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Newcomers to candle making may be having a hard time finding useful information about it. Fortunately, the Web has taken up the slack, and there are many candle makers willing to share their knowledge.

The Rules
Rule Number one - There are no Rules, with the exception of safety rules. Candle making is about experimentation. It is Chemistry, Art, Imagination, and Magic rolled into one. There are many factors that affect the finished candle
Instructions for Making Candles (Container Candles)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boil Water

 

Melt Wax

 

Temperature

 

Add Dye

 

Add Scent

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: It is best to wait to add fragrance until you are just ready to pour to avoid damaging fragrance.  Remember to mix prior to pouring.

 

 

Pre-heat Container
With your oven set to the lowest setting, place your chosen container and heat to approximately the same temperature of the melted wax (between 160 - 180 degrees F) determined by included thermometer.  DO NOT OVERHEAT / DO NOT LEAVE WAX UNATTENDED.

 

 

 

 

 

Add Pre-tabbed Wicks
To secure the wick to the bottom of the container, use our wick sticker.   Attach the sticker to the wick and then to the jar centering the wick in the jar and secure with wick centering tool.

 

 

 

 

First Pour
Now that the wick is secured and centered and the wax is melted, it is time for the first pouring. Pour the wax into the container, filling the container until the desired height is reached, making sure to save some wax (about 20%) for the second pour.  Tap the jar on all sides with a wooden spoon. This will help remove air pockets trapped it the wax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Pour (Topping Off)
When the candle has hardened and cooled to room temperature, it is time to make the second pour of wax.  Begin by re-heating the wax you saved from the first pour in the double boiler. Reheat this wax to the same temperature of your first pour. When it is the proper temperature, pour the wax and continue pouring until the wax reaches the level of your first pour, any higher and there could be surface blemishes or seam lines.

 

 

 

 

Let Cool and Trim Wick
Now let your container candle sit undisturbed until it cools completely. This may take a few hours for smaller candles. With larger diameter candles, the cooling process may take upwards of an entire day. When the candle has reached room temperature, remove center tool and trim wick to ¼ inch.

 

 

 

 

 

You see, learning how to make candles is easy! With practice, you’ll be making candles that smell and look great, and will impress your friends and family.

 

 

- wick, wax, temperature, additives, type of mold, dye, scents, etc... Always consider candle recipes a starting point for your own experimentation.

Record Keeping
One thing often overlooked by candle makers of all experience levels is the importance of keeping records. It would be a shame to develop your "ideal candle", and not be able to reproduce your results. Keeping a notebook handy in your candle making area is very helpful. Tool List

Double boiler - may be a commercial double boiler, or use a coffee can in an old pot. A seamless pot is highly recommended though. Thermometer - a candle or candy thermometer that clips to the pot works fine. Do not even consider making candles without a thermometer. Pot holders or pliers - depending on whether you are using a pot or a can.
Fire extinguisher designed to put out

Molds


Vybar - Available in low melting point (Vybar #260) and high melting point (Vybar #103). More economical to use than stearine. Improves color and scent retention. Use one to five percent.

Plastics - There are a variety of plastic additives (mostly polyethylene's) that will improve gloss, opacity, translucence, strength, and hardness. Marketed under a variety of names such as luster crystals, opaque crystals, translucent crystals, etc... These are readily attainable, but are difficult to use due to their high melting point. Must be melted separately, then added to melted wax. General usage is from one half to two percent depending on the product. Not recommended for beginners.

Wick
There are more than 35 different wicks on the market, although only about six of these are commonly available to retail candle supply purchasers. Wicking can be broken down into three categories - Flat, Square, and Wire Core. Flat and square are used for molded and dipped candles, wire core for floating, votive, and container candles. The starting point for wick selection is to match the wick to the mold diameter. For a small mold use a small wick, etc... If a test burn of the finished candle shows a minimal wax pool the wick is too large for your wax formula. If your wax pool is drowning the wick by causing it to go out or have a small flame, go to a larger wick. The wick size is the easiest way to adjust how your candles burn, and it is important to keep in mind that changing your wax formula may require changes in wicking as well. If you don't have another size wick handy, adjusting your wax hardness with more or less additives may help it burn correctly.

