It’s surprisingly easy to make candle molds from sand to cast your own candles. These are made in an ombre style, but they could also be made solid colored or in any variation of stripe pattern. This project would be the perfect way to use some sand brought home from a beachside trip.
– candle wax – this is paraffin, but you can use any kind of beeswax, soy, reused old candles, or other candle wax you prefer
– candle wicks – these have metal bases, but that’s not required
– sand – at least a couple cups
– a candle warmer
– candle coloring – liquid or solid (optional)
– candle fragrance (optional)
– small metal cup and stirring sticks
Addition Supplies (Not Pictured):
– something to make a mold from
– small containers (I used washed out plastic tubs from ricotta)
– a marked measuring cup (optional)
– something to tamp the sand in your container
– utility knife to cut the wax – BE CAREFUL WITH THE SHARP KNIFE
You can use other methods to heat wax if you’d like, but a candle warmer is a relatively save and easy way to get this done. I was able to pick up the metal cup with my bare hands, but be prepared with a pot holder or something if your candle warmer is warmer than mine!
The ideal object to use as a mold is either the same size at the top and bottom or a little larger at the top. If you want a candle that is larger at the bottom than the top you’ll need to make the candle upside down. Larger diameter candles are easier to make and safer to burn than narrow ones. *Never leave a burning candle unattended.*
Depending on the sizes of your objects you may or may not have room to compress the sand with your hands. I ended up using the cap from a glue stick to tamp down my sand, but a dowel or something similar would have worked, too. You’ll have to improvise a bit for your situation.
If you are using wick strands that don’t have bases and aren’t pre-waxed then start by melting some wax, dipping your wick in it, and letting it hang to cool. This way you’ll have a sturdy and straight wick to put in the center of your mold. You can also tie a piece of wick to a pencil and set the pencil over the mold, but that can be a bit risky with a sand mold.
Choose an object to be a candle form. I went with this cute little round drill bit set.
To estimate the amount of wax you need fill the glass measure to any line (I went with 16 ounces.) Then hold your casting original in the water and measure again – this time my water is at 20 ounces. That means my candles will take about 4 ounces of wax.
You can measure your wax block the same way – my block was just about 8 ounces, so I used half a block for each candle.
The sand needs to be damp to form a mold. It should clump if you squish some together in your hand. A wide range of moisture levels will work, but dry sand absolutely will not work.
Put some sand into the container and press it flat.
Set your molding shape into the container. Add some more sand around it, then tamp the sand to compress it.
You can see the marks from me using a glue stick cap or dowel – depending on the space you may be able to use your hands. Well compressed sand makes better candles.
Keep adding more sand and compressing until your reach the target height for the mold.
Very carefully pull the molding original straight up to remove it. If the sand collapses it was probably too dry. But it’s okay, you can just try again. You’ll never “use up” the sand so you infinite do-overs.
I used half of a block of wax per candle. I then cut that half into 4 pieces to make 4 layers.
Set the wick into the center of the mold. If you don’t have a wick with a base then either stick a wax coated wick into the sand at the bottom a little, or tie it to a pencil and hang it in the center.
Put a block of wax in the cup and set it on the candle warmer.
As soon as it melts add the coloring and/or fragrance. Stir in with a wooden stir stick.
I made my layers like this:
Layer 1: 1 drop white, 4 drops blue
Layer 2: 2 drops white, 3 drops blue
Layer 3: 3 drops white, 2 drops blue
Layer 4: 4 drops white, 1 drop blue
If you’re using block style wax coloring then cut pieces based on this proportion instead.
Very carefully pour the first layer in. Use a pot holder to protect yourself from the hot cup.
Melt more wax and add more layers until you reach the top.
Wax can take a long time to set. It’s smart to leave these overnight before unmolding.
Unmolding is easy (and fun!) Make sure the container is over a clean newspaper to collect up the loose sand for re-use. Set the container on it’s side and start carefully knocking sand out until the candle is free. Then brush off any remaining loose sand. Trim the wick and it’s ready to go!