Candle gel, paraffin and soy wax: Candlemaking made easy for everyone
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What do you need to make Taper candles?

The production mode of taper candles has hardly changed over the centuries.
Obviously, the tools have evolved, especially those used in the industrial production of tapers, but if your goal is to dip a few tapers now and then, you'll probably be more than happy with some basic (and yet efficient) supplies.
Here follows an overview of what you will need to repeat your ancestors' rituals...


The dipping pot

Basically, the only thing you really need to make nice taper candles is a dipping pot in which you'll melt paraffin wax and dip your wicks. Everything else is optional!

One important thing, though, is the height of the pot. Logically, the maximum length of your taper candles will depend on the height of your dipping pot. Don't consider using one of your regular melting pots as they're probably much too low to dip anything taller than a birthday candle...

When it comes to choosing a type of dipping pot, you have four options:


  • The spaghetti pan / asparagus steamer

    The special pans made to cook asparagus and/or spaghetti (picture 1) usually have a height of 23 cm, more than enough to get you started dipping taper candles.

    Their price is advantageous in comparison with their "professional" equivalent (which is taller, to say the truth). Nevertheless, try and find a second-hand one (you can find real treasures in garage sales or on eBay) or, if you're planning on buying a new one, pay a visit to the local Dollar store.
    These pans come with a stainless steal steamer basket (to hold the content upright) which you really won't need to make taper candles; so if you find such a pan with a lower price tag because the steamer basket is missing, don't hesitate!


  • The "professional" dipping pot

    The dipping pots (picture 2) you can buy from stores that carry candlemaking supplies and equipment don't have any size problem whatsoever!

    You can find them in many different sizes (20, 30, 40, 50 and 60cm high) and, of course, their price grows together with their size. To give you an idea, a 40cm tall model will cost you approximately 60 EUR whereas its big brother, 60cm tall, has a price tag of approximately 140 EUR.
    They also come in various diameters (11, 15, 21cm and more).

    Don't forget that if a tall dipping pot allows for longer taper candles, there's one point you mustn't forget about: you will have to bring the paraffin inside to a temperature of 170°F and keep it there for the whole dipping process. A 60cm tall dipping pot can hold several kilos of wax; melting such a large volume of paraffin and bringing it to the right temperature can take some time, but this is not the only problem...

    If you place a 40cm tall dipping pot in your double boiler, if will most likely be immersed in only 10 to 15cm of water. This really isn't enough to melt the paraffin inside and even if, eventually, it worked, the paraffin at the bottom of the dipping pot would be much warmer than that on the top.
    This would make it almost impossible to achieve a consistant temperature and your attempts at making nice taper candles would, believe me, fail (temperature control is essential for all dipping processes).

    You must know that those tall dipping pots are actually made to be heated up by special appliances called electric wax heaters (see point 4) that have the advantage of heating the pot uniformly over its whole height. So don't think that, because you purchased a 60cm tall dipping pot, you'll be able to make giant taper candles: that's just not the way it works!


  • An "hijacked" container

    Maybe you'll find a container that has nothing to do with candlemaking or dipping tapers but you think you could use for that purpose anyway...
    I wish you find such a gem but, as far as I'm concerned, I've never found anything, whether in a department store or a DIY store, that really could handle the job. If you have a great idea to share, don't hesitate to contact me!


  • Semi-professional equipment

    Semi-professional tools are available that is specifically designed to dip taper candles.
    As I said earlier, you can buy an electric wax melter complete with dipping pots. These are available in different versions and models, for instance one with one large dipping container or two, four or five smaller ones, which allows you use waxes of different colors at the same time.
    As you may have guessed, such an equipment is not exactly costless and should consider such a purchase only if you're planning to work at a semi-professional level as well.

    Picture 3 is taken from the catalog of GildeWerk


  • If you're opting for a "standard" dipping pot (not to be used in an electric wax melter), don't forget that the bottom of your pot must not be placed in direct contact with the bottom of your double boiler; you would lose all the benefits of the double boiler method.

    A cheap and dirty trick is to purchase two metallic square brackets (available in all DIY stores) and to place them at an angle at the bottom of your main double boiler pan (picture 4). According to the size and diameter of the dipping pot you will be using, all you have to do is to move the brackets closer or further apart to optimize the stability of the pot. With this simple trick, no contact between the two pots.


    The wick holder

    For ease and productivity reasons, it is common to dip tapers by pair, dipping both halves of one same wick into the wax.
    There's no reason why you couldn't hold the wick with your bare hands but you'll soon learn it is easier to use a self-made tool to hold the wick (see picture 5). You really need to avoid that the two halves of the wick touch each other while you're dipping them or they will stick together and you'll have to start all over again. A simple little device made with some electrical wire as showed on the picture will make your life a lot easier.

    Of course, if you decide to go semi-professional, you can also purchase a dipping frame (picture 6) that will let you dip up to 36 taper candles at once (you'll need a very large dipping pot though; smaller models allow for 6, 8 or 12 tapers simultaneously).



    The right wick for taper candles

    Where taper candles are concerned, there's only one type of wick that can be used: a flat braid wick (picture 7).

    You will find all the details you need about this topic (like what wick size is best) in the article dedicated to flat braid wicks.
    You can start making taper candles using basic supplies, simple and readily available
    You can start making taper candles using basic supplies, simple and readily available

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    A second-hand asparagus steamer pan is perfect to get you started
    1A second-hand asparagus steamer pan is perfect to get you started

    Semi-professional dipping pots are generally between 20 and 60cm tall
    2Semi-professional dipping pots are generally between 20 and 60cm tall

    This electric wax melter and its two dipping pots let you use two colors at the same time
    3This electric wax melter and its two dipping pots let you use two colors at the same time

    The bottoms of the two pots must not be in direct contact with each other
    4The bottoms of the two pots must not be in direct contact with each other

    A bended electrical wire will help you handle the wicks
    5A bended electrical wire will help you handle the wicks

    Using a dipping frame, you can make up to 36 taper candles simultaneously
    6Using a dipping frame, you can make up to 36 taper candles simultaneously

    There's only one type of wick to make taper candles: the flat braid wick
    7There's only one type of wick to make taper candles: the flat braid wick

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