Friday, July 29, 2016

Candle Making: The Start

This will show you some of the pictures I've got after trying to make my own candles. There is a separate note where I’ve written my observations, mistakes, solutions, ideas, and conclusions from this experiment but I find it too long to include here. I may not be able to tell you a concise information about making candles in just one go but if you will subscribe in my blog you will learn the clues along the way.

Candle making is science - it’s not easy like what you think, there too much information to learn and lots of testing required. I’ll gonna tell you now “candle making can be intimidating and is very expensive”.

I hope that these pictures are already self-explanatory especially to those who are on their way into candle making.

Side of paraffin slab

This is the side of a paraffin slab. It has an uneven and crumbly texture. It's quite opaque yet translucent in some areas. This could be just the characteristic of pure paraffin slab. You will also see the presence of tiny glittery-like specs around the surface of this side of paraffin.

Candle wick from Divisoria


No. of yards unknown. This is #18. It would be better if candle suppliers (and others too) will sell wick samples of different sizes for users to know which one will work for different diameters.

Different wax types and the addition of fragrances and dyes will affect the size of wick needed.

Nylon wick

Same as above.

I can’t help noticing the exaggerated staples.

This is known as nylon wick here in the Philippines. But in other countries, I believe it’s called “nylon-cored wick”. There is a single thin nylon thread at the center of braided cotton.

Metal tab /sustainer from Divisoria

No. of pieces unknown since it’s not written in the pack. This is a metal tab and is also known as “sustainer”. They’re tiny, lightweight and a bit smaller compared to the size of cents.

Preparing the metal containers

The containers were prepared. The popsicle helps maintain the wick at the center. I probably pulled and fasten the wick too tight that the metal tab separated later.

Melting tools

The paraffin slab was crushed into pieces and is ready for melting.

Chunk of paraffin slab

Chunk of paraffin slab.

The floating metal tab

I used glue gun to stick the metal tab to the bottom of this container but upon its contact with the melted wax, the metal tab separated from the container.

Spoon used to stir

The residue left on the spoon was the first thing I saw that didn't look right.

Texture is not what I expect it to be. I assumed that I will get a fully-refined slab.

Bottom of the pitcher

This is the bottom of the metal pitcher around 30 minutes after pouring the melted wax in their respective containers. This is called “mottling” in paraffin. It happens because of the high oil content.

Shimmery candle

Cup 1 - Heat/Poured at 60C*

Few minutes after the melted wax was poured, it started to solidify. The color is far from those ordinary dipped candles sold at grocery stores. I expect it to be just translucent, not shimmery.

candles with bubbles 1

Cup 1 - Heat/Poured at 60C*

There is a huge one bubble at the left side of the container. The wax crystallized and has a shiny appearance. It looks like a palm wax to me (though I haven’t seen one in real life). This is plain paraffin, 5 hours after it was poured.

There’s no tunneling yet. Cup 1 looks better than cup 2.

candles with bubbles 2

This is cup 2 – heat/poured at 80C* (hotter temperature)

This already shows minimal tunneling. The protruding bump at the right side of the wick are bubbles. For now, the cause of bubbles is a mystery to me. I’m guessing some possible reasons though.

Pitcher and thermometer

A bad practice. The tip of thermometer should only touch the wax, not the metal pitcher. I let the thermometer touch the bottom of the pitcher since I just poured 135 grams of solid paraffin, yeah I know too little. This led me into reading wrong temperatures.

Next will be doing a test burn to know what diameter size the wick can cover. I also want to know how this kind of wax behaves. I’m contemplating between melting another wax to 80C (right temperature reading this time) or rest the case since I can only do little about the “mottling issue”. I don’t feel doing the only option of slowly cooling it in a very warm controlled area.

*The 60C and 80C was not the accurate wax temperature due to mistake I did with the thermometer.


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