Making Glow in the Dark Candles
Glow in the dark powder can be used for many exciting projects. A simple project that anyone can do is to create your very own glow in the dark candles.
There are two major types of candles: wax and gel. They both follow the same basic process which involves melting the medium and pouring it into a mold or container. However, when starting out it is advisable to use a gel before a wax. This is because when you melt wax it becomes fluid like water and it’s tricky to get the glow in the dark powder to suspend so that it does not all sink to the bottom of the mold. Whereas the gel is still very viscous when heated to its pouring temperature and the glow in the dark powder will stay suspended easily. I do have a technique for making glow in the dark wax candles which I will explain below.
Before you start you’ll need to go and obtain some tools. You can get these from any good craft store and some you might just have lying around at home.
From left to right back row to front we have:
- Large melting pot and stirring spoon.
- Candy thermometer.
- Mold release spray.
- Assortment or candle molds.
- Mold clay. ( Used to plug the hole in the mold where the wick exits.)
- Wick anchors. ( Used to anchor the wick in candle containers. )
From left to right back row to front we have:
- Paraffin wax blocks.
- Candle gel.
- Vybar 103. ( Used to increase opacity and fragrance retention. )
- Candle fragrance.
- Stearic acid. ( Used to increase firmness and raise melting temperature. )
Preparing a Wax Candle Mold.
Before you start melting the wax you need to prepare the mold. This doesn’t take long but you should be careful to ensure a nice result.
First cut the wick a couple inches longer than the mold.
Now tie one end of the wick around a skewer or a pencil.
Inset the wick through the exit hole in the mold.
Pull the wick tight and use some of the mold clay to seal the mold.
Stand the mold up and position the wick in the middle of the mold. Now finally give the interior of the mold a quick spray with the mold release.
Melting Wax or Gel
Melting wax or gel seems like the easy part. In fact it can be quite dangerous if you’re not paying attention. Wax behaves much like oil and should be treated as such. Most wax has a flash point around 300F, which is the point at which it will spontaneously combust. If this occurs you’ll need to treat the fire as an oil fire, so no pouring water on it. Keep a fire extinguisher handy at all times.
So it should be common sense that you should not leave melting wax unattended. Yes it will seem like it’s taking ages to melt but once it does the temperature will rise very quickly. Do not let your wax exceed 250F.
So there is a safer way to melt wax that minimizes the risks and that is to use a double boiler. This is basically a pan filled with water that you place your pouring pot containing the solid wax into. Because the boiling point of water is 212F the water will never exceed this temperature. By placing the pouring pot into the boiling water the pouring pot is never in direct contact with the heat source. The boiling water transmits the heat to the pouring pot thus melting the wax. Even so never leave a double boiler unattended and monitor the water level in it. If the water level drops to far the pouring pot can come in contact with the base of the boiler and the temperature can quickly exceed that of the boiling water.
- Find an old pot that is larger enough to place the pouring pot into.
- Fill the pot with water so that when the pouring pot is placed into it the water level is at least an inch below the rim.
- Bring the water to a boil.
- Place the pouring pot into the double boiler. To keep the pouring pot from touching the base of the boiler place a metal cookie cutter in the bottom first.
- You do not need to keep the water at a rolling boil. The wax will melt efficiently if you reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Check the water level periodically and replace water that has boiled off. Do not let the boiler run dry.
- Finally put the wax in and use the thermometer to heat the wax to the required temperature. This is usually around 175F but different waxes have different temperature requirements so check first.
Adding the Glow in the Dark Powder
If you are working with gel then simply add an amount of powder to the gel and stir in. I like to use the same ratio that I use for paint which is 1oz of powder per 4oz of medium.
Here’s a container filled with glow in the dark candle gel.
An alternate method when working with gel is to put the glow in the dark powder into the container and pour the clear gel over the top.
Here’s the container with the glow in the dark powder at the bottom.
And again after the clear gel has been poured on top.
Here’s a container with glow in the dark powder at the bottom covered with clear gel then topped off with gel that has been mixed with glow in the dark powder.
If you are working with wax then you cannot put the glow in the dark powder into the wax immediately. What you need to do is wait a few minutes and let the wax cool. Then pour in the powder and keep stirring, continually churning up the powder that will keep sinking to the bottom. After about 10 - 15 minutes of this the wax will start to take on an opaque look and will have the consistency of porridge. Do not worry, you’ll still be able to pour the candle and it will set fine.
Here’s the wax being poured into the mold. I place the mold in a container of ice to help accelerate the cooling which reduces the chance of the glow in the dark powder failing to the bottom of the mold.
Here’s the finished product.
And finally... How they glow.