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How to make a Hurricane candle?
(page 1: without inclusions)

You can make two types of Hurricane shells: with or without inclusions in the sides of the shell.
The two methods differ a little because in the first case, you will need an insert to keep the decorative elements in place while the wax hardens.
So I've logically separated this article in two pages. The first page, which you are currently reading, is focused on the first method, the one without inclusions.
The second page will give you all the information you need to include decorative elements into the sides of your Hurricane shells.



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



  • Supplies needed
  • 1 Hurricane mold,
  • 5 Kg of a Hurricane blend,
  • candle dye, if you want to,
  • 1 Stanley (utility) knife (to level the top of the shell).
  • and of course the usual supplies: thermometer, double boiler, pouring jugs...


    How to make a shell without inclusions

    1 As usual, start by preparing all the supplies and tools you'll need during this project so that you don't have to start searching for something in the middle of a critical phase.
    Melting such a large volume of paraffin and bringing it to the right temperature will take some time so start right away. Make sure you leave a thermometer in the melting wax at all time.
    As you won't add any inclusions, your mold does not need any special preparation. Just make sure the wick hole, if any, is plugged with mold sealer.



    2 When the paraffin has reached the right working temperature (190°F), fill the mold (you may fill it up to the top as you won't have to move it into a water bath), gently hit the four sides with a wooden spoon to free up any air bubble and let the paraffin cool off until a skin starts forming at the surface.
    Given the large volume of wax a hurricane mold can hold, this could take some time. Check the mold and its contents now and then to survey the cooling process.


    3 When a skin starts to form at the surface, use a kitchen knife to puncture and remove it. Any residual wax can be disposed of in the melting jug. This should give you a good idea of the thickness of the shell walls.
    Once these walls are at least 5 mm thick (beware, what you see in the mold is not always what you'll get when the shell is unmolded), puncture the surface skin one last time and remove it (cut the skin as close to the edge of the walls as you can). Now, slowly but steadily, pour the contents of the mold back into the melting jug.
    When all the wax has been poured out, hold the mold vertically above the melting pot: this will avoid big fat wax build-ups against the shell walls. Hold the mold in this position for about thirty seconds or until the dripping stops. At this stage, the wax has become tacky and needs some time to run off.
    Now that the shell is empty, put the mold back on the countertop and let the shell cool off completely. Now and then, look inside to check that there aren't any large blob of wax against a wall or on the bottom. If that's the case, use an old spoon to remove it (take care not to damage the bottom or one of the walls while doing that).


    4 When the wax has hardened completely (the mold must be cool to the touch and the insides of the shell must be hard and not tacky anymore), unmold the shell and use a Stanley knife to remove any irregularities from the top side of the shell.
    If you wish to and if you feel it's necessary, you can use a piece of very thin sandpaper to polish the inside of the walls.


    5 As always, the last step will be to flatten the shell (or, in this case, the top of it).
    To do that, I usually use a hot oven plate or an old pan. I then hold the shell on top of it and melt some of the wax until the top of the shell is perfectlt plane (don't exagerate or there will be nothing left of your shell!).
    If you see spots on the surface of the shell that looks like frozen, don't worry, it's normal: wipe the surface of the wax with an old nylon stocking to remove these spots and make your shell shine.


    6 Your Hurricane shell is completed!
    If you feel like it, you may now paint it, engrave it, glue all kinds of decorative elements onto it (like dried flowers, scrapbooking items) or just leave it as is.
    Don't forget that, when you're ready to use it, you need to place a small heat-resistant plate inside it, just under the votive or tealight candle, to avoid damage to the bottom of your shell.

    Now jump to the next page where you will learn how, using an insert, you can add inclusions inside the walls of a Hurricane shell.


