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Tea lights are best known and loved for their small size allowing them to easily fit into a variety of social occasions. They are enduring because they may produce a surprising amount of soft ambient light for their diminutive size. They can make a room feel warm by adding light, ambiance, and even soft fragrance to any room. They are easy to make so you can be enjoying your own handmade tea lights any time. Tea lights are a container type candle and many prefer to use a container wax. But they also work well with wax blends for tarts, votives and pillars. Additionally, just about any type wax; soy, paraffin, palm, or beeswax may be used for making tea lights. For this demonstration I am using a paraffin pillar/votive wax. I prefer a harder wax that shrinks slightly once its cooled. This allows the tea light candle to slip out of its container. I tend to spill my wax and mess up my containers so I like the idea of slipping out the tea light candle and putting it into a fresh unspoiled container. So for this tutorial I will be using a pillar/votive wax. I re-use the old tea light containers for repouring new tea light candles. If you don’t like this extra step a container wax will work just fine. Step 1: Materials For this tea light making project you will first need to gather the following materials: 8 oz Container Wax or Pillar/Votive Wax .50 oz Fragrance Oil 12 Tea Light Molds 12 Tea Light Wicks (I’m using CD-3 wicks) ½ Red color chip or 1-4 drops liquid dye Small Pouring Pot Wooden Spoon Heat Source (for melting wax) Thermometer Scale Paper Towels Step 2: Preparing and Heating Your Wax Always weigh your wax on a scale that gives you an accurate weight in pounds and ounces. I have an old Escali scale that weighs in pounds, ounces, and grams. Weigh out 8 ounces of wax and place it in your pouring pot. For my heat source I am using an electric grill. Other methods of heating wax are a double boiler, presto pot, or a professional wax melter. Using a thermometer, heat your wax to 185 degrees F. I am using a candy thermometer I purchased at a local department store in the kitchen supply section. This one happens to have an attachment that fits onto my pouring pot. Stir occasionally with your wooden spoon to heat the wax pieces and to distribute heat evenly. Step 3. Adding Dye and Fragrance Oil When your wax is fully melted and reaches 185 degrees F its time to add your fragrance and dye. I add my dye first. I am using ½ of a red dye chip I cut with a small paring knife. If you are using liquid dye you will add one drop at a time until you achieve the shade of dye you want. Add the dye chip and stir it into the wax with your wooden spoon. Continue to stir until it dissolves completely. Next weigh your fragrance oil. I am using Red Clove fragrance oil from Peaks. I use a small plastic container to weigh my fragrance in. Place the container on your scale. Use the ‘tare’ feature to zero out the weight of the container. Weigh out .5 oz (½ oz) of fragrance oil. Then add your fragrance to your wax and stir until its thoroughly blended in your wax. This may take 1-2 minutes of continuous stirring. When you are finished adding your dye and fragrance take your pouring pot off your heat source. I like to place my pot on a hot pad holder so it won’t scorch my counter top. Let it cool a bit to about 165-170 degrees F. Step 4. Wicking and Pouring Your Wax Into Your Mold While your wax is cooling, lay out your tea light holders. Place a wick in the center of each container. I am using both plastic and metal containers so you can see how each type turns out. For my wax I am using CD 3 tea light wicks. When your wax has cooled to about 165-170 degrees F its time to pour your tea lights. Carefully pour the wax into the tea light container until it reaches the top. Try not to over pour. I put down some paper on my counter top to catch any wax drips. When you finished pouring you may want to check each wick to make sure its centered in the container. Adjust any wick if necessary. Do this now while the wax is still hot and liquid. Once its cooled the wicks will be set. For this tea light project I used a little extra wax so you would have enough leftover for a repour. If you are using a pillar/votive blend then save your wax for a repour. Step 5. Repour Note: this step is optional. If your tea lights are level when cooled you won't need to do a repour. Since I am using a votive/pillar wax I need to top off to level the candles. A repour is done when your initial wax pour has cooled and forms a concave indention in the center of your candle. A second wax pour (repour) is done to level it off. (See previous photo) To do a repour heat the leftover wax to a temperature approximately 10 degrees hotter than your first heating. In this case you will be reheating your wax to 195 degrees F. When the wax is ready, pour enough to top off each candle. Step 6. Wick Trimming and Cleanup Allow your tea lights to cool completely. Trim each wick to 1/4" inch using a wick trimmer or a pair of toenail clippers will work just fine. Put them aside in a place they won’t be disturbed to allow them to harden and cure for 24-48 hours. Clean up your area, making sure you have cleaned any spilled wax. I use paper towels for cleaning my counter top. I also use paper towels to clean the inside of my pouring pot while its still hot and the wax is still liquid enough to be absorbed by the paper towel. And now its time to enjoy your beautiful tea light candles!
