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Gel Candle Books
How to make gel candles
How to make gel candles
Gel candles have become more popular over recent years due to the fact that they are unusual and look very pretty. Gel candles are great fun to make and can be very decorative in your home. These types of candles are quite popular because they light really easily and do not blow out as easily as paraffin wax candles. They tend to burn a lot more slowly than other types of candles so they can give your room a wonderful atmosphere for much longer.
The materials needed to make gel candles are fairly cheap to buy compared to other types of candles and gel candles are really easy to create and decorate. Like most other candles during the creation process, it is possible to add scents to the candles so that you can not only have your house looking pretty in flickering candlelight but also smell really pretty. There are several items that you will need in order to make gel candles and those items include candle gel to make the body of the candle and some zinc wicks (zinc wicks will not absorb the gel-like cotton wicks will) to light the candle. If you want you can also pick up some scented oils to give the candle a wonderful scent and some colourful dyes to give them a bright colour. The scent and the dye are completely optional as some people prefer the gel candles that they make to be clear. It is all a matter of personal taste. All of the materials that you will need to make these gel candles are readily available from your local craft shop or from various online stores.
Gel candles are made of a gel substance so once you melt the gel down you will need to have some sort of container or candle holder ready at hand. The most popular type of gel candle holders tends to be made of glass. Glass holder tends to give the best effects because you can see straight through them to the candle inside. To be perfectly honest what you put your gel candle in will not really matter. It is important that the candle holder be made from non-flammable materials though because you don't want the candle holder to be set alight by the candle. I have met a few candle makers who specialise in making gel candles and they have been known to put their candles in things like vases, ceramic bowls, and wine glasses and shot glasses.
If you wish to decorate and add colour to your candles you can use dyes to give the candle some colour but there are other ways of adding colour to your candle if you so wish. Some of the most popular materials for decorating gel candles include glitter, coloured sand and small seashells. Basically, you can add to the candle mixture any material that looks pretty and won't burn or melt.
When making your gels candles you will definitely need to get hold of a glue gun. The glue gun will be used to stick your wick to the bottom of your candles holder. Measure the width and depth of your candle holder so that you can mark the central spot where you are going to stick your wick. Then you will have to hold the wick in place for several minutes once you have glued it so that the glue is dry and the wick will not move. The length of the wick needs to be more than the depth of the holder so that a little of it sticks out above the holder. This is the part of the wick that will be lit when you first use your candle. I don’t matter if the wick is quite a lot longer than the container as you can always trim it down to size later.
When it comes to melting the gel it is best to cut the gel up into cubes or small strips so that it melts quicker and more evenly. To prevent the gel from burning or scorching it is always best to use a double boiler to melt the gel. To create the perfect gel candle you should heat it to 200*F. Any higher than 200*F and the finished candle will have lost the beautiful glossy effect. If it is lower than 200*F then the end result will be that the candle will not set properly.
When adding colour and decorations to your candle you must add them slowly otherwise you will risk clumping, or the colour is concentrated in particular areas. If you are using a dye to colour your candle you do not need to add much dye when compared to wax candles because the gel shows up colours more vividly. Pour a few drops of the colour into the melted wax whilst stirring slowly to combine the wax and the dye. If the colour isn't the way you want it you can keep adding more until you are happy just make sure you add it slowly. If you are going to add pretty stones or glitter to your candle it is best to make sure that the colour you are adding is light.
If you have decided to add scent to the candle then you should add that last. You will only need about 2 drops of scented oil for each of your gel candles. Any more than that and the scent of the candle when alight may become a little overpowering. I made the mistake of adding too much oil and when I lit the candle the smell was so strong it actually induced gagging.
Before decanting your gel into its container it is always a good idea to microwave the holder for about 1 minute. The reason that microwaving the container is a good idea is that it will warm the container up so that when the gel is poured into it doesn't begin to cool instantly causing bubbles around the edges. Once you have heated the container up in the microwave you can now add your glitter or your stones or seashells to the container. It is a good idea to dip the pretty stones or whatever in some hot wax then put them in the container. This will help the stones and things stick to the sides of the container. Arrange the items in a pretty way and this will give your candle a personalised touch. The gel must stay hot when you messing around with the stones and the container do not allow it to cool. If you have allowed the gel to cool slightly whilst you have been decorating the container then you risk clumps forming in the gel.
Make sure that when you are pouring the gel into the container that the wick stays above the top of the container. If it drops into the melted gel it will be a nightmare to get it back out again. When the gel cools it will begin to set. When it has fully set you can trim the wick to whatever size you think is best for you.
As you can see it is fun and easy to make gel candles. Gel candles make excellent presents for your loved ones. Or if you get really good at it you can start selling your gel candles and turn your hobby into a profit-making machine.
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Fabrizio Martellucci from London, United Kingdom on November 16, 2011:
I've voted up as it's something I'd like to be able to make. Great article.
Mike B. on November 15, 2011:
Very informative article. Also remember that with gel candles, make sure the scent you use has a higher flash point. The scents that are typically used in paraffin wax candles do not have a high enough flash point. Gel candles burn slower AND hotter.