Category Archives: How it’s Made

OFF WITH THE HEAD!!!

Each spring when I am planting annuals in my garden, I hate that moment when I must behead the new plantings. You know what I mean if you garden.

Deadheading of blossoms must be done to allow energy to be turned to root production and the development of a multi-branched plant. I know this, but plucking off the beautiful flower heads goes against all my instincts for instant gratification.

Did you know that in the production of a portrait bust in clay there is a similar painful moment?

When sculpting of the clay likeness is completed, it must be sliced in half, hollowed out, and seamlessly put back together. This hollowing out step is absolutely necessary or the piece would explode in the kiln while being fired. What a vulnerable moment though!  Weeks or even months of work could be lost in this moment.

But it’s worth it. In the end the work will be finished as lovingly as a well tended flower bush.

(portrait photo courtesy: Statue.com)

Make your Own Candle

It’s easy to make your own candle.  My prototype  is complex but simple forms are usually best  for candles. Hover over each image to see  the steps that I take, or double click on the  image to enlarge:

To save you a lot of aggravation I have a couple of important tips that I have learned along the way.

1.  You can use a variety of products to cast your mold with.  Smooth On is a great company with helpful videos and numerous products for the job at hand.  Be very aware that the Platinum cure silicons will NOT set up if you use plasticine clay for your prototype so don’t use it.  For small projects, Walmart or Dick Blick’s have good air-dried clays.

2. Silicone sneaks out of any little crevice, so your wooden box mold (or metal as I have used here), MUST be leak proof.  After you have screwed up all the edges, (or taped it as I have done here), use a hot glue gun to  glue the box down around your sculpture, and then run glue up  along all edges to make a tight seal.  Run it around the bottom as well, and have it ready to use should you find it beginning to leak as you are pouring in the silicone.

3.  When you are pouring your candle wax into the prepared mold,  pour about a third at a time, and rotate the mold allowing it to flow into undercuts and eliminate air bubbles.  At tricky  spots that tend to create missed areas, you can rub with a tool of some kind to allow the wax to get into those areas.

Good Luck!  Hope you have as much fun creating candles as I’m having.  The smell of real beeswax is so intoxicating you might just decide to take up beekeeping as I did!