All about Soy
Soy wax is produced from soybeans. It is a pure and natural vegetable wax that is also considered kosher. Not only is this wax non toxic, but it is also biodegradable. In fact, soy wax is very environmentally friendly and is made from a renewable resource.
Soy wax is one of the most enjoyable waxes to work with. This is because soy wax is either in a pellet or flake form. This form just makes everything easier from the weighing of the wax out, to the clean up afterwards.
The candles that are made from soy wax are very clean burning. Not only is there a reduction in soot, but due to the makeup of soy itself, the burn time of a soy wax candle increases. This is because soy wax candles burn slower and cooler; in relation to its counterpart paraffin.
To be completely honest, there are many reasons as to why soy wax candles are so popular. But, it is also important to note the disadvantages of working with soy wax. Soy wax is very temperature sensitive. Heating the wax over 200 degrees Fahrenheit for example will burn and discolor the wax.
When it comes to the overall look of a finished candle, soy wax is in a world of its own. Sometimes the finished soy wax candle can look grainy. They also have a tendency to frost. It is also quite common for the tops of a soy wax candle to not be smooth and have a flakey look to them.
There are 3 different types of soy wax that Natures Garden carries. All three types are Golden Foods Brand Waxes. These waxes are NG 100% Soy Wax (GF 415), Golden Foods Soy Wax 444, and Golden Foods Soy Wax 464.
NG 100% Soy Wax (Golden Foods 415)
This wax is 100% pure soy. There are no additives added to this natural wax. As for melt point, GF 415 is 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit. This higher melt point allows this wax to carry a higher fragrance load (up to 12% of scent per pound of wax), therefore making a stronger scented candle. GF 415 can be blended with other waxes as well. These waxes would include: paraffin, beeswax, and microcrystalline waxes.
*The higher melt point of this wax helps with shipping candles in hotter temperatures.
Golden Foods Soy Wax 444
What makes this wax different from the 415 is that there is a soy based additive that is added to this wax. Yet, GF 444 is still a natural wax. The additive in this wax helps to combat some of the inefficiencies of the 415. First off, the additive increases your pour temperature. With the 415, you pour at 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and your wax will be somewhat in a slushy like state. With the 444, you can pour at 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and your wax will still be in a fluid form. This additive also helps with the aesthetic look of your finished candle. Using the 415, may result with frosting and an unsmooth top. With the 444, the additive reduces frosting issues and also encourages a smoother finish in the wax.
Also maintaining a higher melt point, like the 415, GF 444 is 120- 125 degrees Fahrenheit. This higher melt point also allows this wax to hold a higher scent load (up to 12% of scent per pound); making a stronger scented candle.
This wax can be blended with other waxes as well. These include: paraffin and microcrystalline waxes.
*The higher melt point of this wax helps with shipping candles in hotter temperatures.
Golden Foods Soy Wax 464
This natural wax is very similar to the 444. Also containing the soy based additive, GF 464 has an increased pour temperature (135F), reduces frosting, and also has a smooth wax finish in a candle. The main difference between the GF 444 and GF 464 is the melt point. GF 464 has a melt point of 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit. This lower melt point allows for a better glass adhesion in the finished candle. Now, as for scenting this wax; the maximum scent load for this wax is 10-12%. However, we suggest keeping the fragrance percent at 10 to reduce the possibility of fragrance oil seepage.
This wax can be blended with paraffin and microcrystalline waxes also.
How to Know How Much Wax
When figuring out how much wax you are going to need, here is the standard we suggest:
For measuring purposes, 20 ounces (weight) of soy wax is equivalent to 16 ounces of fluid volume.
The Pour Line
It is important to know where to stop your pour in your containers when making your candles. In order to guarantee the best possible burn in your candles, the fill line has to be correct. The correct line in your containers is where the jar begins to change shape before the top. Filling to this point will allow a clean burn, without tunneling your wick.
Scenting Soy Wax
When it comes to scenting your soy wax, fragrance oils are the way to go. Luckily, Natures Garden just happens to carry over 800 amazing candle scents. IF you are wondering where a good starting place is for selecting which fragrance oils are the best candle scents, please click on this link to view the top 20 candle scents. These scents were nominated by our wonderful candle making customers.
The fragrance oils that are manufactured for candle making are formulated to bind with soy wax and anchor themselves to provide both cold and hot throw in a finished candle.
