Cut 'n Curl Candle Project I
By Bob Sherman
quite beautiful, Cut 'n Curl candles are the most challenging type of
candle to make. They require many hours of practice to master, and because
of the rather large amount of materials and equipment needed are not well
suited to the casual candle maker.
There are as many techniques for Cut
'n Curl as there are people making them and the following information
shows how I do it, although I have never done Cut 'n Curl on a commercial
basis. Be sure to read through all the instructions before starting as
you will need to have some materials prepared for immediate use. This
article will cover the basics.
Note that it takes a lot of practice
to get decent results so don't be discouraged at first. It will take many
attempts to get a good candle so resign yourself to it and jump in. These
are just candles and you will have many ugly ones to burn before you get
proficient at this technique if you are like most people.
Most of the items you may need can
be ordered directly from this page for your convenience. The Materials
list is at the bottom of the page.
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.
You will also need to know basic candle
making skills before beginning as this article will not be covering them.
Basic pillar candle making can be learned in our free Introduction
To Candle Making Course
140 MP paraffin wax, no additives
140 MP paraffin wax, no additives
Pigment Dye - I use approximately 1 ounce per pound of wax
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|1. Make some core candles, leaving
approximately 6 inches of wick to form a loop for dipping. Traditionally,
these are made with star candles and for beginners I recommend a 5
point star. Straight or tapered is largely a matter of personal preference
although straight is more commonly used by pros. Melting the dipping
wax takes a long time so stockpile a bunch of core candles before
2. Never place dipping vats
on direct heat - always form a double boiler with an old pot for
each. You will need one vat for each color and an extra (or a tall
bucket) to use for the water dip.
NOTE: Placing vats on direct heat
is a fire hazard and Will Destroy the vat.
|* Pigment is
composed of solid particles of color which are heavier than paraffin.
Because of this, the color vats need to be stirred regularly to keep
the particles from settling.
|3. Fill each dipping vat to be
used with 140 mp paraffin to within 2 inches of the top. Add 1/2 to
1 ounce of pigment per pound of wax. Although it is faster to melt
the wax in a pouring pot first, the large volume of wax needed makes
that impractical. Once melted, adjust the temperature to approximately
155 degrees F. it is important to monitor the temperature of each
vat so placing a thermometer in each is a good idea.
4. Once your vats are melted
and at the correct temperature, make the first dip. Note: The first
dip is held in the wax for a 30 second heat soak.
* Wax always adheres best to warm wax, so
you do not want to allow full cooling between dips.
5. Immediately dip the candle
in and out of your water bath. Use the palm of your hand to gently
wipe off any water drops that remain.
* If dipped at the correct speed, rarely
will water adhere or the wax run. This takes some practice as it
is impossible to describe.
6. Dip the candle
in and out of the second color. Then dip in the water bath. This
is repeated in whatever color pattern is desired.
* Dipping repeatedly in one color provides
a thicker layer of one color. You must dip in water after each wax
dip regardless of the pattern desired.
|7. The wick loop should be suspended
from a hook so that it is at your eye level. A large sharp knife should
be used to cut away the drips from the candle bottom
||8. Spiral Twist Cut - For this
cut we will use a round Xacto® router blade.
These look like a knife blade that has been bent into a circle, and
are available from most well stocked hobby and craft stores. Many
professional candle carvers have tools custom made. A custom version
of this would be shaped like a J instead of a circle.
9. Start the cut in the valley
between two star points. When the bottom of your cut is reached,
slide the blade off.
* Try to cut at a uniform depth at all times
for the best appearance.
|10. Immediately begin twisting
the wax into uniform spirals. If your cutting depth varied, it will
be very noticeable here.
11. Press the spiral back
into the groove. Repeat for each valley on the candle.
* All cuts must be complete before the candle
cools too much - don't stop to admire your work.
|12. A close up of the spiral.
11. Additional short cuts
were made with the same tool along the points of the star except
they were just bent down and not spiraled.
* Note the bottom 2 cuts on either side of
the spiral. The left hand cut was shallower than the right hand
cut making a visible difference between them.
|12. Trim the wick to 1/4 inch
and your candle is complete.
Candle Making Supplies And Materials
The following candle making supplies
and other materials were used to make this candle. Clicking on the item
name will bring you to that item's page with a full description.
||For beginners I recommend a 5 point 6 1/2
inch star since there is less area to carve before it cools.
||Approximately 1/2 ounce per pound of wax in
as many colors as you desire to use.
||One for each vat is best, however you can
get by with only one.
/ Pouring Pot
||One, used mostly for making core candles
Square Braid Wick
||To make core candles with. Note: depending
on several factors you may need a larger or smaller wick.
Melt Point Wax
||You will need lots of this to fill those vats.
Each vat will take approximately 11 pounds of wax.
inch Dipping Vats
||One for each color dip and one to hold water.
||Purchase at a housewares store or a dollar
||Used to make a hook for hanging the candle
|Xacto® blades and
||At the very least you will need an Xacto®
router blade and a handle to hold it. Xacto®
also makes some other blades that are useful and sharp such as several
sizes of large flat blades and a triangular router blade. Any really
good craft, hobby, or art supply store should have these.
||Used to cut off drips.
||One cooking pot will be needed for each color
vat to be used. Garage sales and thrift shops are a great source for
This project covers the bare basics of this technique.
Additional projects will present other techniques.
Project Articles in this series:
Cut 'n Curl Project I
Cut 'n Curl Project II
Cut 'n Curl Project III
Cut 'n Curl Candle Project IV
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 - 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.
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