Candle Making Basics
As individuals begin making candles there is a series of basic questions and decisions that are made. They include (but are not limited to) what types of candles to make, which wax to use, fragrance selection and where to make the candles. One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of candle making is the actual “process” of making candles. While all of these decisions are made with the intent of producing consistent and quality candles, the process of making candles is often as important as any other aspect.
When people talk about real estate, the phrase “location, location and location” certainly is a reoccurring theme. In candle making the key phrase has to be “temperature, temperature and temperature.” This refers to the temperature at which you pour the wax, the room temperature and the temperature of the mold and or container you are pouring the wax into.
The pouring temperatures for each of the waxes you may use are best determined by following the manufacturer’s recommendations. No matter what type of candles you are making, paraffin, gel and/or natural waxes, the pouring temperature is very important. When using quality waxes, pouring hotter can produce better results, but this should only be done when first trying the manufacturer’s recommended pouring temperatures. In some instances such as with the J-50, J-223 and the natural waxes, it is advisable to pour at lower temperatures to produce the best results.
While candles can be poured in most rooms year round, it is best to try to control the room temperature as much as possible. Rooms that are warm and humid require different pouring temperatures than rooms that are cold and damp. The only way to determine which is acceptable for your room is to pour several candles and analyze the results. It is not unusual to experience different results in your candles as the temperatures in the room change throughout the year. In many instances when the temperature begins to get cool it may be necessary to pour a little hotter than you would during the summer months. The more you can control the year-round temperature in the room, the easier it will be to get consistent results.
The preheating of the container or mold is directly related to both your pouring temperature and the room temperature. For best results consistently it is advisable to preheat the container or mold to take away any moisture or “chill” that may exist. If you are pouring hotter, you may be able to reduce the amount of preheating required. Some companies have developed procedures where they merely pour hotter and reduce the preheating required. The preheating of these molds or containers should be done with a dry heat (heat lamp or heat gun) and not by hot water. The hot water will actually introduce moisture and have a reverse effect, which can cause air pockets to develop.
In addition to temperatures, it is also important to develop consistent procedures for measuring the various items being placed into your formulation. Wherever possible it is advisable to measure all of your additives, scents and color by weight and not necessarily by teaspoons or tablespoons. Certain additives such as vybar are very effective, but being off of the formulation just a little can change the results of the finished candles.
If you are looking for consistent “looks” in your pillars, it is important to try to use the same type of mold in as many instances as possible. The type of mold, aluminum mold, tin and or polycarbonate can produce different finishes on your candles.
One nice thing about candle making is that there really is no wrong or right way to make candles if the end result is a safe burning and desirable looking candle. However, the key to make consistent candles is to try to develop consistent procedures taking into account many of the points identified in this article. Many candle companies have developed their most popular candles by mistake or experimenting.