These scent throws are very important to candles. One of the most frustrating aspects to candle making is to go through all of the research and steps, only to find that your finished candle has no scent at all. We believe that this main scenting issue can easily be solved by knowing when to add your fragrance oil to your wax.
When seeking optimal results in your candles hot and cold throw, a fragrance oils flash point must be taken into consideration. If you recall from earlier in the class, temperature is everything for soy. Through our testing we have found that the flash point of a fragrance oil will directly correlate as to when the scent is added to the soy wax.
The flash point of a fragrance oil is the temperature at which a fragrance will start to burn off. This burn off will directly affect the smell of your finished candle. Always use caution when adding a fragrance oil to hot wax, especially when the fragrance oil has a lower flash point.
Now, it has been believed that in order for a fragrance oil to properly bind with soy wax, it had to be added at 185 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not the case for every fragrance oil though. The 185 degree temperature is the highest degree a fragrance oil can be added to soy wax. Never add a fragrance oil above 185 degrees, regardless of the flash point. This 185 degree temperature is the temperature for the addition of any fragrance oil with a flash point of 185 degrees or higher.
Now, lets look at some fragrance oil flash points to decipher what is the appropriate temperature to add them to the wax.
Royal B Fragrance Oil has a flash point of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this flash point is above the 185 degree temperature, Royal B fragrance should be added at 185 degrees. This scent has a high enough flash point where it will not experience any burn off. Your finished candle will have a nice and full bodied scent throw, true to the Royal B scent. This scent is an example of a fragrance oil that is added to the soy wax at 185 degree temperature, even though Royal B has a higher flash point.
Next, is Apple Orchard Fragrance Oil. This fragrance has a flash point of 155 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this flash point is lower than the 185 degree temperature for fragrance addition; we do not want to add this fragrance oil at 185 degrees. Doing so may cause the fragrance to burn off, therefore changing the scent of the finished candle. So, instead we will add this scent to the wax at its flash point (155 degrees Fahrenheit). This degree will ensure the scenting of the soy wax with the true apple orchard scent (without any burn off). This scent is an example of a fragrance oil that is added at its own flash point.
Please Note: For many years, it has been reported that you must add fragrance oil to melted soy wax at a temperature of 185F in order for the fragrance oils to bind with the wax. Our testing has shown that this is simply not the case. Low flash point fragrance oils can be added to melted soy wax as low as 130F (as we will discuss next); Just be sure to agitate the wax with a full 2 minute stir (after the addition of the scent) and you will have no oil seepage in your finished candle.
Now, for the lower end of the flash point spectrum: Although there are not many fragrance oils with low flash points, there are a few. Generally, they are your lighter fragrances like citruses. Blood Orange Fragrance Oil, for example, has a flash point of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, any fragrance oil that has a flash point lower than 130 degrees Fahrenheit; will be added at 130 degrees. So, you would add Blood Orange scent to your melted wax at 130 degrees Fahrenheit. You would then stir for a full 2 minutes to encourage the binding of the scent to the wax. Now it should be mentioned that adding the scent at this temperature will reduce the amount of burn off, but it does completely prevent burn off from occurring. This is where anchoring the fragrance comes into play.
Anchoring a fragrance oil quite simply is blending the fragrance oil (with the lower flash point) with another fragrance oil (with a higher flash point). This addition of the second fragrance oil therefore increases the overall fragrance flash point, making for a more stable scent.
As an example: In order to secure and stabilize Blood Orange (flash point of 115 degrees) in soy wax, we want to raise the flash point temperature to at least 130 degrees or higher. This can be done by adding Vanilla Extract for example (which has a flash point of 330 degrees Fahrenheit). This addition will both anchor the fragrance oil in the soy wax, as well as eliminate the fuel scent (a common issue with citrus scents in soy due to burn off); simply by increasing the overall fragrance flash point.
To break down fragrance addition to simpler terms:
IF a fragrance oil is 185 degrees or higher, add it to the soy wax at 185 degrees.
IF a fragrance oil is below 185 degrees, but is higher than 130 degrees, add it to the soy wax at its own flash point- with a full 2 minute stir.
IF the fragrance oil is below 130 degrees, add it to the soy wax at 130 degrees- with a full 2 minute stir.
