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Melting wax for candle logs
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Starla's Wax Melting Instructions

Melting wax can seem like the easiest thing in the world to do. Why would you need instructions to melt wax?

It can be on of the most difficult processes in making candles. Hopefully, this section of instructions, below, will make it a little easier.
The first question I am always ask is, "How many candles can I get from this block of wax?".

The answer seems straight forward enough, but it isn't........

How big are your candles going to be? You need to use a little math. If your block of wax weighs 5 lbs, you could get five 16 oz candles from one block or ten 8 oz candles, so on and so on.

The second question I am always ask is, "What do I use to melt the wax in?".

The answer is a double boiler

I, personally use a Hamilton Beach Roaster to melt wax in. These roasters can be used as a double boiler. The inner pan comes out and you can pour water into the bottom of the roaster.

The roasters last for a couple years of regular use, they have a built in temperature control, and they will hold up to 20 lbs of wax easily. I say up to 20 pounds of wax, because there are times that I only need to melt down, lets say, one pound of wax.

Hamilton Beach does not build these roasters to melt wax in and they do not recommend that you do this. I want to make it clear that this company doesn't endorse the use of their roasters for melting wax.

I use these roasters because of the price and I like how they work. This roaster averages about 29.95 to 50 dollars for each one, depending on where you purchase it. I get mine at Walmart.

The average equipment made for melting wax cost about a 1,000.00! It seems outrageous to spend that kind of money on a hobby or a part time job. Heck, you aren't even sure at this point if you can make any money back on this or not!

You can even find a smaller roaster at Walmart, Kmart, or similar store that run about 19.95 and hold up to 5 pounds of wax. They also have a temperature control knob on the front and an inner pan that lifts out for adding water.

If you don't want to spend much money at all, you can make your own double boiler from putting a smaller pan inside a larger pan. Just add water to the bottom pan.
Just keep adding water, as water will boil away in steam. I know that seems elementary, but some people don't cook. Be careful not to let the double boiler run dry. It can get too hot very quickly.

For those of you who want an industrial wax melter you will have to look elsewhere. These are huge machines that melt down waxes for people that make a very large amount of candles! For the macho wax builder in you! lol Just thought you might like to see what they look like.

I, personally, wouldn't pay this kind of money for these machines, when I can get a Hamilton Beach roaster for 29.95, but to each his or her own.

You will need a candy or candle thermometer, if you go this route, for heat control. About a ten dollar investment for a candle thermometer. Normally water boils at a standard 212F, unless you are 5,000 feet above sea level. (You will have to do your own research if you live that far above sea level on when water boils)

Never have the wax in direct contact with the heat source. Wax is like grease, as it has a flash point. In general, wax has a flash point of 390 degrees. A flash point is the point where the wax is so hot that it burst into flames all by itself. So I say "IN GENERAL" the flash point of wax is 390 degrees. I tell everyone - if wax is smoking, it is too hot. The vapors produced are extremely flammable for any heat source like a stove. Use the double boiler. Don't melt it in a microwave. Our wax isn't made for this. I like my wax at 200 degrees for a variety of reasons.

Most paraffin waxes have a flash point around 390 F. When it reaches its flash point it may not smoke or bubble, it will usually just explode, splattering flaming wax in all directions. To avoid this dangerous catastrophe, always use the double boiling method to melt your wax. Water boils at 212 F, which is well below the flash point of any paraffin wax.

Yes, I said this twice in different ways, I want you to get the message. USE A DOUBLE BOILER! DON"T Be an airhead.

Remember - scent has a flash point too. Don't throw scent into a vat of wax that is smoking! Flash points on scents vary.

Also, wax is hotter when melted then it is when it is melting.......just like grease is hotter when melted then when it is melting. Don't melt it at 275 because you are in a hurry and then have an accident because you forgot to turn it down.
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Below are a list of places I have found roasters. 
I know these roaster were not invented for melting wax, but they work perfect for me.  I am NOT going to recommend you purchase one, I am just saying, this is what I use. 
I find mine at Wal-Mart and Kitchen Collection.