Dye
There are 2 main ways to color candles, dye and pigments. Most candle making is done with dye. Pigments are very concentrated colors primarily used for over dipping and carved candles. As a general rule, never use pigments to color the core of a candle - the particles of pigment will clog the wick. Although it is common to see candle making instructions using crayons for color, this can also clog the wick. For the best results always use a dye specifically made for coloring candles. If a really deep color is needed consider an over dip in that color - too high a color concentration in the core of the candle may cause burning problems. Wax colors will be lighter than they appear in the melting pot. To get an idea of the finished color place a drop of wax on a piece of white paper. An even better test is to put a half inch of wax in a paper cup and place it in the freezer, this will give you the exact finished color in a hurry. Keep in mind that wax additives affect the final color. Certainly the cleanest dye is liquid dye. There are several types that in several concentrations I recommend www.thatmakesscents.net dye it is super concentrated and lasts a long time. The bottles come with droppers for consistent color control and experimentation.

Scent
As a general guideline follow the manufacturers directions. Higher scent concentrations can usually be used, however too much scent can ruin a candle. Use caution with acrylic molds since high percentages of scent may ruin the mold. A strong candle should be attainable by using no more than 1 ounce of scent per pound of wax.
HINT: MEASURE THE SAME WAY EITHER BY WEIGHT OR BY MEASURING VOLUME.
WEIGHT IS A MORE ACCURATE AND CONSISTENT GAUGE THEN VOLUMN MEASUREMENTS.

Molds 

Mold release - silicone spray is easiest to use, but peanut oil works well also.
Cutter for wicks like a metal wire sheers.
Wooden spoon - for stirring wax.
Dowel for poking relief holes in molded candles.
Baking pan at least eight inches square - numerous uses, but mainly for leveling the bottom of molded candles.

Wax
There are many waxes available for candle making. I recommend that beginners start with a general purpose paraffin wax which melts in the range of 125 - 135 degrees. As you progress into candle making, you will probably want to start experimenting with other types of waxes such as single pour wax, and various higher melt waxes used for votive candles (140 degree) and pillar molds (150 degree).
For now get to know the properties of one readily available wax.

Additives
The variety of candle additives commonly available has grown tremendously in the past 2 decades. Here are descriptions of the most common additives:

Stearic - Also called stearine. This has been the standard paraffin additive for a very long time. Used for higher melt point wax like 140 votive and 150 pillar wax. Steric makes wax harder, release from mold easier, and increase opacity of the wax. Use from five to thirty percent ( three to five tablespoons per pound of paraffin).

Pillar candle making:


There are a huge variety of commercial molds on the market, as well as an almost infinite number of everyday items that make good molds. The instructions that follow will be for using a standard commercial mold, in other words a mold that makes the candle upside down. My personal recommendation is to get a one piece metal mold as these tend to be the easiest and most durable to use. Here is a basic rundown of mold types:

Metal Molds - Available in a broad variety of shapes, these are simple to use and relatively durable.
Acrylic Molds - Available in a variety of geometric shapes and sizes. They are easy to use, but are easily scratched. Use caution as too much scent may damage these.
Two Piece Plastic Molds - Available in a large assortment of novelty shapes. These are more difficult to use even though most beginners start with them.
Rubber Molds - These are available in latex and vulcanized rubber. Both produce seamless candles, with the latex requiring a little more effort to use. Vulcanized molds tend to be expensive.
Top Up Molds - these are molds that are used the opposite of most candle molds - with the top of the mold being the top of the finished candle. Many floating candle and votive molds are used this way. These are easy to recognize by their lack of a wick hole.
Flat Molds - Used to make wax appliqués and hanging ornaments. These generally do not produce good candles, but do make nice decorations to embellish your candles with.
When selecting your first mold, try to keep it simple. Read and familiarize yourself with the mold manufacturers instructions. The step by step instructions below are general guidelines for using a metal mold and you should modify them for your own situation.

