Candle Making – Beeswax Vs Paraffin Wax

There are many different kinds of wax used in making candles including paraffin, beeswax, soy wax, gel wax, and palm wax. The two most common waxes used today are beeswax and paraffin, but soy wax is rising in popularity. Let’s compare paraffin wax and beeswax.

Paraffin wax was discovered by Carl Reichenbach in 1830 and by the late 1800s this was the most common wax used in candle making. Liquid paraffin is known as mineral oil and has many cosmetic and medical purposes. Before the discovery of paraffin, natural waxes and fats were used for candles. In North America, the two most common waxes used were bayberry wax and beeswax. Around the world people used the available natural resources for waxes, such as the wax derived from the tallow tree in China. All these waxes have different traits. They burn at different rates and some are fragrant while others are not.

Beeswax is suitably named because it is taken from the hive of the honeybee. After the honey is removed the wax is cleaned by melting and straining of all debris. Beeswax has a golden color and a sweet fragrance that has made it a favorite for centuries. Sometimes beeswax will be bleached to make it white.

It burns very slowly and does not shrink as it hardens so beeswax does not need the topping off step when making a candle. The biggest deterrent to using beeswax for candles is that it is soft and sticky so it doesn’t release well from the candle mold.

Paraffin wax is a by-product created in the petroleum industry. It is a white semi-transparent hard wax and is suitable for lots of different uses in candle making. It is not sticky like beeswax and therefore releases well from most molds. It has no scent at all and burns faster than beeswax. Paraffin has different melting points so it is important to purchase the correct melting point for the type of candle you are making. For example, container candles need paraffin with a melting point of 126-131 degrees Fahrenheit while candles created by overdipping need a melting point of 154-156 degrees Fahrenheit. The melting point of a wax is the temperature at which the wax becomes liquid. The flash point, or temperature at which the wax ignites, rises as the melting point does. There are many different grades of paraffin and basically you get what you pay for.

To sum up, you should choose your wax by considering the characteristics listed above and the appropriateness to the method or type of candle you are making.

Beautiful ready-made candles

Source by Lori Gross

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All You Wanted to Know About Life Casting

In the ancient days, life-like, three-dimensional imitations of a deceased person’s body were created to transport him or her to the next world. This venerable art from the land of Egypt is now being practiced all over the world.

However, one no longer has to be dead to get a life cast done! Yes, realistic and perfectly detailed reproductions of the living and breathing human body are possible today. The 3D replica manages to capture every minute detail right down to the hair, skin texture, fingerprints and even the pores.

This cherished reflection can be captured from any part of the body and impressions of baby hands and feet are particular popular. So are pregnant bellies, intertwined hands, individual torsos and so on.

How is it done?

A life cast begins with making a body mold. In fact, this forms a crucial step and success depends on both the skill of the artist and the cooperation of the model. In fact, the model is only involved at this stage and the artist will work on his own during the casting.

The life casting artist will carefully instruct the model and decide on a pose that has to be maintained for a while. The artist will do his best to ensure that the model stays comfortable, secure and stationary.

The artist coats the body part with petroleum jelly or other release agent before slathering it with an alginate mixture. This alginate is a natural product that is derived from seaweed and is completely safe for the skin. Softer set variations are also available that is gentle for infant skin. Alternatively, the artist can opt to make the body mold with skin-safe silicone rubber too.

The mold making material is carefully applied on the body. Extra attention is needed when casting the face as the mold should capture the precise shape and yet the material should not enter the eyes, mouth or nose. Alginate molds are secured with plaster bandages to enable the mold to retain its shape.

The mold will set in a matter of minutes and it can be demolding by wriggling the face a bit. Now alginate molds should be cast quickly as the material tends to shrink and distort quickly. Plaster is generally the material of choice for making life casts. Resin life casts are also popular. It is even possible to make life casts in stone, metal or wood by using cold casting powders.

The casting material is carefully poured into the body mold. Care is needed to avoid air bubbles that can easily mar the perfection of the life cast. Once cured, alginate molds are usually broken away to reveal the life cast inside. The cast is then carefully finished (to correct any imperfections) and can also be painted or buffed as required.

The final life cast is a spitting replica and looks perfect is every way. It can be hung from a peg or displayed on a marble or wooden base.

Source by Ed McCormick