Container candles are a great way to start making candles because they are so simple. While many people start with a candle jar, the variety of containers you can use is endless. When choosing a container, you only need to follow three safety rules.
It won't catch on fire
It won't leak
It won't break or rupture
That sounds pretty simple, right? You'd be surprised at how many unsafe homemade container candles there are. These can easily lead to disaster and can burn down your entire house. Since this is such an important safety issue, let's discuss each of these three rules in more detail.
Candle Jar and Scented Candles
This seems like a pretty obvious rule, but it gets broken all the time. Making candles from birch bark bowls, coconut shells, plastic margarita glasses, or anything you can't tolerate an open flame is absolutely taboo. Another widely reported example is the use of flowerpots or other porous ceramic containers to hold candles. Porous materials like terra cotta can absorb the wax. In fact, this can turn into a giant wick, causing a huge flame to rise along the edge of the flower pot.
Is this physically possible? Yes. Is it possible? No. The wax absorbed into the pot must become very hot to start a fire. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended that you apply two thick layers of paper cut medium to any porous ceramic container before making candles. Again, never make a candle in a container that can burn. It is important to choose safe candle containers. No matter how pretty it looks, or how sure you are that the flame won't even get close to the edge of the container.
Candle Glass Jar
Leaky containers are problematic in two ways. First, you don't want hot molten wax spilling onto counters, coffee tables, mantles, shelves, or nightstands. This is a big hassle. Second, depending on how quickly or suddenly the wax leaks, the leak could lead to a fire hazard.
If the melted wax leaks out of the candle as quickly as it melts, then your wick will burn higher and larger than it should. You can produce a very large flame in a matter of minutes. Even a small turnaround time means this can easily get out of hand. The most common containers that leak is metal cans with seams along the sides or bottom. The best way to test if a tin can will hold hot molten wax is to fill it with water and let it sit for a day or two.
Candle Glass Jar With Dome Lid
This is probably the most common container candle problem. It is also the cause of the biggest problems. Similar to a leaking container, a broken container will spill hot wax all over your body. Also, a wick that has been dipped in wax will suddenly not have any pool of water surrounding it and the flame will suddenly grow to several inches high.
Flames can quickly rise high enough to ignite nearby curtains, cabinets, or plants on fire. There are countless stories and urban legends about exploding gel candles. Most of these are caused by the gel becoming too hot and breaking a fishbowl, martini glass, or other unsafe glassware.
In addition to being fire, leak, and crack resistant, look for heat-resistant containers. Even if your candle burns properly, the wax pool and flame will get hot as it burns, so your container needs to absorb the heat.
Be sure to take into account the shape of the container. If it has a wide mouth and a narrow bottom, it will get hotter as it burns and may be prone to cracking.
The important thing to remember is that any container - even one designed to be heat resistant - can break. The most important safety consideration for any candle is proper supervision. Make sure the candle is located on a heat-resistant surface, away from any flammable materials, and never leave a burning candle unattended.
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