Guest Author - Benito Lugo
Making Gel Candles
How to make Gel candles is very easy and fun to do. It's something I have not covered much of since I truly enjoy working with wax candles. A gel candle is a nice change of pace and can add a different touch to any room. The appeal of making gel candles is the transparency of the gel. We can take advantage of this by embedding various non-flammable objects to add flare to your gel candle.
Candle gel is made of 95% mineral oil and 5% polymer resin. The resin is a powder that transforms into a gelatin type state when mixed with mineral oil. Penreco is the company that holds the patent and makes the gel. Versagel is the trademark name and comes in 3 types: CLP (low density), CMP (medium density) and CHP (high density). The denser or thicker the gel, the more fragrance oil it will hold.
You will be using your standard candle making tools plus a few additional items.
Metal, plastic spoon or metal knitting needles for stirring
Candle container made of glass
Zinc core wicks
Essential oils for fragrance specifically made for gel candles
Liquid color dye used for making gel candles
Items for embedding which is optional. These are non-flammable items such as sea shells, marbles, sand, stones, glitter or commercially available embeds.
1. Attach your wick to the bottom of your container with a touch of hot glue and let set. At this time you may pull up the wick and roll it around a wooden dowel to secure it to the center or just wait until you've poured the gel and pull it up with your metal knitting needles.
2. Cut your gel into small cubes to let it melt faster and evenly. Melt the gel in a double boiler over medium heat. Heat the gel to 200 deg F and no more. Overheating gel will alter it's clarity. Keep your temperature at 200 deg F, your gel should have a smooth syrup like consistency.
3. Slowly add your color dye until you get the desired shade you desire, use a light color if you intend on adding embeds.
4. Add your fragrance at a rate of 1/4 teaspoon at a time until desired scent.
5. Heating your container in an over at 150 deg F will help reduce the development of bubbles in your finished gel candle. Place them on a cookie sheet and carefully remove with oven mitts.
6. If using embeds, dip them into the hot gel and arrange them in the container keeping them closer to the sides in order for them to be easier to see.
7. Now it's pouring time. Transfer your melted, colored and scented gel into your pouring pot. Set your container on a flat surface and slowly pour down the sides of your container to avoid trapping air. This may take some practice but for now just have fun. Be careful since the gel will still be very hot.
8. Pull your wick straight before the gel cools.
9. Let the gel cool and set. Trim the wick and now you will be ready to light and enjoy.