How to make a round ball-shaped candle

Round ball candles are simple but dramatic. They are easy to make but require a little more skill than a candle poured in a simple metal mold.

The first thing you need in order to make a round candle is a round ball mold. These usually are made from plastic and come in two pieces that snap together. You will probably be able to find one at your local crafts store, or many more sizes (and fancier models that will make the process much easier) are available online or at stores dedicated to candle making.

The way you prepare for making a round ball candle will depend on the type of mold you have. Some molds come with clamps and stands, and these are very easy to use; just snap the pieces together and place them on the stand. Slightly trickier is the more common mold that is part of a larger sheet of plastic. This type of mold has to be held up straight (the base is not strong enough to hold it), which can be accomplished by standing the mold up between two large soup cans.

The key to a good-looking ball candle is a tight seal between the pieces of the mold. This is because a seam will appear on the candle where the two pieces of the mold meet; the smaller the gap between the two pieces, the smaller this seam will be. Some molds that come with their own stands also have a rubber gasket that is placed between the two parts of the mold for a very strong seal. The more basic molds have tabs and holes that match up on the two pieces to hold them together, but you’ll also want to secure them together with a large rubber band to make the hold stronger. You can also buy mold clamps or use alligator clips to help hold the pieces together.

If you have a two-piece mold that does not come with a stand, you will need to secure the wick before putting the mold together. There should be a guide in the plastic sides of the mold to show you where to lay the wick; then you simply need to guide it through the center of the mold, leaving enough extra wick that you can secure it to the side of the mold (using mold sealer or tape) well out of the way of where you need to pour the wax. If you have a mold that sits on a stand, there is no place in the bottom of the mold to secure the wick, so you will have to secure it to a skewer and lower it into the mold.

After the preparation, making a ball candle is much like making any other candle. You must have some sort of double boiler to melt the wax in (the water in the lower pot keeps the wax from melting too quickly and getting too hot) which can either be purchased or you can make one with an two old kitchen pots (no longer used for food) or an old pot and a purchased wax melting pitcher. The pitcher is a good idea, especially for this project, because the spout makes it much easier to pour the hot wax.

The amount of wax you will need will depend on the size of your mold; most standard molds you can buy at the craft store hold about one pound of wax. You can buy candle wax in packages large or small at the craft store. It’s OK to guess rather than weigh the amount of wax you are using, but it is always better to err on the side of melting too much wax rather than not enough, especially when using color.

Be careful when working with hot wax. Cover all work surfaces with newspaper, paper bags, or cardboard (a large cardboard cutting board, found in the sewing section of craft stores, is great for this purpose) and never walk away from your wax while it is melting. There is a very fine line between wax that is just melted enough to pour and wax that is on fire. Should your wax catch on fire, cover the pot and turn off the heat. You might also want to consider using a hot plate rather than melting wax on your kitchen stovetop. Basic models can be bought for about $10 and they are very helpful for keeping your craft contained in one part of the kitchen or craft room.

As the wax melts you can add colored wax dye to make the candle whatever color you desire. Using about half of a standard-sized cake of dye should give you a very vibrant color. If you want to test the color of the wax, allow all the wax and color to dissolve, then drip a small amount of wax onto a piece of waxed paper. As it dries you should get a pretty good idea of what your color will look like and you can adjust accordingly.

It is not a good idea to use fragrance in ball candles (or any other candles made in plastic molds) because it is possible the chemicals in the fragrance will eat through the plastic. For the same reason, most manufacturers recommend against using mold release spray on these types of molds.

Once all the wax is melted and you have achieved the color you would like, simply pour the wax down into the mold, making sure you fill it completely and leave a small amount of wax in your pouring container, which will be used later. If you knock the wick out of alignment, adjust it carefully, and leave the candle to cool for at least four hours before the next step.

When the candle is cool, you will notice an indentation where the wax has solidified away from the wick. To fix that, melt the reserved wax again and slowly pour it into the void, being careful not to overflow the mold. Again allow the candle to cool for a couple of hours before unmolding.

To get the candle out of the mold, remove the clamps, bands and other means of support and gently separate the two parts of the mold. Your candle will have a seam, but it should not be too large if your mold was secured properly. If you have the kind of mold where the ball is part of a larger piece of plastic, it is possible that some wax could creep between the layers outside of the mold area and these will dry as part of the candle. They can easily be trimmed away with the very careful use of a craft knife (keep your hand that is holding the candle steady well away from the blade).

These dramatic ball candles are often used for decoration as much as illumination and you may find that they attract fingerprints. The candles can easily be cleaned by wiping them with a dry cloth.

Ball candles can add a great, different, dramatic touch to any décor, and they are fun and easy to make yourself.

Ball candles

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