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Make a Candle "Dripless"

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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.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: From no time at all to 30 minutes.

Here's How:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

Tips:

  1. The best way to reduce the dripping of your candles is to have the proper balance of wick and wax. Test. Test. Test.
  2. 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
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