How to Make Candles: Gel Wax Candles

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Gel candles are a great item to learn how to create if you want to try out candle making. Not only are they beautiful, but very easy to light and use. They also burn slowly, giving your candles a a long time span. Gel candles are very easy to make as well as inexpensive which makes them great for your new hobby. You can add your favorite scents to them as well as long as the candle fragrances are gel safe. The supplies you need to get started include gel, zinc wicks, fragrance oils if you desire, and dye to add color of choice. Some people love the look of a clear gel candle and prefer not to use any dye because it is fun when you can clearly see through it. It is important that you only use zinc wicks for gel candles because cotton wicks absorb the gel, causing them not to light or burn well. Zinc cored wicks also help the wick to stand up straight in the gel candle. You can purchase these supplies from a craft store or online.

Gel candles can be made in a variety of containers because they cannot stand alone as pillars. Using objects made of glass will give you the best results to hold your candle. However, as long as the container is non-flammable you will be fine. To add uniqueness to gel candles, some makers choose to make them in fancy glasses, wine glasses, and vases or even tea cups and similar. To add color and themes to candles, consider using candle safe embeds. This can be glitter, marbles, colorful rocks, sea shells, crystals, or anything else that won’t burn and cause your candle to be a safety hazard when lit.

You will need a hot glue gun to stick the wick to the bottom of the holder you plan to use; I prefer a high heat glue gun. Hold the zinc wick firmly in place until the wick sticks. To make centering easier, mark the bottom of the holder with a red or black marker right in the center. You want to make sure it is exactly centered in order to get the burning candle to be the best it can be. The wick should then be placed on top of the mark. Leave the wick long enough to reach outside of the holder by a few inches. You will trim it down later before you light the candle, but it’s helpful to have extra wick while making your candle. To melt the gel, cut it into small strips with scissors or simply pull apart into gel chunks. For best results melt it in a double boiler at medium heat. The gel should be heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit but not higher than 225 degrees. A quality thermometer is a great investment as the gel won’t set properly if you don’t get it hot enough and it will lose the glossy color if you get the temperature too high. Always use the proper candle thermometer for this.

If you desire to add color to your gel candles, add it in slowly and a little drop of candle color at a time. The colors show more vibrantly in gel candles than wax candles so you will need a lot less than what you use if you make wax candles. Stir the color into the melted wax slowly without splashing. If you aren’t happy with the color you can slowly add more from there. If you plan to use embedded objects in the candle, it is suggested you keep the gel candle color very light so you can see through it. Next, add fragrance if you desire. 1/3 teaspoon is all you need for each glass of melted gel about one cup in size.

For best results, heat your container in the microwave for about one minute or in a warm oven if you prefer. This will eliminate those unsightly bubbles that can form on gel candles if you do not want the bubbles. Immediately after removing the holder from the microwave, start adding your embeds. You will want to dip them in the hot gel to get them to stick in the holder. You can arrange embeds any way you want; have fun and be creative when you are making this candle. For best results push them towards the edges of the holder so that they can easily be scene. You can create embed patterns or add them loosely.

It is important not to keep the candle gel very hot while completing the embed process. Once you have that done, pour the gel into the holder carefully. If you allow the gel to cool before pouring it in the holder you will end up with clumps of gel throughout the candle which does not look good for your finished homemade candle. Make sure the wick is hanging over the top of the holder before pouring in the gel. Once the gel has set, trim it to the size you desire.

Making gel candles is easy, fun, and inexpensive. It is a great way to make your own beautiful candles for using, giving as gifts, or selling. There are wonderful books with plenty of pictures of gel candle designs you can try to make at home, or simply create your own.


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