Nestled into the top of wine bottles, drip candles are commonly seen in Italian restaurants. They are made by producing a variety of colorful droplets of wax. By learning to make drip candles, you are also learning to make simple tapered candles because a drip candle is actually a tapered candle but with layers of different colored wax. Making drip candles is a lengthy process but worth it for the effect they achieve.
Melting the Wax
To begin making drip candles, you should first melt plain white wax in a double boiler, according to LetsMakeCandles.com (see link in References). Melt a 3-to-2 ratio of candle wax to stearic acid in the double boiler. Once the wax is melted, transfer it to a dipping vat (a clean and empty large coffee can works well) inside a large stock pot of boiling water for larger candles or leave in the double boiler for shorter candles. Try to maintain a temperature of 165 degrees F.
Dipping the Wick
For a 12-inch tapered candle, cut about 14 inches of 36-ply flat-braid wick for a single dip or about 30 inches for a double dip. CandleTech.com says to tie small weights to the ends of the wick to guarantee it stays straight during dipping. Small bolt nuts are recommended. For the drip candles, the first color is the clear or white wax. For a single dip, grip the wick with pliers and dip the wick in one continuous motion into the melted white wax. For a double wick, rig a holder out of a wire coat hanger so that it can evenly dip the candles in the wax and space the holders far enough apart that the wicks are even on both sides. After dipping a few times, cut the weights off the end of the wick.
Once you have a thin layer of white wax, you can add a dye to the melted wax that remains to add the second layer of color to the candle. After dipping the wicks in your second color choice, Candle-Making.org suggests the traditional colors of the drip candles are blue, green, red, white and yellow, but any colors will work. You will have to melt enough white wax to add the different dye colors to finish the drip candles. Just make sure you do not let them get too thick or they will not fit into your holder. For the customary wine bottle holders, measure the mouth of the bottle with a ruler and to measure your candle occasionally to keep it smaller than the opening but large enough to stay in the mouth of the bottle.
Store double-dipped or single-dipped drip candles in a cool location so the wax does not soften. CandleTech.com recommends keeping the double-dipped candles attached for storage because it helps them stay straight.
Once the candles are placed in their holders and lit, the different colors of wax will melt and provide the colorful droplets associated with these drip candles.