Gel wax isn't wax at all, but a form of mineral oil. It's easier to work with in many ways than traditional waxes. The clear gel allows you to achieve many interesting looks, from floating beads to underwater scenes. If you are new to candle making, or are a paraffin wax user, you'll need to know the unique properties of gel wax.
Heat gel wax on direct heat, like a wax melter or hot plate. Gel wax needs higher temperatures and a double boiler isn't hot enough. Gel should be poured between 230 and 250 degrees. Higher temperature leads to less bubbles. Never heat gel wax over 260 degree F, it will scorch or ignite the gel.
Use some of the melted gel to prime wicks, and to coat any embeds you want to use. Leave the embeds in the gel until the bubbles stop, and throw away that gel. Use tweezers to remove the embeds.
Place the coated embeds into the container, and place the wick. Gel doesn't need a wick tab, so just tie the wick to a stick and set it on top of the container.
Add dye to the gel if you want. Make sure to use a gel safe dye, and a gel safe scent if you wish. Gel dyes and scents have a higher flashpoint, and won't cloud gel candles.
Pour the gel wax into the container. The best containers are clear glass. If you want less bubbles, warm the container in the oven, set at 100 degrees F, for 10 minutes. If you want more bubbles, use a room temperature or cool container.
Make more bubbles! Stir the candle with a stick, stick it in the fridge, or shake it gently as it cools. Gel wax loves to make bubbles, so take advantage of this.
Make less bubbles! Pour the wax more slowly and gently, or stick the candle in the oven at 200 degrees for several hours (don't do this for candles with floating embeds, they'll sink.) This will also help if you need to recenter or reinsert the wick.
Let your gel candle cool completely and trim the wick to 1/16 of an inch before burning.
Make a sea candle. Pour sand into the container and pour gel wax on top to seal it. Let that cool, then place gel coated shells, stones, or buried treasure on the sand. Pour melted gel on top of this, and bake to reduce bubbles.
Make floating embeds. Tie objects to string and tape the string to the outside of the container, or tie to sticks over the container. Cut strings and remove when the candle is cool. You can also wait until the gel is cooling, and drop in embeds, which will slowly sink. Some will remain suspended as the gel cools.
Make a glitter candle. Use extra fine glitter and add it to the wax before pouring. A little goes a long way. Stir the candle to make more bubbles, which reflects more light.
Make a jelly or drink candle. Use a mason jar or drink glass, and use paraffin wax fruit pieces, or paraffin cut into chunks as ice cubes. Color the gel and pour it over the wax embeds at a low temperature.
Make a layer gel candle. Pour clear gel and let it cool completely. Pour colored gel on top of that, and stab the lower layer with a knife. The hot color gel will seep into the clear gel, making streaks of color. You can also use a turkey baster or syringe to "inject" hot gel into a cool layer.