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Making candles at home can be a great hobby or fun activity with the kids. However, most types of wax are slightly yellow or have no color at all.
If you want to make candles of all colors of the rainbow, you will have to learn wax coloring using candle dyes.
However, there are different types of candle dyes you can choose from and they all work slightly different.
In this article, you will learn how to color wax and which dye to choose in order to make beautiful candles at home.
How to color candle wax?
If you already made candles at home before you will be able to learn how to color candles within no time. All you have to do is add the candle dye when the wax is completely molten.
Sounds easy, right?
Let’s go over all the steps one by one:
- Heat a certain amount of wax to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and make sure it’s completely molten. Depending on which type of wax you are using you might have to adjust the temperature a bit.
- Add the candle dye of your choice and mix sure it is fully dissolved.
- Optionally: if you want to make scented candles you can lower the temperature a little and add the fragrance or essential oil of your choice.
- Make sure all the candle ingredients are evenly mixed.
- Poor the wax into your container and let them cool.
When the wax cools down you will notice that the color becomes a lot lighter. This can make it difficult to obtain the right colors for your candles.
To see what the candle will look like after cooling down, you want to take a few drops of the hot wax and pour it on a piece of paper or place it in the fridge. This way the wax will quickly cool down and you can see if you need to adjust the color.
Also keep in mind that darkening the color of the wax can be done by simply adding a little more wax. But lightening the color can only be done by adding a large amount of additional uncolored wax.
So it’s best to start with a light color and add extra dye if you don’t like the color.
What kind of dye is used for candles?
Wax coloring can be done with a variety of different dyes such as, liquid dye, dye blocks and chips, or dye flakes.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons off all of them and how to choose among them.
1. Liquid candle dye
Liquid candle dye is my personal favorite because it’s super easy to use. Since liquid dye is highly concentrated you only need to add a few drop per 100 grams of candle wax.
In general, you can achieve pretty light shades with a dye concentration as low as 0.005% and pretty dark shades with a concentration of 0.1%. (However, make sure you don’t add more than 20 ml of liquid dye per kilo of wax, or else the dye can clog up the wick.)
It is also easy to make the same color again in the further without any weighing or measuring by simply remembering how many drops per 100 grams of wax you need. Moreover, it is very easy to make new colors by mixing different dyes together
Compared to other types of dye, liquid candle dye has the tendency create rather light pastel colors. I personally like these colors, but if you want to make candles on the darker end of the spectrum you might have to use dye blocks instead.
2. Candle dye blocks and chips
Dye blocks and dye chips are made out of vegetable wax with a high amount of dye in them. When you add these blocks or chips to your wax while heating, they will slowly melt and release the dye.
Although they are pretty similar, dye chips are normally smaller and work a little better for light and pastel shades while candle dye blocks are more bulky and produce a darker hue.
As a rule of thumb, you should add about one dye chip per 500 gram of wax or one 5 cm by 3 cm dye block per 3 kg of wax to obtain a medium shade.
Regardless of which one you use, you always have to make sure that the dye is completely dissolved and evenly mixed with the wax. Obviously this can take quite a while with big dye blocks but the last thing you want are big chunks of wax in your candle.
Although dye blocks and dye chips are great for making dark colors, it can be a little annoying to use them when you are making candles in small batches. Since adding a single block might be too much, you will have to cut or shave the block to get the right amount.
3. Candles Dye Flakes
Candle dye flakes are pretty much dye blocks that are already shaved for you. This makes it easier to measure the exact amount of dye you need for a particular color. Moreover, these thin flakes dissolve much faster in the hot wax than the solid dye blocks.
You only need small amounts of dye flakes to color your candles. In terms of total candle weight, you want to add about 0.1% of dye flakes to get light shades or 0.25% to obtain dark shades.
Frequently asked questions
Can you use food coloring for candles?
Although I wouldn’t recommend it, you can use food coloring for candles as well.
However, you will have to make sure to use gel food coloring because most liquid food coloring is water-based and doesn’t mix well with wax.
Can you use crayons to color candles?
You can’t use crayons to color your candles. This is because the color pigment in crayons don’t dissolve well in the candle wax.
As a result, when you start burning the candle the pigment will start to clog the wick and eventually extinguish the candle. Moreover, the pigment that isn’t absorbed by the wick will slowly settle at the bottom of the molten wax.