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  • Photo Embed w/ Votive and Electric


    Photo embed w/ votive and electric

    Rating: Intermediate

    Pic 1

    Supplies needed:


    High melting point paraffin wax; I use Candlewic 5055. IGI1260 is a high MP wax (Most hurricane molds require 4+ lbs of wax)

    Additives: ½ oz pp of Micro 180, ½ tsp pp of Mold Release Powder (I started using these 2 additives, some people use stearic acid with the 1260). Micro 180 helps with the natural brittleness of hurricane wax.

    Hurricane Mold, round or square 4.75 to 5” in diameter

    Colorant: not needed but some like a tinted wax shell

    Presto or pour pot and double boiler to melt wax

    Pouring pitcher or something similar

    Chop stick/skewer/dowel

    Large plastic or wooden spoon

    Paper towels

    Ice Cubes

    Gloves/Hold a Mold (I use garden gloves to move mold)

    Weight to hold down mold in water bath (I use chain in a plastic container)

    Water Bath (I use a plastic kitty litter pail)

    Ruler or tape measure

    Butter knife

    Heat gun

    X-Acto knife

    Cork pad/ceramic tile to set under the votive or tea light holder

    For Electric ‘Cane:

    Electric candle plug or any heat resistant object 1” in diameter and at least 1” tall

    Plumbers putty or mold sealant

    Large heavy-duty screwdriver (Used to make a groove in the bottom of the ‘cane for the power cord)

    Single Clip Light with power cord

    Silicone light bulb

    Melted wax with additives at recommended pour temp. 5055 temp 180 to 190 degrees

    Edit photo and print or copy on .24 lb Bright White paper. Go to print set up, properties, select Paper Type and Best Print Quality. Trim to fit in the hurricane mold. I have approx. ½” of white paper or frame below the picture. Trimmed picture should be ¾ to 1” shorter than mold. Picture width is optional. I print and trim the picture the day before and set it in the mold.

    Prepare water bath. Water temp should be 80 to 90 degrees.

    Preheat pour pot in a double boiler if using a Presto to melt wax.

    Place chop sticks and spoon in the wax to preheat.

    Cover work area with aluminum foil. I’m a messy candle maker

    Time Required: Less than 1 hr.


    Wax:– If a tea light or votive is going to be burned inside the ‘cane you need to use a high melting point wax. This means a MP over 150 degrees. If you make electric ‘canes the mp of the wax is not as critical.

    Additives: My 1st candle making book, The Complete Candlemaker, recommended adding ½ oz pp of Micro 180 due to the brittle nature of high MP wax. I started using it and have never made a ‘cane without it. I also started out using ½ tsp. pp of powdered mold release from BCN. Since mine usually come out of the mold easily I am afraid to try making one without it. I don’t add UV to uncolored ‘canes but many do.

    Molds: If a tea light or votive is going to be burned inside the ‘cane you need a mold that is as least 4 3/4” in diameter. A tin mold works best for me. Make sure your mold is clean. I clean my molds with WD 40 after every use and do not use a mold release spray. Any spray you typically use for pillars can be used. Just be sure to thoroughly wipe your mold after spraying it.

    Picture: Just to cover all the basics, you do not embed the actual photograph. You copy the picture onto paper. I use Print Shop to edit my pictures and add a border or frame. Digital camera programs allow editing and you can add a border in Word. I know folks say they use plain old copy paper and have no problems. I had problems with consistency. I went to 24# Bright White HP paper and have seen a significant improvement in consistency. I do print my picture the day before to allow time for drying. Go into print properties and select your paper type and Best print quality. I leave a border at the bottom of the picture so I can position it right on the bottom of the mold. It is much easier than trying to position the picture off the bottom.

    Step 1 Prepare the picture:

    This is my picture, as I get ready to trim it. I really like how a frame around the picture looks.

    After trimming I store the picture in a mold. Helps develop a curvature in the paper.

    Pic 1

    Drop you picture in your melted wax. You should see air bubbles coming out of the paper. Leave your picture in the wax until the air bubbles stop. I usually leave the picture in the wax for 3 – 5 minutes. You can do this in advance and set you picture on some foil to dry or if you are using a Presto pot move the picture directly from the wax to your mold. You can see that my chopsticks and plastic spoon are preheating in my Presto.

    Pic 2

    Step 2 Prepare everything else

    You will only have a couple of minutes to place the picture in the mold so I find it easiest to get everything laid out and ready to use.

    You will need:

    · Wax at the correct pour temp – for 5055 I pour at 180 to 190 F

    · heat gun to preheat the mold

    · wooden spatula I use to tap the mold for air bubbles

    · wet paper towel with several ice cubes

    · ruler to check wall thickness

    · gloves or paper towels or hold a mold to move filled mold to water bath

    · Preheated pour pot

    · Chop sticks preheated

    · Plastic or wooden spoon preheated

    · Water bath – Mine is 80 to 90 F

    Pic 3

    Step 3 Take a deep breath we are going to do this in less than 5 minutes. This will take 4 posts. Let me get all 4 posted and then I will answer any questions. After these posts I’ll show you what I do for an electric ‘cane.

    Preheat your mold with your heat gun

    Pic 4

    Fill your pour pot with wax

    Pour the wax into your mold, I hold the mold at a slight angle initially to reduce the no. of air bubbles.

    Pic 5

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    Drop in your picture

    Pic 7

    Tap, tap, tap around the mold to get rid of any air bubbles. I generally tap around the mold 3 times.

