Candlemakers: how did I create this effect?

I managed to melt a lovely, lacy openwork pattern into the side of one of my candles. Does anyone have any insights as to how this happened, and how I might recreate it?

Candle was a cheapie from a big box … would wax composition affect melt properties in this way?

(Part of it broke off :frowning: when I was moving it around to get this picture. DAMMIT)

I don’t make candles, but I think I remember reading that the lacy effect you are after can be accomplished by using crushed ice during the wax pouring.

Was it right up against some reflective or insulating surface? Reflected heat off a nearby object could have contributed to a greater degree of melting on that side.

Professional candle maker, 6 years, 2 companies.

It’s just a factor of the wick being in the center or not / angle of wick / angle of candle / wind / reflection / etc.

I’ve seen that before. No real solid explanation. Enjoy.

I think the effect of this is to leave ice(or water)-filled voids within the otherwise solid wax of the candle body.

When the candle is burning, the ewater in those voids heats up & evaporates/boils away – that leaves part of the candle body with much less wax than the solid wax walls elsewhere, so those parts will melt away faster, giving the resulting effect.

It is called ‘gutting’, when the candle burns off center due to wind or draft. Or other things I suppose. Just saying.


“Gutting” is what a lion does to its prey.

Thanks for the explanations. Strange to think that such a pretty effect is an accident … and apparently the result of slightly defective manufacturing.

It’s a decorative object in the 1st place; you’d think this would be a feature, not a bug.
Additional pictures of the candle’s progress . . .

Now it looks like a bull or Taurus symbol, next to a bonsai tree.