How to make Votive candles? (page 1: without wick pins)
Because not everyone has wick pins (yet), the first part of this article describes how to make votive candles without wick pins, or the masocgistic method.
If you do have wick pins ready, you can go directly to the second page.
Difficulty: easy (except the placement of the wick)
Time needed: about 1 hour (+ cooling)
What do you need?
6 metal votive cups (molds),
450g (1 pound) of a wax blend for votives,
6 wicks for votives,
wax dye (optional),
28 grams (1 oz) of Fragrance Oil (optional),
1 wicking needle (or an old, rather thin knitting needle),
1 oven (or a heatgun) (optional).
and of course the usual supplies: thermometer, double boiler, pouring jugs...
How to make the votives?
As usual, start by preparing all the supplies and tools you'll need during this project. On this picture, clockwise and starting on the top left: 6 metal votive cups, a bottle of Fragrance Oil, votive wicks (wax coated and tabbed), a wicking needle, 2 teaspoons of Vybar and powder dye.
Start melting your votive wax blend in the double boiler, watching the temperature constantly with a thermometer. When the temperature reaches 190░F, add the dye (optional) and the fragrance oil (optional as well) and stir thoroughly during 1 to 2 minutes to uniformly blend dye and scent into the wax.
Pour a small amount (one centimeter, 0.4in) of wax in each votive cup. This will allow you to fasten the wick and its tab in the next step.
When the wax starts to settle, it's time to anchor the wick. Use your wicking needle to push the tabbed wick to the bottom of the cups, making sure that the wick tab is correctly centered (it won't be possible to correct its position later on). Press with the needle on each side of the tab and keep pressing for a few seconds. Let the wax cool off a little (but don't let it get entirely cold or hard) before you go to the next step.
It is time now to fill the cups with hot wax. Before you start pouring, check the temperature of the wax: it should still be as close to 190░F as possible. Fill the cups to the top but don't let wax run over: the top sides of your votives would be ruined and the candles difficult to remove from their molds.
Now comes the most delicate step when one works without wick pins: make sure the wick is perfectly centered and tight!
To this effect, stay close to your votive cups and watch the surface of the wax: when it starts to congeal, pinch the wick between thumb and index finger and pull it gently upwards and lead it back towards the center of the candle. Keep it this way for a few seconds. When you let the wick go, it should remain in this position. Repeat this operation 3 to 4 times with one minute intervals.
The wax will get increasingly harder and start to shrink. To prevent the formation of large air pockets along the wick and, as a result of this, a misshapenness of the wick, use your wicking needle to poke deep holes at at least 3 different places along the wick. Use this opportunity to straighten the wick one last time but don't insist if it won't move. Never mind the aesthetics of your candles, the relief holes will be masked by the second pour we will perform in the next step.
As you can see on the picture opposite, a well appears between the sides of the cups and the wick. This is a normal reaction of the cooling wax.
To get rid this ugly well, we will now make a second pour, in other words fill the well with some more hot wax.
While the votive cups are still warm to the touch, reheat the remaining votive wax in the double boiler up to a temperature of 190░F. With caution, fill the shrinking well in every cup BUT DO NOT POUR OVER THE INITIAL LEVEL. If you go past the initial level, your votives will not only be hard to unmold, they will also feature an unsightly white line (cold line) near the top.
It is unlikely that you'll have to make a third pour. However, if a shrinking well appaears again (did you pour too hot?), repeat the previous step (a very mild well is normal and actually desirable for a votive candle; it is also almost unavoidable).
When the cups are cold to the touch (this takes anywhere between 2 and 4 hours), your votive candles are ready! Press the cups between your hands and pull gently on the wick. If the candles won't pop out on their own, don't use violence: place the cups in the fridge (NOT the freezer) during 10 to 15 minutes. Your votives will then pop out without resistance.
The goal of it all: a batch of tiny scented votive candles