    Pic 8

    (Grab the 4 photos in post 9)

    Get you chop sticks

    Use the chopsticks to position the picture against the side of the mold.

    Pic 9

    Start in the center of your picture and move to the edges to remove any air bubbles and position the picture. Repeat until you are sure the picture is snug against the mold and any air bubbles are squeezed out.

    Pic 10

    Turn on your cold water faucet – to re-cool your towel as needed

    Grab your spoon (some may just want to use the chopsticks) and your wet paper towel filled with ice cubes.

    Pic 11

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    Starting in a bottom corner hold the spoon against the picture with one hand while holding the paper towel w/ice on the out side of the mold. You should see immediate frosting of the wax.

    Work your way up the side holding the picture in place with the spoon and moving the icy towel up on the outside.

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    Once the picture is covered in frost I drop the towel and just use the ice cubes.

    Pic 16

    I am looking for a nice thick layer of frosting over the picture.

    Pic 17

    Grab the 5 pictures in post 11

    I leave the wet paper towel draped against the mold while getting my gloves on.

    Pic 18

    Time to very carefully move your mold to the water bath. I wear gardening gloves for this. Some use several folded paper towels or a hold a mold. Just use something. That mold is HOT.

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    After setting your mold in the water bath you will need something to weigh it down. You can put something around the base of your mold. I go for simple and easy and set a plastic container with chain in it to hold down mine. An exercise wt. or large can of beans would work.

    Pic 21

    Pic 22

    Now you can take a breath and relax. Set your time for 10 minutes and have a drink.

    For an electric ‘cane I use a silicone electric candle plug. Anything that is heat resistant and 1” in diameter and at least 1” tall will work. Just remember your wax is 190 degrees. Some drill or carve a hole in the bottom of the ‘cane.

    I use plumbers putty but mold sealant would also work. I smoosh a pea size piece of plumbers putty to the bottom of my plug and firmly push it into place in the bottom of my mold. Just be careful when you are positioning your picture not to bump the plug.

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    Special Note for Square Molds: Using a square mold presents a special challenge. The picture needs to be centered left to right as well as being placed squarely at the bottom of the mold. I never could eye ball left to right placement correctly. Instead I trim the picture to fit the panel of square mold. The extra white paper on the left and right hand side does not affect the appearance of your picture ‘cane and really cuts down on centering problems. I trim mine so they are 1/16 to 1/8” narrower than the mold. Be sure to check the fit after trimming the picture. Most square molds have a slight taper.

    Carefully remove your mold from the water bath and set it on your work surface. Wipe all the water off your mold. The wax in the center of you mold will be poured back into your Presto and you don’t want any water in your wax. I keep remembering several years ago when a CT member had a volcanic eruption of melted wax all over her kitchen from her Presto. The experts finally decided it was due to water in her wax. Use that extra paper towel and dry that mold or spend the next month cleaning wax off your cupboards.

    Set your timer for 10 minutes and have another drink

    Your ‘cane should look something like this after removing it from the water bath.

    Pic 27

    You should now have a wax wall of ¼ to 3/8”. Use your ruler to check. You may have to wait a few more minutes depending on the temp in your work area.

    Pic 28

    Using your butter knife cut out a circle in the center of your ‘cane. This wax can go back into your Presto.

    Pour the melted wax back into your Presto.

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    Now to clean up your ‘cane.

    Wipe down the top edge.

    Pic 33

    Use your butter knife to smooth out the ridge at the top

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    Use your heat gun to smooth out the sides and bottom.

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    If you are using an electric plug, make sure your plug is not covered with melted wax after the cleanup process. You may have to pour out some melted wax so the plug peeks out of the wax in the bottom of the mold.

    Pic 36

    Now go to bed or at least put your ‘cane to bed. Seriously, you need to let it cool completely. I have had my best luck cooling overnight. Most will need at least 8 hrs before they can be easily removed from the mold.

    When the hurricane is cool, make sure the top rim of your mold is clean. Any wax there will scratch your ‘cane. Turn your mold upside down and the ‘cane should slide out. If it doesn’t then set you mold in the fridge (NOT the freezer) for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn your mold upside and be prepared to catch your ‘cane.

    · Trim the mold seam with a X-Acto knife.

    Pic 37

    · I use an electric griddle to level the top. Whatever you normally use for pillars would work.

    Pic 38

    · Set you ‘cane top side down on whatever heated surface you are going to use and twirl it. I have a small level I use to verify my top is level. If your top is uneven you may have to hold the ‘cane at an angle on your heated surface to level it out. I got my level at Lowes.

    Pic 39

    · Buff with hose or a soft cloth

    · As a final step I spray my finished photo with a clear acrylic spray to protect the picture.

    Finishing an electric cane.

    · Remove the plug and clean up the hole with your X-Acto knife.

    Pic 40

    · Heat the shaft of your screwdriver. I use the gas burner on my stove. Your heat gun would also work if you have an electric stove.

    · Lay the shaft of your screwdriver on the bottom of your cane going from the hole to the back mold seam. The shaft is HOT. To not touch!

    · Use a paper towel to wipe off the melted wax.

    Pic 41

    · Repeat as needed until the groove is deep enough for your electric cord. If using a gas burner, be sure to wipe your screwdriver shaft before re-heating.

    · Insert your Light Clip

    Pic 42

    · I staple the cord in place. Be careful not to staple the cord.

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    You Are Done!! Yea!

    I put a cork pad under my votive glass.

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