Gel candles are easy to make and beautiful to give. Their popularity couple with the ease of making them has made the hobby a second income for many stay at home moms and even crafters looking for that unique product .
Before you start making your gel candles, do your research and find a reputable supplier of gel wax. It is the most important ingredient in your candles and should be your highest priority. Local craft stores may not carry a high quality gel so check before you spend money on an inferior product that ruins your candle making effort.
A word about embeds before starting. Embeds are part of what makes gel candles unique. From fish aquarium scenes to seashells suspended in air, embeds are the icing on the cake. You can’t use just any object in your candle due to it melting. Ceramic, glass, wax molded figures, pewter, and glitter. The basic rule of thumb is anything that is non-flammable can be used as an embed.
Assemble Your Ingredients and Tools
Gather all your tools in one central location to make it easier for you to work. Preferably you will want to be near your heat source. This could be your kitchen or a room with a hotplate. Do not use the microwave for melting your gel. It can catch fire if it reaches its flashpoint and it needs to be a precise temperature for making candles.
You will need:
* Large glass measuring container – this is used to pour your melted wax into your containers;
* Heat Source or Electric Presto Kettle: Use to melt your gel;
* Thermometer: Your gel has to be melted to 225°F, candy thermometers work great;
* Metal Utensil: Do not stir your gel with wooden utensils, this causes bubbles;
* Skewers: Metal, for positioning and moving your embedded objects;
* Glass Containers: These are your candle containers; they can be mugs, champagne flutes, votive cups, and more. The only requirement is that it not be made of a burnable or meltable material;
* Gel: candle gel wax in the density required for your project, the higher density gels are used for candles that will contain embeds. Lower density gels are great for plain, scented candles.
* Fragrance Oils: These must be made for gel candles and have a flashpoint of 170°F.
* Liquid or color block dye: Again, make sure it is appropriate for gel candles. Do not use cloth dye, crayons or food coloring.
* Embeds: Use your imagination
* Candle Wicks – you should use pre-tabbed pre-waxed wicks for the best outcome.
Let’s Get Started
Now that you’ve got all your supplies gathered, let’s have some fun. Remember that you are only limited by your imagination. Each candle is a work of art that is unique to you the maker or the person you are making it for. Follow these simple steps to make your masterpieces.
1. Melt Gel: Use your candy thermometer to maintain and reach the desired temperature of 225°F. If you are using a glass cup for melting, put it in your oven to melt it. The Presto Pot is great but don’t rely on the gauge, use a thermometer. The gel will take a little while to melt. While it is doing so, you can move on to other steps.
2. Wash your container and dry them thoroughly. There should not be any residue or oils to cloud your candle gel wax.
3. Assemble your embeddable objects and your wicks and have them near your containers.
4. After your wax is melted: If you are going to color your wax, use a toothpick to add a small amount of color. Stir well and drip a small amount on a piece of white paper to see the result. If you are adding fragrance add it now as well.
5. Secure your wick to the bottom of your container with a small dab of hot glue. Try not to use too much hot glue as it can make your candle murky.
6. Fill your containers partially with hot wax.
7. Add your embeds as desired, using your metal skewers to position them where you want them.
8. Top off the container with wax.
9. Allow to gel.
10. Trim wick to 1/4” from top.
To avoid bubbles, stir gel slowly and pour gel slowly. This will take practice. If you see a lot of bubbles after pouring you can use a heat gun to remove them. If they appear after the candle has settled you can put the candle in a warm oven to remove them. Bubbles can be decorative if you are making a champagne or aquarium candle.
Gel candles are a simple, inexpensive means of letting your creative juices flow. Sharing your talent with friends and family makes gift giving that much more meaningful, and who knows your idea for a candle might just be the next product that takes the world by storm.