Introduction to Making Gel Candles
When people are out shopping for candle making waxes, they are inundated with a huge variety to choose from. There’s beeswax, soy wax, and paraffin wax just to name a few. But there is one type of wax that provides creative advantages over the others when making your own candles. It is called gel wax and in this article we’ll be going over the basics of making gel candles.
People love making gel candles because they are translucent, meaning you can see through them. Also, if you buy a higher density wax for making gel candles, you can suspend ornaments in the wax. Add that to the ability to add coloring and fragrance and you can truly make a wonderfully creative candle.
Gel candle wax is a little different from say paraffin wax by nature of it’s composition. Most waxes are oil based, but gel waxes have a tiny amount of polymer resin in its makeup. Originally the resin is in powder form, but when mixed with the oil base it solidifies.
When purchasing gel wax for making gel candles you have 3 densities to choose from, each of which have their pros and cons. Low density gel wax has a lower melting point and pours more easily, but cannot hold decorations or fragrance well. High density on the other hand has a much higher melting point and can be very trying to pour, but can hold quite a bit of scent and suspends decorations very well. Medium density of course has a moderate melting point and pours decently, can hold an average amount of fragrance and can suspend ornaments well, if not as well as high density.
After you choose which wax you think would work well for project, you then have to melt it. If you try to melt gel max in a double boiler like you would with other candle waxes, you’ll have a pot full of frustration to stew in by the time you’re done. It can take forever to melt gel wax in a double boiler, so most people who are making gel candles today use what is called a multi-cooker.
A multi-cooker has it’s own temperature control dial, but it’s still recommended that you have your own thermometer and a chemical fire extinguisher nearby. The thermometer to manually check the wax temperature and the fire extinguisher just in case, because gel wax is flammable. Also, don’t use a wooden spoon to stir the gel wax while it’s melting as this can leave bubbles in your wax. Instead use a metal or hard plastic spoon.
After the wax is melted, that is when you add your scents, colors and decorations. Using liquid dyes when making gel candles is recommended because it maintains the translucence of the wax. Using crayons or dyes not specifically made for making candles is a big no no because they can cause your candle not to burn properly due to incompatibilities. When adding scents, make sure you measure them out exactly as adding too much can also ruin your candle. Finally you should take care when adding your decorations to the candle, as the wax will still be very hot.
The amount of personalization you can put into making your own gel candles is endless really. You could take 100 gel candles, each made by a different person and compare them and the only major similarities would be that they are all made from gel wax. So if you are looking to make gifts for your family, I would definitely recommend making gel candles as not only are they fun to make and easy to personalize, but they also burn longer than regular candles, meaning the recipients will have more time to appreciate the beautiful candle you made just for them.
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