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How to make a pillar candle with layers of different colors?

Now that we've seen How to make a pillar candle, why not add some color to it?
In this project, we will make a pillar candle made of several layers (or stripes) of wax with different colors.
The only difficulty here is to know when it's time to pour the next layer: not too soon or the colors will mix but not too late or the layers may not stick together and eventually separate. It's really a question of timing!


Specifications
  • Difficulty: quite 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,
  • 3 small melting pots,
  • 1 wick correctly sized for the mold used,
  • candle dye in 3 different colors,
  • mold sealer,
  • 1 wick holder, purchased or homemade,
  • 1 wicking needle (or an old, thin braiding needle).
  • a rag.
  • and of course your melting equipment, thermometer, melting jugs, waxed paper...



    How to make this candle?

    1 As usual, make sure that you have enough room on your work area to work comfortably.
    Prepare all the tools and supplies you will need for this project so that everything is readily available when you need it.
    On picture 1, clockwise and starting at the top, you can see:
    a small ball of mold sealer, a wick 2 inches longer than the mold, a cone-shaped polycarbonate mold, candle dye in 3 different colors, a wick holder, one of the 3 bamboo skewers I'll use to mix the dye and the paraffin.

    Precision
    For this article, I assume that you will be using 3 different colors. If you use less or more colors, you will of course need less or more melting pots, skewers,...


    2 Divide the pillar wax blend into 3 parts and put the wax in the 3 small melting jugs but don't fill them to the top: they may not lie perfectly horizontal in the double-boiler and you need some room to add and mix the candle dye without spilling the wax when the time has come.



    3 Place the 3 melting jugs inside the double-boiler. Because they're the same size and hold the same amount of wax, you need to check the temperature of the wax in one of them only. It's tricky because of their small size: dip your thermometer in one of the melting jugs, wait a few moments, read the temperature and remove the thermometer.
    Make sure that the water in the double-boiler does not boil too hard or some of it could boil over in the melting jugs and ruin your wax.


    4 When the temperature of the wax reaches 356░F, it's time to add the candle dye.
    Take it easy, it's much easier to add some dye than remove it. Each melting jug should have its own bamboo skewer to mix dye and paraffin: even a tiny amount of a different dye on a skewer can radically change the color of a batch of wax.


    5 Now, prepare the mold.
    As always, it's a good idea to prime the wick you're going to use.
    Thread the wick through the wick hole of the mold and allow it to protrude about 2cm on each side. This will make it easier for you to seal the wick hole with some mold sealer on one side and trap the wick using a wick holder on the other side.
    At the bottom of the mold (what will become the top of the candle), push the wick against the mold and apply a generous amount of mold sealer. Use enough putty: to straighten the wick with the wick holder, you will have to pull slightly on the wick and it is the mold sealer that will help the wick resist the pulling on this side.
    At the open side of the mold (the future base of the candle), straighten and center the wick and install the wick holder to keep it from moving.
    Your mold is now ready for the first layer of wax.


    6 Using your thermometer, check that the temperature of the wax in the melting jugs is somewhere between 356░F and 374░F.
    If it's the case, remove the jug with the desired color from the double-boiler. Pay attention that the water that will drop from the jug as you lift it up doesn't end up in one of the other jugs below! Use an old rag to wipe the outside of the jug or some water will inevitably mix with the wax when you'll pour the contents of the jug into the mold.
    Pour the coloured wax in the mold to create the first layer (I made three layers of the same height but you're free to do whatever you want). Just make sure you don't pour against the inner walls of the mold: such a drip would be clearly visible in the next layers.


    7 The secret to successfully make a layered candle with different colors is the amount of time you wait between two layers. If you pour the next layer too soon, the two colors will mix. if you wait too long, the layers may not stick together and might separate when you manipulate the finished candle.
    As you build experience, you'll just know when the time to pour the next layer has come. Until then, there's one trick that helps: thrust your wicking needle along the wick into the last layer of wax. If it comes out robbed in wax, it's too soon. If it comes out clean, now is the right time for the next layer.


    8 These holes you poke in the wax actually have 3 functions and are very important: they let you know when it's time to pour the next layer; they prevent the formation of air pockets inside the wax; and they create "tunnels" that will help two layers stick together (just like an anchor).

    Check that the temperature of the wax is still somewhere between 356░F and 374░F.
    If that's the case, slowly pour the second layer. Here again, try not to pour wax along the inner walls of the mold.


    9 Repeat the same steps you took with the first layer: poke some release holes along the wick as explained above.


    10 If the temperature of the wax for the last layer is correct and the previous layer has cooled sufficiently (but not too much), pour the last layer of coloured wax.
    You will probably have to fill the sink hole that will form as the last layer cools. When the sink hole is filled and the candle has entirely cooled, remove mold sealer and wick holder and unmold your candle.


    11 The last thing to do is trim the wick at the base of the candle and, if necessary, level the base on a hot plate.

    You've just made a candle with multiple stripes of coloured wax.
    Feel free to try with more layers and/or more colors. You can also tilt the mold between layers to obtain oblique, uneven stripes instead of plain horizontal ones.
    A belgian pillar candle made of three successive stripes in black, yellow and red
    A belgian pillar candle made of three successive stripes in black, yellow and red

    Related articles:
  • How to make a pillar candle?


    Prepare all the tools and supplies you will need for this project
    1Prepare all the tools and supplies you will need for this project

    Divide the pillar wax blend into 3 equal parts and place each batch in a small melting jug
    2Divide the pillar wax blend into 3 equal parts and place each batch in a small melting jug

    Melt the 3 batches of wax in your double-boiler
    3Melt the 3 batches of wax in your double-boiler

    Add the candle dye and stir well
    4Add the candle dye and stir well

    Prepare your mold: a wick, some mold sealer and a wick holder
    5Prepare your mold: a wick, some mold sealer and a wick holder

    Pour the first layer of wax into the mold
    6Pour the first layer of wax into the mold

    Pour a few release holes in the wax, along the wick
    7Pour a few release holes in the wax, along the wick

    Pour the next layer of wax
    8Pour the next layer of wax

    Again, check the consistency of the last layer of wax and poke some release holes
    9Again, check the consistency of the last layer of wax and poke some release holes

    Pour the third and last layer of coloured wax
    10Pour the third and last layer of coloured wax

    You've just made a nice pillar candle with multiple stripes of coloured wax
    11You've just made a nice pillar candle with multiple stripes of coloured wax

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