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Moderated by: Bob

One Stop Forum Candle Making   Candle Making - General

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 Author  Topic: sand candles
  the Candlemaker

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of the Candlemaker  Posted on: Jul 23, 2003 - 1:49am
Hello Bob,
I read your book on candlemaking, and on my previous thread (balloon candles), I had mentioned that I was very interested in making sand candles.
I made one with seashells and although I am generally pleased with the way it looks, I feel that it could always look better and I would like to ask you a couple of questions:
I got the wax up to 280 degrees (I know that your recommend 300 degrees) but since I was not sure of the flash point of the wax I was using, I poured at 280 degrees as it started to smoke! What wax do you use or recommend for pouring wax at temperatures that high? I realize that no matter what wax you use, extreme caution must be used when pouring any wax at that temperature, but I was wondering what wax in particular that you use that has worked without bursting into flames...?!
Secondly, even though I had torched the sand when the candle was hard to enhance the finish as you recommended, but it didn't really do too much to improve the finish. The sand really did not have a good (thick) coat, if that makes any sense and alot of it fell off before ....and after. The sand I used was real beach sand, and I am wondering if salt, dirt, and other debris had anything to do with it? I bought a small bag of medium grit playground sand, so I am hoping that that kind of sand will make a difference and will adhere better.
Thirdly, I was wondering how you might go about making a shape such as a cross in the sand...in other words, have a shape (In my case, I want it to be a cross) so that when the candle is lit, it will illuminute the cross. Do you just scratch the sand off of it or is there a better way to do that so that the candle maintains a more uniform smooth finish without causing scratches in the wax. Do you know what I mean?
Thanks in advance for your tips and replies...
Pauline

----me

Total Posts: 9 | Joined: Jul 10, 2003 - 2:51am | IP Logged

Bob

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of Bob  Posted on: Jul 23, 2003 - 12:32pm
Hi.

Answers as follows:

1. I poured at 280 degrees as it started to smoke!

*** The smoke is typically caused by wax residue on the outside of the pot burning off. Scented wax will also often smoke at high temps. Generally unscented wax is used for the first pour. Making sure the outside of the pot is clean will also reduce the smoking. 280 degrees is close enough to work well.

2. What wax do you use or recommend for pouring wax at temperatures that high?

*** I use our 140 MP paraffin wax.

3. I had torched the sand when the candle was hard to enhance the finish as you recommended, but it didn't really do too much to improve the finish.

*** The main reason for torching is to bond the loose grains of sand. It will also darken the sand slightly.

4. The sand really did not have a good (thick) coat, if that makes any sense and alot of it fell off before ....and after.

*** This sounds mostly like the sand was too wet. The wetter the sand, the less the wax will penetrate. The sand should be just wet enough to hold its shape. This is the key to good sand adhesion.

5. The sand I used was real beach sand.

*** Any sand should be ok, but the cleaner the better.

6. Thirdly, I was wondering how you might go about making a shape such as a cross in the sand.

*** I have yet to find a simple way to do this. I have experimented with thick wood cutouts embedded into the sand before pouring, which are removed once the candle is hard. I had mixed results with this and was not too happy with it.

A better way may be remove the excess wax after the first pour, then use a metal cookie cutter to remove the desired shape from the still soft wax / sand shell. The following pours would then be done at normal pouring temps. Note that you must be very careful when manipulating wax at such high temps.

Bob Sherman
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  the Candlemaker

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Post a Reply To This Topic    Reply With Quotes     Edit Message     View Profile of the Candlemaker  Posted on: Jul 23, 2003 - 8:20pm
Thank you BOB! Especially about tip about the sand being too wet...I admit I had suspected that the sand was too wet and was having a very hard time with how much water was too much. And I did not have any extra sand on hand when I was mixing it so I was "stuck" with the probably too moist sand mixture that I had made. I let it sit for a day in the sun to dry it out and I do admit that I am having a hard time with what is "just enough to keep its shape." I guess I didn't make enough "sand castles" as a kid...LOL
THANK YOU!

----me

Total Posts: 9 | Joined: Jul 10, 2003 - 2:51am | IP Logged


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