Thursday, February 2, 2017

Behind the scenes: A look at how our hand-dipped taper candles are made

There is nothing quite like the elegance of a tapered candle, quietly burning away. For many centuries they had a utilitarian purpose to provide light, but now they are mostly used to create an ambience with their soft flickering like. I first started making them after I was given several boxes of church candle stubs that a nun had collected and recycled into new candles. I loved this idea, and was keen to 'carry the torch' so to speak, and to continue recycling the used candles into beautiful new ones. Since then I have also developed a soy/beeswax blend that produces the most beautiful creamy colour and texture.

Below is a little insight into the process of creating the taper candles, from winding the wick around a frame, then repeatedly dipping them into a vat of hot wax to build up layers. After each dip, the level of the wax in the vat decreases slightly, making each layer slightly lower than the last and giving the candles their distinctive taper shape. The colour dipped tapers are dipped in coloured wax for the last few dips. Once they reach the desired thickness (after around 30 or so dips), they are then cut from the frame at the base, which leaves them in joined pairs. They are left overnight to properly harden, and the next day the bases are smoothed off. Finally they are packaged and labelled in pairs so you know they came from the same batch.

The essential tools: dipping frame, pliers and wicking

The first step is to wind the wick onto the frame

The wick is then tied and tightened ready to start dipping

The frame is then dipped into the vat of wax to form the first layer

After first few layers of wax, the candles start to take shape

A frame with six tapers starting to get wider

Dipping the candles into the vat...

...then waiting for the drips to stop

Melting the wax for the colour dip with the wax leftover from making the last batch

The molten coloured wax ready for dipping

Colour layers building up on the candles

 Finished candles waiting to be packaged

Adding the ribbon and tying on the labels

All ready to go!

Thanks to Sarah Greig Design and Illustration and Design for taking the beautiful photos while I was busy creating!