You need to have common sense when melting wax, so if you lack common sense, please don't melt wax without a friend present.
(Yes, that was my attempt at humor - now you see why I'm crafting instead of Stand-Up comedy.)

But seriously, be careful.
Blended wax that we make.
Blended waxes that we make ourselves.
What I use to melt wax.
Another hazard of smoking wax is the fumes. Smoke fumes from wax can be very harmful.  In general, smoking is bad!
But, you see now, why you need temperature control and why you never put a pan with wax straight on a burner. Always use a double boiler.

The biggest safety measure that you should take is having a fire extinguisher on hand, in case of a fire.  Don't try to put out a wax fire with water.  Get an extinguisher, you need one in the house anyway.  It can only help.  Don't take the lid off a pan that is smoking, that only give the fire oxygen.  Be safe!
Don't ever leave wax melting unattended. The roaster may malfunction, the stove may malfunction, who knows.

It just isn't a wise thing to do with something that can catch fire, even if this only happens once in a million years. I have never had wax to catch fire in 10 years, but I never leave it melting and go away. You just never know. Common sense.

I, also recommend, a bowl of cold water nearby if you are letting your children help. If you splash wax on you during the candle making or bear waxing project, you will want to place your hand or body part in cold water. Wax cools very rapidly in water.  It is not a good heat conductor.

Don't ever try and brush hot wax off of your hand. It only smears the wax over a wider area.

Don't wear thin rubber gloves - they melt.

I have splashed wax on myself and dunked my hand in the vat of wax by accident. I have never been burnt. The biggest reason is I keep my wax to a temperature of 200 degrees. It is very irritating and I may say a few words of......regret....., but wax is not a big heat conductor and cools quickly.  So just be careful, have fun, and use common sense.

It takes awhile for wax to melt.  The only way I know to hurry the melting up a little is to break the wax into smaller pieces.  The smaller the piece, the quicker wax will melt.  You can break our harder parafin waxes into smaller pieces by cracking them on a sidewalk step.

The wax I use I melt at 150 degrees. You don't need to cook the wax, this isn't food.  You only need to melt the wax and have it hot enough to let the scent disperse when you pour it in.  The temperature of the wax will affect the way the finished candle looks, but 150 to 200 degrees is plenty hot enough for candle making.

I like our wax for waxing bears, rag balls, and making all the faux food candles, cakes, and pies that I make.  This is the blend that Lisa developed and worked best for us.

Wax cools different in different climates.  Wax likes an air temperature of about 70 degrees or above.  In the winter wax may get an air bubble in the center of the poured base candle.  You will not be able to see this bubble.  It is actually in the inside of the candle.  You can find out if your candle has an air bubble in it when you drill the hole for the wick.  You will "feel" the empty space with your drill.  This usually occurs in larger candles.

Large candle companies have "warming rooms" for cooling their candles.  This room keeps a constant temperature and humidity in the air.  They may use a liquid wax.

Some candle makers use a warm water bath to cool their candles in.  This helps prevent the "frost look" on the sides of your candle.  It also helps to keep your molds clean of wax debris.

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What ever your wax craft is, be careful and have fun.  Candle wax is a great medium to work with.  You can do all sort of creative things with wax.  Rolled, carved, molded or just plain poured into a container, wax is fun and just plain easy to work with. 

You will love what you can do with our waxes!  Making creative candle crafts is just plain fun for the whole family and maybe you will make a little money on the side.
The roaster I prefer is this one.  Hamilton Beach.  Just a personal preference.
How to break the wax.
Break the wax into smaller pieces on a cement step for quicker melting.  Let the concrete do the work.  This doesn't take muscles.  Just a little hard crack should do the trick.

Or use a hammer, that does it for me lately.
Fragrance Oil
Fragrange oils, or sometimes called, candle scent is sold in many different sizes.

If you want to save money buy the pound (16 ounce) size. 

It is usually cheaper that way everywhere.