The finished shells of balloon candles can be used as votive holders or filled with wax to create a candle. In both cases, it is desirable to have a hard shell. Use of a higher melting point wax and more hardener (stearine, vybar, etc…) than usual is recommended for the shell. The wearing of eye protection such as goggles is highly recommended since there is always the possibility of a balloon popping, which will spatter hot wax.
Making The Shell
Fill a balloon to the desired shell size with cold water. Failure to do this usually causes the balloon to pop when it hits the hot wax. I use 145 degrees F. melting point wax with a lot of stearine. Five teaspoons per pound is a good starting point for your experimentation. When the wax is at 165 degrees dip the balloon, then dip immediately into cold water. Wipe off any water drops and repeat until the desired shell thickness is reached. The shell may be coloured, but it’s best to add scent to the fill wax. When the shell has fully cooled, pop the balloon, and pour out the water. The top may now be levelled on a warming tray or baking tin. If you are planning on using the shell with the open end up, it is also necessary to make a flat spot on the bottom.
- Bottom Up Fill – Place a wick hole in the bottom using a drill, hot needle, or heated wire. Wick the same as you would a metal mould. Fill with a lower melting point wax one teaspoon at a time, allowing it to cool before adding the next spoonful. A nice effect can be obtained by using coloured wax in an undyed shell.
- Top Up Fill – Treat the shell as a container and wick with a wire core and a wick tab. Add wax as in variant 1 above.
- Votive Shell – A large balloon shell may be used like a hurricane shell to hold a votive or tea light.
- Luminary Shell – Cut out a pattern in the shell to allow light through. A good example would be an orange shell with a Jack – o – Lantern face cut out for Halloween.