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Votives & Tealights

SAFETY One of our first steps in getting ready to make candles is to ensure that you have a safe working environment. Have a fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it! Never use water to douse a wax/fragrance fire. Use your fire extinguisher or smother the fire. Remove any unnecessary items from your counter to give yourself plenty of workspace. Remember to keep children and pets away from your work area as you will be dealing with potential hazardous materials.

- The next step and a very important one is to gather all your materials in one area. Plan what you are making and make sure you have everything you need at hand. There is nothing worse than having to run and get more wicks when your wax has already melted and is cooling down! It is similar to cooking - we will be following a recipe and should have all our ingredients ready. And remember you should never leave wax on your stove unattended.

- I tend to cover my work surface with parchment paper. It keeps my counter tops free of wax and if I spill all I need do is wait for the wax to cool then peel it off and use it again. I've tried wax paper, but I find it too thin and the wax on the paper melts when it comes in contact with hot wax!. 

- Melt your wax in a double boiler. When first starting out I recommend using the preblended IGI 4794. This way you don't have to worry about additives.

In this picture I am using a dutch oven pot as the base. I got this at a dollar store. Don't use your good pots and pans as they tend to get rather messy - sometimes collecting wax which may have dripped down the side of your pot when you put it back in for re-melting.)

- Here I am using a melting pot which is capable of holding 4 pounds of wax (I seldom put more than 3 pounds in and often use a smaller pot for pouring when making votives - I find it easier to handle). We sell both the 4lb and the 1lb here.

- The reason we melt our wax in a double boiler is so we can control the temperature the wax reaches. Boiling water never can exceed 212F, whereas if you put the melting pot directly on a stove burner, you can reach much higher temperatures and potentially reach your flash points (the point at which your wax could spontaneously combust). Most wax melts between 130F and 180F. An optimal pour temperature for votives is 175-180F.

- You will find that the water in your double boiler won't actually boil until the wax is nearly melted. Be careful not to let the larger pot boil dry. And if you have left over water - do not pour it down the sink! Any wax that is left in the pot may clog your drain when it cools. Never pour excess wax down the drain - it may look like liquid now but when it solidifies your drains will have a thick coating which could be very costly to remove!

- Place a metal ring under your melting pot so it is not in direct contact with the base of the larger pot.

- It is recommended that you thoroughly melt your dye chip separately from your wax. When just popping it into your wax, it may not melt completely and could leave some residue in the bottom of your melting pot which could end up in a candle. (Experiment - as to be truthful I have often skipped this stage).

- We recommend 1 dye chip per 1 pound of wax, however, It is up to you to find the right blend. You may even want to mix two different colours together (Blue + Yellow should give you Green).

- I am using my 1lb melting pot here as I will put it on my scales and then pour one pound of wax into it from my larger melting pot - which has three pounds in it. This way I can make three different types of votives or tealights today. Just be careful when handling hot wax.
- You can test your colour by putting a few drops of your melted wax onto some wax/parchment paper. Let it dry a few moments and you will get a sample of the result. Please note that when working with "Fuschia" from our dye chip collection - looks are deceiving. It may look like there is no colour at all in the wax but when it cools completely you will have a "hot raspberry" colour!.
- Add the fragrance when you are ready - that is when you have added your dye and your wax is at its optimum pouring temperature.

- Here I am pouring in a pre-measured amount of scent - usually about 1oz per 1pound of wax depending on the results I want.

- Note that the picture shows the melting pot on a burner - the burner is NOT on! Always remove the pot from the heat source when pouring your fragrance.
- After adding your dye and scent (or any other additives), make sure you give your wax a good stir.
- Now you are ready to pour your wax! Make sure you have no distractions at this point as you'll need a steady hand and concentration. Remember you are dealing with wax at about 170F.

- I am using 1oz travel tin containers here but it is the same as when pouring votives and tealights.

- This is the first of two or three pours. Fill to just below your final fill line. For example, with tins you want to leave about 1/4" free at the top. With votives and tealights, and 1/8 of an inch should be enough.
- Hopefully here you can see that I have filled this votive just below the edge of the mold.

- Reserve about 10% of your wax for the second pour. There will be shrinkage and you'll need to refill. (Unless you are using a one pour wax).

- When the wax becomes cloudy, place your wick in the centre of the mold/container. If you wait too long and the wax forms a skin - you may be able to break through and still get your wick in place.

- However, if you wait too long, you may not get your wick deep enough to have an effective burn later. 

- Wax will cool from the outside in. Your candle may look finished on the outside, but may have a very hot and melted centre! I make the mistake once of pushing too hard on the top of a pillar still in its mold. My finger when through the wax and the hot melted wax inside spurted up and all over me!

- Keep an eye on your candles as you may need to recenter the wick as the wax cools. Let it cool about 1-2 hours.

- You will see here that a hole has been punched into the candle. This isn't necessarily needed. The concept is to break through the skin on the top of the candle and let any air escape. It is definitely needed on pillars. (I use wood BBQ skewers to do the trick here - an ice pick would work as well).

- Note that the wax has sunk and a well now exists. You need to pour a second load of wax.

- Heat the wax up to the original pouring temperature. If the wax is not hot enough you will not get a strong adhesion to the first layer and the layers could separate upon cooling.

- Pour the wax to the original fill line and if you like you can fill until the wax looks like its going to spill over the edge (even if it does, let it dry and then put it back into your melting pot).

- Re-center the wick if necessary and let cool.

- When the mold no longer feels warm, it is probably time to remove the candles from the mold.

- If you are having difficulty put the molds in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

- If the candle still doesn't pop out, give the mold a little squeeze. You will often hear a little "pop" and then the candle slips out.

- Put a warning label on the bottom and indicate the fragrance!