Bronzing powder is a well-kept secret that takes candle presentation to a luxury level with very little effort! Bronzing powder is an ultra-fine powder that turns to a liquid metallic finish when heat is applied.
It's very easy to apply with a soft paintbrush and can be used to embellish, pick out highlights or for larger solid areas. It comes in 3 finishes: gold, silver or Bronze and really makes candles come to life.
Using Bronzing Powder
The particles of bronzing powder are so fine that they sometimes shower onto areas you don't really want them to go, so if you're doing a clearly-defined large area, then it's a good idea to use masking tape to give you good, crisp edges. Masking tape is easily obtained from most hardware stores, it sticks nicely but because it's low-tack, it comes off candles easily, leaves no residue to spoil the candle surface and best of all - it's very inexpensive!
Start by applying the masking tape to the edges of your design, make sure the edges are stuck down well, because the powder will get under any little areas that aren't and leave you with fuzzy edges.
Once the tape is in place, brush the exposed area with the bronzing powder. Shake off any excess, lie the candle flat to stop runs, and either using a hair-dryer or craft heat gun, apply heat to the powder. It's better to move the heat gun slowly but evenly over the entire surface, don't stay in one place for too long.
Before your eyes the powder will liquefy and look a bit like mercury. Allow to cool and harden for a few minutes before removing the masking tape.
There are all manner of stencils available on the cake decorating market, so why not take advantage of the designs for your candles? Anything from baby foot-prints to elaborate lace designs - a really good way of personalizing a candle, or if you sell your candles, a good way of making them stand out from the crowd!
Cake decorating stencils are cut from flexible, plastic sheet which give crisp outlines. They are easier to use on flat surfaces, such as the face of a square candle, but it is possible to use them on curved surfaces such as pillar candles too. The secret is to make sure they are held taut, with the stencil flush against the candle side, because again, the powder will creep under any little gaps and give you a fuzzy edge.
I've found a home-made 'dabber' is better for stencils, it helps to keep the powder just where you want it. To make a small dabber, just wrap a cosmetic cotton pad over the end of a pencil and tape in place. Anything with a little 'give' but with a close grain will do. At a push, a little piece of kitchen cleaning sponge works fine.
Stretch the stencil over the area you want the design and keep it taut. Dip the end of your dabber in the powder, shake off the excess and then 'dab' the powder into the stencil. Once you are happy you have the design covered, release the stencil. Check your edges are crisp, you can gently scrape away any stray powder at this point, but once you've applied heat it's more difficult.
Happy with your design? Then just go ahead and apply heat.
You can use bronzing powder to burnish areas of candles. For large areas use a cotton ball, for small areas use a dabber. Once you're happy with your efforts - just apply heat.
Probably the easiest technique of all! Mask off any area you don't want burnished. Use a soft bristled paintbrush, dip it in your powder and then hold the paintbrush quite a distance from your candle and tap the end of your brush. The further away from the candle you hold your paintbrush, the finer the sprinkling. Once you're happy with your 'speckled' covering - apply heat.
Some rubber moulds allow you to have a nice pattern in relief on the candle. You can highlight parts of the pattern by dusting with bronzing powder and applying heat, or you can just touch the edges of flower petals or leaves and either leave as a dust, or apply heat for a solid metallic finish.
Bronzing powder really is amazing stuff - the different effects you can achieve are amazing. Give it a go and see what you think....
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