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How can I Make Taper Candles?

Taper candles are a popular element in table decor.
Taper candles can be hung to completely dry before use.
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  • Written By: Jane Harmon
  • Edited By: R. Kayne
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2014
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Taper candles are the easiest candles to make, but they do require you to purchase a bit of equipment. To make them, you will need a "dipping can" to melt the wax in because a regular kitchen pot won't do. Even if you had one that was deep enough for the size candles you wanted to make, it would be too wide and you would have to melt far too much wax. Craft supply shops will have a tall, skinny can specifically for making hand-dipped tapers.

You will also need a candle-making thermometer to measure the temperature of the melted wax for the candles. A candy thermometer doesn't measure the right range of temperatures; you will need a thermometer that can measure 140° to 160°F (60° to 71°C). A thermometer specific to candle-making will have a clip on the side that allows you to clip it to the inside of the melting can.

A lot of wax must be melted, and the dipping can will need to be nearly full for full-length taper candles. Paraffin is the most suitable wax; beeswax is not only expensive, it's fairly soft and your candles will be inclined to bend on a hot day. Break the wax into chunks — the smaller the chunks, the faster the wax will melt.

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Do not put the dipping can directly on a burner! This is very dangerous. Put it in a large pot of water, standing on a trivet or other device to keep it from coming in contact with the bottom of the outer pot. Then heat the water, which will gently raise the temperature in the dipping can. If you try to melt the wax directly rather than via this double-boiler method, you run the risk of creating toxic fumes from burning wax, and the potential for a flash fire.

You will need to buy a spool of wick that is sized for taper and not pillar candles. Pillar candles require heavier wicking, and if you use pillar wicks in taper candles, they will burn down too quickly.

Cut the wick into as many lengths as you want tapers. Make them 4-6 inches (10-15 centimeters) longer than the candles you want to make, and tie them to long sticks. Skewers, cooking chopsticks, dowels, or whatever is handiest will work. You will also need to create a drying rack for the taper candles; this can be as simple as a deep, narrow cardboard box that is deep enough that you can lay the sticks across it and the candles will not touch the bottom.

When the wax is all melted, you can add scent and color if you wish. Make sure the dye is wax dye; other dyes won't necessarily color the wax appropriately. When the wax is between 150° and 165°F (65° and 75°C), it's suitable for dipping. If it's hotter than 165°F (75°C), your candles will develop bubbles between the layers. If it's cooler than 145°F (62.7°C), it will begin to form a solidifying layer on the surface that will cling to your tapers and make them uneven and strange.

Take the dipping can out of the pot of water and place on a low table. Now you can start dipping the dry wicks into the wax. The first few dips will just get the wick saturated, but soon you will begin to see a very skinny taper candle forming. Do each string in turn, setting the dipped wick's stick on your rack until you have done them all. Then start over again with the first wick.

Dipping taper candles can take quite a while, so be prepared. Don't leave the growing candle in the hot wax for very long per dip — just down and up. If you allow the candle to linger, it will potentially lose more wax to the can that it picks up. You may have to reheat the wax briefly before you finish all your candles.

Dip as many times as necessary to form candles of the width you want. Some people prefer the very elegant look of a tall, narrow taper, while others prefer the more homespun look of a short, stout taper. When you have the width you want, allow all the candles to harden completely. You will notice that a "drip cone" of wax is hanging off the bottom of each one, and when they fully hardened, you can just snip these off with a knife or scissors.

Snip the candle off the dipping stick, trim the wick to 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) or so, and your taper candles are ready to use. Now you're ready for the next romantic evening, or can wait out the next thunderstorm's power outage in style.

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myharley
Post 3

Beeswax candles are known to be dripless and will burn for a long time. There are several advantages to dripless candles, but one of the things I like best is they look much neater. Even after several hours of burning, you don't have the wax dripping down the sides of the candle. This also makes them much safer.

If you purchase beeswax taper candles, they are also smokeless, which means you will have a much cleaner burn that just looks and smells much better. You may pay a little more when you purchase these types of taper candles, but I think the look and safety is well worth the extra cost.

LisaLou
Post 2

@loumcken1 - When preparing to dip your taper candles, tie the wick to a long wooden stick such as a dowel. You will use this to hold on to the wick as you dip it into the wax. Just remember to make sure your wick is several inches longer than what you want your candle to be.

Making your own taper candles is not hard, but you must have some patience because it can be a little time consuming. If this is your first time, I would start out with a tiny taper candle to get the hang of it before trying to make longer candles.

loumcken1
Post 1

What are the best taper candle molds? I'm aware of the metal ones, but would like to know how efficient they are and how does one wick them?

I would also like to know if there is something unique to "dripless" tapers?

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