How to Do Candle Bending?
Are you fascinated with the new trend in candle decor called bendy candles?
Why should you pay high prices for specialty “bendy candles” when you can create your own with a few purchased candles and warm water at home?
The most complicated candle shapes are easy to master if you have a few hours and the willingness to try.
Candle bending is surprisingly simple, and it’s possible to create likenesses of the candle shapes that sell for $10 to $20 and more in online shops for far less.
This candle bending mini-guide provides the details about the simple process to help you learn how to do candle bending like an expert without much effort.
What is candle bending?
Candle bending is the art of heating pre-made candles to the ideal temperature to make them pliable enough to shape with the hands.
It’s a DIY activity that produces candles with exciting shapes, while ensuring their usefulness in home decor, with full functionality to light and safely burn in candle holders.
Properly bent candles are stable and stand on their own or in a candle holder.
Candle bending is an art that takes little time to master and offers candle benders opportunities to form unique and one-of-a-kind decorator candles.
Steps for candle bending
1. Gather your supplies
You will need a basin or some type of durable container to hold the warm water and candles to prepare them for bending.
A rectangular or square container that is heat-resistant is ideal. It should be long enough to accommodate the full length of the candles, and wide enough for the number of candles you plan to prepare.
I recommend starting with 3 to 4 candles.
The water will cool, and so will the wax. A thermometer helps measure the water temperature.
Also have a clean, flat, dry surface to work on and clean water to heat in a pot or kettle. You may also use the kitchen sink with a stopper to hold the water.
2. Warm the water
Heat the water to the ideal temperature for softening the type of candles/wax.
Soften the wax, but do not melt the candles. The best water temperature is between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Review the temperature with the thermometer.
High temperatures can cause the candles to melt, which is not ideal as you only want to soften them. If the temperature is above 140 degrees, add cool water or allow it to stand until it cools.
3. Soak the candles in warm water
Submerge the candles entirely into the water. Candles made of soft wax types may be ready to work in as little as 5 minutes.
Hard waxes may take up to 10 minutes to become softened and pliable. Please refer to the section about wax types and melting points below to understand the differences in wax types/candle types.
Submerge all parts of the candles in water with no ends sticking out. It’s how to ensure equal softening of all layers.
The water warmth penetrates from the outside to the inside to prevent cracking and crumbling. The taper candle should retain its original shape until you begin manipulating and bending processes.
You may have better results by turning the candles to make sure that they’re getting equal exposure to the heat of the water on all sides.
4. Bend the candle into desired shapes
When the taper candles are sufficiently softened, remove one from the water and slowly bend it near the base in the desired shape.
Plan ahead of the project to know the design you intend to create. You will have approximately 30 to 40 seconds to make the bends before the wax begins to harden as it cools in the air.
Bend the base to create a flat wax base that will stand up on its own, then continue working upward to make the bends that make you happy.
5. Set the shape
When finished with the candle bending process, set the shape. It’s done by placing the entire candle in a sink or basin of cold water.
The temperature change will solidify the wax, so the candle does not continue to bend or collapse.
Setting the shape is the final step and one of the most important to preserve the appearance of the candle in its new form. Skipping this step could result in the soft wax collapsing.
What you need to know before you begin
What kind of candles are best for candle bending?
Choose a solid-colored candle made of one type of wax. Success in candle bending depends on sourcing the best candles for the job.
Purchase high-end or cheap candles, as long as they are not dipped or sheathed in exterior coloring.
You’ll get the best results from candles that are one single color and made of consistent wax material. Candles made from a mold and of the same wax are best.
Dipped candles or candles with a colorful coating are not suitable for candle bending because the wax of the outer layer is not the same as the wax in the center.
The melting temperature points are different and will lead to cracking, tearing, and an unsuccessful bend.
Best candle size
Taper candles work best for candle bending. Consider the thickness of the candles and the length. You’ll need candles that are thin enough to warm all the way through without melting.
Taper candles that are 1/2″ to 7/8″ in thickness are ideal for candle bending.
As for the length, the longer the better. Candles come in various heights from 6-inches to 20 inches. The most common height is 12 inches.
The best type of wax for candle bending
Whether you purchase pre-made candles or make them yourself, the type of wax affects how well the candles reach the ideal level of softness for bending.
Wax comes in different formulations. 444 soy wax is slightly harder and it has a higher melting point.
Candles made of this wax will take longer to soften. The melting point is between 119 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. 464 wax melts at between 113 to 119 degrees. It’s the softer of the two soy waxes.
Beeswax has a high melting point between 144 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a hard wax with a higher melting and softening point.
