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How To Make Votive Candles


A step by step guide to making perfect votive candles!
©1999 - 2008 Cajun's Candle & Soap Making Supplies

how to make votive candles

We highly recommend that you begin your candle making adventure by reading our "How to Make Candles " section of this web site. It's a great section with plenty of tips and tricks that will save you money, time and lots of frustration with your candle making hobby.

You'll also want to read our "Beginner's Guide To Candle Making" before you continue with these step-by-step votive instructions. You will get a better understanding of the terms used in our step by step candle making instructions if you take the time to read these two helpful guides.

Step by Step Votive Candle Making Instructions:

1) Melt your wax. Regulate the wax temperature with a reliable thermometer so that it remains constantly between 170 - 185 degrees.

While your wax is melting make sure your votive molds are clean, if you are using votive wick pins, drop a wick pin in each mold. Wick pins are not a necessary to make votives, they just help you have a perfectly centered wick on every candle every time. If you don't have wick pins, skip this step.

2) Add any necessary additives. Your additives will depend on the wax you are using. If you are using wax from Cajun's Candle Supplies you won't need to add any additives because our votive candle wax is formulated especially for making votive candles and it already has the necessary additives. However, if your candles will be exposed to sunlight, florescent lighting, or any other lighting that produces ultra violet rays you may want to consider adding a U-V inhibitor to protect the color of your candles. Ultra violet rays will quickly fade your candle color.

3) Now you're ready to add your candle dye. Only use a dye formulated for the purpose of coloring candle wax. Do not use crayons, paint, etc., the pigments in those products will clog your wick and the flame will eventually go out. Do not use food coloring or soap making dye in your candles. Those dyes are water based and will damage your candle and wax. The candle dye from Cajun's Candle Supplies is very concentrated and only takes a few drops to get a brilliant color. Add your dye slowly, you can always add more but you can't remove it once it's in the wax. Be sure to stir your dye in the wax for 2 full minutes so the wax and dye can bind properly together. For stirring, we recommend using a wire wisk, we have found this does a superior job of binding ingredients and/or additives with the wax. We have a color chart so you can view the color we recommend for each candle fragrance.

4) Add your fragrance oil. You will also need to be sure you stir the fragrance oil in the wax for 2 full minutes. Use the wire wisk, it will help bind your fragrance oil evenly throughout the wax so that the fragrance is evenly distributed. Your wax temperature should be no lower than 165 degrees when you add your fragrance oil and no higher than 185 degrees. If your wax is too cool, the fragrance oil will not bind with the wax. If the wax is too hot, you will burn off most of your fragrance and your candle will not be very strong.

5) Now you're ready to pour your votives! Using a pour pot (a pyrex measuring cup works great also) fill each votive mold all the way to the top. (note: it works best if you slightly heat the pour pot before dipping it into the melted wax, this prevents the wax from hardening on your pour pot.) FYI: If you are melting 1 LB of wax, you will make 8 votives. 1.5 LBS of wax will produce a dozen votives and so on. Before your pour wax into them, I recommend that you heat your votive molds to about 150 degrees. If you pour into a cold mold you will see what is called drag lines along the sides of your votives once they are finished. You can keep them in the oven on keep warm until right before you pour your votives. After you fill the molds you will have some wax left over. You will use this wax later for your second pour. Turn the heat way down, or off, to the wax while your votives cool down.

6) If you use wick pins skip this step. If you don't use wick pins wait until a thin skin develops on the top of your votives as they cool. Once that happens have some wicks ready and center a wick the best you can in each mold. Holding a wick at the very tip, push the wick past the soft skin developing on the candle to the bottom of the mold. Center the wick and allow the candle to finish hardening.

7) If your work with relief holes, make your relief holes about 45 minutes after your first pour. Personally, I don't make relief holes in votives. A relief hold is simply a hole you make in your candle close to the wick that will relieve any air bubbles that might be trapped in your candle. I do use relief holes for container and pillar candles, but I haven't had a problem with votives so I skip this step.

8) Once your votives are completely cool to the touch, it's time to do your second pour. You'll notice that a crevice has developed in the middle of your votives. Wax shrinks as it cools, thus the need for a second pour. Heat up your left over wax to about 10 degrees hotter than what your first pour was. This higher temperature allows your 2 pours to bind together properly. Be sure you stir your wax a couple of minutes again. Once you are at the proper temperature fill each votive again all the way to the top of the mold. If you don't wait long enough before you do the second pour your candles will have a nipple effect on top once they cool. If you waited long enough, and you poured at the correct temperature your candles will have a nice smooth top all the way across once they cool.

9) About an hour and a half after your second pour your votive should be ready to come out of the molds! If you have a hard time removing your candle from the molds, put them in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes and they'll release right away. Sometimes you have to do this with new molds, once your molds are broken in you shouldn't have this problem. If you've used wick pins simply pull the votive straight out of the mold by pulling gently on the tip of the wick pin. If you didn't use wick pins, use the tip of the wick to remove your votive candle.

The following steps only pertain if you are using wick pins.

10) Once you have the candles out of the molds, remove the wick pins. Turn the candle upside down, press the wick pin against the table while gently pushing the candle downwards. This should loosen the wick pin enough so that you can remove it from the candle easily.

11) Now you're ready to wick your perfect votive! Simply take a votive wick and push it thru your votive from the bottom. You'll notice that the wick doesn't stay put, it tends to fall out. We're going to fix that. This step is important, you'll need a pencil and a small flame, either from another candle, a lighter, a mini propane torch, etc. Now, insert the wick only about HALF way into the candle, with a flame get the wick tab (bottom of the wick) hot, then use the pencil to push the wick tab up against the bottom of the votive. The heat on the metal tab instantly melts enough wax to hold the wick in place for the life of the votive. Congratulations, you've made perfect votives!

You must be thinking...wow, all this just to make a little votive? I know it sounds like a lot to do but once you get a system down it'll go really fast. I wish you the best in making your votive candles. I really want to know how your votives turn out and I'd love to hear feedback from your regarding these instructions. Should you have any comments or questions, don't hesitate to email me anytime (mike@cajuncandles.com). If there is anything we can do to make your candle making experience easier or anything else we can do... just ask!

Now, look around you. Quite a mess you have, isn't it? The most frequently asked question I get in my email by far is how to clean up the messy wax spills and utensils after making candles. You can find all the clean-up answers by visiting the candle clean-up section of our website.


How To Make Candles - Candle Making Instructions:

Getting Started - How To Make Candles

How to make container candles

How to make freedom (pillar) candles

How to make 1oo% soy votive candles

How to make 1oo% soy container candles

How to make scented aroma beads


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