Types of candles - Pillar candlesPillar candles are probably the best known type of candles and a real "classic".
They exist in an incredible variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Familiar shapes include cylinder and square, but you can also find more unusual shapes like star, pentagon, hexagon, whatever-gone, sphere, you name it!
But the common point of pillar candles is that they're poured into a mould and are, once they're solidified and unmolded, self-supporting, which means that, unlike container candles (wax poured into a container in which the candle will burn) and votive candles (placed into a fitting votive holder), pillar candles are burned as is, without the support of any container.
Shapes and models
As I've said, pillar candles come in an almost infinite variety of shapes, sizes, aspects and colors! The only limit here is your imaginations.
A pillar candle can be made of a single color or successive layers of different colors (these layers can be horizontal, oblique, alternated oblique, even vertical!)... it can also be made of little pieces of wax - same or multiple colors - covered with hot paraffin wax. These little squares of wax are called chunks and the resulting candle usually bares the name of chunk candle.
Another variation calls for a mold full of ice blocks over which hot paraffin wax is poured. The result is a candle full of holes, pretty much like a piece of cheese. You can use one of the may hundreds of metal, polycarbonate, latex, ... moulds available for purchase or use your imagination and search for everyday (or not) items that can be used as a candle mould or you can even create them yourself from scratch!
As you can see, no lack of possibilities here and that's one of great things about candlemaking: even after 20 years, it is possible no to make the same candle twice ;-)
All the techniques I've talked about (or will talk about) are explained in great detail in current and future projects.
How to burn a pillar candle?
The wax formulation used to make pillar candles together with the choice of the right wick - VERY important - allow the candle to burn by itself without the help of any container, unlike votive candles that need a fitting votive holder and container candles burned in the container they've been poured into.
To attain this result, the wick size must be calculated to create a melt pool with a diameter exactly identical to that of the candle itself. Moreover, the wick must burn hot enough to vaporize the paraffin contained in the melt pool quick enough to prevent the candle from "leaking" or the flame from drowning in liquid wax.
Too thin a wick will create too small a melt pool and "drill a hole" through the center of the candle (called a tunnel); too thick a wick and it will produce black smoke and/or leaks of wax down the candle sides.
The choice of the right wick is probably the most difficult aspect in candlemaking but there lies 90% of a successful candle!