Tapers and Twists: A Hand-Dipping Tutorial (Part 1)

Tapers and Twists: A Hand-Dipping Tutorial Part 1

Tapers and Twists: A Hand-Dipping Tutorial (Part 1)Hand-Dipped Tapers

Supplies needed:
Wax – Beeswax or paraffin
Wicks
Double boiler
Candle thermometer
Wooden spoon
Newspaper
Deep metal container
Deep cardboard box
Dyes, scents, and additives
To make four 8 inch tapers, you will need approximately 11-12 oz of wax. You’ll want to lay newspaper where you will be working for easy clean-up. Begin by boiling water in the lower pan of your double boiler and adding the wax to the top portion of the double boiler, melting your paraffin wax at 160 degrees F. You’ll want to maintain this temperature throughout the dipping process to allow for smooth coverage of each layer of wax. Add any colorants, scents, and/or additives once the wax has melted and reached the desired temperature. If you are using beeswax, there is no need for dyes, fragrances or additives.
Take a flat braided wick for paraffin wax dipped candles (use a square, braided wick for beeswax), and loop the center of the wick around a wooden spoon (or similar, sturdy object) once or twice leaving the two long ends of the wick hanging down either side of the spoon. You can tie washers to the end of the wicks to weight them in the wax, as they may initially float, but this step is completely optional. Place your wax in a deep metal container so your candles have room to be dipped. Many candle making suppliers sell deep containers for this purpose.
Submerge the wicks into the wax for a few seconds leaving approximately one inch or so from the spoon to the top of the wax. During the first dip you will need to allow all of the air bubbles to be released from the wick, so you may need to hold it in the wax for 3-4 seconds. Do NOT allow the wicks to touch each other. Give the wax on the wick a chance to cool, but not quite all of the way.
Continue to dip the wicks into the wax, quickly removing them as soon as they have been submerged. Allow to cool for a short time between dips in the wax. You can rest the spoon across the box opening, while the candles cool inside. Any mess will be kept within the box. Be sure it is deep enough that the candles hang freely. This process should be repeated about 30 times or until the desired diameter is achieved.
As a final touch for added smoothness, dip the candles in wax set at a higher temperature, not to exceed 180 degrees F, for the very last dip. Hang the candles to fully cool on a clothesline or something similar. Once the candles have completely cooled to room temperature, you can snip the wick to the desired length, and your hand dipped tapers are ready for use.
Variations:
Besides using beeswax for a more natural hand-dipped candle, here are a few variations. For rustic looking candles, try working through the dipping process at a slightly cooler temperature of wax. A temperature of 150 degrees F will give a purposefully unsmooth candle with lots of rustic charm. Another idea is to create layered colors on the taper. During the final dipping process, try dipping the candles only partially in a different color. For another color, dip the candles in the pot even less. You’ll need multiple metal containers to hold the different colored wax. For example, if you made a candle in one color, for the second color, only dip the candle so it is two-thirds submerged in the new color, a third color would only be dipped one-third of the length of the candle. The layered effect is best with a lighter color for the base and top and darker colors for each additional layer. The end result is an interesting multicolored effect. You can make red, white and blue layered candles for the summer, and maybe some fun, fall colors for the change in season. The combinations are endless.
This post is a portion of an article I wrote for the Saponifier Magazine, which is full of articles, tutorials and industry news.