Intro: Custom Wax Candles - Using 3D Printed Molds
Create you very own fun custom candles by following the steps below, here you subject could be a thing like a toy figurine at home or could be a real human being!! I choose to use my friend as a subject here and was surprised with the details that I was able to get on the candle.
To make you custom candle you will have to follow there high level steps
- 3D scan your subject and create 3D file , in my case I use a digital camera and take pictures and then imported them to 123D catch , which does it magic of stitching the images together.
- Modify your 3D file to size you want your candle, and enhance/modify subject using 3D design software , here I use Autodesk's Meshmixer for the modification And using the brush tools in Meshmixer modified a few areas and specifically on my friends request he wanted roman nose and yes ! that wish was fulfilled.
- Create the mold, here use 123D design to subtract the subject from a box and the use netfabb to cut the repair and cut the mold
- Now you are ready to 3D print the files and add wax to the mould to create the candle.
Step 1: Taking Pictures of Your Subject and Using 123D Catch
Take pictures of you subject as shown in the fist picture above.
Once done download the 123D Catch on you computer , here you will need a windows computer(when writing this instructable 123D catch was only available for Windows)
To upload the pictures to the 123D catch cloud you will have to create and account.
Once you have your account setup , click on Create New capture , login into the account you just created and Upload the photographs.
It is now time for a break while 123D catch cloud does its magic of stitching the files together to form your 3D space !! so make you self a cup of coffee/tea.
Now use the larso tools to cut the unwanted areas in space as shown in the second picture above.
Export your file as an Obj, which you will use in the next step.
#1: Take a lot of pictures, though this will take a little more time to process using 123D catch on the cloud you will have more detailed features.
#2 : Place object arounds your subjects, here I choose to use shoes and empty bottles around my friend, this basically helps stitch images together.
#3: You can also try an use the 123D App on your smartphone, which will create a capture and them use the larso feature on your computer to remove the unwanted spaces.
Step 2: Using Meshmixer to Repair the 3D Model
Now to repair and enhance the features of your subject , use Meshmixer
Import the obj file from the previous step
Now use the Plane cut the object as shown in the picture above
Then use the make solid feature as shown in the second picture above
And finally modify the object using the various sculpt tools/brushes, here I made my friends wish come true by converting his pug nose into a roman one !!
Once you kind off satisfied with your modifications, export the file as an .STL, which you will use in the next step.
#1 Since we are going to make a candle avoid sharp and jagged edges, use the sculpting brushes to smooth out the edges.
#2 Refer to the following link for Video tutorials
Step 3: Using 123D to Subtract
Now to start creating your mold you will need to subtract the model from a box like structure , you can use your favorite 3D printing software to do this , here I choose to use 123D design which you can download from
Open 123D design and open the STL file you saved in the previous step.
Using the primitives on top insert a box, and type in the length, width and height.
Now drag the box on top of your model and use press/pull tool under the modify faces of the box as shown in the 3rd picture above to fit you model.
Here keep in mind you will have to add a wick in the candle, so keep your model slightly higher so that it leaves a hole as shown in the last picture.
Finally use the subtract tool, under the combine menu to subtract the model from the box, this will leave the mold as shown in the last picture above.
Save the file as an STL file
Tip: While your in 123D desing and creating the box you would get a feel how tall your candle will be , scale your model approximately.
Step 4: Using Netfabb to Cut the File
To cut you mold into multiple pieces use a software called netfabb, you can download the free basic version from
Import STL file you saved in the previous step in netfabb basic.
Staring by hitting the Repair as shown in the first screen shot above, this is an optional step
Once done use the cutting tool, which is on the right as shown in the second screenshot above.In my case i cut the once in the X plane and once on the Y plane.Now this may vary any you may need to cut you model a couple of more times depending on the features of the model.
Now once you execute the cut, save the save the individual STL files, in my case I have 4 STL flies which I need to print as shown in the next step.
#1 : using the Repair tool is kind of a best practice which will fix any flaws in you model and prevent the slicing software from crashing
#2 Experiment with cutting, while experimenting I started of with a single cut on the Y axis ,but as soon realized that it was difficult to get the candle out of the mold.
Step 5: 3D Print the STL Files
Now 3D print the 4 STL files that you saved from netfabb.
Download the 3D printing software that you printer supports, in my case I am using the Printrbot Simple Metal which use Repetier-Host as a software to
- Slice the STL files attached, which basically means cutting the part into various layers
- And send commands to the 3D printer while printing
In my case I am using Hatchbox Black,White 1.75mm PLA filament, and Makerbot yellow and red 1.75 mm PLA.Here I choose different colors for each part so that you can differentiate them in the pictures.
Step 6: Add the Wick and Tape the 3D Printed Files
Tape the model together with Tape
Add the wick and tape it to the model as shown in the second picture
Using a spoon hold the wick , so that you can pour the wax comfortably as shown in the next step/
Tip: Reuse the tape from you 3D printer bed.
Step 7: Adding the Wax
To head your wax use a container of hot water and add the wax to a metallic bowl as shown above.
Once the wax is melted add to the mold and then place it in the refrigerator to cool down.
If you are preparing a multicolored candle you will have to add wax and cool after each color.
Warning : Do not directly add wax to the container and heat it , the wax can catch fire..
Step 8: Removing Candle From the Mold and Enjoying Your Candle
Remove the tape around the mould after a couple of hours and carefully open the mold.
Now using the knife cut out the lines as shown in the picture above, these are caused where the two pieces of the mold meet.In my case i am using an xacto knife.
Congratulation you are done ! Now wait for it to get dark and enjoy you custom candle ...
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