Archive for the ‘candle making’ Category

Candle Burning

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

candle burn Candle Burning

Regardless of whether you are making candles for personal use, gifts, or to earn extra income; candles are flammable.  You always want to make sure that you have taken all the right measures to ensure the safest candle possible.  Not only is candle safety important to the crafter, but it is also just as important to the person that burns the candle.

Here are some great tips for burning candles, the best way to extinguish a candle, and what to do if your candle wax is on fire.

Candle Burning and Maintenance:

Always before lighting your candle; trim the wick!  You never want your wick to be longer than ¼ inch.  Also, when lighting your candle, do not throw the wick trimming into the candle.  You want to keep your candle free of any and all debris such as:  dust, wick trimmings, matches, ect.  You want your candle pool to be scented wax only.

Keep your wick straight.  Once your wick has been trimmed, you will want to pull it straight.  If your wick is bent, your wick will burn hotter than regular.  This will result in a quicker burn time of your candle.

When it is time to extinguish your candle, always use a snuffer.  A candle snuffer is the easiest and safest way to put out a flame.  Using a snuffer will prevent hot wax splatter.  Candle wax is hot, you never want to touch it, or get wax splatter on you or surfaces in your home.

Never put a candle flame out with water.  Water can cause the hot wax in your candles to splatter.  There is also a chance that the glass container of your candle may also break.

If after lighting your candle, you notice the wick flickering, smoking, or the flame of your candle becomes too large; the candle is not functioning properly.  Extinguish the flame, let the candle cool, trim your wick to ¼ inch, check the rooms for drafts, and then re-light.

After a candle has been burned to the point where there is only 1/2 inch of wax left in the bottom of the container, stop burning.  The candle is now finished.  Never burn a candle all the way down.

For Candle Making Purposes: 

For your candle making area, it is wise to purchase a dry chemical fire extinguisher in case of any fires.  If you do have a wax fire, the dry chemical extinguisher or baking soda should be used to suffocate the flames.  Never use water to put out a wax fire.

Oil in Candle

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

candle making questionsCandle Making Questions:

Why is there excess oil in candle?  Sometimes when making candles, your finished product may have excess oil in it.   This oil slick may be along the edges, on the top, or at the bottom of your candle.  This oil is actually fragrance oil.  Excess fragrance oil in the candle containers is a tell tale sign that too much fragrance oil was used in the candle making process.

How to Solve It!  Sticking to the recommended usage suggestion for fragrance oil per type of wax is the smartest move, especially if you are new to candle making.  Another early warning sign to prevent oil in your finished candle happens during the pour steps.  When pouring the wax into the containers, if you notice an “oil slick” in the bottom of your pouring pot, stop the pour before the oil comes out.  If there is any leftover fragrance oil that the wax did not absorb initially, the wax will not absorb it in your container either.

To view other candle making questions and common troubleshooting tips for candle making, please click on this link to see the full Natures Garden’s Common Candle Making Mistakes Guide.

Soy Candles

Sunday, December 29th, 2013

Soy wax Candles Anyone who works with soy wax knows that candles produced with this wax will have great cold throw.  Cold throw is the scent of the candle when it is not lit.  Typically with soy wax, this throw will always be strong.  However, when it comes to hot throw with soy wax you may be left desiring more.

Why does my candle not have hot throw?

When using soy wax to craft your candles, a lack of hot throw is just the nature of the wax.  However, it could be possible that there was not enough fragrance or scent added to the melted wax.  When it comes to adding the scent to the wax, temperature is everything; and be careful not to add the fragrance when the temperature is too high.  Finally, the last thing to consider is the wick.  This will also have a direct effect on the hot throw in your candle.

How to Solve It

If you are just not satisfied with the hot throw of your soy candles and have carefully examined all of the possible problems that may have inhibited your hot scent throw; you may want to consider changing your wax.   Paraffin based waxes have very strong hot throw.  You can also switch your wax to a blend of both soy and paraffin.  Natures Garden’s Joy Wax is a great example of this blend; providing candles with excellent hot and cold throw.

