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Starla's simple and basic candlemaking crafts

Candlemaking instructions for grubby candles, sometimes called cake candles, with step by step photo illustrations. This candle craft has also been called by various other names, depending on the style, color, and size of the candles.  A small candle made from a unwaxed Dixie cup, votive cup, or other small mold and than dipped, caked, or grubby  would be the example this style of candle.  These smaller versions are sometimes called a nubby, crunchy, or votive caked candle.
making candles looking like cakes
making apple pie candles
Not the candle making information you wanted?  Here is a list of our other instructions and tips:
Click here if you want to see our
home page for making candles.
Candle Caking Tips   -   Apple Pie Making Project   -   Wax Dipped Scented Bear   -  
Make a Wax Snowman   -   Candle Facts and Fun Trivia -   Wax Dipped Primitive Rag Balls   -   Old Wax Pieces New Ideals
Melting Wax for Beginners   -   Make an Ice Cream Candle   -   Candle And Craft Ideas   -   Candle Making Basics.
I've taken the time to make a few videos that I think you might enjoy. 

If you like this one, I've made several others you can find on Youtube or here on my site.

Enjoy!
If the candle has a dark burgundy, various shades of browns, off whites, creams, or anydarker color, this candle is in the primitive class.  The outer appearance of a primitive candle is important.  It needs to have that primitive style, homemade, dark in color, and with a real country flair.  Crafters can add rusted metal stars, hearts, bears, rusty wire, or even wooden signs to dress up the candle.

If you use lighter colors, say pastels for instance, then you have a more modern candle.  One that can even be called classical, depending on the exterior look.  A pure white candle that has been caked falls into the classical category. The look of elegance for a wedding is a hall filled with classically caked white candles.  You will need to decide what kind of "look" you want for your candles.  It makes a difference how you are going to cool your wax.  Cooling is the trick!

Here we will go into depth on the primitive style of making caked candles.

You will need to start with a paraffin based wax, that has the steric, vybar, and other ingredients you may want for your wax. 

To melt wax -  I prefer the Hamilton Beach Roaster because it has a temperature gauge on it. 

Hamilton Beach does not sell their roasters for melting wax, nor do they endorse it, but that is what I prefer. 

To be safe, I keep a fire extinguisher handy at all times and I never let the
roaster heat and leave the area.

I like to use a temperature of 150 degrees. 

This keeps me from getting burned when I mistakenly stick my hand in the wax.....what can I say, at least I never poured the hot wax down the drain!  Should I mention names here?

I  started with 10 lbs of our specially blended paraffin wax. Melted it.  Added 1/2 burgundy color block and let it melt. 

Stirred the melted color block into the melted wax, then add the 5 ounces of candle scent, and give a quick stir, just enough to have the scent oil blend with the wax. 

This is about 30 seconds.......not 10 minutes!  Remember people, the heat is going to release the scent from the wax.....common sense is needed here.

Trust your instincts ladies!

Be sure to weigh your scent fragrance on a good set of digital scales to be accurate in your measurements.  All fragrances weigh differently due to the ingredients they are made from.  Our scents are formulated for 1/2 ounce of oil for 1 pound of wax.

You can get away with adding a little more of some scents, if you must, like the vanillas.  Just remember wax molecules can only hold so much scent even with the vybar added, then the scent will fall to the bottom of the pan and just lay there.  

Not a thing you can do about the separation, unless you add more wax.  Your finished candle will feel greasy to the touch and be very smokey when burning. 

Buy a good quality scent and you will have a strongly scented candle.

With you wax and color block melted and stirred in, add your scent, then pour the mixture into the mold bases. 

The molds can be any shape you want.  For example square, round, heart shaped, tall, short, you get the idea. 

The molds can be made from different materials - metal (no Teflon), ceramics, or even unwaxed paper cups.  Paraffin that has cooled over night should just fall out of the mold.

There are occasions when this will not happen.  Mostly in the summer, the wax just hasn't contracted enough due to heat and humidity. 

If this happens, place the candle in the fridge for about 30 minutes and try again.  You can use the freezer, but if you leave it in to long, cracks will appear like ice cubes get. 

No real problem as you are caking this candle anyway.  Another reason for a difficult release - since the candle shrinks when cooling, a small space between the mold and the wax is formed. 

When you make that secound pour, the wax runs over and fills up this space, making the candle tight in the mold.  Once again - use the fridge.

 
For the dixie cups, just peel the paper away from the candles.  You can rarely use the cups again, but I have been lucky a few times and they just slid out too. 

For silicone molds, there is a spray release, but I have never had the need to use it.

With the 10 lbs of wax melted and poured into the bases, I let them cooled over night. 

After the base is completely cooled, I melt about 2 lbs of wax, add 1 ounce of scent, a little color and fill in the sink hole that was created by the cooling of the wax. 

I gouge a fork into the sink hole, a couple times, to create a way for the second pour to adhere to the first pour that cooled over night. 

Otherwise the two sections will split apart when I drill the wick hole.

What is a sink hole and why did it occur you ask? 

Paraffin expands when heated and contracts when it cools, creating a sink hole right in the middle of the wax. 

On rare occasions, there will be a large bubble hole in the inside of the candle base.  It is created by the cooling process. 

This usually occurs in the winter months when the wax cools quickly.  You will not see this interior bubble hole. 

