Cut 'n Curl Candle Project II
By Bob Sherman
In part 2 of this series we will cover two more cutting techniques. The first is a spiral done with a flat blade, most useful for embellishing plain candles although not generally used on cut 'n curl candles. The second is the clearing of the dipped wax from around the wick. Remember that pigment tends to clog the wick so I like to clear a small area surrounding the wick to prevent this. We will also be discussing the use of white interlayer dips.
Be sure to read through Cut 'n Curl Candle Project I first as this article builds on techniques discussed in that article.
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.
140 MP paraffin wax, no additives
140 MP paraffin wax, no additives
Pigment Dye - I use approximately 1 ounce per pound of wax
White Dipping Wax
140 MP paraffin wax
White Pigment Dye - I use approximately 1 ounce per pound of wax
140 MP paraffin wax
3 Tablespoons of Stearic Acid per pound of wax
Titanium Dioxide - I use approximately 1/5 ounce per pound of wax
We will be using white pigmented wax for 3 reasons:
- White pigment - Use multiple dips when you want white layers in the candle.
- Interlayer - Using a single dip layer between colors will greatly reduce color bleeding from adjacent colors. Most professionals always do a single dip in white before moving to a different color.
- Separation - The thin layer of white from a single dip provide some visual separation between colors which enhances the appearance of most color combinations.
Please be patient, the images may take a moment to load.
|1. Prepare some core candles in the shape of your choice.||
2. Reminder - 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.
|* I call this cut the Corner Twist because it is made on outside corners only.|
3. This cut requires a sharp flat blade, approximately 2 inches long.
Note: The cuts used here were made oversized to make illustrating the process easier. Smaller cuts will look better when you make these.
|4. Follow the directions from Project I to dip the desired layers of color on the candle. Add a single dip in your white vat before changing the dip colors.|
5. Making the first cut. You should try to achieve the maximum planned cut depth within the fist 3/8 to 1/2 inch of cut. Strive for a uniform depth of cut. Try to start and stop all your cuts at the same place for best appearance.
Note how this cut gets shallower towards the bottom - it is not a very good cut.
6. This cut is also less than perfect - note how it gets shallower towards the center then deep again at the bottom.
Note: Unless uneven cuts are extreme, the candle will still turn out decent so don't get discouraged.
|7. Twisting the cut piece. Three twists were used on this candle, however any amount of twists you desire may be used. After twisting, the top is lined up with the cut and pressed back in place.||
8. At this stage the top of the candle could use some help. Start by cutting off the wick loop, then remove any globs of wax on the wick.
I call this process top cutting.
|9. Top cutting is best done with a gouge (shown) or a parting tool (sometimes called a Vee gouge).||10. All cuts are made towards the center at a shallow angle just deep enough to cut into the top of the core candle. Take extra care not to cut into the wick.|
11. The cuts may be made in any pattern you desire although when using a gouge it normally looks like flower petals. When using a parting (Vee) tool it resembles a star.
12. The finished candle using only two basic cuts. Notice how it looks fairly good even with several uneven cuts. This candle would have looked far better with smaller, less clunky cuts though.
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.
- Candle Mold - For this project any style with sharp corners such as square or star mold.
- Pigment - Approximately 1/2 ounce per pound of wax in as many colors as you desire to use.
- Thermometer - One for each vat is best, however you can get by with only one.
- Melting / Pouring Pot - One, used mostly for making core candles.
- #1/0 Square Braid Wick - To make core candles with. Note: depending on several factors you may need a larger or smaller wick.
- 140 Melt Point Wax - You will need lots of this to fill those vats. Each vat will take approximately 11 pounds of wax.
- 6 inch Dipping Vats - One for each color dip and one to hold water.
- Wooden Spoons - Purchase at a housewares store or a dollar store.
- Heavy Wire - Used to make a hook for hanging the candle during carving.
- Xacto® blades and handle - 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.
- Sharp Knife - Used to cut off drips.
- Old Pots - One cooking pot will be needed for each color vat to be used. Garage sales and thrift shops are a great source for these.
Project Articles in this series:
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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 Originally published in January 2006 and updated in 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.
This article is provided free of charge for use. Candles may be made and sold using this design royalty free, however no portion of this article may be reproduced for publication elsewhere without express permission from Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc. with the following exceptions:
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