With soy wax, you are able to add up to 1.5 ounces of fragrance oil per pound of soy wax.  This fragrance load will provide the best possible scent for soy wax candles.  Also, if you are interested in seeing if a fragrance oil performs in soy wax, check out the fragrance oil’s customer reviews.  People often post what medium they used the fragrance oil in, especially if it works in soy wax.

Also, when making candles, waxes vary in the degree in which you can add the fragrance.  If you are noticing that your candles are not producing a strong enough hot throw, you may want to lower the temperature at which you add the fragrance oil.  It can be possible that some of the fragrance is burning off simply by the heat of the melted wax.  Adding your fragrance at too high of a temperature will do this.

Selecting a hotter burning wick for your candles will also help with a candle’s hot throw.  Some great hotter burning wicks to select from are Hemp or CD wicks.  But as always, testing is key.

Gel Wax

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Natures Garden Gel WaxThere are many different kinds of candle waxes available in the industry; gel wax stands out for some of its own very unique reasons.

What is Gel Wax

Consisting of 95% mineral oil and 5% polymer resin, gel wax is a rubbery and clear mixture.  The polymer resin is used to thicken the mineral oil to add the properties true to gel wax; long burn time and clear look.  This wax, unique in its form; is able to extend burn time by double (compared to paraffin).  That is one of the biggest selling points to gel wax.  Just as important is the special aesthetic aspect to gel wax; its transparency.

Candles crafters that work with gel wax are able to manipulate it by embedding, shaping, and pairing the wax to achieve specific looks.  Some of the more popular finished products of these techniques would be sand candles, fruit pie candles, or beverage candles.

Embeds are inserts that are positioned into the gel wax before it completely solidifies.  These non flammable items are then suspended in the hardened wax.  This gives gel wax candles a very rare look.  Some examples of embeds you can use in this wax would be: sea shells, glass or wax embeds, or glitter. Never use plastic embeds for gel wax candles.

Another notable advantage of working with gel wax is how forgiving it is.  Any corrections that you want to touch up in the finished candle can be done.  It is as simple as remelting, rescenting, recoloring, and repouring.

How to Melt Gel Wax

The process of melting gel is slightly different than your other waxes.  With this one, there is no specific temperature to heat in order to liquefy.  This wax, as it melts; only thins.  Stirring is key with gel wax.

It is also important to keep a watchful eye on gel wax as it thins.  Stirring frequently and monitoring will ensure the correct melting process.  Gel wax does not thin quicker by heating at a higher temperature; gel wax will only smoke.

Tips on Gel Candles

Never try to move a gel wax candle while it is burning or was just lit.  Liquid gel wax is extremely hot and will cause severe burns if splashed onto the skin.

The top layer of a gel wax candle is very sticky.  This is just the nature of gel wax.  You always want to keep your gel wax candle cover in between uses.   This will prevent the wax from collecting dust and debris on that sticky layer.

Gel wax is strictly a container wax.  Due to its makeup, the wax is not strong enough to be a pillar wax.  This should be noted especially for shipping and storage reasons.  If your candle is placed on its side or upside down, the wax will start to slide/pour out.

If you are interested in making a gel wax Beer Candle, click on this link; if you would like to try a gel wax Wine Candle, click on this link.  There are many other homemade recipes that can be found at Natures Garden’s Free Recipes and Classes area of their website.

Candle Smoking?

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

candle smokingWhy is My Candle Smoking?

Whenever something is being burned, there will be some amount of smoke.  Naturally, when you limit the amount of oxygen, you will see more smoke than when ample oxygen is supplied.  However, you can prevent your homemade candles from excessively smoking by making your candles the right way in the first place.  There are a few reasons as to why a candle may smoke once lit.  The first check point to examine is whether or not the correct amount of fragrance oil was used in the process.  Using more than the recommended amount of fragrance oil per pound of wax may sound like it is a good idea to have extreme scent, but in the end it is only wasteful (and costly), and can cause your candles to smoke.  Wax has a fragrance load limit.  Since it is a porous object, once each and every pore has been filled, there is no more area for the fragrance to go.