Making The Candle
This is the big moment we've been building up to. All your materials are at hand, so lets jump right in.
Step 1
Put enough wax in your melting pot to fill your mold. If you don't have a scale to use, a good estimate may be made by dividing the slab into even sections. For example divide an 11 pound slab into 11 equal sections to get one pound of wax. Add stearine at the rate of two - three tablespoons per pound of wax. Start heating in a double boiler.
HINT: WAX CAN BE CUT OR BROKEN. IT IS EASIER TO BREAK WAX UP INSTEAD OF RISKING GETTING CUT. PUT IT IN A PLASTIC BAG AND HIT IT A FEW TIMES WITH A HAMMER. THIS WILL NOT WORK ON ONE POUR WAX AS IT IS SOFT. ONE POUR IS EASILY CUT WITH A UTLITY KNIVE. YOU CAN THEN JUST FOLD IT OVER.

Step 2
While your wax is heating, apply your mold release (gently - a little goes a long way) then wick the mold. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for this. Prepare a water bath by submerging the empty mold in water and adding water until the level is about one half inch below the mold top. Take care not to get any water in your mold or wax - it will ruin your candle. It is easiest to add a mold weight at this time, typically a piece of lead wrapped around the base of the mold. A more difficult alternative is placing a heavy weight atop the filled mold once it is in the water bath - you must hold it down until the weight is in place though.

Step 3
When wax reaches the pouring temperature (refer to manufacturer's instructions for optimum pouring temperature), shut the heat and add dye (optional). Stir until well dissolved. If desired add scent and stir well immediately before pouring. A word of caution, excessive dye may cause the candle to burn poorly. Excessive scent may ruin some plastic molds and / or ruin the finished candle. Set aside remaining wax for step 5.

Step 4
Pour the wax into the mold slowly but smoothly. On taller molds it sometimes helps to tilt the mold to prevent air bubbles from excessive agitation. Always wear heavy work gloves when handling molds filled with hot wax - especially metal molds. Wetting the gloves will give even more protection if needed. Gently tap the sides of the mold, and allow 45 seconds for the air bubbles to rise. Place the mold in the water bath.

Step 5
Periodically punch one or more holes alongside the wick using a dowel of other long narrow implement. As the wax cools it shrinks, and punching holes prevents it from shrinking away from the wick causing air pockets. The larger the candle the more times you will need to repeat this. Fill the void left by shrinkage taking care not to pour above the original level of the wax. On very large candles, it may be necessary to repeat this step more than once.

Step 6
Allow the candle to cure fully before attempting to remove from the mold. The larger the candle the longer it takes. If the candle does not easily slide out of the mold, place it in a refrigerator for five to ten minutes. If you still have difficulty removing it, place in the freezer for no more than five minutes. If all else fails heat the mold with hot water until the candle will come out (this usually ruins the candle).
Never pry or scrape the wax out of the mold.

Step7
If refrigeration was used to unmold the candle allow it to return to room temperature before proceeding. The final step is to level the base. Place your baking pan atop a pot of boiling water. Holding the candle by the wick, allow it to touch the pan until the base is flat and level.

Step 8
Enjoy your candle. Watch how it burns, and on your next one adjust your recipe to make it burn better if necessary. I would also like to remind you to keep an accurate record of your formula.

I hope this has been useful to you. Next week I'll discuss making Layered Candles - a beautiful variation of the standard molded candle, that are only slightly more difficult to make.

Candle making is dangerous if you don't follow basic safety precautions. TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY, failure to follow the safety rules may result in serious injury or damage to your home. If basic safety precautions are taken fire should not be a common problem, but be prepared anyway.

NEVER leave melting wax unattended. Not even in a double boiler.

NEVER overheat wax. Know the flash point of your wax (usually about 375 degrees F. for paraffin). It will spontaneously combust when it reaches the flash point. If using wax of unknown flash point do not heat above 212 degrees F (such as in a double boiler). The fumes from overheated wax can cause severe illness, in case of an accident evacuate the area and ventilate it.

ALWAYS keep wax away from open flames.

ALWAYS use a thermometer. It is essential for both safety and good results that you always be aware of the wax temperature.

ALWAYS use a double boiler. Temperatures up to 200 degrees F. can be achieved. Most recipes use a temperature in this range. If you don't have a double boiler, use an old pot for the water and a coffee can to melt the wax.

