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Candle molds

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Candle molds

There are three main types of candles:

  • those, like taper candles, made by dipping repeatedly a wick in liquid wax;
  • those, like container candles, made by pouring the wax in a container where it will also be burnt;
  • and those, like pillar and votive candles, obtained by pouring wax into a mold then unmolded when they have cooled off.

This last type is our point of interest in this article: there's an almost infinite variety of molds and many ways to use them.

A collection of metal molds to make different types of candles

The result: thousands of different styles and shapes of candles to be made. That is what makes candlemaking such a great hobbie and also what makes candles themselves so attractive!

Candle molds you can purchase from craft stores and on the web are usually made of:

each of these materials coming with their own advantages and disadvantages.

You can also buy candle molds made of glass but they're relatively expensive and the very material they're made of can seriously limit their life expectancy if you're not careful. Choose a metal or polycarbonate model instead.

If molds are essential tools to the candlemaker, they are also, unfortunately, quite expensive to purchase, especially if you want to get yourself a range of different shapes and heights.

However, with a little imagination and basic DIY skills, you can look around and find - primarily in the kitchen, the fridge and the garden - many items can be turned into candle molds, either for a single or for multiple uses.
To get a few ideas, see the article titled homemade molds.

Twenty years ago, I wrote...

When you're in the market for a candle mold, always remember this: it's easy to make a 4 inches candle in a 8 inches mold but it's impossible the other way around!

Whenever possible, always buy the tallest possible mold available in the shape or diameter you're looking for: the range of candles you can pour in it is much larger.

If that still holds true, I realized that making a 4 inches candle in a 12 inches mold is one huge headache: it makes wicking the mold, pouring the wax without spilling, piercing release holes and overpouring extremely difficult. So if it's true that a tall mold will accomodate short candles, I would recommend that you get your molds in two different heights if you're going to make both short and tall candles in them.

Taking care of your candle molds

Candlemaking molds, as I mentioned, can be pricey pieces of equipment. To make sure they will last for several years, it is essential to take some precautions, while you use them and also when you're finished.

All types of molds

Before you install a wick in your mold, clean the inside with a wet, lint-free cloth, dry it thoroughly with a dry cloth to remove any dust particle and allow to air dry for about ten minutes; every single grain of dust present inside the mold will translate into a tiny bubble on the surface of your candles.

Metal molds

  • when you don't use your molds, store them safely in the box they came in. If they didn't come in a box, try and find one that fits and use it. This will protect them from dust and accidental blows;
  • never hit the sides of your metal molds with a hard item to try and release air bubbles. Use the flat side of a silicone spoon or you might dent the mold and make it permanently unusable;
  • when you're done, use your heatgun and kitchen paper to clean your metal molds and remove any residual wax.

Polycarbonate (acrylic) molds

Fill a washtub with hot water (it's just a bit too hot if you hands think so too) and a little dishwashing liquid. Soak your polycarbonate molds for a couple of minutes then wipe and dry them with kitchen paper. Never pour that hot water down the drain unless you want to clog the pipes: let it cool off completely and fish out all the floating pieces of wax before you dispose of it.

Rubber, latex and silicone molds (or flexible molds)

Rubber and silicone: let the wax set then tap the mold against a hard surface to dislodge any residual wax bits. Knead the mold gently between your hands if necessary.

Latex: turn the mold inside out and wipe it with a wet cloth to remove any remaining wax.

Never use stearic acid in combination with a rubber, latex or silicone mold. As the name implies, it's an acid and it will eat away at your mold without mercy. If you need any of stearic acid's virtues, replace it with Vybar.
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