The origin of candle-making can be traced back to the period of ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Before that, man used candles made of tallow, which is the solid fat extracted from animals, like sheep. It is believed that, around 3000 B.C, the ancient Egyptians started using beeswax for making candles. At that time, candles did not have wicks, which were introduced by the Romans, at a later stage.
It was during the 1850s, that paraffin wax was introduced in the process of candle making. It is a by-product of the crude-oil refining, through which petroleum is produced. Raw paraffin wax is white in color, without any taste or odor, and it has a melting point that ranges between 110°F to 150°F.
Tips to Make Paraffin Candles
Paraffin wax is one of the most preferred materials for making candles, as it is inexpensive and burns well. It can mix well with other additives, like color and scent. Paraffin wax for candle making is available in both powder form and as chunks. You may purchase either pre-colored paraffin wax or the plain one, which can be dyed. Another option is fragrance, for which, you have to add scents or essential oils. Paraffin wax with a high melting point (above 150°F) is used for making special candles, like hurricane candle shells; wax with a melting point that ranges between 130 to 150°F is used for making molded candles, votives, and pillars (candles that stand on their own). Paraffin wax with a low melting point (below 130°F) is perfect for container candles.
- In order to make paraffin candles, you need raw materials, like paraffin wax, molds, wicks, scents, and dyes. Instead of molds, you can also use glass containers or jars.
- Before melting the wax, you have to keep the containers/molds ready. The wick should be placed inside the mold or container.
- Now melt the paraffin wax in a metal pot. You can also use a double boiler, which is set around 200°F. If you have big pieces of paraffin wax, then crush them to small pieces, using a serrated knife.
- Once the wax melts, you may directly pour it into the molds (after mixing color), or transfer it to a crockpot with thermostat (set at 200°F).
- Add the color, and let it melt for another five minutes. You may also use liquid candle color, which has to be added in a ratio of half to one ounce per pound of paraffin wax.
- Once the color is mixed with the wax in an even manner, add the scent or essential oil. The amount of scent to be added is same as the amount of color.
- Stir the wax for some more minutes. You may check the temperature with a candy thermometer, so that it does not go above 390°F.
- Pour the melted wax into the molds or containers with wicks. Allow the wax to cool for around 24 hours. Once the wax hardens, you can remove the candles from the molds.
If you want a plain candle, you can avoid using colors and scents. Making paraffin candles is very easy, if you know the right method. You may also purchase candle-making kits, which contain all the materials needed for this task. Make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer. Wear a heat-resistant apron, gloves, and safety glasses, while handling molten wax.