Sloppy Joe Sandwich and French Fries Candles

In keeping with my goal of creating candles that no one else seems to be making, I produced the above models as proof of concept designs. While I cannot speak for other candle makers, proof of concept for me means producing a candle that I had only previously imagined. In creating a proof of concept, I always consider the following points.

  1. Was it fun to make this? Even though I’m in the process of transitioning from being a hobbyist to a small business owner, I still enjoy making candles. A fun part of this hobby has always been the creation of candles that I had only previously only visualized.
  2. In producing these candles I have to design a production process. After having made a candle, I then reflect upon how easy or difficult it was to make this product. Since it’s one thing to make candles as a hobby and a different thing altogether to do this as a business, I have to consider the practicality for making any given candle. Was it cost effective to make this product in terms of time? Could the process for making this candle be revised to make it easier to make?

The French fry candle pictured above is an example of my proof of concept process. Was I able to even make this candle? The answer is an obvious yes.

Was this candle cost effective to make in terms of time? No it wasn’t. To make this candle, I first had to make fries using several silicone molds. Every single fry coming out of the mold broke and had to be laboriously be “glued” back together using warm melted wax. I then poured French fry colored and scented wax into a plastic mold for making a bar of soap. As the wax cooled, I shoved the fries into the wax to make the initial layer that appeared above the “tray” of fries. I then layered additional fries on top. The tray then had to be hand painted. I opted to use red dyed wax instead of acrylic paint. The entire process took far too long and would not be practical for mass production. I also think that French fry candles being sold will need to look cleaner with crisper and more distinct shapes.

Can the process for making this be revised? The short answer is yes. How I will do this will have to remain my trade secret. While I’m happy to blog about candle production and the process of transitioning from being a hobbyist to being a (part time) business person; it would not be a good business practice to reveal all of my candle making processes.

Suffice it to say that the lessons I learned in making this initial wax model can be applied to making more French fry candles using a much easier process.

The sloppy joe candle pictured above was made using the same bun molds that I used to make my full sized hamburgers. Since I couldn’t find a decent full sized hamburger bun mold anywhere on the on-line market, I made my own molds using a silicon kit.

The process for making the sloppy joe filling came about by a happy discovery. After unmolding a hamburger patty a bit too early, the wax model literally crumbled into pieces. While mixing the broken pieces back into the melting pot I noticed that before these pieces melted, they looked like ground beef swimming in a sauce. That’s basically what a sloppy joe is. It’s pan fried ground beef that’s mixed with a sauce made of ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, and sometimes fried onions depending upon the recipe in question.

To make the above filling, I made another hamburger patty. After removing it from the mold, I literally crumbled it prior to mixing it with a mixture of soy wax and candle gel that had been colored to resemble the actual color of a sloppy joe sauce. I had to be careful in doing this. Adding the crumbled burger wax to the sauce mixture too early would have caused the pieces to melt. Waiting too long would have meant that the gel mixture was too cool to bond with the burger pieces. After mixing all of the ingredients together, I had to quickly place it on the bun before the mixture cooled and set.

Since no one makes a sloppy joe fragrance, I made my own by mixing a beef fragrance oil with some other candle oil aromas. As with the revised process for making French fries in a tray, the recipe for a sloppy joe fragrance will remain proprietary. I have recorded the recipe so that I’ll be able to make additional candles.

I think this proof of concept model came out quite well. Pictured below are some actual sloppy joes that were produced by students in one of my culinary classes. To more closely emulate a real sloppy joe, I will reserve some of the crumbled wax beef to add to the candle AFTER having mixed the rest into the “sauce.” The brown color of the crumbled wax pieces were almost completely obscured after being coated in the gel mixture. As you can see in the picture below, a real sandwich has more distinctively browned pieces of ground beef.

On the brighter side, the color of the gel sauce and the color of the bun was spot on. The sloppy joe candle also smells like a sloppy joe. With minor revisions to the candle making process, I am now adding sloppy joes to my growing inventory of food candles that will be produced for sale.

Since I tend to be something of a perfectionist, after looking at the picture of the real sloppy joe pictured above, I fixed the proof of concept mode by hand painting it. Some additional work will have to be done to make the ground beef more realistic.

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