Candle Making Safety
To many candle lovers the passion only requires them to light the candle with a match and watch the beauty of the candle light up and have the scent emanate through the room. If only it were that easy for those of us making the candles and providing the materials. The burning of a candle can be a magnificent event for the end user when the candle is made properly and performs to the end user’s satisfaction.
However, when you begin to pour candles, you quickly learn that this is not an easy goal to achieve. While the color, the design of the candle and the scent are very important factors and basically are what sell the candle, I think the overwhelming concern to the producer is that it burns safely for the end user. When making candles of any type, safety should always be the operative word both in terms of the manufacturing process and when the candle is burned.
In most instances the same “general safety” procedures can be followed for making paraffin and natural wax in pillar form, votives, containers or novelties. However, in some instances specific products do have additional safety needs such as in Penreco’s Versagel and clear container or pillar base. It is always important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when using any product.
A wax heater can make the job much easier.
When making candles it is essential that the right equipment and materials are available. Melting the wax should always take place in a double boiler or in a melter specifically designed to melt wax. The double boiler should always be used when other wax melters are not available to ensure the wax or other product does not come in direct contact with the open flame.
When pouring wax or gels you should always try to wear gloves to minimize the “splattering” onto your hands and other exposed areas. A multiuse fire extinguisher should always be available. When pouring candles keep in mind that you will be dealing with molten products, and all precautions should be followed.
Once you have reviewed how you will safely produce this candle, it is essential to ensure that the candle you produce will also burn safely. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for wick sizing. When making any type of “burning candle,” it is critical to select a wick that is appropriate for the application and your specific formula.
The only way to ensure your candles perform safely is to initiate your own set of testing requirements. Many companies will conduct tests in accordance with how their instructions read (burn 4 hours and extinguish) and also an “abuse” test. The abuse test can be how the consumer would burn the candle, possibly 10 hours continuously, maybe burning 1 hour at a time, and other usage patterns. This will assist in identifying possible flaws in the candle. When burn testing, be sure to include various color and scent combinations. If pouring into a container, it is essential that you include the container in the testing to ensure that it will withstand the heat. An additional precaution when pouring into containers is to slightly undersize your wick. While this may leave a little bit of wax on the sides of the container when the candle burns, it will help to keep the heat from glass.
The importance of burning safety of the candle cannot be overemphasized. We cannot cover all aspects of making a safe candle, so it is important that you research the safety recommendations for specific materials that you are using.