- Wax etc. from Candles and Supplies
- Soy wax - 10 lbs is enough for about 20 small candles (spice bottle size)
- Gel wax - 5 lbs is enough for about 20 small candles (spice bottle size)
- wax chip dyes (we are using these up and they only work with soy)
- liquid dyes
- Other supplies
- small glass jars (recycled from staff and patrons)
- popsicle sticks and tape for stirring and holding wicks in place
- towels to use as pot holders
- ribbon for decoration
- wire or small tools to make patterns in the candles (soy only)
- beads, glitter, sequins, etc. to add (gel only)
- tarp to put under the soy melter - it drips - plastic coverings for the tables, and cardboard to put under where you're using the heat gun etc. if needed.
- I got some helpful suggestions from the Programming Librarian Interest Group on Facebook
- Publisher file of tips, tricks, and using the different kinds of wax
Opening speech for patrons
- There are two types of dyes. Soy wax cools cloudy (show example of white, cooled wax). Use the chip dyes with this wax. If you want to layer it, you will need to let each layer cool and use a second jar to mix and add the next layer. You can't put decorations into soy wax - it won't show them, they cool into a solid.
- Gel wax cools clear - it also cools extremely quickly, so have all your materials ready. You can layer it as well, but you will want to add each layer straight into the candle itself without mixing it separately. If you put the chip dyes into the gel wax, it will get cloudy.
- The liquid dyes can be used for both gel and soy wax, but they are EXTREMELY strong. You do not need a drop - just a tiny fraction of a drop, use a popsicle stick to scrape a bit off and mix it in.
- Put your scents in last, especially if you are layering, and use only 1-2 drops.
- If you spill wax or make a mistake, the heat gun will quickly heat up the soy wax and it will run off. The gel wax can just be peeled off, like jello.
- I always forgot to turn up the heat on the soy wax so the chip dyes melt - it should be at least 300.
- The scents come in horrible little leaky bottles - we transferred them to glass dropper bottles.
- If you're putting soy outside to cool, the weather needs to be just right. about 20-30 degrees is fine, but make sure the wax is not boiling hot or the jars will crack.
- We make wick holders out of popsicle sticks and tape
- It's a lot simpler to do the separate kinds of wax separately, but you can combine them - the best way is to make a soy candle, let it completely cool, then sprinkle beads/sequins, etc. across the top and seal it with a thin layer of gel wax.
- I did soy wax alone in winter and this summer I did gel. Soy doesn't work well in the summer because it takes so long to cool and set. I got a bunch of miscellaneous stuff to add, including a nail art/resin art kit I bought off Amazon that had little pots of glitter, sequins, etc. I also bought a bunch of tiny flowers and some mini fish. The one thing I'd change doing this was use the whole room - we had to split it and use the smaller half and it was miserably cramped and hot, although the Storyroom would have been even smaller - and lots of tweezers for people position their additions. My staff wanted gloves to handle the wax, because they don't like the slimy feel, and glitter turned out to be surprisingly awesome.
- Attendance: 24 in two sessions
- Notes: First time in several years! Of course I forgot about heating the wax higher. We also tried scents for the first time - I don't know how they'll take in the candles, but they certainly made the room smell nice. We experimented with gel wax before the session and it needs a lot more heat to melt.
- Attendance: 20
- Notes: I did this session in the community room for all ages, including adults. A wax melting pot was donated and after experimentation (and when we were nearly done) we figured out to turn it up to 300 and the wax would be hot enough straight out of the spout to melt the dye chips. I purchased a new heat gun that worked pretty well.
- Attendance: 15
- Notes: This went very well for a test and I'm planning to repeat it in the fall for those who couldn't attend. It was pretty cramped in the Storyroom and everyone had to wait patiently for the wax to melt a little at a time in the microwave. The crock pot didn't work - even when I put the wax directly into it, it melted very slowly and never to the point where it was hot enough to take the dye.