*But remember, anchoring a lighter fragrance oil (one that has a flash point below 130 degrees) is also another option to help prevent burn off.
Coloring Soy Wax
It was commonly believed that the only way to color soy wax was with color blocks. These color blocks are dyes that are dispensed in your wax medium. A typical color block is 1/2 oz to 1 oz in weight. A color block of this size will color up to 15 pounds of candle wax. But, all it takes to color a smaller batch (1 pound) is about 1 gram, depending on the darkness of the hue you are looking for that is.
When adding your color block to the wax, there are a few things you should note. First, using too much color block in your candle wax may clog your wick (preventing the candle from burning properly). Color blocks may also create more smoke in your candle as it burns. And again, using too much color block will also inhibit your candles melt pool capabilities, therefore hindering your scent throw. As well, using a color block in your candle wax may leave color speckles if not completed dissolved.
In order to reduce the chance of color specks appearing in your finished candle, you must make sure that your color block is fully dissolved in the liquid wax. That is why we suggest grading your color block, and adding your amount in small pieces. Added at 185 degrees in soy wax (which is the temperature that allows soy wax to bind nicely with color), beautiful pastel hues can be attained. It is difficult to produce a vibrant color with color blocks because as you recall, an overabundance of color block will clog your wick. If you are looking for a vibrant color that is where liquid Spectrum candle dyes thrive.
Up until recently, it was believed Spectrum Liquid Candle Dye could not be used to color soy candles. The main issue was due to the solvent in the liquid dyes. This however, is simply not the case. Through our testing, we have found that spectrum liquid candle dye produces gorgeous and vibrant colors in soy wax. Also added at the 185 degree temperature, these liquid dyes are a breeze to work with (adding by single drops). Plus, with the fact that these dyes are very concentrated, a little bit goes a very long way.
Crayons should never be used to color candles. Crayons are pigments that are suspended in
wax. These pigments will clog your
candle wick. Due to this fact, pigments
(like crayons or micas) should never be used.
Also, it should be noted never use soap dyes or food coloring to color candle wax. Candle colors should be achieved using candle
Candle Coloring Tip: Ever wonder what the color of your candle is going to turn out to be? When working with colored wax, the best way to see what color the wax is going to be is to drop a few drips of the colored wax onto a piece of white paper. Once the wax drips harden, that will show you the color of your candle. Remember, when adding color to candle wax, start with a little bit first. You can always add more color to wax, but you cannot take it away.
Soy Candle Wicking
One of the most crucial elements to your soy candle is your wick. The wick will actually make or break your candle. In a candle, the lit wick is the means (through a complete melt pool) to which your scent will permeate the air (the hot scent throw). The wick will also determine your candles burn time and wax burning power.
In order to make the best soy candle possible, you have to have the correct wick. The correct wick is one that will burn hot, and provide an appropriate sized flame (and also a flame that will not flicker). It is important to remember, as the wick works its magic, and the melted wax pool is pulled through the capillaries of the wick, the scent is released. To read a fascinating article on the science of candle wicks, please click on this link.
There are a few varieties of wicks available at Natures Garden. Each wick type varies slightly, and in general it is up to personal choice as to which one you want to use. This size of wick is where the crucial aspect takes place, but more on that a little later.
Before committing to purchasing 100 wicks from Natures Garden, we also carry a wick sampler pack. These packs are available for the CD, HTP, and Hemp wicks. Each sampler pack includes 5 wicks of that size. This is the best route for testing wick sizes and ensuring a proper burn in your finished candle.
CD wicks are precut, prewaxed, and pretabbed. They are a flat braided coreless (not containing a metal core) wick that provides a very clean burn. When it does come to the burn, these wicks burn very hot, making them the perfect choice for soy wax. We highly suggest using this wick for soy wax candles. The CD wick is also almost self trimming. This is due to the fact that the tip of the wick bends slightly as it burns. This wick is a very popular choice in both soy and veggie waxes, reducing mushrooming, soot, and smoke.
HTP wicks are an all cotton braided wick. This wick also burns hot, making it a good choice for soy, veggie, and gel waxes. The main highlight of this wick is that it is structurally strong and provides less smoking and mushrooming in a finished candle.
Hemp wicks are all natural. They too provide a hotter burn. The wicks are pretabbed and prewaxed. Another great and popular selection for soy and veggie waxes.
