Candles are one of mankind’s oldest inventions. The earliest candles, made from a simple design of wax and wick, have created a template which is still followed by candle-makers (also known as chandlers) in this present day and age. However, where the earliest forms of candles were made from boiled down tallow or fat from the carcasses of slaughtered cattle and other livestock, many of the modern types of candles are made from paraffin wax. Some other kinds of candles include those made from beeswax and other materials. However, some candles include dyes and they are called colored candles.
COLORED CANDLES VERSUS WHITE CANDLES
Colored candles are candles that come in colors other than white. They may come in red, orange, pink, green, yellow, purple, virtually any other color and even multicolored; depending on the type of dye or combination of dyes used.Dyes or pigments gotten from plant or animal origins are used to add color to candles when they are added to the melted, liquid wax during the candle-making process. These dyes or pigments come in many forms which include powders, tablets or liquid forms, and different candle-makers (also known as chandlers) have different preferences when it comes to what form of dyes to use. Many people – homemade candle-makers, especially –however, prefer to , the liquid forms of dyes and coloring pigments as they are usually much easier to mix into the melted, liquid wax in molds, during the candle-making process. And because of this, the colors in colored candles which were made using liquid dyes and pigments are usually more evenly distributed compared to the colors in candles made using other forms of dyes (that is, powders and tablets). On the other hand, white candles are candles to which no added dyes have been added. However, this definition does not exactly cover some kinds of candles which do not contain any intentionally added dyes but still are not white in color. Such types of candles includethose madefrom boiled down fat (or tallow), which are usually yellow in color (even without any added dye). And so, such types of waxes have to be bleached before they are used to make white candles.
White candles are a lot more popular than colored candles, particularly nowadays, with the widespread use of paraffin wax candles (which do not require bleaching) to form white candles.
HOW ARE HOMEMADE COLORED CANDLES MADE?
Colored candles can be manufactured in factories, employing mass production with the aid of machines. However, they can also be made at home using a candle-making tool kit, in a number of steps which include the following:
- Melting the wax
The first stage of candle-making usually involves measuring the amount of candle wax required in whatever recipe you’re following and melting it into liquid form. This melting can be done by placing the wax in a suitable container and liquefying it over a cooker, or more suitably, by melting it over steam or boiling water. A thermometer should be made available for checking the temperature of the melted, liquid wax. When the temperature of the wax reaches 185°F, the fragrances and coloring dyes should be added.
- Adding the fragrances and dyes
At 185 °F, the melted, liquid wax should be suitable for the addition of desired fragrances and coloring dyes.At this temperature, the viscosity and consistency of the melted, liquid wax would mix well with the fragrances and dyes when stirred evenly. Any color of dye can be used (based on personal preference or requirement) however, a of colored candles are usually scented by adding fragrances or perfumes to them and usually, the color of such scented candles tend to reflect the kind of fragrance that has been added to it. For instance lime-scented candles may be colored lime-green while lavender-scented candles may be colored purple.
- Pouring the melted wax into a jar or container
The melted, liquid wax is then poured very gently into a clean jar or container. Extra care should be taken when pouring the melted wax, by pouring it slowly, in order to prevent the formation of air bubbles within and around the body of the candle when it solidifies.
- Attaching the wick
The wick of the candle is usually attached during the process of pouring the candlewax into the jar or container. This is done by pouring the melted candlewax into the container until it is halfway full and then inserting the wick. The wick is inserted into the melted wax until it’s end touches the button of the container. Following this, the wick is held in place while the rest of the wax is added into the container and the waxy mixture is allowed to cool. Upon cooling, a jar of colored (and scented) candle is formed and the final step is to trim the wick.
- Trimming the wick
The wick of the candle is usually trimmed to about ¼ of an inch so that the candle can burn well and evenly.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT THE COLORING OF CANDLES
The colors of colored candles are usually influenced by a number of factors which include:
- The type of candlewax used
Some types of candles are able to absorb colors, dyes and pigments better than others. This is due to the properties of the wax used in making the candle. These properties included the natural ability of the wax to absorb dyes as well as the original coloring of the wax. In many cases, it may be easier to color a wax that is originally white (e.g. paraffin wax) that one which naturally has another color e.g yellow (an example of this is tallow wax).
- The quality and quantity of the dye or pigment used
The quality and quality of the type of dye of pigment used in making a colored candle goes a long way in influencing the properties of it’s color. For instance, a dye of bad quality used in large amounts may not be able to color a candle properly. The same thing may apply when high quality dyes are used in quantities which are less than the required amounts written in the recipe. Ultimately, dyes of high quality must be used in correct quantities, in order to achieve desirable results.