Candle making can be an exciting and fun activity, but as with any project, you can stumble into problems along the way. Whether the candles have come out an awful colour or your candles are full of air bubbles with sweaty sides, just know that the unpredictability is all part of the experience!
After working with candles for some time, you’ll know the common pitfalls that are frankly unavoidable for first-time chandlers. Many candle-making problems have been experienced by countless other crafters, so don’t feel like you’re the only one – it’s perfectly normal! Always remember that any craft takes time to master – and half the battle is in learning from your mistakes.
Although the trade is very much trial and error, knowing a few tips and tricks can massively reduce the time wasted frantically trying to solve problems and better yet, get the perfect technique. This short troubleshooting guide should help you recognize some of the common obstacles and help you prevent problems too.
Once you’ve had a good read, why not pull up your sleeves and get to work making some gorgeous candles? I promise I won’t tell anyone how many times you were forced to start over and how long your head was burrowed in your arms before you plucked up the courage to tweak your technique and start again – haha, okay that was a bit of an exaggeration!
Crevices in the Wax
You thought you had carefully poured the wax into its mould – so why does it have cracks and crevices on one side, or worse, in the entire candle?
This is almost certainly due to water in the mould. Did you wash the mould just prior to using it? Even the tiniest droplets of moisture will make the wax cracked and uneven.
It may be a surprise to you, but some candle makers actually add water to their moulds with the specific intention of creating this effect. However, if this is not the look you want – then make sure your mould is totally dry before pouring wax into it. Every single droplet must be eliminated to avoid this issue.
Your Candles Have Air Bubbles
Do your candles have tiny bubbles on the surface?
Those pesky little bubbles can ruin the hard work and time you have invested in any candle making project. Luckily, there are a few steps we can take to prevent these air bubbles in the first place.
The first step you should take is to be certain that the moulds are completely dry before pouring the wax; water can not only cause cracks and crevices – it may also be the cause of air bubbles on the surface of your wax.
Another possible reason for the bubbles is that you waited a bit too long after melting the wax, and then you subsequently poured the wax into the moulds at a temperature that was far too low or even just a few degrees lower than what it should have been.
Next time, try pouring it a little sooner than you did the previous time – that may be exactly what was needed. If that still does not work, the problem could be that the moulds are not warm enough; you should try warming them for a short while before you pour in the wax.
What Happened to the Colour?
You thought you had the perfect coloured candle but the wax has now cooled and suddenly you’ve realised this colour is “perfect” no longer. This can be the result of a few different factors.
It should be worth noting that wax actually cures over time. A candle that is lighter in shade than you initially expected could slowly deepen in tone over the course of the next few weeks – so you may want to wait and see if that happens. Be sure to store your candles away from direct sunlight and fluorescent light whilst giving them time to fully cure.
If the colour was ideal at first and then changed shortly after the wax cooled, then it’s very likely that it was too hot when you poured it. Next time, try waiting a few moments longer to let the mixture cool before you pour the wax.
Another colour issue that may occur is when you are layering colours in a container. If you pour one layer over another before the first one has had enough time to set, you could end up with a mess of colours all mixed together. To avoid this, always give each layer plenty of time to harden before pouring in more wax. And remember to pour the next layer at the right temperature too!
The Wax Will Not Leave the Mould
If you have ever tried to ease wax out of a mould, yet seem to then you know how frustrating this problem can be.
You’ve taken the time to melt your wax, add the fragrance, stir in the right amount of colour, and meticulously pour the mixture into the mould – but now, you can’t get it out of the mould after it has cooled!
It’s very likely that you poured the wax in the mould when the wax was way too hot. An easy way to avoid doing this again, is to wait a short while after melting the wax before you pour it into the mould.
But you’re probably thinking that this doesn’t help you right now, right? If you simply can’t get the wax to pop out, try placing the wax-filled mould in the refrigerator for a few moments and this should definitely help you to slide the wax out more easily.
These were just some of the most common issues I have personally faced when making candles at home. I hope that learning about them here will help you to prevent such mishaps from occurring. As I mentioned, making candles is an ever-evolving process of trial and error, so do keep trying and don’t give up!
The most useful tip I can offer is to take notes as you go; jot down what works and what doesn’t work. If you make adjustments in anything from pouring times to temperatures to fragrance/wax ratios – make sure you write it down! And finally – don’t forget to have fun! Your candles do not need to be perfect.