This is the hallmark of creativity in candle making. There are no candles, as innovative and as decorative as carved candles. They just seem so perfect. And I’m not trying to exaggerate here. If you have ever seen a carved candle before, no doubt you thought at first that it was only a piece of art. Carved candles are pieces of art, and they are candles too! They originate from old German crafts and are similar to carved sculptures. The only difference is that these ones are made of wax, not wood or stone or any other traditional sculpting material.
Carved candles are made by layering wax of different colour on each other and then making different designs by cutting and carving. Carved candles are awesome, but they are also not easy to make. The difficult part is not in layering the coloured waxes; it is rather in the carving. But you should give them a trial, making carved candles is not impossible; it is not even next to impossible. Carving candles is a mixture of patience and creativity. And it really does not take time. The whole process (melting wax, adding colour, dipping and layering, carving and so on) does not even take up to an hour. But preparations have to be made. The main preparation is in getting materials to make the candle.
Candle Making Supplies for Carved Candles
- Paraffin wax (a lot)
- Stearin, when mixed with paraffin wax, would give it a better burn
- 6-pointed candle base
- Wick, tied around a metal hook. The hook is for holding up the candle when dipping
- Candle dyes, of various colours
- Bowl of cold water
- Carving and cutting tools
How to Make Carved Candles
Melting the Wax
Melt the paraffin wax. Since you are using various colours, you would have to melt different measures of paraffin wax. Then add dye when each is fully melted. Just follow the normal wax melting methods for previous candles. This is the least of the steps.
If you know how to make dipped candles already, then you have an understanding of what dipping means. At this stage, the candle base is dipped into different coloured waxes to make layers and layers of colours. Note that as you dip more and more, you add more layers on top the candles and then the candle gets thicker.
Before you begin, you first need to determine in what order the colours would go. That would guide you.
To dip the wax, hold the candle by the hook and dip into melted paraffin wax of chosen colour. After each layer, dip the candle into cold water. This would ensure that each layer gets a little hard before the next is added and so the layers would not mix. Also, after dipping the candle into coloured paraffin wax, you may dip also in normal white paraffin wax. Don’t worry; it would not be so noticeable when you are done.
Carving the Candle
This is the difficult stage and is where the ‘real’ work is. Paraffin wax is not so easy to cut. And besides, you would need a lot of creativity to make various designs on the candle.
You should be done with all the carving in 20 minutes. That is about the amount of time it takes paraffin wax to become hardened. And when the candle gets hardened, trying to carve then would only make a mess of the candle. It would not turn out well. So when you want to begin carving, be prepared to work rapidly. But exercise some carefulness too; you want your work to turn out nice.
When carving, begin from the bottom and work your way up to the top. I cannot teach you exactly how to make designs on the candles by carving. That is purely a product of creativity. But you can still make do with some of the examples in this article, at least for a start. It takes constant practice to become an expert.
When you are done making designs on the candle, you may cut off the top of the candle. This will expose all the layers of colours used and gives the candle a lighting effect when burned.
Some Carving Ideas
• You may begin by carving out letters and words.
• Move on to cutting out different shapes on your candles. Basic shapes are good for a start.
• When you have gotten a hang of that, you go a step further. Don’t just design and draw shapes on your candle; actually cut the candle into different shapes. There is no limit to what you can do. Whatever idea you get, use it.
• Downward curl. This one is very popular. Cut out small strips and bend them downwards. You can do as many curls as possible (depending on the size of the candle) and in various positions around the candle for various designs.
• Cut and Curl. This one is done by shaving strips out (neither too thick nor too thin), twisting them to form vertical spirals and then reattaching them to the candle, at the bottom.
You would need a lot of practice to master the art of carving candles and a lot of creativity too. I have mentioned that somewhere above. Just like in learning any new thing, start with the basics. You would not become a pro at the first trial. Use the carving ideas given above as a startup guide and as you begin to practice more, you would grow independent of the guide and would make even more outstanding designs. Don’t focus much on what you have to put in; carved candles are absolutely wonderful once done.