By Brandi M. Seals
Making your own candles is much easier than you might think and it is much more cost effective then going out and buying pre-made ones. All you need is a container and some basic candle making supplies.
zinc wicks (do not use cotton wicks for gel candles because they will absorb too much gel)
essential oil for fragrance
liquid color dye
All of the required supplies can probably be found at your local craft store. If you are unable to find something, search on the internet. There are several online suppliers that will have all the materials you will need.
When picking your supplies, keep in mind that it is important to use essential oils and coloring designed to be used in gel candles. Using anything else probably will not be suitable. To make it easy, you could buy a gel candle making kit if you are trying the project out for the first time. It will be more cost-effective if you are not sure that gel candle making is for you.
When making gel candles you will of course need containers. Gel candles work best in glass containers. That way everyone can see your gorgeous candle. But, any non flammable container would suit. I like to look for unique candles at garage sales, estate sales, and second hand stores. Sometimes you can find great pieces there.
If you will be using a clear glass container, consider adding pieces into the candle for a little extra sparkle. For example, you can embed sea shells, pebbles or anything else that would look pretty.
Gel Candle Making Steps:
1.) Attach the wick to the center of the container. Use a dab of hot glue to stick down the wick. Wrap the extra length of the wick around a pencil and lay it over the top of the candle container. It will hold the wick up straight and keep it from falling into the gel.
2.) Melt the gel in a stainless steel pot over medium heat. Speed up the process by cutting the gel into small chunks that will melt quickly.
3.) You will find it beneficial to use a candy thermometer in the gel. You need to reach exactly 200 degrees Fahrenheit. If the gel is overheated it will loose its clarity and appear cloudy.
4.) Once you reach 200 degrees Fahrenheit, maintain the temperature until all of the gel melts into a smooth syrup.
5.) Next you will color the gel. Add your selected color dye to the melted gel. You will want to add only a little at a time until you reach the desired color. It can be easy to over color the gel. Remember, you can always add more dye, you can never take it away. If you will be adding pebbles or other items in your candle, do not go for dark colors. You will want the objects to remain visible after they are added.
6.) Add in the fragrance. Use1/3 teaspoon for each gel candle you will be making. Use a touch more for a stronger scent.
7.) Before you pour the gel, you will want to heat up the containers you will be using. Put them in a microwave or the oven. The heated containers will be less likely to crack when the gel is added and it will help reduce the appearance of bubbles in the gel.
8.) If you have chosen to embed items, you will need to dip them in hot gel first. Then arrange them as you like in the containers. If they are kept closer to the edge of the container they will be easier to spot.
9.) Once everything is in place it is time to pour the gel into the container. Place the container on a table or other level surface and pour the gel in slowly down the side. Be very careful as you work. You may see a few bubbles in the gel. To avoid them, the gel should still be very hot as it is poured in.
10.) Let the candle cool down. Do not move it while it is cooling. Once it has cooled, trim the wick to a suitable length and enjoy.