The second reason your candle may be smoking is the wick.  Using the proper wick for the diameter size of the candle is the best way to ensure a clean and even burn in the candle.  Go here to read a very interesting blog post on the science of candle wicks.  A smoking wick will occur if the wick of the candle is too large for the container.  To view a wick suggestion chart for your sized candle container click here  for Natures Garden’s wick recommendations.  Avoid allowing the debris from wick clippings from entering into your melted wax, and keep your wicks trimmed to 1/4″.

Finally, your colorant may cause your candle to smoke.  It is important to know that pigments can clog your wick and can cause increased smoking when burning your candle.  That is why only candle dyes should be used to color the interior wax of candles.  Never use crayons to color your candles as they contain pigments instead of dyes.  When using candle dyes, understand that using alot of candle dye may also cause your candles to smoke more.

How to Solve It!

When it comes to fragrance oil percentage, never use more than the suggested amount of fragrance oil per pound of wax.  Remember, using more may result in a candle with a fragrance oil slick that is a fire hazard.

Do your research first.  In order to know which wick to use in candle making, you must first know your candle’s diameter.  You can figure this out by measuring the bottom of your candle container with a ruler.  You will want to measure horizontally across the center.  Once you have this information, simply look at the wick suggestion chart and select which kind of wick you need.  Keep wick trimmings out of your melted wax, and keep wicks trimmed to 1/4″.  Also, avoid burning your candles where there are fans or drafts.  This can cause your wick to move around and burn too quickly; potentially smoking more.

In candle making temperature is very important.  Many waxes offer a range in temperature for their key steps (melting temperature, scenting temperature, pouring temperature).   It is a very good idea to monitor these temperatures with the help of a testing notebook and thermometer.  Within a few times of making candles, you can have your temperatures down to a specific degree.  With well taken notes, it is possible to have your candle making process replicated exactly time and time again.

Lastly, you always want to avoid using pigments in the interior of your candle.  Only candle dyes should be used to color the interior of your candle wax.

Candle Wax Tips

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

soy wax candlesThe type of wax that you select for candle making is very important to your end product.  Wax has a direct affect on the overall quality of the finished candle.  This is the secret to making the perfect candle; you have to have a good, high quality wax.  The novice belief in candle making is that as long as they add more fragrance, it can compensate for a lower quality wax, and still produce a strong candle.  This is absolutely not true.

To help you understand the importance of wax in candles, let’s think of wax as a sponge and fragrance as water.   Sponges are very porous.  And, when you pour water over a sponge, the sponge fills each pore with water.  The sponge will swell as it fills.  However, as you will notice eventually when the sponge is filled, it can no longer hold any more water.  What then results is an overflow of water and the water will start leaking out from the sponge.  The same concept is true for wax.  Once the pores of the wax have been filled with their maximum capacity of fragrance oil, any additional fragrance oil that is added will settle out of the wax.

What you are left with in this scenario is wasted fragrance oil in the bottom of your pouring pot and a candle that is possibly a fire hazard.  You should never use more than 1.5 ounces of fragrance oil per pound of wax.  Adding additional scent to your candle wax will not increase your scent, instead it is nothing but money down the drain.  That is why the quality of wax that you select for your candle making endeavor is so important.

Pre-blended waxes

Yes, it is true that there are a variety of wax additives that you can include in your candle recipe to manipulate certain qualities in your candles.  But, in our experience, we have found that purchasing a pre-blended candle wax that already includes these additives is the best route to go.  Not only are you saving time, money, and the hassle of testing, but your end product will be exactly what you are looking for in a candle.  Analyzing it, by the time you purchase all of the extra ingredients you need to make a low quality wax into a high quality wax, you will spend more money than if you just purchase the high quality pre-blended wax (like JOY wax) to begin your candle making venture.  Not to mention all the time you just saved yourself too.

