Floating candles are a handy way to decorate. They float in water, so they are also relatively safe. You can put several of them in a large bowl, or put just one in a small bowl or tall vase.
To actually make a candle float isn’t hard as wax naturally floats. However, you might notice floating candles look a little different from most other candles. Most floating candles are wider than they are high, and with reason. By being shallow, it is much easier to ensure that the candle will, indeed, float.
As a result, one of the easiest ways to make floating candles at home is by using cookie cutters. Another option is to use a mold of some kind. Mold can be anything from a simple cupcake or muffin pan to a mold specifically made for floating candles. Using muffin pan or cookie cutters to make your candles requires the least number of additional materials, so methods using those will be described here.
For either case, you will need wax, dye if you want to make colored candles, wick, and scissors to cut the wick. Paraffin wax may be a good choice to start with. As an option if you want to avoid messing with dying the wax, you can get inexpensive pillar candles and melt those down.
If you are using a muffin pan, you will need a muffin pan. If you’re using cookie cutters, you’ll need a cake pan and cookie cutters of the desired shape (or shapes) for your candles. The advantage of the first is you don’t have to cut your shapes out, and the advantage of the second is that you can make more than just round candles.
You will also need a double boiler. Or, if you do not need one, you will need two saucepans and a cookie cutter. A double boiler will help prevent the wax from overheating and burning.
If you need to make your own double boiler, you should do that before beginning. One of the pans should be small, and this will be where your wax will be melting. You probably want this to be a pan you won’t be cooking in again. The other pan should be plenty big enough to hold your other pan. Fill the larger pan with a few inches of water, put a cookie cutter on the bottom, and then set the smaller pan on top of the cookie cutter. You then have a simple double boiler.
Using a muffin pan:
- Cut your wicks before beginning. Cut them at least half an inch longer than your candle will be high.
- Melt your wax in the double boiler. Once melted, add dye if wished/needed.
- Once the wax is fully melted, pour the liquid wax into each individual cup in the pan. Remember to keep your candle wider than it is high. So if the cup is three inches in diameter, you probably don’t want to go much thicker than about an inch and a half, if even that.
- Let the wax cool just enough so that the wax is still liquid, yet thick. Then take your wick and place it in the center of your cooling candle.
- Continue to let the wax cool until hard, then remove from the pan. Cut your wick down if needed.
Using cookie cutters:
- Again, prepare your wicks first. Make them slightly longer than half an inch longer than your cookie cutters are high. At this time, you also may wish to press a sheet of aluminum foil into the bottom of your pan to help protect from both the hot wax and your cookie cutters.
- Melt your wax and add dye if wished/needed.
- Once fully melted, pour the wax into your cake pan. The level should be slightly shorter than any cookie cutters you wish to use for best results. Also remember to keep your candles wider than they are high, if you are using small cookie cutters.
- Let the wax cool until it is no longer a liquid, but still malleable. Then take your cookie cutters and press down in the pan, cutting through the wax.
- Make all of your shapes now, before it fully cools. Do not remove them from the pan.
- Let cool until hard, then remove wax from the pan.
- You will now need to make a small hole in the center of each shape for the wick. The hole should go all of the way through. Place your wick through the hole.
- When done, perhaps secure wick end with a dab of melted wax. Then cut wick down so it is slightly less than half an inch.