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Gel Candle Making

Transparent Beauty

Being transparent, gel candle making results in a mystic beauty when lit. The transparency allows you to use embeds of your choice making this your own idea of creativity. Beach shells, garden herbs, butterflies, hermit crabs, starfish… I’ve even seen a mug of beer with foam on the top. How do they do this?


Gel CandleThe process of making gel candles is different from making wax candles. In order to make gel candles, you need: gel, zinc wicks, fragrance or essential oil, liquid color dye and your own idea of ‘embeds’ (as long as they are not flammable). There are gel candle making kits that might be more useful for kids because everything is included.


Using the utmost care, here are some simple instructions to make a gel candle:

  • Start with a candle holder. Because of its transparency the preferred ones are glass. It must have a diameter of at least 2". Stick the zinc wick to the center of the container's bottom using hot glue and put it aside.

  • Cut the gel into small pieces and use a multi-cooker to melt it. Stir the gel with a metal spoon (not wooden). It is advisable to use a heat-resistant apron, gloves and safety glasses for fire safety reasons. Keep a chemical fire extinguisher handy... always; gel is more combustible than wax.

  • Once the temperature has reached 200 degrees and the gel is smooth and syrupy, add a small amount of liquid dye. Go sparingly or you will not end up with transparency. Also - use only gel-candle dye.

  • If you wish to scent the candle, now is the time for essential oil. Gel candle making ideas with fragrance depends on the selection of the oil itself. For example, you can add fruit fragrance for a candle that will show cherries or grapes, etc.

  • The fragrance must have a high flash point of at least 170F and should be non-polar to avoid clouding the gel - so buy fragrances meant for gel candles only - 1/2 oz of fragrance for 1lb of gel. Density plays a part here; the more dense, the more fragrance and embeds it will hold but it takes longer to melt.

  • Now your gel is ready and you can pour it into the container. If using embeds at the bottom of the container, place them in first. Place others near the glass and re-position the wick in the center. Let the candle cool for at least four hours.


Your gel candle is ready – and now you know how to make gel candles.  I like to clean my seashells and other embeds so that they are free of any residue by washing them with warm mineral oil before I use them. This will help keep the gel from clouding and reduce air bubbles.



Esther B Smith, author

We can’t stress enough the safety issues when working with gel as it is more combustible than other candle making waxes.


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