Temperature

Another key factor to remember in candle making is that temperature is extremely important.  Anytime that you are working with wax, it is crucial to know the directions for use.  The temperature of waxes varies according to the wax you are using.  And, in candle making temperatures are vital to the process.  Never heat any of your waxes above 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  On a molecular level, heating wax to this extreme temperature will start to break down the wax on a molecular level.  You will also notice if you get wax too hot (above the instructed degrees) the wax may burn, resulting in discoloration of the wax, as well as a burnt smell.  If this does occur, the wax is done.  It cannot be used for candle making any longer.  DO NOT attempt to scent the wax, or over scent the wax to compensate for the burnt smell.

What are Candle Additives

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

candle additivesCandle Additives are additional ingredients that you can add to candle wax to improve the quality of the finished product.  Candle wax can vary from batch to batch, so knowing how to adjust to these situations is key.  There are a variety of candle additives at your disposal, spanning an array of possibilities for your candles.  Some additives improve scent throw, some help with discoloration, there are even additives to help extend burn time.  The key to providing the best candle you can to the market is knowing what candle additives are available and what they can do for your products.

Stearic Acid

What is Stearic Acid:  The candle additive stearic acid helps the wax shrink as it cools.  This is key to remember especially if you are making candles in molds.  The addition of stearic acid will help release your candle smoothly.   Stearic Acid also boosts the opacity of candle wax.  If you are making candles and coloring them with powdered dye, the powdered dye can be melted in stearic acid before adding it to the melted wax to ensure an even dispersal of color throughout the candle.  Stearic Acid can also be used to make gel wax embeds by adding it to pillar or votive wax.

How Much To Use:  Stearic Acid is added to paraffin wax.  The correct percentage use for this additive is 10% of the total wax amount.  Therefore, for every pound (16oz) of paraffin wax you use, you will add 1.5 oz of stearic acid.  Stearic Acid can also be used at an additional 2% in your paraffin wax if you have selected to scent your candle with heavier fragrance oils like vanilla scents.  The extra added stearic acid in this case will help the candle wax with fragrance seepage.  A break down example for this is 2 tsp. for every 16oz of wax.

Vybar

What is Vybar:  The candle additive vybar is a substitute for stearic acid.  Vybar is also used to help extend the scent throw in your candles.   The addition of vybar to your candle wax will make the wax more opaque.  You will also notice a marbleized look to the top open portion in container candles.  Vybar will also increase your candles melt point and also slightly harden your wax consistency.  There are two different types of vybar depending of which type of candle you are making.  Vybar 103 is used in votive or pillar candles.  Vybar 260 is used in container candles.

How Much To Use:  If you are looking to get the best scent throw possible out of your candles, vybar can be added to your candle wax at ¼ to ½ tsp. for every 16oz. of wax.  This proportion provides the very best results.  There is a precaution when it comes to adding vybar to your wax.  Adding to much of this additive will result in trapped fragrance oil, directly meaning decreased scent throw.  If fragrance oil is trapped in wax, the scent will not evaporate correctly when the candle is lit.  Therefore, it is best to stick with the recommended use mentioned above.

Petrolatum

What is Petrolatum:  The candle additive Petrolatum is also known as petroleum jelly.  This additive is used in container wax only and works by increasing the number of pores in your wax.  Petrolatum will also increase the oil content in a wax therefore making it creamier and softer.  The addition of Petrolatum to your wax will also help the wax to adhere to the sides of its container as well as help to reduce shrinkage of the wax.  This candle additive will also aid in the reduction of the melting point resulting in an end product with a longer burn time.

How Much To Use:  With this candle additive, testing is key.  A good starting point is up to 5% of your total wax amount.  This percentage can range all the way up to 30%.  Please Note:  Using this candle additive may affect your clean burn resulting in some smoking from your candle.

