Introduction: Custom Candles

About: My name is Thomas and I'm an architect, graphic designer and illustrator. I love designing and making new things, preferrably with a funny twist. Check out my website or socials to keep up with what Im working…
I know there are plenty 'candle-making' instructables on here already, but most of them end with rather straightforward, standard shaped candles. With this instructable I will try to give some examples of what you can do with candles to make them original, and personal!

Besides this is my first instructable, so feel free to give advice for my next one!

Step 1: Materials & Tools

For making the candles:

- candle wax, or old candles you have lying around
- 2 cooking pots/pans for melting the wax
- candle wicks, or similar strings or cords (no plastic stuff)

For making the molds:
You can use a large variety of materials for the molds, but there are some things to remember when choosing a specific material. I will describe some that I have used.

- foamboard (foam inbetween 2 layers of thin smooth cardboard), is sturdy enough not to deform when you pour the wax. makes for smooth surfaces.
- thin cardboard, can be both smooth or rough, texture will reflect on the candle surface.
IMPORTANT! thin cardboard can bend inwards while the wax is cooling (and shrinking)!
- a hobby knife to cut the materials
- glue, hobby glue or any woodglue will do
- masking tape to hold the mold in place while the glue dries

Step 2: Designing Your Candles & Molds

When you have all the materials and tools, you can start to design your candles. For a good result it is important to know how you are going to pour the wax into the mold, and how you're going to remove the candle from it when it's dry.

Pouring from the top or bottom of the candle is the easiest way to insert the wick, because it can simply hang in the wax. If your design requires you to pour from the side (see image) you need to think about how to insert the wick and keep it steady while the wax dries!

In my examples I used 1-time molds, that can't be re-used. If you use a more solid material, such as wood, MDF, or plexiglass, you can probably shake the candle out of it without ruining the mold.

Step 3: Building the Mold

Now it's time to build the mold. Cutting and glueing probably has its own instructable, so I will refrain to some important hints and tips:

- make sure the mold is sturdy enough to withstand the pressure from the wax (in case you want to make a large candle with a thin cardboard mold)
- make sure to glue the entire length of the mold's edge to prevent any leaks
- insert the wick and make sure it's hanging/standing straight and vertical

Step 4: Melting the Wax

While your mold is drying, you can melt the wax. Either from ready-made candlewax bought in a hobbystore, or from old candles and scrap candle wax.

IMPORTANT! Never leave the wax unattended while melting! Always use a double-boiler or 2 pots to melt the wax. Set the fire to low and wait for the wax to melt.

If necessary, pull out the wicks with a stick or some old scissors.

You can turn off the fire when the wax is almost completely melted. The final pieces will melt in the hot wax.

Step 5: Pouring the Wax

Make sure the glue is dry and the mold is sturdy before you pour the wax in. Take the wax from off the fire and slowly pour the wax.

If you make 2-colored candles, mark the cardboard halfway.
In my design, I put in the wick after the first layer (color) had cooled. To make sure the wick stayed in shape, I put it in the molten wax and shaped it on my design while it cooled.

When pouring mutiple layers of wax, make sure the previous one has cooled completely.

Step 6: Let the Wax Harden

Now put your mold with the hot wax in the fridge, or outside if you're living in Holland...

The wax should be hard after a couple of hours, but put it in overnight to be sure before you remove the mold.

Step 7: Remove the Mold

When the wax has fully hardened, you can gently remove the mold. Be careful with sharp edges, so you don't break off the wax.

Try to move the cardboard or foam, to see if it will come loose by itself. Then slowly break it off.

NOTE! I will never again make a candle with holes as small as the one below. The cardboard was extremely difficult to get out of the candle. Maybe if you use smoother material or something sturdy you can yank out it will work out better...

Step 8: Enjoy Your Custom Candles!

If necessary remove some waste wax or smooth edges, and then simply admire your work!

I hope this instructable helps to inspire people to make their own design candles, and I would like to see the results if you make some!