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How to make an ice candle?

This fun technique may have different names: ice candle, cheese candle, moon candle... but the result is always a great candle with a great look: full of holes!

The finishing touch can also differ and give the finished candle a different look but in this article, we will make the basic version of this candle, without flourish.

The secret of this great candle with a tortured look? Ice blocks!!!



Specifications
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Time needed: about 1 hour (+ cooling)


  • What do you need?
  • 1 polycarbonate or metal mold, square- or cylinder-shaped (you can also use a soda can with the top cut off - see article homemade molds)
  • 450g (1 pound) of a pillar wax blend,
  • 1 taper candle as high as or higher than the mold,
  • candle dye (optional),
  • mold sealer,
  • 1 wick holder, purchased or home-made,
  • ice blocks (avoid big, cubical ones. The best ones are made in ice cube plastic bags, see picture 2),
  • an empty bowl or a nearby sink.
  • and of course your melting equipment, thermometer, melting jugs, waxed paper...



    How to make an ice candle?

    1 It's rather difficult to keep ice blocks away from the wick during the pouring process and a wick should always be surrounded by a fair amount of wax for a candle to burn safely and correctly. Because of this, we won't use an actual wick but a taper candle, homemade or not.
    Thread the wick of the taper candles through the wick hole of the mold and use some mold sealer to avoid wax leaks while pouring.
    The taper candle (called core candle in this case) will need to remain immobile and centered during the whole process. Use an appropriate wick holder and don't forget that putting ice blocks in the mold may apply pressure on the core candle. Moving the candle once the ice blocks are in the mold is almost impossible...


    2 Before you start (and don't ask why I insist), MAKE SURE you will have enough ice blocks available to fill the mold and that they're small enough to fit in the space between the sides of the mold and the core candle. If you have been using a classic ice cube tray, these ice cubes will probably be too large. Check before you start!
    I've always had good results with ice blocks made in those ice cube plastic bags. Just place one under the faucet, fill it with water, make a knot to seal it and place it in the freezer. You will get a bunch of nice, egg-shaped ice blocks, flat enough to fit around the core candle!


    3 Before you start filling the mold with ice blocks, pour a thin layer (5mm) of wax at the bottom of the mold.
    This will ensure that you get no holes at the top of the candle and that the wick of the core candle doesn't soak up too much water when the ice blocks start to melt.


    4 When this first layer of wax has settled, you can start filling the mold with ice blocks.
    You can use ice blocks only but in this example, I used a mix of ice blocks and tiny wax teddy bears (just for the fun).
    Feel free to use wax chunks or not, with multiple colors or not, it's up to you: the result should be just the same.
    Fill the mold to the top (but not higher) then shake it gently to pack the ice blocks together. Add some if necessary.


    5 Of course, you should fill the mold with ice blocks only when your wax has reached the right pouring temperature: between 356F and 374F.
    Once the ice blocks are in the mold, you should work pretty fast or you will end up with an aquatic candle...
    Your wax is ready? Pour it over the ice blocks and to the top of the mold. Gently tap the mold with a wooden spoon to release any trapped air bubbles and add more wax if necessary.
    If the core candle sticks out, no problem: you will cut any protruding bit when your ice candle is finished.


    6 Quite evidently, because of the ice blocks, this kind of candle will cool off much faster than a pillar candle of the same size (but without ice blocks) would.
    However, a sink hole may appear on top of the mold. As usual, you should fill it up with some hot wax.

    While the candle cools, let me draw your attention to one point: the wick size of the core candle is based on the diameter of that candle and not on the diameter of the ice candle. This means that, because the wick is too thin for the ice candle, the flame will "dig a well" in the center of the candle as it burns.
    In the case of an ice candle, it really is no problem because the light of the flame combined with the tortured surface of the candle will result in very nice light effects. But if you want to avoid this, instead of a core taper, you could use a self-made, very thin pillar candle with an oversized wick whose size matches the diameter of the ice candle.


    7 When the candle has cooled and you're ready to unmold, do not forget (as I usually do) that ice blocks turn into water when they melt: when the candle comes out of the mold, a surprisingly large amount of water will follow, so make sure you unmold it above a plastic bowl or a sink. You will also need to turn the candle upside down several times to release any water trapped in the wax.


    8 If your core candle was too long, use a sharp knife to trim it and make it level with the base of the candle.
    As usual, you can level the base by putting it against a hot plate.

    It is highly recommended to let this type of candle dry at least one week before you light it up. During the pouring process, the wick has soaked up a fair amount of water and needs time to dry completely.

    Before you light your ice candle, shake it close to your ear to know if there are water pockets trapped inside the wax shell. If it's the case, there's not much you can do but be aware that when the flame will reach such a water pocket, the candle will go out with a big pssshhhhhhhhh!


    9 Congratulations, you've just made an ice candle!

    To get another look, you may dip the finished ice candle a few times and quickly in hot water. This will melt some of the surface wax, smooth the edges of the surface holes and give the candle a softer look.


    The cavities created by the ice blocks give this ice candle a trotured look
    The cavities created by the ice blocks give this ice candle a trotured look

    Related articles:


    Thread the wick of the core candle through the mold's wick hole, seal with mold sealer and hold everything in place with a wick holder
    1Thread the wick of the core candle through the mold's wick hole, seal with mold sealer and hold everything in place with a wick holder

    Be sure you have enough ice block to fill the mold entirely
    2Be sure you have enough ice block to fill the mold entirely

    Pour a thin layer of wax at the bottom of the mold
    3Pour a thin layer of wax at the bottom of the mold

    Fill the mold with ice blocks to the top
    4Fill the mold with ice blocks to the top

    Pour hot wax over the ice blocks
    5Pour hot wax over the ice blocks

    If a sink hole appears, fill it up with some more hot wax
    6If a sink hole appears, fill it up with some more hot wax

    Unmold the candle above a bowl or a sink
    7Unmold the candle above a bowl or a sink

    If necessary, trim the core candle
    8If necessary, trim the core candle

    Your ice candle is finished
    9Your ice candle is finished



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