1 Here I am with Pam Fleischer and Ken Weiner, the wife and husband team who own and operate Creative Candles. Credit: Tim Pott
2 These wonderful candles have been featured in Martha Stewart Living, Weddings, as well as on my television show.
3 These candles are hand-crafted using traditional methods. They produce anywhere from five to ten thousand candles here per day!
4 Pam and Ken personally gave us a tour through the facility.
5 I have been lighting Creative Candles for many years and have listed them as one of my 'secret sources' on my Web site. Credit: Tim Pott
6 Creative Candles is the company behind many private label candles sold at places like Pottery Barn, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Simon Pearce.
7 The heart of the candle is the wick and Creative Candles uses a fine cotton linen cord.
8 The candles are made using a blend of seven different waxes, including carnauba wax, a wax of the leaves of the palm Copernicia prunifera from Brazil. It's also used in lipstick, car wax, and chocolate as a hardener.
9 This is white beeswax, which is typically an amber color, a result of impurities which bees bring into the hive. Filtering the melted beeswax removes those impurities, leaving it white, making it easier to dye.
10 Tapers are all hand-dipped with multiple layers of wax. One long strand of wick is wrapped around the dipping rack.
11 Chris Wood Jr. showed us the process. Tapers are the most popular style of candles, followed by pillars.
12 This type of rack makes 84 tapers at the same time!
13 The wax is heated in large vats to 190-degrees F. Credit: Tim Pott
14 After each dip, the tapers must cool to 100-degrees before they can be dipped again. If not sufficiently cool, wax from subsequent dips won't stick.
15 The tapers are dipped and cooled repeatedly until the desired thickness is attained.
16 A standard 7/8-inch diameter taper is dipped about 28 times.
17 When the dipping process is complete, the tapers are measured from the top and marked. The rack is then lowered into a tank of 180-degree wax to that mark, melting off the excess, which will be used to make more candles.
18 The tapers are then taken off the rack and separated into pairs, still attached by the wicks at the top.
19 Keeping the pairs connected like this makes it easy to hang the candles in stores for display.
20 We saw many different racks in various stages of dipping.
21 Fans are used to aid in the drying process.
22 Harry McDaniel was making Celebration candles, slender 1/4-inch diameter tapers. Celebration candles are quite festive.
23 Because Celebration candles are so thin, there's enough room on each rack to make 144 at a time!
24 Celebrations candles are sold in special tube packaging and come in 6-inch or 15-inch lengths.
25 While tapers are Creative Candles most popular product, they also make molded candles, like these three-wick pillars.
26 When pillars are removed from their molds, they appear shiny and often have rough edges or seams. A quick pass with a blowtorch removes imperfections and gives a nice smooth matte finish.
27 Ken explained that this order of pillars was made for Polo Ralph Lauren. Credit: Tim Pott
28 The pillars are made by pouring melted wax into molds, like these. The wicks are held in place by notched bars across the tops of the molds.
29 Wax is poured by hand into each mold. Credit: Tim Pott
30 Chris then showed us how votives are made in this large metal table mold. This table mold, which is more than 100-years-old, makes 200 votives at a time.
31 Melted wax is poured into the mold and allowed to set. The overflow is then scraped off, to be used again.
32 While the wax is still semi-soft, spindles are pushed up through each votive, forming holes for the wicks, which will be inserted later.
33 You can see the spindles through the votives in this photo. Credit: Tim Pott
34 At the precise moment, the table mold is cranked apart, freeing the votives. Credit: Tim Pott
35 The unmolded votives
36 Ken showed me a votive wick which will be inserted through a spindle hole. Credit: Tim Pott
37 The layers of wax on the work surfaces look very Jackson Pollock, don't you think?
38 They also make a line of ball candles and floating candles. These are molded with white wax and are colored after they are unmolded. Sherry Davis showed us the process.
39 She has pots of the same colored wax used for dipping the tapers, which ensures that all of their candles match one another.
40 Holding two floating candles by their wicks, Sherry submerged them into the melted colored wax.
41 They are placed onto a tray to cool and dry.
42 The unique, rustic finish on these pillar candles is called Tuscan.
43 The finish is achieved with a unique beeswax over-dip. This over-dip process creates a marbleized textured layer of wax; which allows the flame to radiate through the candle, revealing a rich, warm glow.
44 Recently, Creative Candles generously offered everyone in my television audience one set of tapers as a give-away, just like the ones Ken showed us here.
45 Ken proudly showed us the Metric candle, which is a full meter long! They are popular for weddings and other festive events.
46 Lisa Gersh, our COO, and I were both very interested in the taper gift sets. Credit: Tim Pott
47 The set includes a pair of modern glass candle holders—a perfect holiday gift!