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Have you ever seen radiant, transparent container candles with or without embedded objects? If yes, it means you have probably seen a gel candle. Gel candles are beautiful to behold and easy to make. They are made with gel wax, a relatively new kind of wax. In fact, gel wax is not exactly a wax. It is rather a mixture of mineral oil from paraffin and poly resins.
The fact that it is gotten from paraffin means gel candles emit air pollutants and so are not eco-friendly. But there is no need to worry as gel wax is one of the best to make decorative candles. Materials such as stones, pebbles, marbles, glitter etc. can be embedded in gel candles to give them a lovely look.
Gel candles are also loved for their transparent look. This is maintained even after colour has been added. However, since gel wax is soft, gel candles can only be made in containers. Gel candles also throw off scent well. Since gel wax is not expensive, making gel candles is a pocket-friendly task too.
For beginners, gel wax may not be very easy to work with. But it gets better with time. The materials you will need are typical candle making materials.
What You Need to Make Gel Candles
Gel Candle Wax
This is the key ingredient in making gel candles. This can be easily gotten from local stores around and are not expensive. And you can also make gel wax yourself with the right combination of mineral oil and resin. There are different types of gel wax, based on density. Low-density gel wax is best for beginners though it can only hold a little fragrance and small objects. The most popular is the medium density wax and allows for more scent than the former. High-density wax holds much more scent and can take even heavy objects but is the least popular. If you want to add scent to your candles, then you should consider the density of the wax before purchase.
You can purchase some glass mason jars. They are popular for making candles. Alternatively, you can use some empty glass jars at home. Not all types of jars are suitable. Whatever jars you use should be able to withstand high levels of heat and should be non-flammable. Gel wax can get really hot (even hotter than other types of wax) and have been known to shatter glasses. Though you can make use of tins, glass jars are by far the best as they make the candles more beautiful. Besides, if you are adding colour to your candle or embedding objects in it, you would not want to cover up such beauty with a tin.
There are various types out there. Pick one that suits you. Be careful to pick the proper one because gel wax burns at high temperatures Just make sure your wick’s length is a few inches more than the container’s height.
For adding colours, make sure you use only liquid candle dyes. Fragrance should be added based on the density of the wax. Embedded objects also make gel candles. You can embed objects such as pebbles, smooth stones, artificial jewels, marbles, glitter etc. for extra beauty.
Other Candle Making Supplies
Instead of a double boiler like you need for making pillar candles, use an aluminium pouring pot and a stove for heating the wax. You can also use an oven to heat the wax but the wax must be in a glass cup. You will also need to take the temperature of the wax with a thermometer. Other materials are typical candle making supplies such as a pair of scissors, wick stabilisers (or old pens or pencils), wick stickers. Get paper towels ready too for cleaning up when you are done.
How to Make Gel Candles
Cut your gel wax into small pieces. This is necessary so that it would melt evenly. Then place the chunks in your pouring pot turn up the stove to medium heat. Use a thermometer to ensure the temperature of the wax goes no higher than 230°F. When the wax melts completely, it would be smooth and have a syrupy texture. While the wax melts, adhere the wick to the bottom of the container with a wick sticker. In the absence of a wick stabiliser, use an old pen to keep the wick straight in the centre. Off-centred wicks will not burn well. Set the pen across the top of the container and wrap the wick around it. Make sure it is straight and do not pull it.
While the wax melts is the right time to add additives. Add appropriate fragrance based as you wish but consider the density of the wax. Adding colours is interesting. The time you add the colours to the wax will determine the kind of effect you get. For a monotone candle with uniform spread of colour, add while the candle melts. Do not forget to use liquid dyes only. Adding colour when the wax is just poured into the container will create a swirling effect. Most people go by the uniform look. To embed objects, dip the objects in the molten wax and adhere to the sides of the container so that they can be easily seen. Anyway, this step is optional. It is still okay even if you are not using additives.
Your wick should stay centred as you pour the wax into the container when it melts. Make sure you pour slowly and steadily. Pouring too fast can cause bubbles to form. If bubbles do arise on top, use a hair dryer to reheat the top.
After pouring the wax, leave the candle for some time to cool. It has to be completely cool before it will be ready for use. However, before you use it, trim the wick to about a quarter of an inch. Do this before each use.
Gel candles burn very well and you should have no problem. Since they are made in containers, you do not have to worry about the candles creating a dripping mess.