Making candles today

I know that apparently what we do here is computer type stuff.  At least that is what this site seems to indicate it is.  But today we were busy making candles.

At first I was just going to make the ones that I would get from the wax that had been prepared, but needed to be melted to be able to pour into the moulds.  Then I decided that I was going to actually prepare another batch of wax, this time about twice the amount.  With that second amount of wax ready to go, I decided that I might as well pour some candles from it.

The first batch of candles started with wax which had been prepared from ~400g of wax with some very dirty bits of wax I knew I was putting in when I put it in.  I prepared that somewhat differently than I really wanted to do the next batch.

The preparation of the first batch started with melting the wax, and adding the “release” to the wax.  But as I said, I knew some of the wax was really “dirty” and that meant I would need to clean the wax before turning it into candles.

By adding the release to the total amount of wax, then cleaning the wax, I ended up with a bunch of dirty wax, which had the “right amount of release in it.”   Well, if the wax I was using was paraffin wax it would have been the right amount of release.  With using beeswax, I found out that it needs about 3-4 times as much release to work properly.

So, with that melted wax, and the release, I cleaned the wax.  It almost does the cleaning automatically.  You don’t need to run it through fancy filters, or anything like that.  You melt the wax.  And so far I have found the stuff you want to remove from the wax, just drops to the bottom of the pot.

If you have a nice low heat, and make sure everything melts, then leave it in the water, you end up with a nice product (that really is too hot to handle at that point).  With the slow cooling, and the low initial heat, the wax separates very nicely.

I have always ended up with a very nice layer on the top of very clear wax.  It is almost white when I start to separate the clean wax from the dirty wax.  This often still has hot molten wax underneath it.    Molten beeswax is very hot.  I have had stuff that has started to solidify (mushy state, not just bits of solids) which has been really hot.  Don’t (if you are smart) touch the molten wax…

Now as I work down through the different layers of the wax, I usually have at least 2/3 of the wax ending up pretty much free of any debris.  Then I start to get into the last bit of it, which at the top is getting a bit of debris, which I have decided is probably OK.  To the bottom which is anywhere from very dark brown, to light clay coloured.

When I end up with really dirty wax like the first batch started out with (some was partially burt candles), I can have a lot of wax that ends up being so dirty I want to throw it out.  Being as thrifty as I am, I know I can recover some good wax even from the most dirty wax.  I think if I took stuff that looks mostly black, with little bits of clear wax, there is a good chance I can get at least 10% of that in decently clean wax.  Most likely more than that.  And if I want to clean stuff that has become really, really dirty, I have found I can actually clean it quite well by melting the wax straight on water.  The dirt separates even further from the wax that way.  But you have to be careful with the resultant wax, and if making candle make sure you get any water that got in the wax out before putting into candles.

So, with this first batch looking like it is doing OK, and getting decent candles from it (one “cupless tealight” which is dirtier than I would really like), I moved on to getting a new batch of wax going.

I tried to get enough wax to do twice the amount of candles (I got 6 candles plus that last “cupless tealight” out of the first batch), so measured out ~800 grams of wax, and started melting it.

With looking at the wax as I was putting it into the pot, I felt that some of it was dirty enough that I wanted to make sure I cleaned the wax before pouring the candles.  I felt it was better to wait for the release to be added to the clean wax, rather than add it before cleaning it.

This time the wax was quite a lot cleaner than the previous time.  This wax was prepared to be used as is.  I just felt I could get it enough better to make it worth it (largely because all the dirty stuff tends to be on the bottom of the pot when I start pouring, which means rather than being evenly distributed it ends up being pretty distinct).

With getting the wax cleaned, I ended up with a small amount of wax that I felt would go into the “dirty wax bin”, and a bit on the bottom of the bowl, that I cleaned up easily.

The second batch of candles came out very clear from the first to the last candle.  I think part of the reason for this is because I ran out of moulds before I ran out of wax.  So the bottom of the wax I was pouring ended up staying in the bottom of the melting bowl.

The second set of candles ended up not quite to my liking still because I think two factors.  Without cleaning the moulds, and the wick pins, the wicks ended up “crooked” in a number of them.  And because I was removing the wick pins while the wax was quite soft, I ended up having most the bottoms, and some of the sides distorted.  Still…  They are OK.  I think there are about 6 which I will be able to put up for sale.

There really was a lot of learning with doing this.  Which is absolutely fabulous.

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