    A Hurricane shell without inclusions can be painted or left as is
    A Hurricane shell without inclusions can be painted or left as is



    As usual, be sure you have all the supplies you will need handy
    1As usual, be sure you have all the supplies you will need handy

    Fill the mold to the top and eliminate as many air bubbles as you can
    2Fill the mold to the top and eliminate as many air bubbles as you can

    When a skin starts forming at the surface of the wax, puncture and remove it using a sharp kitchen knife
    3When a skin starts forming at the surface of the wax, puncture and remove it using a sharp kitchen knife

    Once the shell has hardened completely, unmold it and use the Stanley knife to remove any irregularities from the sides of the walls
    4Once the shell has hardened completely, unmold it and use the Stanley knife to remove any irregularities from the sides of the walls

    In the last step, flatten the top of the shell using a hot oven plate or an old pan
    5In the last step, flatten the top of the shell using a hot oven plate or an old pan

    A nice, plain Hurricane shell
    6A nice, plain Hurricane shell

    How to make a Hurricane candle?
    (page 2: with inclusions)

    Let's now examine the method that uses an insert to incorporate decorative elements (inclusions) within the sides of a Hurricane shell.
    The basic principle is the same with added difficulty, that of manipulating the insert and the necessity of using a water bath.



    Specifications
  • Difficulty: relatively difficult
  • Time needed: about 1 1/2 hour (+ cooling)



  • Supplies needed
  • 1 Hurricane mold and an insert,
  • 5 Kg of Hurricane blend,
  • themed or various inclusions,
  • 1 water bath whose size and water level match the mold and its weight,
  • 1 mold handler,
  • 1 Stanley knife (to level the top and inside walls of the shell).
  • and of course the usual supplies: thermometer, double boiler, pouring jugs...


    How to make a shell with inclusions

    1 As usual, start by preparing all the supplies and tools you'll need during this project. Picture 1 shows a Hurricane mold with two inserts of different diameters. Be sure you pick the best insert for the job: your inclusions must fit tightly in the space between the insert and the mold and not move or float towards the surface when you'll be pouring the paraffin in the mold.



    2 It will take a rather long time before such a large volume of paraffin melts and reaches the right pouring temperature (190°F). So start there before you worry about the rest (with my melting configuration, 5 kilos of paraffin require about two hours to be pourable). Don't forget to check the water level in your double boiler at regular interval and add some if necessary; failing to do so may damage both your double boiler and your heat plate and, in the worst case, set the countertop on fire!

    Prepare your Hurricane mold: put the weight in place now (for more information about this, read the article titled "the water bath technique) because it might prove tricky to do it when insert and inclusions are already in place. Double check the water level in the water bath (and, while you're at it, in the double boiler again).
    With the insert centered inside the mold, put your inclusions in place (using one or two long wooden sticks will help).


    3 It's important that your inclusions are tight enough between the insert and the mold so that they won't move and/or float when you pour the wax but remember you'll need to rotate, lift then remove the insert while the paraffin sets. Be sure your inclusions are not stuck to death in there or you'll have a hard time removing the insert. Believe me, removing an insert stuck in the cooling wax ain't exactly an easy thing to do!


    4 Once you have poured the paraffin in the mold, it will be too late to wonder how you'll get the mold into the water bath.
    Be sure before you pour that you have made up a system that will allow you to move the mold safely and without burning your hands (two simple lengths of electrical wire passed under the base of the mold will do the trick).

    When the paraffin reaches a temperature of 190°F, pour it slowly in the middle of the insert. Don't try and pour paraffin between the insert and the mold, you would only succeed in spilling hot paraffin and disturbing your inclusions. You will probably spill some paraffin so make sure your mold sits on a large piece of cardboard or on a thick layer of old newspapers.
    Once the mold is filled up to one centimeter under the top (give paraffin some time to flow from inside the insert to everywhere else in the mold, scrupulously tap the sides of the mold with a wooden spoon to free up as many air bubbles as possible (and there will be a lot of them, stuck under and inside the inclusions). This is vital if you're using artificial flowers because these tend to lock up lots of air; if you don't tap the mold, or not enough, you may end up with a shell full of holes on its surface. But don't hit the mold too hard, you don't want to damage or dent it.


    5 Using whatever system you put in place, lift the mold and plunge it into the water bath. Work slowly as not to let any water mix with the paraffin. If you've done your homework correctly, the water level in the water bath should be just above the wax level in the mold. If that's not the case, you only have a few seconds to fix it or a line will appear on top of your finished shell.