Beeswax candles that contain coconut oil may have a lower softening point, depending on the proportions of beeswax to coconut oil. Beeswax also requires a curing time of 2 days after it’s melted or softened.
Paraffin wax melts at temperatures between 115 to 142 degrees Fahrenheit. It holds colors uniformly without fading. The low melting point makes paraffin-based candles ideal for candle bending because of the low melting point.
This type of wax also requires a 1-2-day curing time after bending. Some paraffin wax candles contain petroleum agents that may be toxic when burned or melted, but not when softened for bending.
Other types of wax candles
Candles made of parasoy wax have a melting point of 133 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a blend of paraffin and soy waxes in various formulations.
It’s a popular medium because it’s easier for candlemakers to work with, and there are fewer inconsistencies in the density of the candle as a finished product vs. 100% soy.
Candles made of Coconut oil and soy hold their color well and have a melting point between 124 to 127 degrees Fahrenheit with a cure time of 1 to 2 days.
Carnauba/Palm wax melts at 180 degrees Fahrenheit with a cure time of 1 to 2 days.
It’s a high-temperature wax with the highest melting point, and may not be as suitable for candle bending.
What shapes can you create with candle bending?
The most common shapes are the horseshoe base with one or more bends or spirals.
You’re only limited by your imagination when it comes to candle bending.
Some bendy candles are made with the wicks pointing upwards to the sky, while others are pointing off to the side or the floor.
There is no right or wrong way to make a bendy candle, but some require a few more steps to achieve more complicated designs.
You can apply candle bending to twist candles or spirals for a one-of-a-kind aesthetic. You may also intertwine bent candles to make visually appealing wax creations if you have the time before the wax hardens.
How to bend a spiral candle?
Creating a spiral candle with candle bending is a fun and easy process. Follow the steps above, to soften the taper candles through the wax.
For this project, you will need a rolling pin and a flat surface to work. Here are the simple steps to create beautiful spiral candles in a variety of shapes and sizes.
1. Remove the softened candle from the water.
2. Place the candle on a flat surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten the main body of the candle where you want the spiral design to appear. Lead approximately 2 inches for the base to fit in a candleholder for stability.
Using both hands, pick up the softened, flattened candle, and make twists in the desired spots. You can help guide the shape and distance in between the twists with your fingers to make the shape uniform.
Spiral candles can be twisted to the top, or in select places in the middle to create unique designs. When you’re happy with the appearance, place it in cold water for a few minutes to set the form.
How to make braided bendy candles?
1. Prepare the candles by using the process above for softening them.
2. Flatten the candle on a flat surface with a rolling pin. Leave a 2-inch base untouched, to fit into a candle holder.
3. Cut the flattened wax into three strips, using a sharp knife.
4. Quickly braid the three strips of wax together, and seal at the top.
5. Submerge the finished candle into cold water for a few minutes to harden the wax and solidify the shape.
What to do if the wax crumbles/breaks?
If the candle breaks or crumbles during the process, the situation is caused by one of two things.
Either the wax is not sufficiently softened, or you’ve taken too long during the shaping process, and the wax has hardened. It’s a problem that you can solve.
You can warm the broken area with warm water, and fix the breaks.
Once the wax is softened, you can repair the damage with your hands by pressing the wax together and continuing the shaping process.
Tips for candle bending
Use the right type of candle
Use candles made of the recommended type of wax, in a slim taper style, of solid colors throughout the wax.
Pay attention to the water temperature
Keep the water temperature at the ideal level for softening the wax of the candles.
If the water is too hot, it will melt the wax and make the bending process more difficult, with disappointing results.
Allow enough solid candle at the bottom for a base
A minimum of two inches is recommended to keep bendy candles secure in their holders.
You can also create a solid base by bending the candle at the bottom to create a stable base out of wax. It’s not recommended that you allow it to burn to the base, to avoid fire hazards.
Experiment with new shapes
You’re only limited by your imagination with bendy candles. Try new experiments to achieve new and attractive designs.
Observe safe burning practices with bendy candles
The wick of bendy candles doesn’t always point in a safe direction.
When the candle nears the bend and points the flame in an unsafe direction, you can place it on a flame-resistant surface to continue burning until it passes the bend.
Elevated candlestick holders can also raise the burning end to a safe height. Place something at the bottom to catch any dripping wax.
Candle bending is a fun and creative way to express your artistic side. It’s an easy craft to do if you follow the tips provided in this guide.
Save money by using inexpensive taper candles to make DIY designer creations. I hope you find this mini-guide helpful for getting the most out of your candle-bending experiences.