A few recipes call for temperatures higher than 200 degrees F. and will require heating directly on the heat source. Be vigilant, and do not allow the temperature to go above 325 degrees F. Do not let your attention wander. If possible do it outdoors on a hot plate.

NEVER put water on a wax fire.

ALWAYS keep a pot lid, baking soda, and a dry chemical fire extinguisher handy when heating wax. Use the pot lid to smother fires in the melting container. Baking soda will smother small fires. A fire extinguisher is useful if you set the curtains on fire, or have some other major accident. These items should be kept outside of any area that may be affected by fire but still within easy access.

ALWAYS use pot holders or pliers when handling hot pots or cans.

If wax gets on your skin, run it under cold water immediately- then peel off the wax.

Don't pour wax down the drain unless you like frequent visits from your plumber.

NEVER let candle making get so routine that you get careless.

Following these safety rules and taking precautions against fire will help you relax and enjoy your candle making even more. I suggest reading these safety and damage control tips before burning your candles. Join me next week for Candle Making 102 - Floating Candles.

There is often confusion among candle makers when discussing various topics. I have put this glossary together to help us all have a common language. The following is in alphabetical order.

Additives - Anything added to the wax. These would include Stearic, Vybar, Polythenes, etc... Although technically additives, colorants and scents are not normally included in this category when discussing candles.

Appliqué - The process of applying an item to a finished candle. Also used to describe the actual item to be applied.

Beeswax - A natural wax derived from honey bee hives.

Chatter Marks - See stuttering.

Container - Anything used to pour a candle in that is to be used as an integral part of the candle (as opposed to a mold which the candle is removed from before use).

Core - The central portion of a candle.

Double Boiler - This is basically a smaller pot placed inside a larger pot which contains water.

Dye - Colorants that are oil soluble. Used for core coloring.

EO - Abbreviation for essential oil.

Essential Oil - Natural extracts of plant matter. Most of these are difficult to use in candles.

FO - Abbreviation for fragrance oil.

Fragrance Oil - A synthetic or synthetic / natural blend of oil. There are many different types, and those designed specifically for candles work best. Typical usage is 1 ounce per pound for a heavily scented candle.

Layering - The process of pouring 2 or more layers of colored wax. More information available.

Melt Point - The melting point of the wax. It is important to remember that waxes with the same melt point do not necessarily have the same properties. The actual properties will vary from supplier to supplier. This is distinctly different from pouring temperature.

Melt Pool - The liquid wax that forms when burning a candle.

Mottling - The appearance of "snowflakes" in the wax. More information available.

MP - Abbreviation for melt point.

Overdip - Dipping a core in wax to add color, or other effects. More information available.

Paraffin - The most common candle making wax. Refined from petroleum.

Pigment - Non soluble colorants. These consist of colored particles that suspend in the wax (much like paint does). Used only for overdipping. Use in the core may clog the wick.

Pouring Temperature - The temperature the candle is poured at. This has little to do with melt point and is generally determined by the type of mold or effect desired.

Scent Oil - Term used interchangeably with Fragrance oil.

Stuttering - Caused by pouring too cool. The wax alternately flows and cools going up sides of mold or container. This manifests itself as horizontal lines and bubbles in the finished candle.

Wax Formula - The combined mixture used for candle making. This includes the wax(s), additives, dyes, and fragrances.

Whipped Wax - Wax that has been whipped with an egg beater or blender to make it fluffy. More information available.

Measuring

Percentage of fragrance compared to ounces:

1/4oz = 1.5%

1/2oz = 3%

3/4oz = 4.5%

1oz = 6%

1.2oz = 7%

1.6oz = 10%

2oz = 12.5%

Measuring

Conversion Chart 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces / 16 tablespoons / 48 teaspoons

1 pound = 16 ounces

1 pound of solid wax = approx. 1.5 - 2 cups of melted wax / 12-16 fluid ozs.

2 cups = 1 pint

4 cups = 1 quart

1 ounce = 30 grams

1 fluid ounce = 2 tablespoons / 6 teaspoons

1 tablespoon = ½ fluid ounce

1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons

½ oz to 1 pound of wax is 3%

1 oz to 1 pound of wax is 6%

1 and ½ oz to 1 pound of wax is 9%

Color Blending

To achieve pastel shades such as pink, peach, lavender, tan, or sky blue, simply add less of the bolder shade. For example, adding less red will result in pink, less orange will result in peach, and so on.

