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How do You Keep Your Candles from Sticking to the Molds?

Getting your handmade candles out of their molds, can be a tricky and time-consuming task. How do you solve this annoying candlemaking problem? Successful demoulding depends upon the additives you mix into the waxes, and the candle cooling process you follow once the candle's set.

Use these simple tips and tricks for different waxes and mould types, and solve those sticky mould troubles once and for all.

Unmolding your Paraffin Wax Candles Easily:

  • Add 10% stearin to your candle wax. There are other hardeners you can experiment with too. Besides hardening, these additives also shrink the wax slightly. The candle pulls away from the sides of the mould, sliding out easily.
  • Leave the candle in a metal mould to set overnight, if possible. In a hurry? Cooling your candles down in the fridge loosens them quickly. (Not the freezer, this causes cracking in the candles.) Wait till the candle's set, and leave the mould in the refrigerator for an hour. Tip: water baths speed up candle cooling time immeasurably, (and prevent leaking too). Place plastic, glass, acrylic or polycarbonate moulds in the fridge for 20 minutes. A firm tug on the wick, (no jerking, the wick might snap), and removing the candle's easy.
  • The best wax to use in latex rubber moulds? A mixture of ½-1% vybar and paraffin wax. Avoid stearin. It rots these flexible mould types. These candles don't release well when they're cold, hard and set. Wait until the candle's firm, but still warm. Rub dishwashing liquid onto the outside of the mould, and pull the mold back on itself.

Tips for Beeswax Mold Release:

Moulding with beeswax presents unique problems. The natural stickiness of this wax makes easy candle removal impossible. Add up to 10% beeswax to paraffin wax, and you'll still get the candle out of a 2-sided plastic mould. Any higher percentage, and you'll have to lubricate the moulds, to get good candle separation.

  •    For metal moulds, use a candle release spray or lotion. These lubricants come with or without silicone.

  •    For plastic and acrylic moulds, avoid silicone sprays. Silicone erodes plastic. Use wax release alternatives, specially made for plastic molds, instead.

    Try vegetable cooking oils as a substitute. These natural release agents work equally well in steel or plastic moulds, and cause no mold erosion. Rub a thin layer onto the inside of the mould with a soft, lint-free cloth, (to avoid scratches). Stand the mould upside down on newspaper. Let the excess oil drip away. Give it a final rub, and pour your candle.

I've only worked with paraffin and bees waxes, and cannot give you tips for the demolding of other wax types.

How to Separate a Stuck Candle from its Mould

Now I can hear you say, "Yes, but that doesn't help me at all, my candle's ALREADY stuck, what do I do now?"

Run boiling water over the outside of a metal mould for a few seconds, and pull hard on the candle's wick. The candle should slide out fairly easily. Rarely, the candle will be undamaged, (but that's unlikely).

To unstick a candle that won't budge at all, you'll have to put the mould, wax and all, into a metal dish with boiling water, and melt the candle out. Remove the soft candle after a few minutes. This candle mass can be dried off and melted down at a later stage. At least you'll save the wax.

Leave the wax residue in the water to cool down. Lift this wax layer off the water, and dispose of it in the bin. Never throw melted-wax-and-hot-water down the kitchen sink, or drain.

For plastic and acrylic molds, follow the same procedure, but with hot, not boiling water. Pour hot water over the mould, and pull the softened candle from the mould. Some plastic moulds are heat-resistant up to 110°C (230°F), but many start warping above 82°C (179.6°F).

Consult the instructions that came with your moulds, to check up on the correct temperatures.