Gel candles are very popular both for decoration and actual use. The gel used in these candles can have any colour or scent added to them, or even have decorative objects placed in them that are retrievable once the gel candle is lit and melts. They are arguably the easiest candles to make at home and the most customisable, as you will see from this tutorial.
What You Will Need:
- Enough plain candle gel to make the amount of candles you desire
- Candle wicks
- Proper candle container for pouring the melted gel
- A double boiler, kitchen kettle or other non-stick heating method
- A thermometer for taking the gel’s temperature as it melts
- A hard plastic or metal spoon to stir
- Funnel to pour melted wax (optional)
- Gel colouring and scents of your choice (optional)
- Any non-flammable objects you may wish to embed in the gel (optional)
Making the Candle
Open your container of gel wax and use a knife to loosen it from the sides. Cut into smaller squares and place enough of those squares to fit inside your chosen container into a non-stick pot or double boiler. A good kitchen kettle also works well for this task.
Following the directions on the container, begin to melt the gel. Stir with a spoon made of metal or hard plastic, but no wood! Wood will cause unnecessary bubbles in the gel.
While the gel is melting (this could take a while as gel does not melt as quickly as regular wax), you can get your wick and candle holder ready. Your wick should either be wax free or impregnated with wax, but not wax-covered. A wax-covered wick will cause a cloud in the gel and it will no longer be transparent.
Using your thermometer, take the temperature of the melting gel wax. The melting point of gel wax is 82 degrees Celsius. However, the wax is not ready to pour until it is between 94 and 104 degrees.
If you wish to add scent or colour, now is the time, before your pour the wax. Use only a small amount of a liquid dye, in order to keep the transparent nature of the candle. Powdered dyes do not blend well with gel wax, though a very tiny shaving of a dye block will work. For scent, only add liquid scents that have a flash point of 77 degrees Celsius or higher! This is to ensure your gel candles are made safely. If the scent box or bottle does not list the flash point, do not use it.
Once the wax has reached the proper temperature, use a funnel (if you desire) or just pour directly into the candle holder, careful not to bend the wick or spill. Do this slowly to prevent large air bubbles from forming.
If you wish to embed objects into your candle, wait until the gel has started to solidify and has cooled to a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. Slowly insert the items where you wish them to be in the candle. Make sure all of these items are flame resistant. Do NOT use items like potpourri or rose petals. Though they are beautiful and would look great in a gel candle, they can also catch on fire. Items like seashells work well. Wash all objects thoroughly and dry fully before inserting so they don’t cloud the gel.
Tips, Tricks and Cautions:
- Unlike regular wax, gel wax does not shrink as it cools, so you don’t need to do a second pour. Just wait roughly four hours for it to completely cool and you are ready to use it!
- Never leave melting wax unattended on the stove and never leave a freshly burning candle unattended, either. Both could be fire hazards.
- If a gel candle catches on fire, never use water to douse. Try baking soda instead.