Gel candles are wildly popular, and with good reason! Their warm glow and unique look are unmatched by any type of candle made from regular wax. The gel used to make these gorgeous candles is extremely versatile, allowing you to come up with all kinds of new and interesting candle designs.
To make basic gel candles, you'll need the following equipment and supplies:
- Large glass or Pyrex measuring cup with open-ended handle
- Metal spoons
- Large cooking pot
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Toothpicks (if using liquid dye)
- Glass containers to hold the finished candle (heavy glass that can withstand the heat of the candle should be used, otherwise it could shatter)
- Thermometer (a candy thermometer will work just fine)
- Clear candle gel (only use high-quality gel, such as Penreco brand)
- Candle scent (make sure scent is approved for gel candles, which burn hotter than wax candles - your scent should have a minimum flashpoint of 170 degrees)
- Candle dye/color
- Pre-tabbed candle wicks
- Fill the cooking pot about halfway full with water. Place the pot on the stove and heat the water until simmering. Meanwhile, cut off the amount of candle gel you will need to fill your containers. Place gel in the glass or Pyrex measuring cup.
If using solid dye, cut off tiny slivers of the dye so that it is ready to add to the melted gel. A little bit of dye goes a very long way, so make sure your chunks aren't too big.
Place the measuring cup containing the candle gel into the pot of simmering water. Place the thermometer inside the measuring cup. Heat the gel until it reaches about 225 degrees, stirring only occasionally. Too much stirring will cause extra bubbles to form in the gel.
While the gel is melting, make sure that your glass containers are clean and free of dust. Dip the tab end of your wicks into the melting candle gel and place in the bottom center of each container. Hold in place for a few minutes to allow the gel to set and adhere the wick in place.
When the gel reaches 225 degrees, remove the measuring cup from the pot (using oven mitts - the handle will be hot!) and add your fragrance and dye. If using liquid dye, dip a toothpick into the color and stir it into the gel. Repeat this procedure until you get your desired shade. If you're using solid dye, add a tiny bit at a time, until you get the result you want. Add your fragrance a few drops at a time until the scent is strong enough.
Stir the gel to make sure that all of the scent and color has been evenly distributed. If your melted gel begins to set and harden before you're ready to pour, return the measuring cup to the hot water and let it sit for a couple of minutes to soften up again.
Pour the melted, scented, and colored candle gel into your prepared containers. Pour slowly and evenly, and leave about half an inch of headspace at the top of the candle.
Set your candles aside to allow the gel to cool and harden. This generally doesn't take very long, depending on the size of the finished candle.
When the candles have set completely, trim the wick to about half an inch above the top of the candle.
That's it! You're ready to burn your new, beautiful gel candles and enjoy the warmth of their glow. Gel candles make wonderful gifts for almost any occasion, and they sell really well at craft fairs and sales. Use your imagination to come up with various types of containers, with matching scents and colors.