Guest Author - Benito Lugo
Melting your wax
Melting your wax is simple, but there are safety factors to consider when making candles. If you follow some safety precautions, you can avoid any hazards that exist in your candle-making ventures.
Always follow these safety precautions:
1. Always have a fire extinguisher within reach. Become familiar with the operating instructions, hopefully you will never need to use it. For small wax fires, you may use something such as a pot lid to smother the fire. Never use water to put out a wax fire. Liquid wax is a petroleum product, and to be treated like an oil fire.
2. NEVER LEAVE MELTING WAX UNATTENDED. It may seem to take a long time to get the wax to go from solid to liquid. But once it has liquefied, the temperature will rise sharply. Make it a habit to constantly monitor the temperature of your wax. If that wax reaches the Flash Point, then the vapors produced are extremely flammable. The flash point of wax is typically above 300° F. Never let your wax exceed 250 degree F.
3. Always use a double boiler. A double boiler helps distribute heat and prevents dangerous temperatures. Never melt wax over direct heat on your stove.
4. You may also use an electric heat source. Melted wax is less likely to find a flame and ignite if it reaches the flash point on an electric heating source. Any open flame, such as that found on a gas stove can ignite wax vapors
5. Always use a thermometer to monitor your wax temperatures. A candy thermometer works well.
A double-boiler is created by boiling a pot of water on a heat source. Boiling water the temperature will never exceed 212 deg. F. We then can place the pouring pot in this boiling water. The pouring pot and wax is never in direct contact with the heat source. The boiling water transmits the heat to the pouring pot quickly and evenly, without scorching the wax and minimizes the chances of a fire. Even with a double boiler, do not leave it unattended.
General Double Boiler Set Up
1. Select an old pot that is large enough to place your pouring pot into.
2. Add enough water to cover the bottom two-four inches of your pouring pot.
3. Bring to a boil.
4. Place your pouring pot directly into this boiling water. Place a metal cookie cutter in the bottom of your old pot to elevate the pouring pot.
5. Lower the heat to a simmer. It is not necessary to have a rapid boil. Simmering water and rapidly boiling water are the exact same temperature, 212° F.
6. Periodically add water to replace water lost to evaporation. Do not let the double boiler run dry. It can quickly get too hot.
7. Allow the wax to melt and monitor the temperature until you reach the temperature needed for the particular type of wax you are working with.