Let's Make Gel Candles
A Fast and Easy Lesson
Gel candles are growing in popularity and if you are considering a home business selling candles, you will want to include the Gel line. Wax candles are made from oil. The same is true with gel candles but they are made of 95% mineral oil and 5% polymer resin. This resin starts out as a powder but when mixed with the mineral oil, it is transformed into a solid state.
Gel wax comes in three different densities; high, medium and low density. The higher the density, the more fragrance the oil can hold. Plus, the thicker gel will hold suspended decorations within the candle itself; but with a price to pay… the thicker the gel the longer it takes to melt and harder to pour.
All the steps that go into making candles out of regular wax such as melting, pouring and drying are the same with gel candles. But the equipment you use and the techniques are slightly different.
Trying to melt gel wax in a double boiler would take way too long, so some gel Chandlers have turned to multi-cookers to get the job done. A multi-cooker is kind of like a deep fryer; they typically are metal with a non-stick coating. They have a separate heating element with a temperature dial so you can get the proper temperature to melt the gel wax.
Rather than using two separate pots; one with water and one with melting wax, the gel wax is placed directly in the multi-cooker to melt. Although the cooker comes with a temperature dial, it’s still a good idea to use a separate thermometer to make sure that the gel is melted at the proper temperature.
Use something metal or hard plastic to stir the gel wax. Wooden spoons can sometimes add bubbles to the gel. More importantly, make sure you have a chemical fire extinguisher nearby – gel candle wax is flammable.
Liquid candle dyes are perfect for gel candles because they can maintain the translucency of the gel. It only takes a very small amount of the dye to actually change the color of the wax. At times, a drop of dye is too much. Never use crayons, clothing dye, food coloring, or soap dyes in gel candle wax. They will not burn right because these dyes are not made specifically for candles.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to creating wonderful candles with gel wax and not any of these are complicated. Fast and easy does it – even adding decorations directly to the wax so that they float within the candle… how clever and unique is that? And here’s your bonus: gel candles burn slower than regular wax candles and they last longer – how’s that for your sales-pitch?
Esther Smith, author
When describing candle-making in an artistic manner, you can readily imagine a St Patty’s Day candle with 4-leaf clovers floating within as a special gift to your Irish friends.
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