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Dinner candles set in mould
There are many different methods for making candles, depending on the shape, size, colour or scent which you wish to achieve in the finished product. One of the most common shapes of candle is the pillar, which can be made through the use of moulds or by repeatedly dipping the wick in hot wax. At Connemara Candles, we mostly use moulds of different shapes and sizes to produce our candles. We also use a large mechanical mould to make many dinner candles at once.

The most important ingredient in any candle is the wax and there are many varieties to choose from, each with its own properties. We use a very high quality paraffin wax, which results in better and safer candles.

 

Preparing the wax:

The required amount of wax chips are placed in a melting pot and placed on the stove. Melting the chips and attaining the correct temperature has to be done carefully so as not to burn the wax or cause a fire. When the wax has melted, dye and/or scents may be added as required. A small amount of stearic acid is added which enhances the opacity of the finished candle, resulting in more vivid colours. Once the wax has reached the correct temperature (80-85oC 175-185oF for pillar candles), it will be transferred into a pouring vessel to make filling the moulds easier.

Preparing the moulds:

Mould with wick
Firstly, an appropriately sized wick must be selected for the size of the candle. The diameter of the wick will affect burning time and the safety of the candle. The wick is threaded through a small hole in the bottom of the mould and secured; this becomes the wick at the top of the finished candle. The other end of the wick is tied securely across the top of the mould so as to keep it in place until the wax has fully cooled.

Pouring the wax:

When the molten wax has reached the correct temperature, it is poured into the moulds to the required depth. Wax shrinks in volume by a small amount as it cools, creating a vacuum. With smaller candles, this results in a small depression in the level of wax at the top of the mould. With larger candles however, the wax can solidify at the top of the mould, so when the main body of wax cools, air cavities can occur within the candle. In order to prevent this, air vents have to be made in the candle to accommodate the natural shrinkage of wax as it cools. The candle is then left to cool completely. The time taken to cool, will vary depending on the volume and shape of the candle and other factors. A large pillar candle will take several hours.

Re-pouring the wax:

When the candle has fully cooled, additional wax is pored into the mould to compensate for the natural shrinkage of cooling wax; this is known as the re-pour. Wax remaining from the first pouring is re-heated to a slightly hotter temperature than for the first pouring. This higher temperature aids the solid wax and liquid wax form into one solid mass with no boundary. The candle is then left to cool completely before removing it from the mould and trimming the wick.

Hand painting:

Hand painting the candles

A small volume of our candles are individually hand pained. There is a variety of patterns to choose from including: Butterflies, Ivy, Tulips and Shamrocks. Coloured wax is used to provide the colours.


© Connemara Candles 2005 - 2009