Mottled Pillar Candles

Mottled Pillars

“Mottling” is a crystallizing effect which looks similar to snowflakes and occurs in some paraffin waxes with the help of additional oil. In this tutorial, we will explain how mottling works, and detail the process of creating the perfect mottled look for your candles. If you have never made a pillar candle before, you may wish to first familiarize yourself with the process by reviewing our Wax Melting Instructions and How to Make Pillar Candles tutorial.

Step 1. Select your wax according to your desired look. Straight Paraffin – IGI 1343 will mottle a bit in places, creating a somewhat randomized mottled appearance. Mottling Wax – IGI 1274 is designed to mottle more than Straight Paraffin, for more consistent, all-over mottling.

Step 2. Melt your wax in a double boiler and prepare your mold with your wick, wick screw, and mold sealer just as you would for a regular pillar candle.

Step 3. Add your desired fragrance and color. Approximately 3% fragrance is required to achieve a good mottle. Less fragrance will usually reduce the amount of mottling, and more fragrance will result in a lot of “sweating”, or excess surface oil. The reaction between the oils in the wax and the fragrance oil are the components that work together to create a mottled effect. If you wish to make an unscented candle, mineral oil will work just as well for this purpose. Note: Some fragrance oils may mottle differently than others, so it is important to do some testing when using different fragrance oils for your mottled candles.

Step 4. Pour your wax into the mold within the range of 180 to 195 degrees F. and allow it to cool at a normal rate. Do not attempt to speed up the cooling process by placing the mold in the refrigerator, as this will inhibit the mottling. Save a little bit of wax for the second pour. Note: Different cooling rates and pouring temperatures can have an effect on the mottling, so experimentation is encouraged to achieve your ideal look.

Step 5. Be sure to poke relief holes in the top of the wax during the cooling process to provide a vent for the contracting wax, just as you would with any pillar candle. When the wax is completely cool, re-melt your left over wax and fill in the sink-hole.

Step 6. When the candle is completely cool, remove the mold sealer and wick screw, and take the candle out of the mold.

Step 7. If there is excess oil on the surface of the candle, gently wipe it off with a paper towel and place it on an absorbent surface such as a paper towel or newspapers for a few days until it stops sweating. Be sure to continue wiping off the oil until it has completely stopped. Do not place the candle on a surface that may become ruined by the oil, such as wood or laminate finishes.

Tip: Although “sweating” or excess surface oil is common in mottled candles, it may be undesirable to allow extra time for the sweating to stop after the candle is finished. A small amount of Stearic Acid (about 3%) added to the wax before pouring can help the wax retain the oil without reducing the mottled effect. DO NOT use Vybar or Universal Additive for this purpose, as these additives will inhibit mottling.

Mottled Pillars

8 comments on “Mottled Pillar Candles
  1. Jan Pledger says:

    You mention using metal moulds for both mottled and feathered effect. Are this a definite requirement or will plastic moulds be ok.


  2. fiona barnes says:

    found these instructions clear and very useful, many thanks

  3. Loretta Eaton says:

    How much oil would you use for 1 lb of melted wax? I’m sure I added way too much because my pillars are really oily.

    • administrator says:

      Using a kitchen or postal scale weigh your products, we recommend using 3/4 oz. of fragrance oil per lb. of paraffin wax for mottling. Seepage will occur and usually dries up over a few days. If it’s excessive though, you may want to cut back on the fragrance oil usage.

  4. joseph says:

    i feel like i can even have one ,one blue wax candle

  5. Lisa says:

    I use Pringles cans and they mottle beautifully! I found the cardboard absorbs some of the oils. I take the chips out first, though. HaHa!

  6. Rita Williams says:

    The only section of my pillar that is “mottled”, is about an inch at the top of the candle. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.
    I pour at 190

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