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How to color a candle with tea bags?

Natural dyes can be a great way to colour the paraffin when you want to make natural candles.
Not all dyes will work, of course, because paraffin is kind of a choosy substance, but as the picture on the right shows, it's worth trying. The candle on that picture has been coloured with tea bags and its nice, cream color is almost impossible to achieve with "classic" candle dye.

Supplies needed

  • 2 to 3 tea bags (see below) per pound of paraffin,
  • 1 pound of paraffin,
  • 2 teaspoons stearic acid.
  • and of course the usual supplies: double boiler, pouring jugs...

    How to make this candle

    1 You can use almost any type of tea bags to colour paraffin, but don't think you'll get bright and vivid colors.
    For example, the tea I used to illustrate this article is a peach/dog rose mix that colours water a deep red. In paraffin, though, all I achieved was a bright yellow in liquid state and, as the picture shows, a cream color when the candle cooled off.
    But don't be afraid to experiment anyway: I have not tried all the tea sorts available on the market!

    2 Heat the wax until it reaches a temperature close to 210░F (100░C). It will need to be quite hot to "soak up" the color of the tea.
    Once the right temperature is reached, dip the two (or more, if you want to get a darker shade) tea bags in the paraffin and leave them in there for at least 20 minutes.
    Moving the tea bags up and down in the hot paraffin will help them release their color.

    3 After about 20 minutes, the paraffin has soaked up all the color it possibly can and turned a pretty yellowish/greenish, natural looking shade.
    To give the final result an even more creamy look, you may add a very small amount of vegetable shortening. And if you're looking to give your candle a really natural and rustic look, I highly recommend you use the cold pour technique (see the article titled 3 surface techniques).

    4 When you reckon the wax is coloured enough, remove the melting jug from the double boiler. Leave the thermometer in the liquid wax and let the temperature drop to about 190░F (let it drop even further if you wan to use the cold pour technique.

    Once the ideal temperature is reached, pour the paraffin into the (prepared) mold. Then, follow the usual steps (for a reminder, take a look at the article How to make pillar candles?).

    As usual, the color of the wax will change considerably as the wax cools off (same as with "classic" dyes: paraffin always ends up with a lighter shade in its solid state versus liquid).

    5 That's it, you're done!

    Depending on the sort of tea you've been using and the number of tea bags you used to color the wax, it could be that the tea transferred some of its scent to your candle.

    But even if that's not the case, you'll now have a candle with very natural shades, difficult or impossible to obtain with classic candle dye. A very good starting point if you want to develop a "nature" range of candles!

    Tea gave this candle a very natural, creamy aspect
    Tea gave this candle a very natural, creamy aspect

    Related articles:

    You can use about any sort of tea you want
    1You can use about any sort of tea you want

    The tea bags must remain for quite a long time in the hot paraffin
    2The tea bags must remain for quite a long time in the hot paraffin

    A very natural shade
    3A very natural shade

    It is now time to pour the wax into the prepared mold
    4It is now time to pour the wax into the prepared mold

    The finished candle
    5The finished candle

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