Ice Candles (Using Ice in Candle Making)
When thinking about a project using wax, I recalled about 40 years ago seeing ice cubes used in candles to make interesting textures and shapes. I took a look on the Instructables site and found several 'ibles on the process: Ice Candles, Famous Candle Ice and Cavern candle. I wanted to simplify and use only what I had around the house. So I took what I had on hand and got to work. The results were surprisingly nice.
This instructable shows how to pour wax around crushed ice in a mold to make a delicate interesting looking 'ice candle'.
Step 1: Supplies
Things that you will need:
1. Paraffin Wax (You can melt down old candles if you like)
2. A Taper Candle
3. Crushed Ice
4. Bowl to catch water (melted ice)
5. Candle Mold - I used a quart cardboard dairy carton
6. Crayon (optional) for coloring the wax
1. Double Boiler (To melt wax)
Step 2: Cut Your Carton (Mold) to Size
I used an empty cardboard dairy carton as a mold.
I had a partially used white taper candle that I wanted to use so I checked its height against the dairy carton and cut the carton off just above the candle height. Regardless of your candle length you need to cut off the top of the carton.
You can also use a commercial candle mold if you have one or purchase one, or use the cardboard carton as I did. Size your taper appropriately. The height of the finished candle will be the height of your taper or your mold, whichever is shorter.
Step 3: Mount Your Taper Candle
Some of the instructions I saw used commercial candle wicks, but it appeared that there could be issues with the ice pushing the wick around causing a 'crooked' wick. I didn't have any wick material and wanted to make sure my wick was straight, so I decided to use a taper candle down the center of the ice candle as others have done. This insures that there are no voids next to your wick from melting ice and also insures the wick is straight.
Locate the taper candle in the center of the carton. The idea is to fix the bottom of the taper candle so that it will not move around in the bottom of the carton as the ice is poured in. You can hold the top in position with your finger, but the bottom needs to be fixed in place.
You may have to cut off the bottom of the taper candle to insure a flat bottom. Place the taper candle in the carton and take the stapler and put one staple through the bottom of the carton into the taper candle to hold it in place. It might not hold the taper candle upright but will keep the bottom from moving around as the ice is put in.
Step 4: Melt Your Wax
Melt your wax. The only really safe way to melt wax is in a double boiler or a commercial candle wax melter. Do Not melt wax in a pan directly on the stove.
The boiling water in the double boiler keeps the wax temperature from going higher than the temperature of the boiling water (212F/100C). Don't let the double boiler boil dry. I have read on candle making sites that melting wax is the most dangerous part of candle making so be careful.
Do not leave the melting wax unattended. If there should be a fire treat it as if it were a grease or oil fire; Do NOT use water on the fire. Smother it with a lid, damp towel, douse it with baking soda, or use a commercial fire extinguisher.
If you want to color your wax you can use a regular crayon or a commercial colorant. I kept mine 'natural' color.
After your wax is melted you are almost ready to pour your candle.
Step 5: Fill Mold With Crushed Ice
I used crushed ice from the out-of-the-door dispenser of my refrigerator. The size of the ice ranged considerably with a lot of fine pieces and some larger chunks. I dumped the ice out on a plate and sorted out the large chunks to use and discarded the smaller pieces.
If you are using a larger mold, it may be acceptable to use ice cubes out of a tray, but using large chunks of ice can create a candle that is more air than wax and won't be very attractive or last long. My ice chunks were about 1/2 to 3/4-inch on a side.
While holding the top of the taper candle to keep it centered, fill the candle mold (cardboard carton) up to the top of the taper candle. You are now ready to pour your wax.
Step 6: Pour Wax
After your wax is melted and colored (if you desire) you are ready to pour it. Pour the wax near the center of the mold next to the taper. This reduces the amount of ice melted around the perimeter of the candle and gives a more solid core and a more attractive exterior. I actually used a disposable plastic cup as a ladle to make it easier to pour the wax.
Let the wax harden. This may take as little as 10 minutes, or longer with larger candles. The ice in the candle helps speed this process.
Step 7: Drain Water
After the candle has cooled and gained some strength you can drain off the water from the melted ice. You may even want to place it upside-down in a bowl to drain for some time.
Step 8: Peal Off Carton
After the candle has cooled enough that the wax won't be damaged you can peel off the cardboard carton (or remove the candle from the commercial mold). See all the intricate patterns the ice has left in the wax.
Step 9: Enjoy!
If the candle is still a bit soft you can allow it to cool and harden further. This will also allow additional ice to melt if it has not already done so.
Now its time to enjoy your new 'ice candle'... on your table, mantle, or as a centerpiece.
(Please, never leave a burning candle unattended - Thank you!)