You should be able to feel this bubble when you drill the hole for wick or gouge with the fork.
Burgundy Cake Canldes
fancy tarts or melts
Pastel Colors
Candle Making Instructions Roaster
Grubby Candles
Above are various size grubbies.  Below is the top of one of these grubby candles with pools of wax.
Grubby Candles
Row of candle needing a secound pour.
Candles with sink holes and need a secound pour.
Brush and Mixer
Paint brush and mixer for making grubby candles.
Whipped Wax
Wax that has been mixed.
Dipping Candles
Just dipping the bottom, than drizzle the top.
Grungy Candle
Primitive Candle
#2 Candle
Grubby Candle Top
#1 Candle
Finally we are ready for grunging the grubby!

I melt down 5 lbs of white wax in my roaster pan.  When it is melted, I add 1 burgundy color block and 1/2 black color block. 

I donít like the liquid colors because of their odors, I just donít want that smell in my candle.  Could be just me, everyone has their preferences, and if you like liquid colors that is fine.  I did not learn to make candles with liquid color and prefer not to change!  (Change is suppose to be a good thing, but I am set in my candle making ways.)

I want the primitive grunge look.  The black color block will darken the burgundy just enough to make it primitive.  For a more traditional a country look, I would have added only one block color.  For a white candle, there is no color added.

I use much more color for caking the outside of a candle than I would ever put in a candle, because whipped wax tend to lighten up considerably. 

In order for me to achieve the dark primitive country look I am going after, I will need more color.  So, I melt an additional 5 pounds of white wax, add my color block, plus fragrance, then remove the pan, sitting it on the table at a tilt, so all the wax falls to one end of the pan.  

This allows the pool of wax to cool just right. 

You just have to trust me on this, because it is to hard to explain how I need it to be cool on top and yet, have it remain hot on the bottom.

I will need the liquid for drizzles and pools.

I have an old paint brush that is frazzled and frayed on the ends from use.  I just place the paint brush in the pan to melt the left over harden wax from a previous batch of grubbies. 

My hand held mixer and paint scraper is at the ready.

Relax and let the wax cool till it starts to form the pudding skin on top.  Using your hand held electric mixer, mix the wax till there is foam on top, make sure to use the paint scraper to scrap the sides of the pan. 

Once you get a good foam, take the paint brush and sort of smash the whipped wax back down in the pan.  How much you mix, beat, and stir will determine the look of your candle.

Take your base, dip the bottom in the wax once or twice and place on a tray.  Repeat for all the bases.

Now you are going to dip the top of the candle in the wax.  Donít worry about the wick getting wax all over it, just use your thumb and finger to pull the wax off the wick.  I like to curl my wicks before I wrap the candles.

Be gentle with the candle, the bottom may not be completely cooled and if you squeeze to hard you will leave your finger imprints on the grungy goo.   It needs to be cool, so make sure you have some order to your dipping madness.

Turn the candle upside down and dip the top of the candle in the wax a couple of times.  Sit the bottom of the candle back down on the tray. 

You have left the middle of the candle clean of wax grunge. 

Taking a large soup spoon full of the wax liquid (remember when I said trust me?)  and spoon over the top of the candle, letting it drip down the sides.  You will have drizzles and puddles of wax on top of the candle. 

This is a great grunge look!  You can do tones of colors, different shades of the same colors.  Red, white, and blue candles for the 4th of July or range and brown candles for Halloween!  Hunter green and dark red color combinations for Christmas presents make a great gift! 

Make sure you tie some homespun ribbon around the candle to give it that country feel.  I like to purchase my ribbon from local fabric specialty shop - Homespun Country, 92 E. Water Street, Chillicothe, Ohio 773-1854, Joannís Fabrics, and Walmart.  By the way, none of the above have paid me for this advertisement.  I just like their products, especially the little specialty shop, they have the best country primitive fabrics, very well made. 

A classical look for the caked candle is usually achieved by just using the paint brush and applying the wax skim directly to the top, bottom, and sides of the candle base. 

It may seem like a lot of work for a caked candle, but it isnít once you get an assembly line going. 

To make variations of the candle watch your color combination, add rustic decorations, cut out wax pieces, material, or any primitive nature items you have around your yard!

Be creative and try not to copy everyone else's candles.  Create a candle craft your own look!  That is what your customers and friends want, something different, something of yours

For those of you who are just starting and you feel the need to copy someone else's work for awhile, feel free to copy mine.  That way you will be able to get a "feel" for how wax works.  Remember label you candle so others will remove the flammable objects before they light their candle.  Crafting tip for the beginner - use Sam's Choice Stretchable Wrap.  It works great acting like a shrink wrap.  Clear and clingy, it allows a great view of your finished product.

Youíre going to love what you can do with our wax!
Happy candlemaking!

For this brown candle the wax was never beat the wax just had a little skim on top and I just kept smashing the skim back down in the wax and stirring with my paint brush.  There was still a lot of hot wax in the pan and lots of little crunchies from all the smashing.  I dipped the base once in the wax, brought it up and sit it on the cookie sheet to cool.  Repeat with all your bases. Keep smashing the liquid wax with the paint brush as you go occasionally. 
Keep smashing the wax down in with the paint brush. Now take the first base you dipped and at a slant, dip it back in the wax once or twice.  Then place the candle on a tray to cool.  Repeat this procedure with all your bases.

The grunge primitive look as seen in the candle photo #2 is accomplished like this.

Wait for the wax skim to form and beat it with the mixer.  Using your brush, smash the wax back down in the mixture.  You really want a lot of crumblies in the wax for this look.