Navigate to chapter
► Chapter 1: The Basics: Supplies and Ingredients
► Chapter 2: Preparing Your Working Area and Candle Equipment
► Chapter 3: Basic Candle Making Techniques
► Chapter 4: Other Candle Making Techniques Part One
► Chapter 5: Other Candle Making Techniques Part Two
► Chapter 6: Troubleshooting and Business Operations
► Chapter 7: Tips in Establishing Your Candle Making Business
Chapter One: The Basics: Supplies and Ingredients
We’ve come a long way since the use of tallows and beeswax for candle making. Every century has found a way to improve the craft of candle making so that it’ll be less smoky, easier and cleaner when burned, lasts longer, and also eliminate foul odor. Today, candles come in various shapes, sizes, designs, and fragrance. You can choose from a wide array of candles in the market today and even have an option to customize it. In this chapter we will discuss the different types of candles and purposes, the basic supplies you’ll need to get you started, and explain to you the importance and use of each candle making ingredients. This will all come in handy later when we study about the different candle making techniques.
There are various options of candles you can choose from nowadays; some candles are designed to freely standup, while some are intended to be a filler of a candle container or vessel. All of this can be classified under different candle types or categories.
These are a type of candles that’s created from different kinds of wax and poured into a special container glass that is either tan or pottery. Container candles are the most commonly use candles at home because it is great for home décor, and gives off a very pleasant odor.
Votive candles are the original type of free – standing candles that was first invented thousands of years ago. It usually comes in as a white molded candle that’s also unscented. It’s mainly used for religious purposes, and ceremonies. Nowadays, votive candles come in a various colors, and some even have fragrances. It’s now designed to burn cleaner and lasts longer than the original version.
These are quite similar to votive candles since it’s also free – standing. The only difference is that it has a more rigid structure and wider base. It’s also available in various colors, fragrances and designs.
This is a very slim candle that goes in an appropriate candle holder. It typically measures around 6 inches to 20 inches in length.
These kinds of candles are usually quite small and cylinder in shape that is placed in a polycarbonate container or aluminum candle holder.
These are candles that contain some items embedded within the wax or added during the molding process. Sometimes candle makers add dried flowers, shells, and other designs depending on what the candle maker desire or if the customer wants it customized. It’s also designed to burn down the middle area so that the outer shell can be illuminated.
Here are some of the basic things you’ll need when creating candles. Some supplies may need to be added later on when we get to learn other candle type techniques but for now we’ll just provide you a list of the things that are easily available to get you started:
- Wax (votive or mold; single pour)
- Coloring (powder dyes, color blocks, color chips, liquid dyes etc.)
- Additives (petrolatum, vybar etc.)
- Oil – based fragrance used for candle making
- Pouring pot
- Stove or other forms of heat source like hot plate
- Melting Heat Pot (presto pot, turkey roaster, hot water heater)
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups (preferably stainless steel)
- Stainless pitcher (this will be used to transfer the melted wax from the melting heat pot to the pouring pot)
- Containers (single – pour candles etc.)
- Pan (13 x 9 size with ½ water)
- Candy thermometer
- Safety glasses and work clothes (optional)
- Floor mat
- Room temperature should be around 70 degrees
In this section, you’ll learn the different ingredients when making candles as well as its purpose and recommended measurements. Do take note that the recommendations and amount you use may vary so please just use it as a guide and adjust accordingly.
The first one on the list is wax, and the reason is because using or buying a quality wax can produce a quality candle. It doesn’t matter how big or how fragrant your candle is if the wax isn’t of good quality. There’s a misconception among newbie candle makers that the more fragrant the candle is, the more durable or stronger it is. That’s not the case because if you put a fragrance it will start filling up the pores of the wax, and once it’s all filled up, there’ll be no room for the fragrance oil anymore, and you’ll end up wasting a lot of it; fragrance oils are quite expensive.
It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t buy more than 1.5 oz. of fragrance per pound of wax, otherwise the candles you’ll make can end up becoming a fire hazard. It’s best to just use pre – blended wax for candle making; this way you don’t need to add any other additives because the wax manufacturer already did the job for you.
Whenever you’re dealing with candle wax, make sure to read the instructions before using it. Temperature is very important in candle making as well especially during the wax stage; make sure to never heat up your wax to over 250 degrees Fahrenheit otherwise your wax will heat up and burn, and you’ll have to start over again. You can’t just pour fragrance oil to cover the burnt odor.
When it comes to using fragrance for your candles, it’s best that you buy fragrance oils that are made for candle making. You should never ever use alcohol or some kind of perfume to add to your wax candle because it can become a fire hazard. You have many options when buying good fragrance oils for candle making purposes, some are quite expensive while some are more diluted than others.
If ever you decided to buy a concentrated type of fragrance oil, you should only apply 1 to 1.5 oz. per 1 pound of wax. Never go beyond 1.5 oz. otherwise you’ll see it at the bottom of your pouring pot because the wax wouldn’t be able to handle too much. There are companies out there that offers concentrated fragrance oils which can also be used for other types of candle wax (soy wax, gel wax etc.), and also bath products (Soaps etc.)
There are various types of coloring that you can use when making candles, and each type has its own pros and cons. Take note of the following:
- Color Blocks: Color blocks are usually the most inexpensive yet quality means when coloring a candle. However, it could be quite difficult to use especially if you’re a newbie because you won’t always get accurate color results every time. Some people use a gram scale to ensure that the amount of color is just right but it can still fail. Some candle makers only use color blocks whenever they’re making dark – colored candles only.
- Liquid Dye: Liquid dye can be a better solution for color accuracy but because of the chemical it contains, it can sometimes produce a bad odor. This is why some candle making experts don’t use it when they’re trying to create rich – colored candles. As a rule of thumb, some people opt not to use liquid dye if they need more than 10 drops of it per 4 pounds of wax because more than 10 drops per 4 pounds can make your candles produce a bad chemical smell.
- Color Chips: Color chips are usually expensive, and it’s also not finely ground making it also quite difficult to use when it comes to achieving color accuracy. We do not recommend color chips but of course it’s up to you whether you’ll try it or not.
- Crayons: Crayons aren’t an option if you want to produce a high – quality colored candle, and it’s because crayons can clog the wick causing it to become a fire hazard. Never use this even if for some people it works out.
Lots of candle makers use different kinds of candle additives mainly because it enhances the quality of the candles they produce. However, we do not recommend that you add a candle additive if you’re going to use pre – blended wax. We will discuss below on what the properties of each additives contain so that you can better decide what’s best to use in different kinds of candles/ wax you’ll be making. Do keep in mind that the batches of candle wax will vary which is why you need to know how to adjust accordingly. See the following additives below:
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