Finishing the Candle

Because wax contracts so much as it cools, there is a danger that the center of a candle might sink. The repouring process (described in greater detail in the preceding chapter, on p. 112) prevents this from happening.

After the wax has cooled enough to form a skin of about l/8″ thick, begin repouring. To do this, poke holes in the wax, pushing down around the wick all the way to the bottom of the candle. Then add wax to refill the holes, but be careful to do it a little at a time so that it does not overflow.

During the repouring process, make sure that the additional wax you are pouring in is the same temperature as originally (l80° Fahrenheit). If the wax is cooler, it will not adhere properly; if hotter, the candle may crack. You may need to refill the center to get a level surface. Molded candles are usually finished from the bottom end, unlike container candles, which are finished at the top. Therefore, if you need more wax to make the candle flat, it won't matter if it is a different color than the original candle as it won't show — unless you set it on a plate. An easy way to level the base of a candle is to stand the candle upright in a warm pan. This will melt the base just enough to create a nice flat surface.

Leveling the base

After repouring, leave the mold in the water for 1 hour or more to cool thoroughly. If the water in the pan is getting warm, just add a few ice cubes.

Before attempting to remove the candle from the mold, make sure it is completely hardened and cold throughout. This can take from several hours to twenty-four hours, depending on the size of the candle and the type of wax mixture you used. A properly set candle will release from the mold easily. The general rule of candlemaking is to wait for eight hours before removing the candle from its mold. The point here is that if the candle is not completely cold through and through, into its center, removing it from the mold may cause it to have a distorted shape.

Never hit or pry at a mold to get the candle out. Be patient and wait until it's completely cold. If you bang your mold you may make marks in it that will be permanent. These will mar any future candles you make in that mold.

A Candle Is Born

When you see that the wax has shrunk away from the sides of the mold (just like a cake, when done, shrinks from the sides of the baking pan), it is ready to be released. At this point, turn the mold upside down very carefully and remove the wick sealer. Then remove the candle.

If you have reused old wax to mold a candle and the color turns out to be less than pretty, the remedy is “overdipping.” Just melt some new wax in a container deep enough to immerse the molded candle and give it a quick dip to coat it.

Occasionally it will happen that there are seam lines at the sides of molded candles. These can come from use of two-part molds, or from tin-can molds. If you get a seam line, simply give your candle a shave along the seams. Any sharp blade will work, but there is a special tool used for scraping dry paint off glass that is superb. This item holds a single-sided razor blade and is easy to manipulate. You can buy such a tool in a paint store or hardware store.

To get a candle out of a mold made from an empty tin food can(washed and dried well), simply use your can opener to cut out the bottom end and push the candle out through it using the cutoutbottom end as a pusher.

Help, It's Stuck!

Into every life, some rain must fall. Sometimes, despite your most careful preparation, a candle will refuse to come out of its mold. If, having tried all of the standard methods already described, you still can't get the candle out of the mold, don't despair. There are some alternative means you can try to get that stubborn wax free of its mold.

  • Put the candle in its mold in the refrigerator for half an hour. Remove it and again try to release it. This usually works.

  • If the fridge fails, run the mold under hot water. This will warm the wax enough to get it to release, but it will also mess up the smooth, shiny surface that was effected by the water bath. Again, don't despair. You can polish the candle (use the tried-and-true nylon pantyhose method) back to a sheen.

If polishing the candle doesn't give the shiny result you want, overdip the candle into a new batch of melted wax for a fresh outer coat. Dip it into a batch of colored wax, which will cover a bad surface more completely than translucent plain paraffin.

Save Your Pantyhose!

Nylon pantyhose make excellent polishing cloths for finished candles, so if you get a run, don't fret — just put it in a plastic bag in your work area to store them. After you have removed the seam lines, if you need to do so, rub your finished candle with old nylon pantyhose to give it a nice polish. This will also smooth away any shaved-off seam lines.

Voilà! You now have a finished molded candle. Stand back and take pride in your accomplishment. And there are now lots of creative things you can do with your molded candle. We'll be discussing those throughout the book.

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  4. Finishing the Candle
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