How To Make Basic Votive Candles
By Bob Sherman
This article was originally published in June of 1999 and has been rewritten, modernized, and modified for this web site.
Votive candles are one of the simplest types to make. There seems to be much confusion as to the best way to make them, so this article was written to clarify the votive making procedure. This will be primarily about using metal votive molds since other forms of votive molds are used the same as a standard candle mold.
SAFETY NOTE! - Candle making can be dangerous if proper safety procedures are not followed. Please read these Safety Rules before attempting any candle making projects.
This article assumes basic candle making skills. If you are new to candle making, my Introduction To Candle Making Course is free and will show you all the basics for working with wax safely.
My preferred formula is very simple. if you wish to explore other wax formulas, see Votive Candle Recipes.
- 1 Pound 140 Melt Point Paraffin Wax
- 1 teaspoon of Vybar 103
- 1 Ounce of Scent Oil - Optional and used in second pour only
- Dye to suit
Note: 1 teaspoon of Vybnar 103 per pound of wax is the typical usage, however a range from 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons may be necessary depending on your wax.
Metal votives are generally poured at about 185 degrees F. If your room temperature is cold, it may be necessary to pour hotter or to preheat the molds. If the wax starts to "cloud" on the mold sides and bottom too quickly it will leave blemishes, and that indicates too low a pouring temperature (or too cold a mold).
Votives are essentially container candles without the container. Because of this they should burn wide and deep for maximum scent throw. Optimum burn time can only be achieved by burning in a tight fitting holder, and they do not make good freestanding candles.
Candle Making Materials
The following candle making supplies and other materials will be needed:
- 15 Hour Votive Molds
- 140 Melt Point Paraffin Wax
- Candle Dye
- Vybar 103
- Pre Tabbed 44-24-18 zinc core wick (or larger / smaller depending on your wax formula).
- Scent Oil - Optional
- Thermometer - A must have for this project
- Auto Wick Pins - Optional. If using these see Auto Wick Pin Instructions
Sand Candle Project Instructions
When pouring votives, it is best to set them on a cookie sheet. This makes them easier to handle, catches spills, and allows recovery (and reuse) of spilled wax.
Fill with wax to the top. It is okay if they overflow.
Once the wax on the bottom starts to look cloudy, insert a tabbed wick. Make sure the tab is centered on the bottom of mold.
This wick has been placed and the candle is starting to cool.
As the candles cool, occasionally check that the wick is centered. If not, gently tug the wick to the center. This solidified wax will remain somewhat flexible until fully hardened.
Make a second pour, making sure the entire top has good coverage. Again overflowing the mold is no problem as any spillage will be recycled into the next batch of votives.
NOTE: The second pour timing is critical or you will get air bubbles on the top of the candle. The second pour should be made after the first pour is firm to the touch, but while the mold is still slightly warm. If you mistime it, the bubbles are cosmetic blemishes only and do not affect the way it burns.
Allow it to cool fully before removing from mold. Once fully cooled it should come out fairly easy.
After removing from the mold, trim the wick to approximately 1/4 inch.
The finished votive.
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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 to the internet in June 1999 and has been modified and republished in February 2008 and June 2011. 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.
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