Making candles isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and they are great gifts, or to enjoy in your own home. You can personalize them any way you want–size, scent, shape, color–the possibilities are limitless. You can make wax candles or gel candles, dipped candles or poured candles…each one has different attributes and techniques–you can try one technique and see if it works for you.
One interesting type of candle you can make –gel candles, also called jelly candles. The translucent or transparent gel gives off a really pretty glow. If you’re making them yourself, you can suspend anything that isn’t flammable in them–small charms, glass beads, marbles, glitter, crystals, pebbles, polished stones, artificial jewels or other little decorative items in the gel. You can use almost any kind of scent that you like–don’t use vanilla, though–it will make the wax look dirty and cloudy. The candles burn much longer than wax or paraffin candles–so you’ll need to trim to the wicks as you burn them. Try different containers, and different colors of gel wax–you can be really creative!
When making gel candles, you need to use zinc core wicks, and glue the wick tab to the bottom of the container using a drop of hot glue. This will keep it in the center as you’re pouring the wax layers.
When you have chosen the gel wax that you will use, prepare it by cutting into small cubes so that it will melt more easily. Slowly melt it in a stainless steel pot until it reaches 200 degrees. You want to use special liquid dyes for gel candles, and follow the directions on the packet. Add a few drops of your fragrance and stir well. You can use a chopstick or paint stirrer for this.
On a level surface, place the clear containers you have chosen–they need to be warmer than room temperature–ideally about 150 degrees to avoid wax bubbles. Dip any of the items that you plan to put in the candles into the warm wax. Pour the wax into the containers a bit at a time. Pour it down the side of the container if you want to avoid bubbles, alternating gel colors if you like.
If you like the bubbled look, just pour it directly into the container. Place the items in the wax to layer them in different parts of the candle. You can use your chopstick to reposition the charms or beads–but work quickly. Try to keep them away from the wick, and close to the sides. Adding a few at the base of the wick will help hide the wick tab.
Pull the wick straight up so that it is vertical and centered. Let the candles sit on the level surface for about 4 hours. Trim the wicks off to about 1/4 of an inch–and there you have it– you’ve made personalized gel candles!
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