Candle Making Vocabulary
Scent Load – This term especially applies to candle making. In general it is the percentage of fragrance placed in the wax. Scent load can run anywhere from 1% percent up to and in some instances exceeding 10%. This translates to 1 ounce of scent to 1 pound of wax is a 5% scent load.
Burn Rate – The amount of wax that is consumed in 1 hour of burning with the specific wick. However, without some type of base the burn rate is difficult to evaluate.
Pre-Wick Assembly – Refers to a wick that is cut to a specific length, has a wax coating and metal base. These parts have made candle making in many instances much easier.
Natural Wax At the present time there has not been a clear-cut definition assigned to this product as it relates to the candle industry. In general this is any wax that is a by-product of a plant, insect or other living creature can be considered a natural wax.
Soy While it is a natural wax it is further defined as a wax that is 100% Soy.
Polymers These products are used to increase the melt point of a wax, increase the vibrancy of the colors, improve opacity, or to “strengthen” the wax. Common polymers include AC-400 and C-15. Many blended waxes will contain polymers.
Needle Penetration This is commonly used to measure the hardness of the wax. While this is important when using waxes on high-speed equipment and hand carved applications it is difficult to access a wax on this merit only.
Melt Pool This term is use to describe the diameter of liquid wax that occurs during the burning of the wick. In a 4-inch diameter glass the ideal situation is to get a melt pool as close as possible to the side of the container.
Fully Refined Wax This is a wax that has been through the maximum refined process. A fully refined wax generally has a melt point of 125 degrees F or better and has a lower oil content. The exact oil content will vary depending on the melt point of the wax. Fully refined waxes are generally used to make pillars, votives and most candles other then container candles.
NST 2 TREATMENT – Many of the natural waxes have a high acid level which can impact the burning properties of many of the wicks. The RRD series wicks have this special treatment to allow it to perform properly in natural waxes.
Scenti-Masterbatch – Is a patented solid fragrance system. This product works best when using straight paraffin and eliminates the need for other additives and still get large amount of scent into the candle.
Straight Paraffin – A standard wax that can be used in candles but does not contain any type of additives when sold. Many of the common waxes sold in craft stores and canning waxes are generally considered straight paraffins.
POLAR/NON-POLAR These phrases generally apply when making gel candles and clear candle technology products. In order to be safe when using the referenced products a fragrance must be non-polar. In general, non-polar fragrance means it will be compatible to the gel that it is going into. A polar fragrance can bleed out of the gel causing a safety concern when the candle is burned. If making paraffin candles this terminology is not necessary.
MOTTLING This is a fracturing of the wax which will create a look on the exterior of the candle that is “whited out,” snowflake looking or “washed out.” This look has been made famous by several “big name” candle companies. Not all waxes are designed to mottle so be sure to chose a wax designed for that application. If you are making mottled candles be sure to check out our brand new product being offered below.
BACK FILL/TOPPING OFF With the exception of those blended waxes that have been designed as one-pour, all waxes have some level of shrinkage. As the candle sets up it will shrink around the middle of the candle requiring additional wax to be added. The back fill/top off will be necessary to create a smooth top in containers or in the case of pillars a fairly uniform bottom to the candle.
MELT POINT This is the temperature at which the wax will become fully liquid. There is an important distinction between melt point and pouring temperature. Be sure to check the product data sheet to determine which one is applicable to you.
VYBAR This is an additive used in straight paraffins to help hold the fragrance in the wax. This a is patented and trademarked product.
MUSHROOMING This is what can appear on top of your wick during the burning cycle. Specifically, these are carbon deposits. The following factors are some of reasons why this can occur: the core of the wick, lack of oxygen (in containers), scent load and incorrect sizing of the wick. Other factors can cause mushrooming, but these are the most common. Mushrooming can cause excessive smoking in the candle and should be reduce as much as possible.
CORED WICK This is any wick that has zinc, paper or cotton in the middle to provide additional rigidity to the wick. Wicks such as flat braided, square braided and round wicks do not have any type of core.