Container candles are one of the best ways to start candle making. Why? Because it’s pretty straightforward when it comes to how to make container candles. Some start by buying the prettiest jars and pots they can find. In contrast, others look to repurpose things such as candles in mason jars, coffee mugs, tins, teacups, or yogurt jars. Seasoned candle makers, like myself, make candles from a combination of both in addition to candle molds.
But, it might surprise you, how many containers are not safe for candle making.
Choosing a candle container at first might be based on your personal style or home decor. But, it ultimately comes down to if it is safe to make a candle. Here’s where to start when it comes to candle safety.
Frosted Candle Jars
It might go without saying, but any container that could easily tip over should be avoided. For example, something with an uneven surface on the bottom, such as a hand-thrown pottery bowl, might not be a good idea. Or top-heavy objects, like a wine glass that could get tipped over. (Who hasn’t seen a wine glass slip this way?)
Another thing to consider about stability is the surface you place the candle on to burn. Is it stable?
I don’t hear this candle-making tip talked about much, but it solves the most common candle container problem. Gives good reason to examine the shape and diameter of a candle container. Picture a vase with a full bottom and a narrow opening on the top. This shape is great for flower arranging, but the diameter on the top is much too small to wick and burn a candle properly.
If a container has a narrower top than the bottom, it doesn’t work well for candle making. Why? Because as candles burn, they form a circular melting pool in the wax. As the wax burns down, it goes deeper into the candle.
A diameter that is too small compared to the bottom of the container will be exposed to more heat than is safe. You’ll not only have candle tunneling you’ll also risk the candle cracking.
And if you have a container with a much wider opening than the bottom, you may need multiple wicks. When you look at a candlewick size chart, you’ll notice that even the largest wicks can only adequately be used for up to a 5-inch diameter candle.
I think the popularity of dough bowl candles might have some misled when choosing a fire-safe candle container. Basically, anything that can catch fire with ease is not safe. Basically, the candle could burst into flames, or the container could soak up the wax and become a giant wick, creating an enormous flame.
The difference is sealant! When you apply a 100% waterproof sealant to a wood bowl, terra cotta pot, or any porous container, it becomes safe to use.
Candle Jar and Scented Candles
When a candle container cracks, hot wax will begin to leak. And we already know what a safety issue and mess that can be. But, if a crack causes a candle container to shatter and explode, you could have a flaming wick with no container. And that means house fire.
This is a biggie. So, how do you know if a container won’t crack?
It all comes down to heat resistance.
Most things are not made to handle the heat created by melting candle wax. Choose heat-resistant containers such as oven-safe ceramics and glassware, cast iron, enamel camping mugs, and pressure canning jars. Make sure only to buy containers designed and labeled as safe for candle making.
No matter how you look at it, a burning candle should never be left unattended. And we should always do our part to prevent these issues from happening by selecting appropriate candle containers and the right wick size.
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