Crisco Shortening

What is Crisco Shortening:  Crisco Shortening is commonly used in food recipes, but can also be used as a candle additive.  The addition of Crisco Shortening to a candle wax will help to extend the candles scent throw and decrease the chance of having wet spots.  A good alternative to Petrolatum, this additive even works better with certain container candle waxes then Petrolatum does.

How Much To Use:  Through our testing, we have found that the addition of Crisco Shortening at 1-2 oz. per pound of container wax provides your finished candle with a better scent throw.

Mineral Oil

What is Mineral Oil- Mineral oil is also known as paraffin oil.  Commonly used as an emollient agent for cosmetics, mineral oil can also be used as a candle additive.  The addition of mineral oil to your candle wax will provide for a mottled look in your end product.

How Much To Use:  To achieve a mottled look in candles, add 3 Tbs. of mineral oil per every pound of wax you are melting.   You will want to pour the candles at 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  When using this candle additive in your wax, you do not want to rush the cooling process of the candles with a water bath.

Beeswax

What is Beeswax:  The candle additive beeswax will improve a candles burn time and also provide your end product with a beautiful rich color if you choose to color the candles.  Now, the addition of beeswax to your candle recipes can be expensive, but well worth it if you choose to go that route.

How Much To Use:  Beeswax can be used as the only wax in a candle, or it can also be added at 5-10% of the total amount of paraffin wax.

Microcrystalline Wax

What is Microcrystalline Wax:  There are 2 different forms of Microcrystalline wax; hard and soft.  The candle additive hard Microcrystalline wax is added to paraffin wax to harden wax therefore providing the candle with an extended burn time.  The melt point for hard microcrystalline wax is over 200 degrees Fahrenheit.  This candle additive can also be used as a dip wax to make mottled candles.  The other type, Soft Microcrystalline wax has a lower melting wax point.  This wax is used with paraffin wax to make modeled wax.  The addition of this candle additive will also help the wax adhere to the containers as well.

How Much To Use:  For the Hard Microcrystalline wax, the usage suggestion is 1% of the total wax amount.  For the Soft Microcrystalline wax, the usage suggestion is about 10% of the total wax amount, or about 1.5 oz. per pound of wax.

UV Light Inhibitor

What is UV Light Inhibitor:  When coloring your candles, there are certain hues that have a tendency to discolor.  These colors are Blue, Burgundy, and Violet.  The same can be said about any variations of these colors as well.  UV Light Inhibitor is a candle additive that helps to prevent the sun’s affect of fading or discoloration in your candles.  However, it must be noted that if finished candles are set in direct sunlight, even with the addition of UV Light Inhibitor, fading will still occur.

How Much To Use:  The addition of this candle additive is added at a rate of 1/8 tsp per 16oz. of wax used.

Candle Making Equipment Continued

Friday, December 6th, 2013

candle making equipmentThis is a list of candle making equipment.  Whether you are just making a few candles as gifts for loved ones, or possibly venturing into the candle making industry; this is the equipment you will need to get started.  Please note:  Once this equipment has been used to make fragranced candles, it cannot be used again for food purposes.

Other Equipment

Pouring Pots- Coffee cans used to be perfect pouring pots when they were made of metal.  By simply bending the lip on one side of the coffee can, you could make a perfect spout to pour candles.  Metal coffee cans still exist, they are just harder to come by now.  If you do choose to use metal coffee cans as pouring pots, remember to have plenty of heat resistant safety gloves or pot holders available to assist you in holding the hot can.  This only works for metal coffee cans; most companies that sell coffee use plastic cans now.  Unfortunately, these types of cans cannot handle the heat from the melted wax and they will melt; compromising your candle wax and making a big mess to clean up.

Pouring pots, however, are great for candle making.  Not only can they hold up to 4 pounds of melted wax, but they also have a plastic handle on them so there is less chance of burning your hand.

