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As some of you know, I make candles. I was getting frustrated over a… - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Dec. 17th, 2006|05:14 pm]
As some of you know, I make candles. I was getting frustrated over a particular problem I was having.

I have two candle molds used for making tapers. They're polyethylene, or urethane, or something. Some rubbery substance that candle wax doesn't stick to, so they're really easy to use for candle making. They also look too much like blunted sex toys for public display, but that's neither here nor there.

But they are just a bit too wide at the base. The candles that come out of them don't fit in standard taper holders.

Friday, I was thinking about this, frustrated that it would be senseless for me to buy more of those molds - I've been wanting to buy more molds for when I get into "make candles for gifts" mode - because of this. And was thinking. "If only there was some way to warm the candles up, so that I could mold the base. If only there was, say, some hot liquid I could put them in that would not damage the wax, but would warm the wax enough to make it able to be shaped. Boiling water won't work, because the wax would go into the water and ruin the pan. Dag nabbit, this isn't going to work! Ah well, I might as well give up, and stop pouring the hot, liquid wax into those taper molds, and pour that hot, liquid wax into other molds, because I'll never find a hot liquid that I could dip these candles into to... uh, yeah, right."

Okay, my thought process didn't go *exactly* like that. In fact, it was helped along by a friend who dips tapers, and mentioned that, while dipping the tapers, you can shape them with your hand.

I've tried it, and it works. It's ugly - the base has a bumped up ridge that isn't very pretty - but I mostly make my candles so they can be lit and give off light, not so they can be pretty. Good thing, too... they're not, you know, *ugly*, but I'm never going to win any awards.

So, Saturday and Sunday, I've done a good bit of candle-making, and I just got the terrible news: Microsoft Sammamish campus is still without power. Alas, I'll have to work from home on Monday. Oh, woe is me, and I have about 17 pounds of wax that I was looking forward to using in a made rush, at night, before bedtime, so I could keep making Christmas gifts before, you know, Christmas.

[User Picture]From: merlin_t_wizard
2006-12-18 02:46 am (UTC)
John, how about hot water at a controlled temperature? With a little experimentation you should be able to determine what temperature will soften the wax enough to allow you to manipulate it without it getting to the liquid stage. I don't know what the difference is between the hard to plastic point, and the plastic to liquid point, but the supplier of the wax may be able to tell you.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2006-12-18 03:17 am (UTC)
Water would probably work, and I might try it if I ever find an end-shaper, or whatever the heck it's called. There must be something that candlemakers use to get that scored, round, fits-tightly-in-the-hole end to tapers. In fact, tap water would probably almost-work; the wax I use melts at 148 degrees fareinheit, so the 120-140 degree water out of the tap should be enough to soften them.

But since I just want tapers that'll stand up, using the hot wax works out well. About fifteen seconds in wax at 175, and I can stuff the candle into an ordinary taper holder, and I get a good fitting candle.
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[User Picture]From: dandelion_diva
2006-12-18 05:07 am (UTC)
Oh that's so cool! I'm glad you figured out how to fix the problem. Fixing a problem, especially a long-standing one, is one of the best feelings in the world. :)
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From: kightp
2006-12-18 07:16 am (UTC)
As you know, Bob, I have some of those particular tapers, and I've been using a vegetable peeler warmed under hot water to pare the bases to fit my candle-holders. With not much practice, I've managed to achieve a pretty smooth result.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-12-18 11:27 pm (UTC)

Another suggestion

Found this post while searching for candle making stuff :-)

I can think about two possible ideas that might help:

1. Cover a pan with aluminium foil and heat the edge of the candle over it.

2. Usually you can use a heating gun to fix all sorts of candle cracks and other problems, I assume it'll work in your case too. See more here:

Hope this helps!

Learn to make better candles. Share the fun of it.
Candle Making Blog: http://candle-making-update.blogspot.com/

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