Welcome to the amazing and scary town of Halloween! Let's take this opportunity to discover a new technique that will open the door to a world of possibilities: the balloon candle.
The idea is simple: dip a balloon filled with cold water in paraffin wax and create a shell that you can use as a container.
Once you've got yourself a shell, give it (threatening) eyes and a (grimacing) mouth, wick it and fill it with a Container wax blend.
and of course the usual supplies: double boiler, melting pots...
This method requires that you repeatedly dip a balloon filled with water in hot paraffin wax. In most cases, the cold water you used to fill the balloon is enough to prevent the balloon from popping under the effect of the hot wax.
Nonetheless, it is not excluded that your balloon might pop, sending hot paraffin wax and water pretty much everywhere around. For the first dips at least, I would recommend you wear rubber gloves and safety eyewear (both items are readily available in any DIY store).
As always, start by making sure you have plenty of room on your work surface and gather all the tools and supplies you will need for this project.
The melting pot you will use to make the shell needs to be large and deep enough for the balloon to fit without touching the sides at any time. Don't forget that the balloon will get larger as the wax layers build up.
Also, do not fill the melting pot too much. Remember that the level of the wax will raise significantly when you dip the balloon, the last thing you want is for the wax to overflow.
From the start, dip a thermometer in the melting wax. When the was has melted entirely, add black dye and stir thoroughly.
Slowly fill the balloon with cold water at the tap until it reaches the size you want your shell to be. Remember that the balloon must not touch the sides of the melting pot when you dip it later.
Gently remove the balloon from the tap and make a tight knot like you would if it was just filled with air. To increase your chances of not making a mess, put the balloon in the freezer for no more than ten minutes. This will ensure the temperature of the water is low enough to counterbalance the temperature of the wax. Leave the balloon in the fridge until it's time to start dipping.
For the very first dip, don't forget to wear gloves and protective eyewear.
Your dipping gesture should be calm and steady. Try to dip the balloon in and pull it out of the wax at the same speed to avoid lines and irregularities on the surface of the shell.
Make sure the temperature of the wax is close to 167°F. Any hotter and layers will not build up; any colder and the surface of your shell won't be smooth and look lumpy.
Dip the balloon in the back colored wax until there's only 1 centimeter of rubber visible under the knot. Wait one second, steadily remove the balloon from the wax and immediately dip it in the bucket of cold water to quickly cool down the wax and the rubber skin of the balloon.
Before you dip the balloon a second time, wipe it down with some kitchen paper but be VERY gentle, the first layer of wax is extremely fragile. Keep in mind that any tiny droplet of water left on the balloon will result in a bubble on the surface of the shell.
For the following layers, repeat the following steps: dip the balloon like you did the first time and always wait one second before you pull it out again. Do not use the cold water bucket anymore. Let the new layer of was cool down for about 5 minutes then dip again. As the layers build up and the shell gets thicker, you may have to increase the amount of time between dips. If you notice that the shell doesn't get thicker, check the wax temperature (it should constantly remain as close to 167°F as possible) and wait longer between dips.
A dozen of dips are necessary before the shell is thick enough to withstand the temperature of the Container blend you will pour inside it later.
Before you proceed to the last dip, bring the temperature of the wax to 185°F and, once you've dipped the balloon one last time, place it in the bucket of cold water and leave it there to cool down.
When the shell is hard, make a small cut in the neck of the balloon and let all the water it contains run out.
When done, remove the balloon itself from the shell.
With a sharp knife that you can, if necessary, dip in boiling water first, cut out the top part of the shell to widen its opening.
Using the same method, carve a pair of sarcastic eyes and a nearly toothless and slightly threatening smile. Be careful when you do that as it's easy to cut too deep and ruin your shell. Try and carve through a maximum of 3 layers of wax at a time and repeat as many times as needed to cut through all the layers.
Now place the shell on a small container (like a votive mold or an empty roll of toilet paper) so that it remains straight up during the next steps.
From the outside, plug the eyes and the mouth with a generous amount of mold sealer. It is crucial that the shell is completely sealed for the next step that will consist of setting up a wick and fill the shell with a Container wax blend.
Melt enough Container wax to fill the shell completely. Better make a little too much than too little: you would rather have some left than have to make some extra in a hurry. Color it in a nice blood red shade or any other color you fancy.
Remove the melting pot from the double boiler, let the temperature of the wax drop to 149°F and pour a small amount inside the shell. Immediately put the wick in place (use a wicking needle to push the wick tab gainst the bottom of the shell while the wax sets). When cold, the wax should keep the wick in place strongly enough for you to keep it straight with the wick holder.
It is better to fill the shell in multiple steps to prevent it from losing its shape because of the temperature of the Container wax. Pour about two centimeters of wax and let it cool down for about 20 minutes. Repeat until the shell is filled up to one centimeter from the brim. During all that time, try and keep the Container wax at a temperature as close to 149°F as possible.
Let the wax inside the shell cool down even more and fill any sink hole that may appear.
When the candle has cooled off completely, place it in the fridge for half an hour: this will help you remove all that mold sealer without leaving much of a trace.
Trim the wick to a length of about one centimeter.
Flatten the top of the candle by gently rubbing it against a hot plate, for instance an aluminum tray placed on your hot plate.
In the same manner, flatten the base of the candle to allow it to stand up straight without any help.
There there! Your bleeding Halloween candle is done.
If you intend on burning your candle, make sure you first let it settle for at least 48 hours (as you would do with any other container candle).
Before you light it, place it on a large plate: when the level of the wax inside reaches the eyes of the shell, you candle will bleed through the eyes and release hot red wax everywhere on the surface you placed it on. And again when it reaches the mouth. It's a Halloween candle for a reason!