Making Pillar Candles – Candle Making For Beginners – Master making Luxurious, Natural Candles At Home From Scratch
Like votive candles, pillar candles also require special molds. The process for making this type of candle is more complex because of the precision needed to fix the wicks. Note the use of a wick pin in this recipe and the lack of homemade wick-setting materials as were used in the previous recipes. By the end of this guide, you’llhave a pillar candle that can burn on your desk without support.
Stove or heat source
134°F – 147°F (56°C – 63°C) melting point wax
Pillar mold with wick pin
Wick (braided, flat or cored)
Pouring pot (part of “double-boiler”)
Sauce pan (part of “double-boiler”)
Metal cookie cutter (optional)
Metal spoon or stick for stirring
Fragrance oil (optional)
Scrap paper or newspaper
Caution labels (optional)
Step 1: Calculate the Amount of Wax
We’re going to start by determining how much wax we’ll need by a simple formula. Using the scale, measure and record—in ounces—the weight of your container while empty, and then its weight while filled with water to the level that you would like to fill with wax. Determine the weight of the water alone by subtracting the water-filled weight from the empty container weight. Then, multiply that number by .844 to determine the number of ounces of wax you need.
Step 2: Measure out the Wax
Depending on the type of wax, especially if you use paraffin, you may need a knife to cut out the portion you need. If your wax comes in small pebbles, scoop and weigh out the amount you need. If your wax comes in tough blocks, you may require a utility knife to cut out the portion. An efficient way of cutting is to score a section and break it off with your hands. Measure out the wax on the scale and set it aside. You may want to measure out a little extra to account for the “second pours” in Step 9.
Step 3: Set the Wick on the Pillar Mold
Spread out newspapers on a flat surface to place the molds on. Then, prepare the wick bar, mold putty, the pillar mold and the wick pin. The wick pin, if not already built into the pillar mold, should be fastened to the bottom-center with some mold putty. Insert the wick pin into the wick bar to keep pin center-aligned and straight. No wick is necessary at this step, because the pin will substitute in its place until near the end of this process. Repeat this step for as many votive molds as you’ll make.
Step 4: Melt the Wax
Create the “double-boiler” by adding 1 inch of water to the saucepan and placing the pouring pot in the pan. Make sure the fit is good, and if not, place a metal cookie cutter underneath the pot to elevate it.
Take the wax you had set aside in Step 2 and melt it in the pouring pot. Using the thermometer, monitor the temperature of the wax solution to ensure that it reaches around 180F. Adjust the heat if necessary to prevent the solution from becoming too hot (200F or higher). Once the solution has melted, you are ready to add fragrances.
Step 5: Add Fragrance Oil
You can measure out fragrance oil by spoon or in a small container. A tablespoon amounts to .5 ounces of fragrance oil. When measuring fragrance oil in a container on the scale, make sure to take the container weight into account. It is common to add 1 ounce of fragrance oil per 16 ounces of wax. Pour the fragrance into the wax and stir.
Step 6: Add Dye
Add the desired quantity of dye to the heated wax solution. If you’re using solid blocks, break them into smaller pieces to allow for easier dissolving. If you’re using liquid dye, add the desired number of drops. Mix thoroughly until the wax has a consistent color. The color of the solution will be darker than the color once the wax has hardened. To test the color of the dye, take a small spoon of wax and drip it onto a paper towel or cloth. Allow the wax to harden to get the shade of the finished product.
Step 7: Pour into Pillar Molds
Let the wax cool to 170F-180F. Pour the wax slowly into the pillar molds without overfilling them. After pouring, make sure the wicks are centered and upright, adjusting them with the wick bar.
Step 8: Allow the Wax to Cool
Allow the wax to cool slowly, keeping away fans or other cooling sources from the wax. Once the top surface has cooled, you may poke some holes near the wick to prevent that area from having air pockets that can disrupt burning. Complete cooling may take several hours.
Step 9: Second Pour
As the candle wax sets, it will “shrink” some and you will be able to see a “sink hole” around the wick. It is common when making pillar candles to do a second pour. Reheat the remaining wax in the double-boiler, this time to 190F for better blending of the waxes, and pour over the molds again. Pour just slightly higher than the mold’s edge, as the wax will shrink again. Allow the wax to settle for several hours until completely cool.
Step 10: Remove Candles from Molds
If the wax is completely set, you should be able to easily remove the candles from the molds by turning them upside down and tapping on the bottom. If you have trouble removing them, place the molds in the freezer for 5 minutes and repeat this process if necessary. Take care not to leave them in the freezer for too long, as the wax can fall apart.
Step 11: Insert Wicks
Set aside the wick bar and gently remove thewick pin from the candle. Take a wick and thread it through the space left by the pin.
Step 12: Trim the Wicks
Trim the wicks to ¼ inch from the surface. Be careful not to trim them too short so that they burn properly.
Step 13: Add the Caution Label (optional)
Add a caution label to the bottom of your candle.
Step 14: Try your Candle
Be sure to keep track of the melt pool of your pillar candle while burning it. This is the best way to test the success of your candle.
Congratulations, you’ve made a pillar candle! If you like, you can press on the edges around the upper surface of your candle to soften them.