In an ideal situation, you will have a pouring pot for each fragrance that you use to make candles.  For example, if you carry Apple Cinnamon (red), Blueberry Muffin (blue), Fresh Bamboo (green), and Vanilla Silk (no color), that would equate to 4 total pouring pots.  This works because you would never have to worry about jeopardizing your color accuracy or fragrance aromas in finished candles.  But, this is only ideally.  If you are just starting out, one pouring pot will work.  You just have to make sure you thoroughly clean your pouring pot after each use.  You also want to make sure you clean the outside and underneath portion of the pouring pot.  Having debris or wax on the bottom of your pouring pot could result in splatter when the pouring pot is placed in the water to maintain wax temperature.  The hot splatter can be painful.  This splatter is also a reason why wearing safety glasses while making candles is a very good idea.

Candy Thermometer- Wax temperature is everything when making candles.  Usually, if there are problems with your finished candles, temperature has something to do with what went wrong.  Using a thermometer to monitor your temperature in wax is one way to prevent these problems from occurring.  For best results in candle making, pour any single pour waxes at 145-150 degrees Fahrenheit, and any votive or pillar wax at 160-165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Votive and Candle Molds- After purchasing multiple votive molds, you will notice when you receive them, they will be stacked together.  Make sure when you try to pull them apart you are wearing heavy duty gloves.  The edges of stainless steel votives are extremely sharp.  Attempting to pull them apart without gloves will cause cuts on your fingers.

When working with candle molds or votive molds, you always want to make sure that before you pour the hot candle wax into the mold that they are at room temperature.  Completing this one little step will save you the headache of trying to release the candle later.

As for the cleaning process for these types of molds, rub a small amount of shortening in the inside and outside of the molds.  Then, place the molds on a cookie sheet upside down.  Once the cookie sheet has been carefully placed inside the oven, bake at 150 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes.  Once the time has elapsed, simply remove the cookie sheet and wipe the individual molds clean.  Caution:  The molds will be hot when taken out of the oven, so you may want to use pot holders.  Please Note:  Never use water with your metal molds.

Work Environment-  Having a favorable work environment for candle making is a must.  Once again, it is all about temperature, and having a room that is 70 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for the best candle making situation.  Proper ventilation in the room is necessary, but you also have to remember rooms that have drafts will not work for the natural cooling stages of your candles.  Candles that cool too quickly will give you problems with your finished candles aesthetic look or functionality.

Work Clothes- These items may sound silly, but you never want to risk wearing one of your favorite outfits while making candles.  No matter how neat and careful you are, candle dye is permanent, and getting wax, even the smallest amount, on your clothing will ruin them.

Floor Protection-  When making candles, a small spill can have detrimental affects to your work area.  Besides the facts that candle dyes are permanent, wax messes are not the easiest to clean up, and spilled fragrance oil on a floor is super slippery, you do not want to take any chances especially if your work environment is your kitchen.  By purchasing floor mats, or simply placing cardboard on the floor in your work area, you can prevent havoc from occurring.  For you own personal safety, this is one perfect work environment step you do not want to skip.

Stainless Steel Measuring Cups and Spoons- When it comes to measurements for colorants, additives, and fragrance oils, you will want to have your very own candle making stainless steel tools for this portion of the job.  Fragrance oils will dissolve certain plastics, stainless steel measurers will not dissolve and can be cleaned time and time again without staining or scent memory.

Candle Making Equipment

Friday, December 6th, 2013

candle making equipmentWhen it comes to candle making there are a few tried and true items that you are going to need in order to create beautiful hand poured candles.  This blog will focus on possible heat sources you will want to use.

Heat Sources

Turkey Roasters- Turkey roasters work great for melting slabs of candle wax.  On average, turkey roasters can hold 20-25 pounds of candle wax at a time, so this is a great solution if you are making big batches of candles.  The average cost of a turkey roaster is anywhere from $40-$100. But, keep in mind that these turkey roasters do go on sale around the holidays, so you might be able to find a bargain.  When melting wax in a turkey roaster you will want to keep the temperature set at 175 degrees Fahrenheit.  You will also want to make sure that you have the bottom portion of the pan filled with about ¼” water.  If you do not fill this area with water, you will notice that the wax will not melt properly.  Also, you will risk burning up your turkey roaster and rearing it useless.  But, remember ¼” is the magic amount.  Using more than this amount will result in having water bubble up and entering your work space.  Try not to let any water enter the melting wax.  Water is waxes worst enemy, and water in your melted wax will result with holes in your finished candles.

