Basic Taper Candle Dipping
centuries, taper candles were the most common type of candle and were used
heavily as a light source. These were usually made from tallow rendered from
animal fat. Because tallow candles often have an offensive odor, beeswax was
preferable although its use was more common in churches.
These days, tapers are used more for decor and mood lighting and come in
a wide variety of sizes and colors. The most common material for taper candles
now is paraffin wax, although some are still made in beeswax.
The following illustrated instructions show how to make your own hand dipped
taper candles and cover everything from wax formula to setup and dipping.
PLEASE NOTE!!! - Candle making can be dangerous
if proper safety procedures are not followed. Please read these Safety
Rules before attempting any candle making projects. A double boiler
set up must be used for all wax melting.
IMPORTANT: This article assumes some basic
knowledge of candle making techniques. If you are not an experienced candle
maker, I highly suggest taking a few moments to learn the basics of working
with wax safely with my Introduction
To Candle Making Online Course. The course is free, however it does require
you to register if you wish to post questions.
Dipping Wax - For best results we need a hard, opaque wax. Mix enough of
this formula to fill your dipping vat.
- 1 pound of 140 MP wax
- 5 Tablespoons of Stearic Acid
- Candle dye - Optional
Color Overdip - Optional. Some candle makers prefer to overdip tapers as
it provides a richer color.
- 1 pound of 140 MP wax
- 5 - 10% Pigment Dye (note, use of regular candle dyes for overdipping
results in washed out colors)
Beeswax - If you prefer to use beeswax, then it should be a high quality
beeswax used straight with no additives. Important: Beeswax is a natural product
that varies from one supplier to the next and from batch to batch. because
of this the wick size needed may vary. A general rule when working with beeswax
is to use a wick one or two sizes larger than that recommended for paraffin.
Candle Making Supplies And Materials
The following candle making supplies were used to make this candle. Clicking
on the item name will bring you to that item's page with a full description
and ordering information.
Block or Dye
Flake - If you wish to color the dip wax. As many colors as desired.
Dye - Optional - Use if you wish to color dip finished tapers.
Melt Point Wax - Enough to fill the dipping vat plus several pounds
for replacing that which is used as you dip.
Acid - 5 Tablespoons per pound of wax.
Vat - A deep metal container to hold the dipping wax.
Frame - Optional - The instructions shown here are for small scale dipping
projects. If you wish to produce large quantities of tapers the use of 5
- 8 dipping frames is recommended.
/ Pouring Pot - Optional. The wax may be melted in the dipping vat using
a double boiler setup, however melting it separately and pouring it into
the vat is much faster. This may also be used as a vat for very small dipped
- 18 Ply Flat Braid wick is most commonly used in 3/4 inch paraffin tapers.
For other sizes of candle please refer to this wick
- Wire - To form dipper.
- Pliers - To cut and shape wire.
- Nuts, or Washers - To weight wick bottoms. From hardware store.
- Hobby Knife - A sharp, pointy blade is needed. From a hobby or craft store.
- Old Pot - To use as the bottom half of a double boiler - dipping vats
cannot be placed on direct heat.
Step By Step Taper Dipping Instructions
A length of heavy wire is used to prepare a pair dipper.
Use a pliers to form a U shape in both ends.
Bend the center of the wire to form a loop for ease of use. This will make
one pair of tapers at a time.
Nuts or washers are used to weight the bottom of the wicks for dipping.
Wrap the wick onto the frame as shown.
Tie a washer or nut to the bottom of each end of the wick.
The dipping vat is set up as shown. NOTE: dipping vats cannot withstand
direct heat and must be placed in a pot containing water to create a double
boiler set up. It is a fire hazard to place dipping vats on direct heat as
The temperature you dip at will have a major bearing on how the finished candle
looks. Temperatures in the 150 degree F. range will provide a more rustic
look (great for re enactors). A smoother finish will be obtained in the 160
degree F. range. You may need to experiment a bit to find a dipping temperature
that suits you.
Disclaimer: The information presented here is accurate to the best of my
knowledge and common candle making practices as of the time of this writing.
This article was originally published in December 1998 and was rewritten and
modernized for use here in January 2006. The author and the publisher accept
no liability for the use or misuse of any of the information presented in
this article. This article is presented for informational purposes and is
used at your own risk.
Author: Bob Sherman
Publisher: Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc.
This article is provided free of charge for use. Candles may be made and
sold using this design royalty free.
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Candle Dipping Instructions