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Photo Candles

No candle could be more personalized than one with the recipient’s photo on it. This technique is well suited for making gift candles. It can be used to mount Wedding invitations, thank you’s, and more. The only limit is your imagination. I caution you not to attempt this with valuable or irreplaceable photos or other printed matter.

Materials

A round pillar mould, photo, pan, knife, and the usual candle making supplies.

Step 1

Mix enough wax to fill the mould. Pour into a pan about 1 cm (3/8 inch) thick and allow to cool. Before it is fully cooled, use a knife to cut into chunks. When fully cool, break up the chunks and set aside for later.

Step 2

Wick your mould using a slightly undersized wick. This will help keep the flame away from the photo.

Step 3

Insert photo into the mould. It is vital for the appearance that the photo is aligned with the edge parallel to the bottom of the mould. Remember that the bottom of the mould will be the top of the candle – insert the photo upside down.

Step 4

Use a dowel or pencil to hold the photo in place. Add the chunks from step 1 slowly, making sure the photo stays aligned and is tight to the mould. Every inch or so, press down on the chunks to force the photo against the mould. Continue adding chunks until they are above the level of the photo.

Step 5

Place the remaining chunks back into your melting pot and remelt. If you want the chunks to be visible, heat in a double boiler to 85 oC (190 F). If you want the chunks to be invisible as shown here, it will be necessary to melt on direct heat to 135 oC (275 F). Use Extreme Caution! NEVER leave wax unattended on direct heat.

Step 6

Pour wax into the centre of mould slowly. Set aside balance of wax for refilling the shrink void. Tap the mould sides for a minute or two to release trapped air bubbles. Allow the mould to air cool for at least one hour. After one hour, the mould may be placed in a water bath for faster cooling and a smoother finish.

Step 7

Remove from the mould, and trim the wick.

Variations

  • Cut an irregular edge on the photo.
  • Cover the candle with whipped wax.
  • Use printed material in place of a photo – it is wise to test a piece first as some inks may react with the wax.
  • Use different colour chunks and incorporate them as a design element.

These candles are a lot of fun and quite easy to make. Use caution when burning to prevent igniting the embedded material. They are best burned in short increments – 2 hours or so depending on the candle diameter.

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