Ombre Candles Bring the Chic to Your Valentine's Day
Get creative this Valentine's Day and learn how to make your own ombre candles. Shaded from ivory to magenta, these candles can be made in any glass container. Use the color palette of your choice – whether you're celebrating Valentine's Day like us, or decorating for a baby shower, wedding, or hosting craft night.
Emily Fazio, 2016
You can purchase pre-assembled wicks or make your own. The advantage to making your own is that you can make the wick as long as you need. Cut a long wick if you're going to be filling a deep glass container, or a short one to suit a small votive. When assembling your wicks, use needle nose pliers to pinch the wick rope into the wick tab. Trim the wick rope to measure a few inches longer than you will need, so that it extends out of the top of the glass.
In a double-boiler, combine a cup of wax flakes and small pieces of red crayon. Keep in mind that even though the melted wax may be very deep in hue, it will still harden a much lighter color. You may have to experiment with the amount of crayon used to obtain a rich color.
I focused on making the bottom layer of the candle darker, adding a 2" length of crayon to the wax. When used in larger amounts, crayons can affect how clean your candle burns (you risk your pretty candle smelling like melting crayons), but in smaller concentrations I have not noticed the smell as it burns. It may not seem like a big deal, but I had much better success with Crayola crayons. Using other brands, I noticed a fine sediment at the bottom of the wax layer, as though the dye in the crayon didn't blend with the wax well and settled. Total bummer – but I have been pleased with the consistency of Crayola.
If you think that common food coloring will work as a clean substitute for crayons, think twice. Water-based dyes are most prevalent in baking, even in gel dye concentrates. Water-based dyes will not mix into the wax, and you'll experience an effect similar to mixing oil and vinegar. If you do want to use a food coloring, purchase an oil-based food coloring – one that a baker might use to tint the color of white chocolate.
Heat your wax to 180-degrees in the double-boiler, and then let it cool down to 125-degrees. Keep a close eye on the wax as it is heating – it is dangerous, and a fire hazard, if overheated. As the wax cools, you can add a few drops of scented oil to your candle.
Divide the red wax amongst your containers, coating the bottom. Reserve a tablespoon of the red melted wax in the pot.
Lower the wick tabs into the wax. You will notice that the bottom of the container is beginning to cure, making it slightly sticky. The tab should anchor nicely into position. Allow the wax to firm up until you can see that the top layer is set after ~30 minutes. (Pop the container into the refrigerator to expedite the process).
To the red wax you reserved, add another cup of wax flakes, and melt it again. This time, observe the coloring of the wax. It is lighter than the previous batch, right? Depending on the intensity of your gradient, you may want to add another small piece of red crayon (1/4" - 1/2" length). Once the temp reaches 180-degrees, remove the wax from the heat again.
Pour the second layer of color into your candle containers, again reserving a very small amount of the red wax. Allow the wax in the jars to cool.
Repeat, adding one more cup of wax flakes into the reserved wax. Don't add any additional red crayon this time, and observe to see if the color is appropriately lighter. Once cooled and scented, add this third layer into the candle containers.
Repeat these steps as you wish, continuously working to lighten the color of the wax. You may want to transition to melting pieces of pink crayon, which is less concentrated than red, to achieve rosier layers. To complete the dark-to-light ombre appearance, top off the candle with a layer of plain wax, which cures white.
Allow the wax to cool completely for an hour, and trim the wick down to 1/4".
The beauty of this is, now you know how to make candles! If you want to make solid colored candles, simply fill the container with a single batch of melted wax. If you're making candles for weddings (as favors, or centerpieces), baby showers, picnics, and any other event, choose different color crayons to suit, and have fun with it.