Soap Swirls in a Log Mold Before beginning this tutorial, you should know the basics of cold process soap making and lye safety. Supplies: Lye Pitcher Bowl/Pitcher (for melting oils) 3 Cups (for colorants) Stick Blender Spatula Spoon Bamboo Skewer Distilled Water Cp Recipe of Choice Colorants I'll be using Peak's Apple Blossom fragrance (my Poisoned Apples scent). I'll be using 3 colorants- titanium dioxide, black oxide and a mix of colorana bordeaux and ruby to make a red. This is a fun and simple way to make swirls in log molds. You can create different looking swirls with this technique simply by pouring at different traces. A thinner trace will produce a faux funnel look. Pouring thicker will result in a slightly swirled, layered look. Pouring at a medium trace-- the trace I'll be pouring at-- will result in a more swirled look. Also, you can achieve different looks by pouring less or more. It's super versatile! Let's get started!!! Have your lye water and melted oils at room temperature. Also, have your choice of colorants put into your cups. 1. Pour your lye water into your oils and stick blend until you reach a very light trace. 2. Pour the soap into the cups that contain colorant. I wanted slightly more red, so I poured more soap into my cup with red colorants. 3. Starting with the lightest color first, give it a few shots with the stick blender until the color is well blended. Don't over blend, as this will thicken the trace too fast. 4. Blend the next color, in this case it was my red, until the color is well blended. 5. Saving the darkest color for last, blend well. (By blending from lightest to darkest, you save yourself from having to clean off your stick blender between each color) 6. We are now ready to start pouring into our log molds. I'll be starting with my red and pouring in a straight line down the middle. 7. Next, I pour my white down the middle, directly over the red. 8. Grab your next color and pour down the middle, directly over the white. 9. Continue to do this with each color (Remember, the deeper the soap is, the higher you need to hold your cup up so that the colors go down into one another). Don't worry if you get off center while pouring, that will just add to the character of the soap. Save enough soap in each cup to decorate the top. 10. I'm doing a mantra swirl on top of this soap. I'll be pouring red across the entire top of the soap (in this case, I want to pour quite close to the soap, so I don't break through the soap underneath). 11. Pour a line of white and then a line of black, straight down the middle. 12. Next, take your bamboo skewer and make a figure 8 pattern down the entire length of the mold, being careful to stick the skewer about 1/4" into the soap. . 13. Now it's time for the soap to take a nice warm nap. I like to put mine in a warm oven, especially when it is particularly cold outside. 14. Wait 24 hours and then cut the soap. Thanks for reading. Now go create some beautiful swirls!!
Skill level - Beginner to intermediate due to the layering aspect and being familiar with pouring pillars Pillar wax – this can be any type of pillar wax – either a blend, or straight paraffin. *NOTE- I have used IGI4625 and MP140 Pre-production blend wax – both with very similar results. With a straight paraffin you might want to add some sort of additives to keep it from mottling or being too rustic looking. You want them to be smooth and creamy looking. – I have never made these using a soy blend or straight soy so I cannot speak to the outcome, but I see no reason why it wouldn’t work with soy. As long as it’s a pillar wax – and can be molded. Mold – any metal pillar mold will work – I do not recommend plastic or polycarbonate molds as the scent tends to pit the plastic - I am using a conical metal mold for this due to the shape, it better represents a candy corn I believe. Wick - however you would normally wick the mold you are using, and whatever wick size works for the size candle you are making with the type of wax you are using is the wick you want to use. (to wick my molds, I use flat braided wicks and a homemade “jiffy wicker” system - explained within this tutorial) Scent - optional - I like my candy corns to smell like a candy corn so I will be using a Honey Vanilla/Candy Corn scent I get from Candles and Supplies Candle Dye - I find that liquid candle dyes work much better due to the fluid nature of the liquids vs. blocks that you have to melt. The blocks don’t disperse nearly as easily. Melt pot - this can be a double boiler or a presto pot. Whatever you are familiar with using to melt your wax. Pour pot - this is whatever you normally use to pour your wax into your mold with. If you use your presto pot for this, it might be easier to get/make and use a separate pour pot. Scale - to weigh out the wax you need and also scent if you use it. Additives - this is optional - only use additives if you normally use additives for your particular pillar wax you have chosen to use.