    Leave the mold alone during two minutes, then slightly rotate the insert without moving it to ensure that it won't get stuck in the setting wax.
    Sixty seconds later, rotate it again and, at the same time, lift it up two centimeters. You'll need to hold it in place at this new height.


    6 Wait for another sixty seconds then repeat the movement (rotate and lift).

    Repeat until the insert is entirely removed from the mold. Don't try and go too fast here...
    The wax on the outside of the mold, cooled by the water bath, should now be hard enough to hold all inclusions in place.
    You may notice that the wax level in the mold has dropped a little. You may add some hot paraffin but be sure not to go above the initial level or you'll get ugly lines on the shell.


    7 The hardest part is over! Now, you must check the thickness of the walls of your shell. When they're thick enough (10 mm are a guideline but it all depends on the thickness of your inclusions; they must be entirely covered by wax), remove the mold from the water bath. It should be cool enough now and you should be able to manipulate it bare-handed. Remove the mold weight and wipe the mold dry with an old cloth: you must avoid at all prices that water gets mixed with paraffin when you'll empty the mold back into the melting jug.
    Remove any skin that may have formed on the surface of the wax then, slowly but steadily, pour the contents of the mold back into the melting jug. Hold the mold perfectly vertical above the melting container. This will prevent build-ups of wax against the shell walls.

    When all the excess paraffin has left the mold (this could take some time as the low temperature makes it tacky), put the mold back on the countertop and look inside. If you notice any wax build-up against the walls or the bottom of the shell, try removing them with an old metal spoon. You will notice that the walls remain perfectly plane, thanks to the insert. If you happen to damage the bottom of the shell while removing excess wax, reheat some paraffin and pour a thin layer in the shell to repair the bottom.
    Don't worry if the top of the shell has a rather rough aspect: you will take care of that when the shell has cooled off completely. Don't unmold the shell yet.


    8 You will now that the shell is ready to be freed from its mold when the latter is cold to the touch and the shell almost glides out of it by itself. If you pouring temperature was right and you hit the sides of the mold well enough before you put it into the water bath, the surface of your shell should be close to perfect. Tiny air holes where the inclusions touched the mold are almost unavoidable; if you notice spots that look like they're frozen on the surface of the shell, you can get rid of them by wiping the shell with an old nylon stocking to polish it.
    Now let's take care of the top of the shell: level it as good as you can with your Stanley knife (but be careful for both your fingers and the shell). The inside walls can be polished with a piece of ultra-thin sandpaper. To level the top perfectly, put the shell upside down on a hot oven plate or an old, hot pan.

    So that's it, you've just made a Hurricane shell, complete with decorative inclusions. It wasn't that easy? Don't worry, you'll acquire experience and, if you made any mistake this time, you probably won't repeat them with your next shell. Be ready to face new challenges and potential problems when you'll try other types of inclusions, though. But that's part of the fun, isn't it?


    A Hurricane shell looks great when you add inclusions inside its walls
    A Hurricane shell looks great when you add inclusions inside its walls



    Gather all the supplies and tools you will need for the project
    1Gather all the supplies and tools you will need for the project

    Start melting the large amount of paraffin before you do anything else: this will take some time
    2Start melting the large amount of paraffin before you do anything else: this will take some time

    Position the inclusions in the space between the insert and the mold
    3Position the inclusions in the space between the insert and the mold

    Before you pour the wax into the mold, make sure you have a way of moving the mold without burning yourself
    4Before you pour the wax into the mold, make sure you have a way of moving the mold without burning yourself

    Plunge the mold into the water bath
    5Plunge the mold into the water bath

    With a one minute interval between each step, rotate and lift the insert up two centimeters until entirely removed
    6With a one minute interval between each step, rotate and lift the insert up two centimeters until entirely removed

    When the shell walls are thick enough, pour out the wax back into the melting jug
    7When the shell walls are thick enough, pour out the wax back into the melting jug

    Trim the top of the shell and level it
    8Trim the top of the shell and level it

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