Layered Gel Candle Using a Heat Gun

This is a perfect way to use
up some of your left-over pieces
of candle gel!

Here we have a layered candle
that has been made entirely
with pieces of colored gel,
using a heat gun. This is
not a "poured" candle ...
it's a "melted candle" inside
a glass. If you wish to try
your hand at this, the two
most important things are
the quality of your glassware
and your knowledge of how to
safely use a heat gun.

Look for glassware that has some weight
to it and is not real light and thin, as it may
crack from the heat. Make sure to read all
of the instructions that came with your
heat gun prior to using it ... now you are ready!

In this example, chunks of
colored gel were specifically
made for this candle. However,
you may have some scraps of gel
that you would like to use, which
is perfect for this type of project.
If you want to make pieces of gel
intentionally, simply pour colored
and scented gel into a small tray
and when it's set, tear it up into
chunks or cut it into pieces.

The glass we are using here is
a little more narrow than what
is truly advised, as it's difficult
to clip the wick on a candle in a
glass such as this one when it's
burning down, but this glass has
a unique shape, so for personal
use, I thought it was fine.

I used a 51/32/18 zinc core,
unwaxed wick, which was cut
so the length was about a half
inch or so above the height of
the glass ... this allows enough
extra while working with the
candle as it is setting, which
comes in handy. For instance,
lightly tugging on it to keep
it straight while the candle is
being worked with and while it's
cooling. If a pre-cut wick is
used, it should extend over the
height of the glass a bit.

If the wicking is not pre-tabbed,
it will need to be secured to a
wick tab and well clamped.
I personally prefer to do this
myself rather than to purchase
pre-tabbed wicks. When crimping
the stem of the wick tab, just
make sure you haven't bent the
bottom platform of the tab, as
it needs to sit level in order
to stick well to the bottom of
the glass, which it can't do
if it's bent. If you crimp
with slow, even pressure at
the top of the stem, you are
less likely to bend any of the
metal besides the stem.

Now it's time to secure the tab
to the bottom of the glass,
which can be done a few ways,
although, with gel candles,
I simply use hot candle gel.

If you place your wick tab into
hot gel, then very quickly get
it into position in the bottom
of the glass and press down all
around the tab (I like to use a
metal poultry lacer), it will
stick. After a few minutes,
test it to see if it is secure.
If it doesn't stick, simply
clean it all off and do it again.
Once you get in the habit of it,
it's quite easy and looks very
clean from the outside of
the glass.

(Wick in bottom of glass.)

Once the wick is secure, it's
time to place the gel chunks
into the glass. Wherever you
place the color is where it's
going to stay, so you can build
the chunks up diagonally, in
straight layers, randomly, etc.

Also, for an optional note ...
you may add glass beads up
against the sides of the glass,
or glass marbles amidst the
gel chunks, as well as other
embedding of glass or metal
objects, for instance. Just
remember that these need to be
completely non-flammable designs.

You will want to work on a
non-flammable surface, such
as tile, ceramic, or laminate,
in an area where you are safely
away from any flammable materials,
such as paper towels, etc.
This is NOT a project that
should be done on newspaper.

After everything is in place,
it's time to use your heat gun
to melt it all together. When
using a heat gun, make sure to
read the safety guide that came
with your equipment. You can use
the low setting for this and just
make sure not to hold the heat
gun too close to the glass ... at
first it will seem like it's
never going to melt, but then
after about five minutes, you'll
find that it's all melting
pretty quickly. Start at the
bottom of the candle, heating
it all around by either rotating
the glass by using a pot holder
held safely away from the heat
gun (for instance, rotate glass
by holding it at the top with
your left hand while using the
heat gun at the bottom portion
of the glass with your right
hand.) Never attempt to
handle the glass without some
sort of protection, as it will
become very hot.

As the gel starts to melt at
the bottom of the candle,
to work your way
upward by
pointing the heat
gun at the
middle of the glass,
finally at the top until
the gel
is all melted. As you
your way around the glass,
always keep moving the glass
or the spot where your gun is
pointed in order to not over-heat
any one area. In other words,
never stay in the same place
for too long ... you only want
to melt the gel. Speaking of
heat, this project will put
out a bit of heat, which makes
it a good project for cool day.

Some important points ...

remember to use a pot holder
when handling the glass, always
keep at a distance of about four
inches from the glass, keep your
face and hair at a safe distance
from your work, do not point
your heat gun at the wick.
If you have quality glass and
you keep the heat evenly
distributed, chances of any
shattering are minimal, but
keep at a distance anyway;
and, you don't want your
wicking to catch on fire,
so it's important to keep
at a distance. Again, as
with any project, common
sense is your best friend!

You may find that some air
bubbles will work their way
upward right along with you ...
as long as you continue to
apply heat, the bubble will
surface. When it gets to
the top, you may need to
poke it, or further heating
will also pop it.

Be careful when applying heat
to the top (surface) of the
candle, as the force of air
can "blow" your gel, which
could get onto the sides of
the glass. So, keep at a
distance and make sure the
heat gun is on a low setting.
The surface should not
require much, but you may
have some bubbles appear
soon after you feel as
though your project is
almost complete, which may
need attention ... very
quick "spurts" of heat
applied to the surface
usually does the trick.

Once your candle is completely
melted, allow it to cool before
clipping your wick. You want
your wick to be about 1/4-inch
and a clean way to clip it is
with nail cutters.

Clean any excess gel from the
clipped wick and for your
finishing, it's always nice
to clean the glass.
Simply hold the glass at an
angle under a faucet in such
a way so water doesn't get
into the glass, just onto the
sides of the glass. A bit of
dishwashing liquid dabbed
around the glass can remove
any smudges, then simply rinse
and dry. Specialty glitter
can be sprinkled around the
edges of the candle and as
a finishing touch.

Remember to set your heat gun on
a non-flammable surface when you
are finished, as it remains very
hot for awhile. If you have not
read our Candle Making Safety Tips,
please do so.

Here are some additional tips
for heat gun safety ...

• Always turn it off before
setting it down on any surface

• Allow gun to cool before storing

• Keep nozzle away from skin and clothing

• Keep all pets away from your work area

• Never allow nozzle to sit next to
anything while it is hot

In doing some reading about heat
gun safety, I found the following
safety instruction rather interesting ...

• Do not look down the nozzle while
the gun is turned on!

A Grand Idea !!

Happy melting!