How To Make Sand Candles
By Bob Sherman
This article was originally published in June of 1999 and has been rewritten, modernized, and modified for this web site.
Sand on sand candles can be a beautiful addition to your candle repertoire. Although extreme care must be used when making them due to the high wax temperatures involved, they are otherwise of only medium hard difficulty. In this article I created what I call a tide pool candle, but these may also be made with no embeds
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 project requires the use of high temperatures which are extremely unsafe if not done correctly.
Do not continue beyond this point if you do not have a working knowledge of candle making safety and and fire safety.
My preferred formula is very simple. The same formula was used for both pours, but with different colors. Those familiar with my projects may notice I have doubled the Vybar amount from what I usually use. This will cause most waxes to get a ripple on top which adds to the appearance on these.
- 1 Pound 140 Melt Point Paraffin Wax
- 2 teaspoons of Vybar 103
- 1 Ounce of Scent OIl - Optional and used in second pour only
The first pour is colored with a bit of cream or beige dye to blend in with the sand. The second pour was colored blue to represent water. Do not add scent to the first pour.
- First Pour - The first pour needs to be made at a very hot temperature to soak into the sand. I usually make this pour at approximately 300 degrees F. Under no circumstances allow your wax to get higher than 325 degrees F. to allow a safety margin. Heating wax beyond that brings it dangerously close to it's flash point and is an extreme fire hazard.
- Second Pour - The second pour is made at normal candle making temperatures (175 - 185 degrees F.) and may be melted using a double boiler. If desired, the second pour may be scented.
Candle Making Materials
The following candle making supplies and other materials will be needed:
- 140 Melt Point Paraffin Wax
- Candle Dye
- Vybar 103
- Pre Tabbed 44-24-18 zinc core wick (or larger depending on your candle size and shape).
- Scent Oil - Optional
- Thermometer - A must have for this project
- Container to hold wet sand.
- Sand - Play sand or construction sand work well.
- Sea Shells - Optional.
- Driftwood - Optional
- Propane Torch (or electric heat gun like those used for stripping paint) - Optional.
- Metal Baster or Large Spoon
Sand Candle Project Instructions
Place the sand in your container. Wet the sand. Stir well. It is vital not to make it too wet, so add a little water at a time.
The sand has the correct moisture content when you can squeeze a clump and it sticks together.
For this candle a free form mold cavity was made by hand in the wet sand. Embeds such as driftwood, shells, beach glass, etc... may be added at this point.
NOTE: For safety reasons I no longer recommend using flammable materials such as driftwood on these. Should you decide to ignore my advice and use flammable embeds, make sure they are placed well away from where you plan to place your wick.
Position your sea shells. Note how all embeds slightly overhang into the mold cavity.
If legs are desired, a finger or dowel may be pressed into the sand to create 3 or 4 holes as shown here.
First Pour - The cavity is filled with 300 degree F. wax. It will make a lot of noise and bubbles when the hot wax contacts the water. Beware of splatters and keep your face away from it. Eye protection is a good idea for this step.