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Making Tie-Dye Candles

You Can Do This

They look like works of art, made even easier by using canning wax, paper cups for molds, and crayons for dye. Making tie-dye candles is easy and you will always get better results by using a metal mold, wax additives and liquid candle dye. It’s always best to be familiar with basic candle making techniques and safety first.


If you are already experienced in making basic candles, then let’s get started with some unusual candles: prepare your entire work area by setting out all materials beforehand. Cover your work area with newspaper or foil.


Tie-Dye CandleMelt a small amount of white wax in a double boiler or wax melter to at least 160F. Prime your wicks at this time. Pour wax into cube trays, wax button molds, or pour a thin layer into a pan. You can use a cool-water bath or the fridge to speed the cooling of the wax.


When the cubes have hardened, remove them from the mold. If you have used a pan, cut the wax into small pieces. Wick your mold and place the white wax chunks into the mold. Make sure the wick is centered. Now melt a lesser amount of wax then you normally would to fill this mold. The wax chunks will take up some space, so you will only need about 2/3 the normal amount.


Add any additives at this time. Luster crystals or colorful beads are good choices to make brighter colors and a harder candle. If nothing else, add stearine to increase the burning time. Add scent if you wish. Pour the liquid wax into the mold being careful not to splash the molten wax over the chunks. Cover the chunks completely and tap your mold to release air bubbles.


Take your liquid dye, or melted dye, and drop a small amount around the edges of the mold, so the dye travels down the sides of the candle. Place the candle in the freezer. You can use a cold water-bath, but the freezer is easier. Check on the candle every ten or fifteen minutes


If your candle is in a glass container don’t freezer it, use the cool water method to prevent cracking. Finally remove it from the freezer (or bath) when the wax has hardened on the bottom of the candle. Top off the well (if there is one). Let the candle cool in the fridge – not the freezer – or at room temperature. Remove your candle from the mold when it is completely hard and enjoy the unique swirled patterns on your candle.


A few tips: If your candle won’t come out of the mold, place it in the fridge for an hour, next time use more additives that harden and shrink candles. Liquid dye makes richer patterns than melted dye or powder dye. Prime your wicks in wax to make them burn better, and rub your finished candle with pantyhose to polish it and remove fingerprints.


These unique tie-dye candles can be quite artistic. I never use more than 2 or 3 dyes otherwise you’re apt to get a muddy color to your candle. In its own glass container and scented with lavender or spruce, a stunning gift that you can be proud of.


Esther B Smith, author

Tie-dye has long been a favorite for T-shirts – let’s expand this into the world of homemade candles.


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