Wooden wicks are super easy to use and great for soy wax candles. These soft wood series wooden wicks also work with gel wax, vegetable waxes, and most paraffin waxes.
Selecting the Right Sized Wick
In order to know which wick size you need, you must first know what candle container you are using. Selecting the correct wick size correlates directly to your candle containers diameter.
To find your candle container diameter, simply grab your container and a ruler. Place your container upside down, and then place your ruler horizontally across the bottom. This will tell you what your diameter of your candle container is in inches. Once you have this information, and you know what kind of wick you would like to use, it is time to move on to the wick chart to select your size. You can see this chart by clicking this link.
Wick Factors to Consider with Soy
Even with all of this information to consider there are still some more factors to contemplate. To review, wick size can be dependent upon 4 factors. They are:
Now, if your candle container is larger or uniquely shaped, it is very common to double or triple wick. This type of wicking involves using multiple wicks in your jar. This method ensures that your candle will have an excellent wet pool (melting wax). The goal of a perfect wet pool is that it touches all sides of your jar.
Depending on which fragrance oil you use in your soy candle, you may need to wick up. The term wicking up means purposely using a larger wick than what your candle container diameter needs. This is an advantage in candles because it allows for a hotter burn therefore increasing the candles melt pool.
Wicking up is also an advantage when it comes to the hot throw (the scent in the air when a candle is lit) of the candle. In order for a candle to have the best possible hot scent throw, the fragrance oil needs to be in a volatile state. What this means is that the fragrance oil needs to readily evaporate into the air.
As mentioned earlier, vanilla fragrance oils tend to have a higher flashpoint, what this means is that they almost always require a wick up in order to help release the vanilla aroma into the air. This is due to the fact that vanilla scents are thicker in consistency and wicking up will inhibit the candle wick from clogging. This will also help with preventing your wick from drowning out as well. Vanillas however are not the only candidates that require a wick up. Fragrance oils with heavier base notes will too. Ensuring the best hot throw for your candles, any fragrance that has heavy (dominate) base notes of patchouli, vetiver, amber, and musk should also be wicked up.
As a rule of thumb, anytime you are using a vegetable wax you should wick up. Using the next sized wick for your candle will ensure that your candles burn will be hot enough to melt your wax. Remember, the key to the best candle possible always lies with the wick. In order to attain the perfect melt pool (one that will essentially leave no left over wax in your candle) you wick needs to be hot to battle those hotter wax melt points (120-125F for both GF 415 and GF 444, and 115-120F for GW464). That same melt pool (the fuel to the wick) is also responsible for your candles hot scent throw.
In order to achieve the perfect color in your candle, sometimes you need to use a little extra colorant. If this is true for your candles, it may also be necessary to wick up once again. Candle dyes are literally dyes that are dissolved in your candle wax. If you used a heavier amount of dye to achieve a bold color, you risk the dyes clogging your candle wick. This occurs when the wick draws from its fuel source, the melt pool. The best way to combat a potential clogged wick in this situation is to wick up.
Keeping Candle Wicks Centered
As mentioned earlier, wicks are the vessel for your candles hot scent throw. In order to ensure the best hot scent throw possible, your candles wick must be the appropriate size; but also centered and straight. Keeping the wick centered and straight can be a tricky, especially while the candle wax is still liquid. There are however, some tricks of the trade. For our candle testing purposes: After we have poured the candle wax, we slide the wicks of the candle into the teeth of a barber comb. This barber comb then lies flat across your candle container; holding the wicks in place until the wax has hardened. For other great tips that candle makers use to keep their wicks straight, please click on this link.
Also, one of Natures Gardens amazing customers, Angie Chism made a wonderful how to video covering her tips to keeping candle wicks centered. To see her video, please click on this link.
While most soy wax candle makers do not use synthetic additives (vybar 260), some candle makers do. Vybar 260 can be used in soy wax candles to help extend scent throw in your candles. Used at an amount of 1/4 to 1/2 tsp per 16oz of wax will accomplish this and provide very nice results. Physically speaking the addition of vybar will make your candle wax more opaque looking, and a marbleized top portion of your candles.
Now, please note: Vybar will raise your candles melt point, as well as make your wax consistency harder.Now, the use of vybar 260 does come with a precaution. If you add too much of this, it will trap your scent, prohibiting scent throw. What this means, is there will be little to no scent throw in your finished candle.