*NOTE - I will be using the MP140 Pre-production wax for this tutorial which is a paraffin blend that requires no additives, so I will skip this part. If you are using additives, add them whenever you normally would for your pillars. Stir stick - To stir wax, scent and color. I use the handle of a wooden spoon. I’ve been using it for 14 years, and it hasn’t failed me yet. Skewer - To poke relief holes Heat Gun - Optional - it’s handy for cleanup Griddle or leveler - to level candle while still in mold Paper towels - optional but very helpful for clean-up Embed or tart mold(s) - optional but can be helpful Pliers - optional - I need them to undo the wick from the mold once the candle is ready to be unmolded Step 1: Weigh out your wax. Weigh out enough to fill your mold ⅓ of the way. I am going to be making 3 pillars at a time. For measuring purposes and ease of scenting each layer, I will use 8 oz of wax. Because each layer is a different color, I will be weighing out, melting and pouring 8oz of wax 3 times. Add wax to your melt pot and melt wax Step 2: As your wax is melting, weigh out your scent and set aside. Also prep your mold with wick. Since this is 8oz wax, I will be using .5 oz scent. Here is the homemade jiffy wicker system I use for wicking my pillars. It’s easy to make, just create a slip knot at one end of the wicking, so when pulling the long end it does not come undone, use a piece of craft foam cut into a square, and a wick tab.Then thread them all together. It will end up at the bottom of the mold and I put a wick bar across the top of the mold to secure the wick. Step 3: Determine your colors and get them ready. I use Peaks liquid candle dyes. For this particular candle I am using the following colors - Orange and Yellow. For the white, I am not using any color for the wax. Beware - this is a vanilla scent and can discolor your wax. Over the years, I have had them go to a darker off-white color but never anything darker than that. I don’t bother with a stabilizer, but if you want yours to stay pristine white, you might want to invest in one. Step 4: Once your wax is melted pour out of melt pot into the pour pot. Add scent as you normally would, but do not color. The first layer will be the top of your candle so you want to leave it white. Pour to the ⅓ mark of your mold. (I have my molds marked to where they should be poured too with a magic marker on the outside of the mold as you can see in the previous picture of my molds) Step 5: You will most likely have some wax left over from this first pour. This wax will be used again in the 3rd layer, so you can either set aside in your pour pot to melt later, or pour into embed molds. I like to pour mine into embed molds. Clean out your pour pot with paper towels to prepare for the second layer Step 6: While you first layer is setting up to be firm enough to hold the 2nd layer, now I weigh out my second layer wax and scent. Also prepare to color this layer orange. Once the first layer is ready to hold the second layer and your wax is melted, pour into your pour pot, scent and color. I use 1-2 drops (2 drops MAX) for this. The wax I use takes color very well, and if I use more than the 2 drops the middle orange layer gets way too dark. For these candles, I used 1 drop. This second layer (using the molds I use) will use all of this 8oz of wax, so no need to pour any extra into an embed mold. (See Step 10 if you have leftover wax) Step 7: Get ready for your 3rd layer. Your layers should look like this before pouring the next layer - For your third layer, repeat Step 6, but add the leftover wax from your first pour as well. Color with yellow and pour (I use 2 drops since yellow is a lighter color) Step 8: When your 3rd layer is set enough, poke relief holes Step 9: Once the candle is solid enough - finish off your candle with a repour. I take my wick bars off to do my repour, it makes it much easier and smoother so not as much leveling needs to be done at the end. Step 10: Set aside and let cool. You can either let them cool naturally, or after they are solid but still warm, you can place them in the refrigerator for a few minutes. If I am making a lot and on a deadline, I will place them in the refrigerator, if not, I let them cool naturally. Just do not freeze them. They could crack and split at the layers. Once the re-pour is done, if you still have wax left over (I never do at this point) you can pour it into an embed mold or tart molds to make wax melts. Step 12: Once cool, trim excess wick from taking the wick bar off, but don’t un-mold yet. - This part of the candle will most likely be bumpy and/or uneven. Warm a griddle (or whatever you normally use to level your candles) and level the candle. Clean griddle with a paper towel. Once that is done, undo wick and un-mold candle. For mine, it is sometimes difficult to get the slip knot untied, due to leaking wax or being too tightly tied, so I use a pair of pliers to untie the slip knot in the wick. Step 13: CONGRATULATIONS - At this point you should have beautiful Candy Corn scented pillar candles. The only step left now is to trim wicks, take a pic, post it, and enjoy the accolades of your beautiful creation!