Taper candles make for a cozy and romantic ambiance, but as they burn they usually drip down the candleholder. By the time they are down to the nub, the candleholder is often a mess of hardened wax that can be 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 and only requires a few candlemaking tools. The goal of making your own dripless candles is to create an outer shell of wax that doesn't melt, allowing the inner one to melt evenly and not drip outside the protective layer you've created.
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. Use either pillar or taper blend
- High melt-point (160 to 165 F) hurricane or translucent crystals
- A dipping vat, which should be big enough that you can completely dip the candle
How to Make a Candle Dripless
- 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 and therefore will not likely be dripless.
- Make the candle, whether hand dipped or molded, in normal wax with a melting point of 135 to 145 F. Most of the standard taper- and pillar-blend waxes fall in this temperature range.
- When the candle is cool, over dip it, using one of two methods.
- First, use a pre-blended “hurricane” or over dip wax, which has a high melt point of 160 to 170 F. The second option is to use a wax additive like translucent crystals, which effectively increase the melting point of your wax.
- 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. Decide ahead of time if you would like to color the wax. Some people over dip a white candle in a boldly colored over dip wax, which is a great effect. When the candle is lit, the flame will come through the colored over dip, providing a beautiful look.
- 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.