There are three main types of candles:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.