Complimentary Colors Complimentary colors are colors that are directly opposite each other on a color wheel.

Brown can be achieved by mixing complimentary colors evenly together: green and red, orange and blue, yellow and purple.

To darken a color, use a small amount of its complimentary color to obtain the darker shade. For example, add a small amount of blue to darken the color orange.

Burn Times

Determine the weight of the candle by placing it on a scale.

Type Of Candle Burn Time Tea Lights 4 - 6 hours

Votives (2 oz.) 15 hours

Votives (3 oz.) 23 hours

4 ounce jar 20 - 25 hours

5 ounce jar 25 - 30 hours

8 ounce jar 30 - 35 hours

10 ounce jar 60 - 80 hours

16 ounce jar 100 - 120 hours

22 ounce jar 150 - 160 hours

26 ounce jar 170 - 190 hours

8 inch taper 7 hours

12 inch taper 11 hours

3 x 6 pillar 90 - 100 hours

3 x 9 pillar 135 - 150 hours

4 x 6 pillar 145 - 160 hours

Troubleshooting

Cannot smell the fragrance - Many times this is caused by using a poor quality fragrance. Use the highest quality fragrance oils available, and make sure they are designed for candlemaking.

Why is the wax shrinking around the wick (pillar candles) ? - Wax shrinks as it cools; this is a natural occurrence in all candlemaking. Release the surface tension of the candle by carefully poking the surface with a sharp pointed object, being careful not to disturb any designs. This prevents cavities or air pockets from forming. Refill the well at the top of the candle while it cools.

Also, make sure that the wax is poured when it is at the correct temperature (200F). Do not remove the wax from the heat source until just before it is poured.

Flaky appearance - The additives were probably not completely dissolved when poured into the wax. Try to melt the additives first and then add to your wax. Stir gently and blend additives completely with the wax.

Bubbles in the wax - Air bubbles can be caused by several things. Pouring or stirring the wax too quickly, not tapping the sides of the molds, and cooling the candles too quickly can add unwanted bubbles to your candles.

Candle cannot be released from the mold - This is caused if the wax was poured at too high a temperature, resulting in a damaged mold. Using mold release or a small amount of vegetable oil inside the mold prior to pouring can prevent this from happening. Make sure that you know the maximum temperature for your mold before you pour wax in it. Place the candle mold in the refrigerator for no more than an hour, then attempt removal again. Check for irregularities on the surface of the candle; if the mold was damaged, this same irregularity will appear on candles made with this same mold in the future.

White marks between layers - This is caused from either allowing the first layer to cool too much, or using too much stearic acid. Make sure the wax is the correct temperature just before pouring, and use less stearic acid in subsequent layers.

Cracks in the candle - This occurs when the candle has cooled too rapidly, such as with a water bath. Let the candles cool at room temperature instead.

Flame sputters - Water was either accidentally introduced to the wax before pouring or during the water bath. Be careful not to let water from the double boiler or water bath come into contact with the wax.

Wick won't stay lit - The wick may be either to small in diameter or cut too short. It may also have absorbed too much additive or dye. Adjust the size of the wick and the additives.

Candle smokes when burns - The wick may be too large or there may be air in the candle. Try using a smaller wick, keeping it trimmed to ¼ inch. Poke holes around the wick to assist with shrinkage.

"Wet" spots on a container candle - The containers may be too cold when the hot wax is poured. Try preheating the containers in an oven on a low temperature. Make sure containers are clean before pouring. This is unavoidable when using most one-pour waxes.

Uneven candle surface - Usually caused by adding too much vybar to the wax. Decreasing the vybar should correct the problem.

PRICING: The first step to pricing your candles is to figure out your cost on the product. Do this by figuring out the cost per ounce of your wax and any additives such as color, scent, stearic acid, vybar, petro, etc. Once you have your cost per ounce, figure the number of ounces in a particular candle you make and multiply that by your cost per ounce. If the candle is in a container, add the cost of the container to that figure. Also try to add in at least an approximate cost of your wick and packaging. This should give you the total cost of the candle.

