I had an email question recently asking how to make candles “dripless”. Mostly this would apply to taper candles, that are in a taper holder or candelabra. (Because I certainly hope you aren’t burning your votives or pillars without a plate underneath them!!) But you can try to make almost any molded candle dripless.
There are a couple of ways to approach this.
Time Required: From no time at all to 30 minutes.
- First, in order for a candle to be dripless, one of two things must happen:
- The wick must consume ALL of the melted wax before it has a chance to drip over the edge. OR
- The candle must melt down the middle only, leaving a hollow rim/tube to hold all of the melted wax.
- To accomplish #1 (the wick consuming ALL of the wax), you have to find the perfect combination of wick and wax. Virtually any candle can be dripless if it is completely in “balance” – that is, the wick is exactly the right size for the wax and mold used. The only way to assure this is to test test test!
- To do #2 (burning down the middle only), you have to overdip the candle. This is most often and easily done with hand-dipped tapers, but you could do it with a pillar or other round shaped candle. (A square or oddly shaped candle is never going to burn perfectly evenly.)
- Basically, you make the candle (whether hand dipped or molded) in normal wax with a melt point of 135°-145°. Most of your taper and pillar blend waxes will fall in this range. When the candle is cool, you can overdip it.
- There are two ways to "overdip." Either use a pre-blended “hurricane” or “overdip” wax, which will have a high melt point of 160°-170°, or (my preference) use a wax additive like Translucent Crystals which will effectively increase the melt point of your wax.
- If there is room in your melt pot to dip the entire candle in, you can keep it there. Otherwise, you will need to improvise a "dipping vat." I often use the tall tin cans that juice come in. You can color the wax if you like. Indeed, some people will overdip a white candle in a boldly colored overdip wax. This is a great effect.
- Quickly dip the candle in the wax 3-4 times, waiting a minute or two in between dips. The more times you dip, the thicker the outer edge/rim will be. This dipping creates a higher temp melting “shell” around the candle that will allow the middle of the candle to melt first and leave the outside unmelted.
- The best way to reduce the dripping of your candles is to have the proper balance of wick and wax. Test. Test. Test.
- I've also heard that some people submerge/soak their candles in salt water (2 tbs. salt to 2 cups water) for 24 hours prior to burning. I've seen pretty amazing results by doing this. I don't understand just WHY it works...but it does.
What You Need
- Standard Melt-point (135°-145°) wax - pillar or taper blend
- High Melt-point (160°-165°) hurricane or Translucent Crystals
- A dipping vat - something to completely dip the candle into