from the book: How to Make & Market Gel Candles that Sell Like Wildfire!
One of the most interesting aspects of gel candles is the ability to embed all sorts of objects in the gel with some absolutely stunning results.
A variety of wax, glass, and plaster/ceramics embedded items will increase the value of the candle.
Embedded items should be placed 100% into the gel and not be left protruding above the candle’s surface. For highest visibility, place the items away from the wick and close to the sides of the glass.
The object that you embed should be resistant to burning or smoldering. Do not embed plastic, acrylic, resin, wood, cloth, or flammable items such as pinecones.
Embedding items should be nonflammable such as: glass, marbles, crystals, seashells, ceramic*, metal, river rock, natural stone and fish gravel.
*Be cautious of flammable paints on otherwise nonflammable objects.
Dried fruit is not recommended.
It is best to use a nesting candle if you desire to design with flammable. This creates a separation between the flammable item and the wick by nesting a glass container holding your wick with gel inside of a larger glass container filled with the flammable items in gel.
This can be accomplished by nesting a votive candleholder within a larger glass container, or by using specialty-nesting glassware.
Another design idea is to attach the flammable item (i.e. dried flower) to the outside of the glass.
If you choose to embed an item that can melt or catch on fire, put a warning on the candle to stop burning 1/4 inch from the object. (See: Warning Labels in the Book)
There are a variety of embed safe that can be used instead. (ask your Supplier if unsure)
Starfish, seahorses and other “dead” creatures should not be used. And after a while, they can not only cloud the gel, but can also bloat and take on an unforgettably noxious odor.
If you choose to embed waxed items, be sure to remove any wick they may have, coat them with cool-warm clear gel, let it set, then embed away from wick, close to the inner walls of the glass.
Avoid melting or ruining wax embed items by being certain that the gel candle wax is lukewarm, not hot, before adding your waxed items to your design.
If you wait too long to embed the item you may find that you have broken the seal, causing the gel surface to look ragged.
After placing your items in the candle, gently wave a heat gun over the surface (protect your skin) for a brief period of time, just enough to repair the seal.
Colors and fragrances need to be oil based and contain no water, alcohol, mica, or other flammable materials.
Craft glitter and mica should not be used. Mica can give off noxious fumes, and catch the gel on fire.
Cosmetic grade glitter is okay if used sparingly. A little goes a long way, and only a pinch is needed for effect.
Make sure that the embedded object is clean and dry.
Seashells should be thoroughly washed of salt and sand, and then thoroughly dried prior to use.
Prior to embedding objects into the gel, dip them in clear gel to put a thin film on them. This will help prevent air pocket bubbles in the gel.
Sand, gravel, shells & pebbles can cause dusting inside of the glass as you insert them and can cloud your gel.
If dusting should occur, thoroughly wipe the inside of the glass prior to pouring your gel. Note: Sugar and salt containing sugar are flammable.
An undesirable edge line can form between the layers as your pour. If this happens, you can run the tip of an ice pick, awl or other skewer around it to soften the line. Be careful not to skewer between an embedded item and your glassware.
Embed Item Ideas
- Glass items like: glass fish, glass turtles, glass scuba divers, glass mermaids, glass ice crystals, glass figurines, glass candies, glass beads, glass hearts, glass shamrocks, etc.
- Pebbles, sea shells, sea glass, sand, aquarium pebbles, gravel, tumbled stones.
- Glass, plaster or ceramic objects like: lighthouses, trees, angels, snowmen, etc.
- Coins… bright copper pennies are especially attractive in the clear gel.
- Foil glitter and foil garland, foil stars, foil words, foil celebrations like “Happy Birthday”
- Hard-wax fruit, olives, etc. with any wick removed, coated with clear gel and placed far away from the wick, towards the inside wall of the glass.
- Metal toys like miniature cars, metal beads, metallic stars, metallic rose stems, and metallic twinkle trim.
- Cosmetic grade glitter (used sparingly).
- Molded gel objects, such as cookie cutter molded hearts, molded gel “icecubes”.
- Glass drinks stirrers with sea horses, palm trees, fish, etc.
If you choose to use flammable embeds or other non-gel recommended items (such as photographs) in your designs, then it is advised that you use nested glassware in your candle designs.