If you do get water in your wax, or you notice water in wax; put your turkey roaster on the low setting and keep it uncovered.  This will allow the water to evaporate out.  When wax is made into slabs, the manufacturer uses water to cool the wax.  Sometimes, water can get trapped in the wax as it cools, and this creates water pockets.   The water will evaporate; just keep an eye on the wax.

Besides working with a single pour wax, if you choose to also make votives and or pillars, you will want to have a second turkey roaster for this wax.  It is very important that you keep the waxes separated.  If you do not, chances are your single wax will require a second pour.  But, do not stress too much if a small amount of votive/pillar wax gets into your single pour wax.  A little bit of the waxes mixing should not give you any major issues.

Stove/Hot Plate- Besides the turkey roaster, you will also need a secondary heat source.  This is because you will need to maintain your melted wax temperature (or pouring temperature) as you add colorants, additives, or fragrance oils.  A stove or hot plate are great secondary heat sources.

By using a 13” x 9” cake pan you can create the same double boiler situation like you have in your turkey roaster.  This time fill the bottom of the cake pan ½” with water.  Then, set the stove or hot plate to a low to medium heat setting.  Place the cake pan with water on top of the burner and allow the water to heat.

Ideally, a stove works best for this situation, especially if you also warm your candle containers before pouring the hot candle wax into them.  Warming your containers will help to prevent jump lines from occurring in your candles.  Jump lines occur when the melted wax cools too quickly in your jars.  Warming your candle jars levels the “temperature playing field” if you will, allowing the wax to cool in its own natural time by decreasing the gap in temperature between the hot wax and warmed jars.

Candle Making- Soy Candles

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Soy wax Candles When it comes to candle making, the wax you use is really up to personal choice.

There are quite a few reasons why candle makers select soy wax for their candles.  Some like it due to the fact that soy wax is 100% natural (it is a pure vegetable wax) and it is biodegradable.  Many prefer soy wax because of the long, even, and clean burn the wax provides with less soot.  And, even still, many candle crafters like soy wax because it is an environmentally friendly, renewable resource that American farmers can plant and harvest; also helping the economy too. Some other reasons for why some people prefer using soy wax for their candles are ease of use.  Since this wax is in flake form, it is a breeze to weigh out, work with, and clean up.  And, soy wax is a single pour wax, requiring no repours.

Soy wax is for container candles.  Due to the nature of this natural wax, the finished candle will have a mottled (or frosted) appearance on top.  However, if you do not like this appearance, you can always apply heat to the finished candle with a hot hair dryer or heat gun.

Supplies and Equipment Needed: 
NG 100% Soy Wax
Fragrance Oil
Spectrum Candle Dye or Color Block
Pouring Pot
Thermometer
Glassware
Wicks
Scale
Stainless steel mixing utensil
Cookie Sheet
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Stove
Pot

A little behind the scenes knowledge: 

For this candle making process we are going to suggest the double boiler system for melting the wax.  Fill a large pot half way full with tap water.  Place the filled pot onto the stove top burner.  Turn the appropriate burner on medium heat.  Once you have the pouring pot filled with the correct amount of soy wax, place the pouring pot into the water filled pot.  Once the water starts to boil, you will notice that the soy wax is beginning to melt.  As this occurs, you want to occasionally stir the wax to ensure an even temperature.

Carefully place your glassware on a cookie sheet.  Preheat your oven to the lowest temperature possible.  Once the oven is heated, place the cookie sheet with the glassware into the oven.  Allow your glassware to warm in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Once the allotted time has passed, carefully remove the cookie sheet using oven mitts.  Set these aside. 

The standard fragrance percent for soy candles is 1-1 ½ ounces of fragrance oil per pound of wax.

