Christmas gifts: Candles

One of the things I made for Christmas gifts this year were candles. In addition to the typical cylinder and square candles, I made some candles in the form of the Gears omen and a lime.

Making candles with a homemade mold

For my first time making molds, and first time pouring candles, I’m really happy with how things came out.

I cast the first few batches using votive wax, which only takes one pour and gives a creamy consistency, but they lose their shape pretty fast when lit. After that, I switched to a pillar wax, which has a little more surface mottling and needs 2+ pours, but keeps it’s structure much better. Most of the candle supplies came from a site called CandleScience, which is actually in the area, so I can order online and pick up the order the next day without having to pay shipping.

I’d done a bit of reading about mold making in the past, but there was a class on molds and resin casting at The Gamer’s Armory that convinced me to order some supplies from Smooth-On. I used OOMOO 30 for both molds. The lime mold was made using a real lime skewered with a wooden stick, while the omen candles were made from a wooden positive modeled in VCarve Pro and cut on my CNC. It was made of 3 layers of 0.75 in plywood glued together and sprayed with some clearcoat. I cast two molds using sections of 2L soda bottles hot glued* to a floor tile.

*A word to the wise: High-temp hot glue is hot enough to melt PET soda bottles! One of the two molds wasn’t sealed properly as a result and I had a decent sized leak of the purple ooze, but thankfully I had everything centered on a large piece of foamcore, so it didn’t ruin my countertop. Next time I’ll probably use clay as a seal.

9 thoughts on “Christmas gifts: Candles”

  1. Not to take away from the awesomeness of this… But any way to make one on its side so the omen glows with fire? Still bravo!

    1. Hi,
      I can think of two ways to accomplish that sort of effect:

      1) Machine a positive with the omen on the side, and cast a two part mold (probably as a single part, but then¬†do a cut around the area where the omen is, to remove that piece of the mold straight ‘out’).¬† This would give a nice definition to the final omen, but would be more of a hassle to cast, since you’d need to band the two mold pieces together, and then probably shave the joint line down on the resulting candles.¬† The¬†company that makes OOMOO also has something called dragon skin that is supposed to be way more resilient, and you might be able to make a one-piece mold with that wouldn’t rip when demolding a shallow omen on the side with it, but it’s more annoying to use than OOMOO (1:10 by weight, instead of 1:1 by volume) and I didn’t order any.

      2) Cast a very shallow version of the omen in red (probably several), and place them in a larger pillar mold, as close to the face of the mold as possible (if you can find a big square pillar mold, you could put them right on the walls).¬† Once that is done, pour the pillar mold the rest of the way full with untinted wax.¬† This will give you ’embedded’ omens in the milky white of the uncolored wax, but it will probably give you an impression of an omen rather than a really clear reproduction.

      I did (2) with some little 1 inch flower-looking tart pans in a 3 inch pillar, and ended up with some cool effects.¬† I’ll see if I can find a photo of one of those candles.

      Cheers,
      Michael

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