Most pre-made candles come in one colour, but you can make more elaborate colour patterns when you make your own. Create hand-dipped candles in colourful rainbow shades to add a designer touch to your home or table centrepiece. Over-dipping with multiple coloured waxes will give your candle the appearance of a rainbow, with each layer a different colour. You can use this technique to make candles with the colours of the rainbow or with any colours you choose.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 1.81kg. paraffin wax (60 degrees C melting point)
- 20 tbsp stearic acid
- Candle wick (18 ply flat braid)
- Dual taper dipper
- 4 dipping vats
- Double boiler
- 3 to 4 tsp. Red pigment dye
- 3 to 4 tsp. Yellow pigment dye
- 3 to 4 tsp. Blue pigment dye
- Candle thermometer
- Craft knife
Place 0.454kg. of wax in a dipping vat and put the vat into the double boiler. Heat the wax until it melts, then add 5 tbsp stearic acid and stir well. Check the temperature with a candle thermometer and continue to heat the wax until the temperature reads between 65.6 and 71.1 degrees Celsius. Reduce the heat of the stove to maintain this temperature.
Calculate the length of your wick. Choose the desired size of your finished candles, which must be less than the height of the dipping vat. Double this number since you will be making 2 candles of equal height. Now add 4 to 6 inches to the total length of wick (accounting for 2 candles) to allow for the length of the dual taper dipper between the two candles. Cut the length of wick you have calculated and drape it through your dual taper dipper, ensuring you keep both sides of the dipper equal to produce two equal-sized candles. Tie washers to each end of each wick to weigh the candles down for dipping.
Dip the dual taper dipper into the pot of wax up to 1/2-to-3/4-inch from the top of the wicks hanging from the dipper. Leave it in the hot wax for 30 seconds, then remove it, wait 5 to 6 seconds, and re-dip for 5 seconds. Continue to remove the wicks for 5 seconds at a time and dip for 5 seconds at a time. After every fifth dip, hang the tapers to cool for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat this process until you obtain the desired thickness of your candle, usually between 1/2-to-3/4 inches in diameter.
Hang your tapers to dry by the hook of the dipper for 3 to 5 minutes. Cut the washers off of the bottoms of the candles with a craft knife and put them aside to use again.
Add more wax to your dipping vat and melt it (sitting in the double boiler). Depending on how much wax you add, add stearic acid in the amount of 5 tbsp for every 0.454kg. of wax. Stir the wax and stearic acid. Continue to heat the wax until the temperature reaches 85 degrees Celsius. Add 1 to 2 tsp red pigment dye to the wax, depending on your colour preference, and stir it thoroughly to disperse the pigment particles throughout the wax. Reduce heat until the temperature of the wax reaches between 150 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fill another dipping vat with water to make a bath to cool your candles between dips.
Dip the candles, still hanging from the dual taper dipper, all the way into the red wax, holding the first dip for 15 to 20 seconds. Immediately dip the candle in the water bath. Dry the water off of the candle and re-dip for 5 seconds. Dip back into the water bath and hang the candles to dry. If you do not have the desired colour of red you wish, you can re-dip the candles in the red wax one more time for 5 seconds, then dip in the water bath and hang to dry.
Reheat the red wax in the dipping vat (over the double boiler) to 85 degrees Celsius. Add 1/2 tsp yellow pigment dye to the wax and stir to create an orange wax. If the colour remains too red, add another 1/2 tsp yellow pigment and stir. Add the pigment until you reach the desired shade of orange. Reduce the heat and wait until the temperature of the wax reaches between 150 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dip the candles 5/6 of the way up to the top of the candle, leaving 1/6 of the top of the candle red and the rest submerged in the orange wax. Let the candles sit in the hot wax for 10 seconds, then dip in the water bath. Dry the candles then re-dip them in the orange wax, again 5/6 of the way up for 5 seconds, then dip in the water bath and hang them to dry. You can dip one more time in the orange wax if you want a deeper orange colour, then dip in the water bath and hang to dry.
Remove the vat of orange wax from the double boiler and set it aside to use for another batch of candles. Put a new dipping vat in the double boiler with 0.454kg. of wax and heat until melted. Add 5 tbsp stearic acid to the melted wax and heat until the temperature reaches 85 degrees Celsius. Mix in 1 to 2 tsp of yellow pigment dye and stir until you disperse all of the colour into the wax. Reduce the heat and wait for the temperature of the wax to reach between 150 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dip the candles into the yellow wax about 2/3 of the way up the candles, allowing a ring of red at the top and a ring of orange under that to show. Hold the candles in the yellow wax for 10 seconds, then dip in the water bath. Dry the candles and re-dip in the wax for 5 seconds, followed by the water bath. Re-dip if desired one more time, dip in the water bath and hang the candles to dry.
Heat the yellow wax in the dipping vat, still in the double boiler, back up to 85 degrees Celsius and add 1/2 tsp blue pigment to it. Stir and add 1/2 tsp more blue colour until you reach the desired shade of green. Reduce heat and wait until the temperature of the green wax reaches between 150 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dip the lower half of the candles in the green wax, with a ring of red, followed by a ring of orange and then yellow showing on top. Leave the candles in the wax for 10 seconds, then dip in the water bath and dry. Re-dip the candles for 5 seconds (at the same 1/2 way point), followed by the water bath. If desired, dip one more time in the wax, followed by the water bath. Hang the candles to dry.
Remove the vat of green wax and set it aside to use at another time, along with the vat of orange wax. Place a new dipping vat on the double boiler, add 0.454kg. wax and melt it over the stove. Add 5 tbsp stearic acid and stir. Heat until the temperature of the wax reaches 85 degrees Celsius. Add 1 to 2 tsp blue pigment dye to the wax and stir well to disperse it. Reduce heat until the temperature of the wax reaches between 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dip the lower 1/3 of the candle (under a ring of green wax) into the blue wax for 10 seconds, followed by a dip in the water bath. Dry the candle, then re-dip into the wax for 5 seconds, dip in the water bath and dry. You can dip an additional time if desired. Hang the candles to dry.
Reheat the wax until the temperature reaches 85 degrees Celsius. Add 1/2 tsp red pigment dye to the blue wax and stir. Add an additional 1/2 tsp red pigment dye if the colour has not reached purple. Reduce heat and wait for the temperature to reach 150 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip the lower 1/6 of the candle to complete the rainbow of colour stripes. Let the candle sit for 10 seconds, then dip in the water bath and dry. Re-dip for 5 seconds, dip in the water bath and dry. You can dip one more time if desired then hang the candles to dry for 1 to 2 hours.
Cut the wicks off of the dual taper dipper about 1/2 inch from the tops of each candle with scissors. Place in decorative candle holders to display and use.
Tips and warnings
- Make your own dual taper dipper with an old wire hanger.
- To make perfectly even rainbow dipping lines, place masking tape on the candle above where you want to dip up to.
- You can use pre-made taper candles and over dip them into the different coloured waxes to make rainbow coloured candles.
- Use cloth or newspapers to cover your work space and prevent spilt wax from getting on kitchen counters or other surfaces.
- Use caution when handling hot wax.
- Never allow small children or pets around hot wax.
- Pigment dyes can clog candles, so only use them for the over dips, not to make the original candle.
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