For measuring purposes, 20 ounces (weight) of soy wax is equivalent to 16 ounces of fluid volume.

Directions for making a soy candle: 

1.  Weigh out the correct amount of soy wax with your scale.
2.  Place your soy wax into your pouring pot and using the double boiler system, heat the wax to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.  Monitor this by using your thermometer.  Please Note:  Heating soy wax hotter than 200 degrees Fahrenheit will discolor the wax, so proper monitoring of the temperature is advised.
3.  While you are waiting on the wax, plug in your hot glue gun.
4.  Once the wax is in a liquid state, add your candle colorant.
5.  Next, add your Natures Garden’s fragrance oil of choice and stir well to incorporate throughout the wax.  The information we provide below about flash point and burnoff is information we have learned over the years that will help make the best soy wax candles.  When making candles, it is important to understand that ingredients affect the end result.  Testing needs to be done by the candle maker for every fragrance that you decide to use.  We provide the information as a guide, but you will still need to do the testing yourself.
      a.  For this step you will need to know the flashpoint of the fragrance oil you selected.  The right temperature is extremely important to ensure that the fragrance oil binds properly with the soy wax.  You also do not want to risk “burnoff”.  Burnoff is the adding of a fragrance oil at too hot of a wax temperature.  Because a flashpoint on a fragrance oil is the highest temperature the fragrance can handle before breaking down, burnoff can affect the scent in the finished candle.  That is why you want to know the proper temperature to add the fragrance oil.  You can find this information right on the label of the Natures Garden fragrance oil.  This information is also in the Important Fragrance Specifics area on the website under each fragrance oil listing.
b. Fragrance Flashpoints give you the answer as to when you add your fragrance oil to the hot wax.  Any flashpoint that is higher than 185 degrees Fahrenheit is added at 185 degrees.  For any flashpoints that are below 185 degrees, they should be added at or below the flashpoint degree.  The key to remember is try not to add the fragrance oil at a temperature that is hotter than its flashpoint.
c.  Some fragrance oils have a very low flashpoint.  In these cases, testing comes into play.  You are balancing flashpoint temperatures with the fact that the wax needs heat in order to bind the scent with the wax.
6.  Once the soy wax has been scented and colored, you will want to stir your wax thoroughly.  Doing this step will help the mixing and binding of the color and scent throughout the wax.
7.  The next step is allow your soy wax to cool at room temperature.  Place your thermometer into the pouring pot and wait until the wax reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit.  Pouring at this temperature will allow for a smoother surface in your finished candle.  While you are waiting, prep your containers for the pour.
8.  Using your hot glue gun, place a little amount of glue to the bottom of the wick tab.  Then, carefully center the wick to the bottom of the glassware.  Gently, straighten your wick in each glass.
9.  Once your wax is the appropriate temperature (110 degrees F), you will notice the physical appearance of the wax will be slushy like.  At this point, you are now ready to pour your wax.  Slowly, fill each glass to the point where the jar changes shape.  Filling a jar surpassed the point where the jar changes shape will increase your chance of a sink hole in the finished candle.
10.  Once all containers have been poured, allow them to set up and undisturbed at room temperature.
11.   When all candles have completely set up, lid each container to allow for the fragrance to be absorbed by the wax.  This is known as the “cure time.”  For best results, allow your candles to cure for 24-48 hours.
12.  Once the cure time has elapsed, it is now time to trim your wick, and light your homemade soy candle.  Enjoy!

On a Final Note: 

Anytime you burn a candle for the first time, you want to establish a “memory burn.”  A memory burn is a complete wet pool of hot, melted wax over the entire top portion of the candle.  If the first burn is a memory burn, this ensures that every time you burn your candle, you will not have tunneling around the wick or an excess of unmelted wax adhered to the candle jar.  A memory burn also guarantees that the scent throw of your candle will be the best possible since every gram of scented wax is being used.

If you are interested in making your very own soy wax candles, Natures Garden offers a Soy Wax Kit with all the ingredients you need to make soy candles.