Monday, December 3, 2012

Chunk Candles

I decided to try the chunking technique today for something different. I wasn't really sure what to do since there isn't too much information online hence the 2 versions.
The blue candle was done by just dropping the colored wax cubes into the mold. That really didn't work out too well, as you can see. I had to scrape off some of the outer wax in order for the colors to show.
My second attempt was the pink candle. I stacked the colored wax cubes tightly into the mold. I also wanted to leave the lower part of the candle bare. My intention was for some or the color to bleed to that part. It didn't really happen as I had planned but I think it still looks neat.

How To Make Wax Color Blocks

I actually had quite a bit of wax left over from previous candle projects so I didn't make my blocks from "scratch". You could surely start from the beginning if you wanted. If you are making the blocks from scratch the list of material are:

  • A few pounds of wax. I used just plain old cheap wax. I also used about a pound of wax for each color. So two colours equals two pounds of wax. You get the idea.
  • 2 or 3 coordinating color pigments. Again it depends on how many colour you want to have in your candle.
  • Vybar (about 1 teaspoon per pound of wax) What is vybar you ask and why do I need it. Well, vybar will harden the wax, and impart a creamy texture to it. It will also help with scent throw, reduce mottling and tiny air bubbles. Too much vybar will ruin the scent throw though, so be careful.
  • Stearic acid (about 3 tablespoons per pound of wax) This will act as a hardener and release your candle from the mold more easily.
  • Fragrance oils (about 1/2 oz per pound of wax)
  • A couple of small baking sheets. You could even use disposable baking ware like I did.
  • Thermometer
  • Some old wooden spoon you'll never use again

Instructions

First things first, set up a double boiler. This is created by boiling a pot of water and placing the pouring pot (containing the wax) into the water. Be careful though, if the water is too high it will over flow creating a large mess. Put in one pound of your wax. Place the thermometer in the pot with the wax and wait for it to melt. NEVER LEAVE MELTING WAX UNATTENDED. Once it has finally liquefied the temperature will rise sharply. If you aren't watching the wax will reach the flash point (around 300F) and produce extremely flammable vapors. Never let the wax exceed 250 F.
Wait for the wax to reach about 180F. Now is the time to add the additives to your wax. Make sure that everything melts and is distributed evenly.
Now carefully pour the wax into the tray. You can make the chunks as thick or thin as you like. Leave the wax to sit until it is solid but pliable. You'll know when this happens because you can see the wax change colour. Also, when you touch the wax, it will be slightly warm. Slash the wax vertically and horizontally all of the way through. Put the trays in the freezer to quickly harden the wax.
Now dump the new wax cubes out onto your work surface. You may have to break some apart or use a knife. They should be easy to break apart.
Continue these steps to create however many color cubes you'd like in your candle. Make sure to clean the pour pot after each use.

The Actual Candle Instructions

So, you now have your color cubes all ready to go. Yay!! Now you will need some more materials:
  • About 2 to 3 pounds of wax, depending on the size of your mold
  • Vybar, 1 teaspoon per pound of wax
  • Wick
  • Wick screw
  • Sealing putty
  • A thin stick to hold the wick up straight
  • Metal candle mold
  • Thermometer
  • Old wooden spoon
Thread the wick through the hole in the base of the mold. Use a wick screw to secure the wick to the base. I wrap my wick a little around the top of the screw so that I don't cut my wick. Cover the top of the screw with sealing putty when you are done.
Turn the mold over and tie the other end tightly and securely to the thin stick. You want it to be tight so that the wick is straight. The candle will burn improperly if the wick is not straight.
Place your color cubes into the mold. You could place them in an alternating order, close together, far apart, the possibilities are endless.
Using the double boiler again, melt your wax to 180F. Pour the wax carefully over the middle of the mold. Be careful not to move your color cubes. Now the waiting begins. Depending on the size of you mold, it could take 2 to 3 hours or all night. I didn't need to poke relief holes for my candle, and it was pretty big. You may want to pour more wax at the top after cooling if it has sunk in the mold.
Remove the putty and screw and slide your new candle out of the mold. Cut off the wick from the bottom (where the stick is) and you are done.
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial!

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