also put the wick pin directly on the inside of the mold. If you are not using a wick pin, thread and secure your wick as usual. It’s also a good idea to place your mold(s) in a level tray with a ridge just in case it leaks.
Add about two inches of water to your large pot to create a double boiler. Put all of your wax and additives (if you’re using any) in your large pouring pitcher and place it in your double boiler. Turn your double boiler on high. If you can, place your two smaller cans in the water as well. You just want to get the cans warmed up so when you pour hot wax into it, you don’t cool it down too much so you can add your dye. If they don’t all fit, you may need to set up a second double boiler.
Once your pitcher of wax is completely melted, divide this up into three amounts by pouring some in each can and leaving some in your pouring pitcher. You can try to be precise if you want your layers to be even in size, but I’m just going to estimate each one. TIP: You will want a little more of your last layer because you will need to do a re-pour at the end to fill the well that occurs when using paraffin wax.
Now that you have three pots of melted wax, add your dyes to the wax until you reach your desired colors (test drops on glossy white paper). You can now remove two of the pots or cans of wax from the heat since you won’t be using these right away. Bring your remaining single colored wax to about 170 degrees F and add your fragrance. Stir this until everything is well incorporated. Remove from heat and let cool to about 160 degrees F. Pour all of this first colored and scented wax into your prepared mold. Using a chopstick to guide your pour will help to keep the wax from dripping onto the sides of the mold. There’s no need to save any of this first wax for a re-pour so just pour it all in. Gently tap the sides of your mold with a chopstick to release any air bubbles. If you would like a less defined layer, you could gently swirl your mold a little so some of the wax clings above the layer to blend the line. As your wax begins to cool, you can poke relief holes with your skewer near and around the wick but make sure you don’t poke too far down or you will scar the top of your candle.
Wait until there is about a ¼-inch thickness of cooled wax on the top of this layer. Do not let the wax cool too much though, or it could start to pull away from the sides and when you pour your next layer, it will go down the sides of the candle and ruin the outside. When you see the first layer is getting close to the ¼-inch thickness, begin re-heating your second colored wax. To make sure this second layer adheres well to the first layer, heat your wax to about 170 degrees F, add your fragrance, stir and remove from heat. Pour this second colored wax carefully into your mold as you did above (chopstick, tapping, poking). Wait for the layer to thicken like the first one and reheat your third colored wax to 170 degrees F, add fragrance, stir, remove from heat and pour carefully. Remember to save enough of this third wax to do a final pour after your candle has completely cooled so you can fill the well. Reheat the remaining wax when your candle is cool and make sure you only fill the well without over filling. Since your candle is cooled and most likely pulled away from the sides of the mold, you don’t want the melted wax from this final pour to go down the sides of your candle.
Once your candle has completely cooled, you can remove it from the mold. If you used a wick pin, insert your wick now. If the bottom of your candle is not quite level, you can warm a flat pan and rub the base of the candle over it until it is level. Trim your wick to about ¼- inch and you’re done.
Now - go take a little hike and find some nice nature things to surround your candle. Maybe some acorns or pinecones, and put them at the base of your candle on a tray. This will look great as you prepare to welcome the new season!
Note: A well-made pillar candle should burn evenly and within about an eighth to a quarter inch from the edge of the candle. The first time you burn your candle, you should let it burn for about an hour for each inch that it is wide. If you have an edge that is not too wide or too thin this means you have used an appropriate sized wick for your candle formula. Document your formula and wick so you can recreate the same candle when you want to.
When pillar candles burn properly, you will occasionally want to tidy up your candle’s shape by gently hugging the sides of the warm candle with your hands to bring the edges straight up and back into the center.
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