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Tealight candles are small, versatile candles. They are popularly used to warm food or warm scented oils in oil diffusers. When used to warm oils, the aim is to get the scent spread round the room. Apart from these, tealight candles can also be used to beautify homes, parties and so on. They are very similar to votive candles and both can even be confused for each other.
The major difference is that while votive candles are made with molds and burned in votive holders, tealight candles are not. Tealight candles can be made as small container candles or even with molds. There are usually special cups for making tealight candles, different from the jars used to make regular container candle. Despite their small size, they provide a clean and long burn. Though there can be various sizes, most usually burn for up to four hours or more. Though they do not seem to throw off fragrance well because of small melt pools, scented tealight candles are still popular.
Tealight candles are small and several can be made at once. Just like votive candles, arranging many tealight candles together to burn at the same time gives the room a nice look. They can also be made coloured or not. They are beautiful either way. Different types of wax can be used to make tealight candles, the most common be soy wax, paraffin and beeswax. You would find the process very interesting. And it does not take long too. Materials needed are inexpensive and you can save money by making tealight candles (or any other type of candle) yourself.
What You Need to Make Tealight Candles
Soy wax is very popular for making tealight candles. And considering too that it is eco-friendly, it is a very good choice. A better, but more expensive alternative, is beeswax. And if you do not mind a little pollution, paraffin wax is a great choice, and very affordable. Feel free to experiment with various types of wax. If you want your candles scented and/or coloured, consider this also in choosing your wax. Some types of wax hold scent and colour better than the others.
The most common types are made of metal or plastic. You can choose any as it suits you. If you want a cheaper option, your kitchen muffin pan works well too. This works well as mold though muffin liners are needed as well if you go for this option.
Fragrance oils can be used but follow the instructions that come with anyone you use so that you would know the appropriate loading for your work. Many waxes give the candle a creamy white colour which is beautiful on their own. But you can tint your candles with dyes the way you want. Liquid candle dyes work best for this.
Other Candle Making Supplies
Just like in making other candles, a double boiler and a stove seem to be permanent materials needed for candle making. Opposed to this, some people use an oven but the former is an easier and more popular choice. You would also need a pouring pot or measuring cup for pouring the wax. You may not be able to pour the wax into your containers directly from the double boiler pan. Other necessary materials are a thermometer and a pair of scissors. Old newspapers would prevent mess by collecting wax spills while paper towels can be used for cleaning afterwards.
How to Make Tealight Candles
The actual candle making process is next.
Spread old newspapers across your work area. With this, cleaning is much easier when you're done with your work. Then heat up your wax, in a double boiler of course. Stir gently with the thermometer. Break wax blocks into smaller chunks for quicker melting. This should only take some minutes to watch the wax and monitor the temperature. It should not exceed 185°F. If you are using a muffin pan, arrange your molds carefully in the holes and set your wicks.
For tealight cups, you only need to attach your wick to the bottom of the container. This is easy with pre-tabbed wicks. Otherwise, you can use glue or even the melting wax to make sure the wick is attached firmly to the container. Set the wick in the centre of each cup, and make sure it is straight. This ensures effective burn. You might want to use some hairpins to make sure the wicks are straight.
Add your fragrance oil, following the instructions carefully. Usually, you would need a fragrance loading of about 6-10%. Fragrance oil can be added before you turn off the heat or after. Many advocate the latter. But for colour, add dye before turning off the heat. After adding fragrance and dye, stir the wax gently for better mixing. This step is optional. Candles are still good without colour or scent. But if you are using either, or both, do not use too much. For example, too much fragrance can affect burn quality.
Turn off the heat when the wax completely melts. Then let the wax cool for some time before pouring. Use the pouring pot (or a measuring cup) to pour the wax into the cups. Do this slowly to avoid air bubbles in your candles.
Leave your candles for some time so the wax can cool and harden. This would take about an hour or so but may take up to 24 hours for the candles to be fully ready for use.
If you had used a muffin pan with liners, remove the molded candles when the wax cools. If this seems a bit difficult, just put the candles in the freezer for some minutes. For regular tealight candle cups, you should not pop the candles out. Whatever method you use, trim the wicks before burning the candles. Candles with long wicks would cause smoke and not burn well.
Following these processes, your beautiful candles are ready for use. And then you can package the new candles as gifts to friends, coworkers etc.