How to Stop Your Candles from
Sticking to their Moulds
Are your candles not coming out of their moulds easily? As annoying
as this may be, it's also one of the easiest candlemaking problems to
fix. Successful mould release depends upon the additives you mix into your
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.
How to Easily Unmold your Paraffin Wax Candles:
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 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 damages
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 Releasing Beeswax Candles:
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 damages plastic. Use mold release alternatives, specially made for
plastic molds, instead.
Try vegetable cooking oils as a substitute. This natural release
agent works equally well in steel or plastic moulds.
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 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, how do I get it out?"
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.