Tealight candles - What do you need to make Tealight candles?No difficulties at all with tealight candles: the wax formules are really simple, they come in two sizes only and they're easy to make with almost no tools or supplies. Although it depends on the method you choose to make them.
If you pour the wax directly in the aluminium or polycarbonate cups, all you need - besides the classic wax melting equipment - are these cups and wicks that fit tealight candles (more info below).
But if, for some reason, you prefer to pour the little candles in a mold and later, when cool, insert them in the cups, you will of course need some kind of tealight mold.
Like I said in the introduction, the fact that tealight candles come in only two sizes allows for mass production and low pricing of the aluminium cups. This means you can get these cups at really sharp prices.
Tealight cups are so simple: just a small preformed aluminium cup with a small round pit at the bottom to host the wick tab (diameter 15mm) and four tiny pits that work as "feet" for the cup. These feet keep the (potentially hot) bottom of the cup away from the surface on which it stands.
Nowadays, translucent tealight cups can also be found, made of polycarbonate or glass. These are more expensive than aluminium ones but they're much nicer to make coloured tealights, especially if you make them with candle gel.
The favourite wick for tealight candles is a cotton-cored or zinc-cored wick (see the related article), coated with a layer of wax.
The core of the wick allows it to stand straight when pouring and the wax coating lets the wick burn better the first time the candle is lit.
A coated wick of the type 34-xx ou 36-xx (xx stands for the speed at which the wick goes through the braiding machine) will do the job perfectly!
If you wish to, you can make your own tealight wicks. To this effect, you will need to purchase a wick spool and bulk tealight wick tabs, cut the wick in lengths of 35mm and fasten them, using pliers, to the wick tabs. The drawback here, not to mention the amount of minutious work it requires, is that pre-coated wick is hard to find... This means you might have to prime the wicks yourself before you attach them to the wick tabs to ensure a good burning of the candles. And this might become tedious for a relatively low financial benefit...
The wick tabs I'm talking about are standard tabs, round, about 15mm in diameter. Their "neck" must be about 3mm high; this is a security measure to avoid overheating (and potentially ignition) when but a few millimeters wax remain in the cup.
Of course, if you want to save a lot of time, you can also buy the wicks in bulk, coated, cut at the right length and tabbed; the price is higher, of course, but you can start pouring right away.
For those who prefer making tealight candles in a mold rather than pouring them individually in their cups, don't forget you will need, he he... a mold!
Two models are currently available: in rubber or in polycarbonate.
Both models usually let you make 15 tealights in one pour but the rubber molds have one big advantage: they normally come equipped with small metal pins (see picture above) that you plug into the mold prior to pouring and allow you to thread a wick directly through the created hole without the need to drill through the candle.
Polycarbonate molds (picture opposite) are less expensive to purchase but require more work at the end since they can't be equipped with small wick pins. This means that, when the candles have cooled off, you will have to drill through their center with a small crankshaft to let the wick through.
It's your decision whether the time you'll save is worth the price difference between the two models...