Have you ever made candles before? I never had, but something about melting wax has always been appealing. So when this month’s Michael’s Makers Challenge was to try something new, I knew I wanted to attempt to make candles. It’s funny because for last month’s challenge, I made an ombre candle holder and this month I made DIY ombre candles.
It was actually quite an adventure. Making candles was actually a little more complicated and time consuming than I had imagined, but it ended out being a lot of fun! I picked up a pillar candle kit from Michael’s – it came with everything I needed, even detailed instructions. I also picked up some empty glass containers and some votive candle wax.
Now I’m not going to go through the detailed instructions of making candles. Detailed instructions come with the kit. But basically, you just prepare your containers, melt wax in a double boiler method, and pour the wax into your container. You will also have to let the wax cool for a couple hours and then pour again. As the wax cools and hardens it will shrink a little and leave a big indentation in the middle of the candle. If you’re making votive candles, you will need to secure the wick to the bottom of the container with a dab of hot glue. Then you can use clothespins to center the wick.
So how do you create an ombre effect? Since I wanted the candles to be darker on the bottom and lighter on the top, it was a little more complicated to come up with a simple way to create ombre candles. Here’s what I did:
- Use two containers in a double boiler method to melt two separate blocks of wax. I wish I had started out with more wax at the beginning.
- Prepare your colors. I used a combination of the blue wax dye that came in my kit and chopped up crayons.
- In one of the containers, add a good amount of dye. You’re making your darkest color. It’s a little tricky because the wax dries as a much lighter color. And the dye is pretty potent so you only need a few pieces of shavings to get a pretty dark color. You could even test out this first color to make sure it’s dark enough by letting a drop or two cool.
- Pour your first layer into your container. I love the way the pillar candle looks, but I much preferred making the little votive candles because I could see what I was pouring. I wish that I had poured more wax into the pillar candle to start out with. It’s a little hard to see exactly what you’re doing.
- Now pour some of the clear wax into the remainder of your blue wax. Let the first layer cool for about 10-15 minutes and pour the next layer.
- Keep adding clear wax to your blue wax and adding layers until you’re done. (If you run out of blue wax you might have to just add a little bit more dye to new clear wax)
- This is important! Make sure to save some wax in the very top color. It would probably be easiest if you just made the top layer completely white.
- Let your candles cool for at least 45 minutes. I let mine cool overnight. There will be a big hole that forms in the middle. Pour more wax into the hole so that the tops of your ombre candles are level and even.
In this picture you can see how the candle on the left has a hole in the middle. This is perfectly normal and happens every time you pour a candle. It’s funny because originally I was attempting to make confetti type candles with little chunks of blue mixed in, but it did not work at all. All of the pieces moved towards the center of the candle and you couldn’t see them at all. But I’m glad because I just love how the ombre candles turned out. I’d also love to try a gradient effect… like candles that shifted from blue to yellow with shades of green in between. I think you could use the same method and just gradually mix together blue and yellow wax.
I really love how these DIY ombre candles turned out. And even though it was a learning process, it was a lot of fun! I think another reason I preferred the little votive candles was because you can test out different ideas and see immediate results. Plus, if it doesn’t work, you only used a little bit of wax. Also, if you don’t like how one turns out, you can put the wax right back into the double boiler again! The hardest part for me was just waiting for wax to melt and layers to dry. It would be a fun thing to make one weekend while binge watching a new show on Netflix.
Sometimes it’s so much fun to learn something new. You don’t have to become an expert at it… or turn it into your new career… or even share on your blog or social media. Just do it for fun! Another one of my mottos is to be aimlessly creative. Take time to be creative in unexpected ways. Don’t always ask why or question if you are using your time productively. Creativity is its own reward. And did you know that Michael’s offers a lot of great in store classes. Grab a friend and learn something new. Plus a lot of the classes are even free – you only have to pay for your own supplies: check out the free classes here. Or you can try out a craft kit like I did. Michael’s has a great selection of kits – everything from kitting to jewelry making to handmade soap.
I’m curious – What new skill would you love to learn? You can check out the other Michael’s Makers experiences below.