*Basic Gel Candle Making
Gel candle scent
Gel candle dye
Wick and wick base
What is Candle Gel Made Of:
Candle gel is made with mineral oil and polymer resin. This resin mixed with the mineral oil, transforms it to a more solid yet transparent finish.
There are different types of Candle Gel CLP (low density), CMP (medium density) and CHP (high density).
The thicker or more dense the gel is, the more scent it can hold. Use this type of gel if you intend on embedding objects into your candles such as toys.
The only downside to using a heavier wax is that it takes longer to melt and is a thicker substance to work with.
Safety of Gel Candles:
The melting point of a gel candle is about 275 F and the flash point (temperature at which it will catch fire) is close to 440 Deg F.
Some considerations to this is if you add a non suitable fragrant oil which will lower the flash point making it possible to burst into flames whilst burning the candle.
Fragrant oils that are safe for gel candle making are called Non Polar and are easily available from good candle supply stockists.
Do not add your paraffin wax scents or essential oils under any circumstances.
Have some sand or a chemical extinguisher on hand and be sure to wear a heat proof apron and gloves.
If you are unsure if your glass is safe we suggest making sure you have on some protective eye wear in case the glass shatters.
Melting Pot: As with all candle making we suggest using a double boiler for safety reasons. However is you are sure of what you are doing and have some safety precautions on hand, such as a chemical extinguisher or buckets of sand (never water) then the fastest way to melt down this wax is using a direct heat method such as a heavy lined electric pan like a crock pot.
The melting point of a gel candle is about 275 F and the flash point (temperature at which it will catch fire) is close to 440 F
So you will need a thermometer to insure it does not get close to the flash point. The wax melts slowly so don't be tempted to turn up the heat to move things along faster. Slow and Low is the way to go.
Metal spoons, spatulas work best and are easy to clean up.
Liquid candle dyes work best for gel candles as it maintains the clarity of the candle. You can use dye chips in a small amounts but it may leave your candle slightly cloudy. We do not recommend using dyes that are not sold for the purpose of gel candle making as they are simply not safe.
Fragrant oils that are safe for gel candle making are called Non Polar and are easily available from good candle supply stockists. Do not add your paraffin wax scents or essential oils under any circumstances as they will cause your candle to catch fire. For scent ratio Use this as a guideline.
3% for CLP , Use 4% for CMP and for CHP use up to 6%.
Wicks are important and can affect how the candle burns. Braided, cotton and paper cored wicks that are normally used in wax candle making are not usually used in gel candles. Zinc cored wicks work best as they burn safely and remain upright whilst the candle is setting. Your wick should not sit more than 7mm above the candle or the flame will be too big.
There is a misconception that wicks should go all the way to the bottom of the candle, but that is not entirely true. As the risks of the glass container cracking increases as the flame gets closer to the bottom, closer to the glass and the heat travels further up the glass. Wicks should sit around 1/4 of the way from the bottom. You can cover up the base or raise it up slightly by adding some glass beads or other add ins.
As with all wicks in candle making we suggest coating them in the melted gel and allowing it to dry before using it.
Its great to add things into gel candles such as plastic toys, seashells , pebbles etc. Keep in mind that the flame will be next to the embedded item so adding flammable fabric flowers is not the greatest idea unless you can insure the candle will not be used past that point. To insure this you can add these embeds below your wick.
Bubbles: If bubbles are wanted, stir your wax with a wooden spoon before pouring to aerate it. If you don't want bubbles try heating your container before pouring the wax, setting it out in the sun or add the candle to a very low oven to help melt the wax and the air to rise out.
Gel candles are usually made in glass containers from champagne glasses to small votive holders. The only requirement of your container is that it is thick enough to withstand the temperature of the wax. If you are unsure if your glass is safe we suggest making sure you have on some protective eye wear in case the glass shatters.
Now that you know all the basics it's time to get started. Grab a container, grab an idea and get candle making.
By Shellie Wilson. Shellie is the chief creative editor for Craftbits.