Chunky Candles, Swirly Candles

You can add color to candles by using dyes to make wax chunks which are then placed in a mould and held together with melted wax. The creative effect is achieved by using wax in two states – melted and in chunks. It's a great way to make use of different colored wax left over from other projects or you can use new wax in shades made from dye discs.


Candle making is a great activity for children, but NEVER allow them to work with hot wax unattended!


Freshly made, warm candles (see dipped candles)

Rolling pin

Sharp knife

Melted wax for over-dipping (optional)


It's a great idea to have everything you need ready and to work on an uncluttered surface to avoid messes and accidents!
To reach the correct temperature for this technique, the wax can not be melted in a double boiler. It is placed directly over the heat, so be sure to follow adequate safety precautions. Use a wax thermometer (or cooking thermometer) to ensure that you've reached the correct temperature.
Cut a length of wick longer than the mould. Dip it into melted wax and thread it into the mould, using a wicking needle to hold it taut at the base. Clip the stand in place, then seal the end using mould seal, keeping an air hole in the base free.
Melt 50g/2oz of wax with wax hardener in a small pan over a low heat. Pour the wax onto a plate and allow it to set. Remove the wax disc from the plate and break it into small chunks with your fingers.
Pack the chunks of white wax into the candle mould, distributing them evenly between all points of the star. Be careful not to disturb the wick.
Heat the remaining wax to 127ºC/260ºF over direct heat. At the same time, melt pieces of dye separately in an egg-poaching pan with water in the base. Remove from the heat, but do not allow to set. Pour the clear, hot wax into the mould.
Using a teaspoon, immediately drip dye into the center and the points of the mould so that the dye forms swirly patterns around the chunks. Using a clean teaspoon, add a few drops of another dye color, working around the candle and intermingling the colors. Repeat with another clean teaspoon and another color. You'll need to work as fast as you can to finish before the wax starts to set or the dye skims over and starts to thicken.
Set the mould on a stand in a bath of cold water. Use a container that’s deep enough to hold enough water that comes right up to the top of the candle mould. Weight the mould down to stop it from floating – you can lay a pair of pliers or scissors over the top for this purpose.
After an hour, remove the weight and lift the mould from the water. Release the candle from the mould by removing the mould seal. You can improve the appearance of your finished candle by polishing it with a little white spirit and then rubbing with a piece of damp kitchen paper. This produces a shinier finish on the candle.
Place wax hardener into a saucepan and scrape a few pieces of wax dye into the saucepan using a scalpel. Melt over a low heat. Add 50g/2oz of wax to the mixture and continue to melt over a low heat. Pour onto a plate and leave to set. Repeat this with a different colored dye disc. When the dyed wax discs have cooled, remove them from their plates and break into small chunks using your fingers.
Melt the remaining wax. Dip the wick into the wax and thread it though the mould and across the lower end with a wicking needle. Seal the top end with mould seal.
Pack chunks of colored wax into the mould, pushing them up against the side so that they add to the effect of the finished candle. Add the remaining wax, pouring it smoothly and evenly until it reaches the top of the mould. Leave the candle until it's completely set, then remove from the mould, trim away any protruding chunks of wax and trim the wick. You can improve the appearance of your finished candle by polishing it with a little white spirit and then rubbing with a piece of damp kitchen paper. This produces a shinier finish on the candle.


You can create a stunning effect by over-dipping your candle: two dips give your candle a shiny coat. You can also play by over-dipping in different colors to give your candle an interesting shade.