A general rule of thumb is to mark up your total cost 3 or 4 times for retail, and 2 times for wholesale. This will vary in some cases. Sometimes you may be able to mark your price up higher than that, and sometimes you may need to lower it. Buying your supplies in bulk and at wholesale prices will help you to keep your costs down and enable you to make a good profit. Remember to take into account the time you spend getting your supplies, producing the candles, packaging them, shipping or delivering and selling them. You need to make enough of a profit to make all of your invested time worthwhile.

You can visit the TSR at this link for basic candle making help and pictures which may help: http://thescentreview.com/process2.html

Candle Making Techniques

All About Wicks...

Understanding Wicks

Wicks come as pre-tabbed wicks or by the spool (or yard). Pre-tabbed wicks have a stiff wick and a silver base called a Tab. Wick tabs come in many sizes, but the most common sizes are 15mm and 20mm. This measurement is for the round disc base. The metal stem on the base is called the Wick Collar (or neck). Collars also come in different lengths.

For making gel candles it is recommended that you use a wick tab with a collar no less than 6mm long. All our wick tabs are 9mm. This is to stop the candle burning when the flame reaches the bottom of your container. A wick that continues to burn too close to the bottom of the glass container will most likely heat the glass enough to break it. By using a longer wick collar, your flame will extinguish before it gets too close to the glass base. If you are making candles with sand or decorative items please read Wick Stop Safety.

Pre-tabbed wicks are necessary for making votives and container candles (both paraffin and gel). Spool wick is usually used for pillars and tapers.

Have you ever wondered what all those wick numbers mean? Wicks have from 1 to 5 numbers which actually have meaning even to the beginning candlemaker. For example, we sell wicks with a series of 3 numbers and a "Z" at the end. Each wick will create a different flame height, meltpool and rate of wax consumption.

The first number tells you the wick size. The size of the wick is determined by how many spools of yarn were used to make the wick. The higher the number, the larger the wick. Hence, the larger the meltpool (which can mean better fragrance throw), and usually the higher the wax consumption.

The second number indicates the speed at which the wick was sent through the braiding machine. The higher the number, the faster the speed, the tighter the braid. The tighter the braid, the less fuel consumption.

The third number/ last number is a code for the temperature of the wax as the wick is fed through the gears of the braiding machine.. This temperature varies according to the previous numbers.

The last letter is as follows:

Z=Zinc Core

P=Paper Core

C=Cotton Core

H=Hemp

So . . . why so many different wick types?

The different types of wicks are:

1. Flat braid cotton - This wick is most commonly used in tapers and pillars. This wick type curls into the flame while burning which causes a self-trimming effect and virtually eliminates carbon build-up (also known as mushrooming).

2. Square braid cotton - These braided wicks also curl in the flame. Because they are more rounded and a bit more robust than the flat wicks, they are preferred in beeswax applications and can help inhibit clogging of the wick when there are higher levels of non-combustible material (such as high pigment or fragrance). These wicks are used most frequently in taper or pillar applications.

3. Cored Wicks - Zinc, paper, cotton or hemp. The need for cored wicks arose with the popularity of container candles and their need for a rigid wick that would remain supported and centered in the hot melted wax. These are also braided wicks with a cross section. They are used in jar candles, gel, pillars and votives. (NOTE: Wicks used in votives, jars and gels require a wick tab for keeping the wick centered and/or fastened. The zinc, paper and cotton cored wicks were developed to take the place of lead core wicks. The USA no longer permits lead core wicks to be manufactured here.

4. HTP Wicks - The American version of the "German Wick". HTP stands for High Temperature Paper. This wick is wax coated and is a cotton flat braid with a strand of paper braided into it for hotter burning. These are a rigid wick and are also self-trimming, thus reducing the carbon build-up common to the zinc core wicks. Used in jar candles, gels, votives and pillars.

5. Specialty Wicks - i.e. fiberglass wicks, wicks used for citronella, tea lights, oil lamps, and other applications.

Which wick should I use? This is the most common question we are asked. Understandably so considering the goal of every candlemaker is to produce a slow and clean burning candle with a great scent throw. In order to achieve this you must discover the right wick with the right wax. Even the most experienced candlemaker will tell you that the only way to definitively answer that question is to TEST, TEST, TEST. You may want to try our Wick Slab Test. The wick that works best in your candle may not work so well in mine. Why?

