Friday, October 26, 2007

Candlemaking - Final Touches

Final Tips and Tricks:

1. Thank you to the Anonymous poster for writing and telling us her experience with hot wax on her hands. She recommended wearing gloves when making candles to protect hands from burns. I find gloves cumbersome and bulky but might consider them for future projects. Third degree burns are never pleasant!

2. Wick trimming is important. Trim the wicks down to 1/4 inch prior to burning and continue to trim them after burning if the wick gets too long. Wicks that are too tall will cause smoking and high flames, which could be a fire hazard.

The photo below shows wax seepage between a first and second pour. When the wax congeals and cools, it will shrink considerably. Beeswax does not need a second top-off pour like paraffin wax does. If you try, the result is below. The wax seeped down in between the glass and the beeswax that has shrunk.

And a big thank you to Mark F. Small from "Small Bees" for his thoughtful email today. I appreciate him sharing his tips and tricks for working with spilled beeswax! Here are Mark's tips below:

1) Allow the beeswax to solidify. Ice is not necessary, especially on wooden sufaces. The water will only damage the wood.

2) Once the beeswax is hard, use a stiff plastic blade putty knife or a stiff plastic vinyl applicator (this is what we use, found in sign shops to apply vinyl letters to banners) to scrape most of the wax off of the surface. Using the stiff plastic tools suggested should not leave gouges or scratches on virtually any surface. If removed effectively there should be just a fine film of beeswax left.

3) Now break out the hair dryer or heat gun and turn it on medium to medium high. As the beeswax softens and melts use a terry cloth towel to rub the area affected. You may need to keep using different areas of the towel as it absorbs the wax. Continue until all wax is absorbed. Done!

You should experience no gouging or wax buildup if you follow this procedure. Some beekeepers do use mineral spirits for removing fine films of beeswax, but I have found the approach above to be much more effective.

Thanks Mark!