How to Make a Dripless Candle

Learn How to Keep Those Tapers From Making a Hot Mess

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Taper candles make for a cozy and romantic ambiance, but as they burn they usually drip down the candleholder and by the time they are down to the nub, the candleholder is often a mess of hardened wax that is a pain to clean up.

The good news is you can try to make any taper candle dripless. It takes anywhere from about 5 to 30 minutes. There are a couple of ways to approach this when you make your own candles.

One of two things must happen for a candle to be dripless:

  • The wick must consume all of the melted wax before it has a chance to drip over the edge. 
  • The candle must melt down the middle only, leaving a hollow rim/tube to hold all of the melted wax.

What You Need

  • Standard melt-point (135 to 145 F) wax -- pillar or taper blend
  • High melt-point (160 to 165 F) hurricane or translucent crystals
  • A dipping vat -- something to completely dip the candle into

How to Make a Candle Dripless

Method No. 1

  1. To cause the wick to consume all of the wax, you must find the perfect combination of wick and wax. Virtually any candle can be dripless if it is completely in balance – that is, the wick is exactly the right size for the wax and mold used. The only way to assure this is to test repeatedly until you are sure it is right. 

Method No. 2

  1. To make the candle burn down the middle only, you have to over dip the candle. This is most often and easily done with hand-dipped tapers, but you could do it with a pillar or other round-shaped candle. A square or oddly shaped candle will never burn perfectly evenly.
  1. Make the candle, whether hand dipped or molded, in normal wax with a melt point of 135 to 145 F. Most of your taper- and pillar-blend waxes fall in this range.
  2. When the candle is cool, over dip it.
  3. There are two ways to over dip. Either use a pre-blended “hurricane” or over dip wax, which has a high melt point of 160 to 170 F, or use a wax additive like translucent crystals, which effectively increase the melt point of your wax.
  1. If there is room in your melt pot to dip the entire candle in, you can keep it there. Otherwise, you will need to improvise a dipping vat. An easy option is tall frozen juice cans. You can color the wax if you like. Some people over dip a white candle in a boldly colored over dip wax, which is a great effect.
  2. Quickly dip the candle in the wax three or four times and then wait a minute or two in between dips. The more times you dip, the thicker the outer edge/rim will be. This dipping creates a higher temp melting “shell” around the candle that will allow the middle of the candle to melt first and leave the outside unmelted, creating a well. Store-bought pillar candles burn in this manner, with the center burning down and holding the melted wax while the sides stay intact.