The different components in a candle which effect the burn quality of a particular wick are:

Diameter of Candle

Type of Candle (Container or Free-Standing)

Fuel type (Gel, paraffin, Beeswax, Soy/Vegetable, Palm, Liquid)

Wax Meltpoint

Additives

Dye Color (Light or Dark)

Fragrance or Non-Fragrance

Different wicks produce different results in each candle. The differences you should notice as you burn a candle are meltpool size, flame height, and burn rate (the amount of time it takes a particular wick to consume all the wax in the candle).

It's always best to begin your observation with a non-fragranced and non-dyed candle. In other words, only the wax and wick. The following considerations are a starting point in your testing process. Once you have achieved the safest and best burning candle, each time you change one ingredient, you must re-test.

Candlemaking is a science and requires extensive experimentation in order to achieve a safe quality product. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Factors to Consider

* Diameter of Candle - The first factor to consider is the diameter of your candle. The relationship between the wick size and candle diameter will affect the meltpool of your candle. A smaller diameter candle requires a smaller wick while a larger diameter candle requires a larger wick, and in some cases, multiple wicks. As you burn your test candle, observe how much wax the candle consumes.

Is it leaving a large portion of unmelted wax around the parameter? Is it burning the entire diameter of the candle and spilling over? (Not good if you're making a pillar candle ~ Great if you're making a container candle!) Is the flame smoking? Does the flame keep extinguishing?

If the flame keeps extinguishing, your wick is too small. If it is smoking, it is too large? (I was observing a new wick size the other day and made a candle with a #6 wick. That's a very large wick. I knew the wick was too large, but wanted to observe it anyway, so I took the candle home to observe the burning. My hubby wanted to know if I was trying to burn the house down :-) The flame was almost 4" high, the smoke detector alarm was going off, and I still didn't have a meltpool anywhere near the size I wanted.)

* Type of Wax - Gel burns at a hotter temperature than paraffin/wax, and therefore requires a larger wick than a paraffin candle of the same diameter. The same is true for Beeswax. Since Beeswax is a much harder wax than paraffin, it usually requires a size larger wick. Soy/Vegetable container wax has a low MP and will require a smaller wick than the same size paraffin candle.

Wax meltpoints for paraffin can range from 120* to 165*. And the meltpoint can reach 230* with microcrystalline and additives. The meltpoint is the temperature in which the wax melts. This usually requires a smaller wick, while a high MP wax will require a larger wick. You must consider this while still factoring the diameter of the candle.

NOTE: If you do not know the meltpoint of your wax you can determine it by using this procedure: Completely melt your wax and then turn off the heat. Using your thermometer, observe the temperature which the wax begins to harden. This will help you determine the meltpoint.

To relate the first 2 considerations: A 2" pillar candle using a paraffin wax of 145* MP will usually require a smaller wick than a 2" pillar using a 165* MP wax.

For a 3" container candle - A 3" gel container is going to require a larger wick than a 3" paraffin container. (NOTE: paraffin container candles usually are best when made with a low MP wax i.e. 128* MP).

* Additives - Adding Vybar, Stearic, Crystals and other hardeners will effect the wick size. Hardening the wax can cause the perfect wick to become too small for the candle. Often you will need to move up a wick size once adding a hardener.

* Type of Candle - You must consider the type of candle you are making. Votives are usually burned in a container and completely liquify when burning. The same desired result is true with container candles. On the other hand, pillars are a disaster if they totally liquify, or even have such a large meltpool that the melted wax is flowing over the edges.

* Dye and Fragrance - Dye or fragrance can be a clogging culprit in your candle. A clogged wick will not continue burning. Once you choose the correct wick for your test with the wax and wick only, you will find that once you add fragrance or dye, you may need to change the wick size. Some fragrance is thicker than other fragrance, and thus a different fragrance added to the same candle may require a different wick. Even if it is the same flavor, but you bought it from a different supplier.

NOTE: Do not use melted crayons to color your candle. This is sure to clog your wick. Too much candle dye can also clog a wick.

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