Our answer to this question is different than most because before we can make recommendations, the questioner needs to answer some things on their own and do some general homework first. We suggest you do the following first:
1. Decide what type of candle you would like to make. For example, waxes used in pillars are different than waxes used in container fills. This also applies to the type of wick that will be needed, etc.
2. Decide if this will be a hobby or a business. The quantities needed will vary greatly depending on your plans.
3. Determine where you will make your candles. If you decide that the place will be your kitchen, make sure you can properly protect the area because you will spill and drip wax.
4. Purchase a book that describes in detail all the safety rules needed in order to make a candle safely.
What is so appealing about making candles is that there really is not a wrong or right way as long as the end result is safe burning candle. There are several good candle making books available here on our site.
A good book that covers many other aspects of gel candles is Gel Candles, How to Make & Market Gel Candles That Sell Like Wildfire!
This is an extremely difficult question for any supplier to answer. There are numerous variables that MUST be considered. This includes, but is not limited to the type and diameter of candle being made, the melt point of the wax, additives used, and any fragrance load and color. We can provide some general assistance, but it is important that all candle makers test their wicks to ensure that the correct wick is used for the application.
The wicking of the polyurethane molds can be a little “tricky” for the first time. The best way to wick this mold would be to push the wick through carefully with a knitting needle or other similar object. The true secret is that you want to leave a lot of extra wick at the bottom so when you pull the candle out the mold is already wicked for the next pour.
A lot of variables go into selecting the proper wax for containers including but not limited to the diameter of the container you will be filling, location of your facility and intentions for using the wax for other applications. Generally the ideal wax for filling containers is one with a melt point between 121-130 F. The use of these waxes is generally divided equally with half of the manufacturers using the low end of the melt point and the other half using the higher end closer to 130F.
The 121 melting point works well because it allows you to fill larger diameter containers without having much difficulty getting a single wick to burn all the way out to the sides. However, the 121 F wax can create problems during the summer months with the wax and/or candles “hot melting” in trucks and warehouses. The 129 melt point eliminates the hot melting but in some instances on large diameter containers, with high fragrance load/dark colors may have difficulty getting a wick to burn all the way to the sides. Our conclusion is that there is nothing wrong with using either wax. You should select one that best suites your needs.
My answer is always a resounding “Yes!”
I would even go as far to say that an instruction label should be put on the candle if you are only giving the candle to friends. While many consumers burn candles, there are still many who are not aware of some of the basic maintenance required of a candle. This maintenance includes trimming the wick and only burning the candle for four hours at a time.
The bigger question is what should be included, given the limited space on the burning instructions. There are items that always must be included and some that should be on the instruction. I have seen some very clever things done to include even more instructions. Some use attractive tags that hang on the candle. Others refer the customer to their company’s website for further information.
Here is a list of information to include on your instructions:
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Keep burning candle away from anything that can catch fire.
- Trim the wick 1/4″ inch before each burn cycle
- Candle holder must be heat resistant and suitable for the candle being used.
- Do not leave wick trimmings, used matches and other debris in the candle.
- If flame height gets to large extinguish immediately.
- Burn candles in a well-ventilated room.
- Do not move the candle when it is burning.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets.
- Read and follow all manufacturer instructions carefully.
- Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents and air currents.
- Extinguish a candle if it smokes, flickers repeatedly, or the flame becomes too high. Cool, trim wick, check for drafts, and re-light. Discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains (1/2″ if in a container).
As you can see there are a lot of items that must be considered on the label and your instructions. Make sure you include as much information as possible so that your customer knows how to properly—and safely—burn the candle.
The pouring temperature is going to vary greatly depending on what type of candle is being made, the desired finish and even the time of year. In general a Soy container wax should be poured anywhere from 120 degrees F up to 140 degrees F. Pillar candles made with paraffin wax will get best results when poured in excess of 180 degrees F, most one pour waxes 150-160 degrees F and container candles made with other paraffin waxes would be 170-180 degrees F. These are just general guidelines and you may find you like the results at different temperatures. It is advisable wherever and whenever possible to preheat your container and molds. Preheating can be accomplished in many different means including heat guns, heat lamps or any “dry” heat source. (Do not dip in hot water.)
Now that essential oils are available, many people ask me what are they, and why would somebody need to use them. Essential oils are oils that have been extracted from various species of flowers, fruits, herbs, and plants. Many people consider essential oil from plants, herbs and flowers as a very precious substance, because the oil is an easy to use way to get the essence of a particular plant without having to process the plant your self. Essential oils are used in infinite ways by many different cultures around the world. Depending on the type of oil, there are many medicinal, therapeutic, and homeopathic uses for oils.
Lines of essential oils is ideal for making truly natural soaps and candles. When using the essential oils in your candles and soaps, be sure you communicate to your customers that essential oils were used so customers realize why they may be paying a premium for your product. Other uses for essential oils include aromatherapy diffusers, potpourris, a few drops added straight into bath water or Jacuzzi water, massage oils (mix roughly 10-20 drops of oil to 1 ounce of pure vegetable oil), and creating your own perfume (15-25 drops of an essential oil to 1 ounce of water in a mist spray bottle). The list is endless.
Why are they so expensive?
Essential oils are pure and natural – they are not synthetically made in a laboratory. Depending on the plant and extraction process, it takes a lot of plant matter to make a small amount of oil. For example, it takes roughly 200 pounds of lavender flowers to produce 1 pound of lavender oil. That is 200 pounds of lavender flowers that could be used for all sorts of other uses such as teas, pillows, and soap additives besides oil extraction. When you buy one pound of essential oil, you are actually purchasing 200 pounds of lavender – but without having to extract the oil yourself.
There are many cause of air bubbles in the candle. Some simple solutions would be to heat the container and/or pillar mold. Generally a dry heat such as a heat gun or heat lamp should be sufficient, the objective is to take the chill and/or moisture out of the container. You may also want to pour your wax at a slightly higher temperature, for safety reason it is imperative not to pour too hot (not above 205 F). You may also want to slightly increase your mico or vybar usage. Finally you may want to slow down when pouring the wax into the container, splashing of the wax should be kept to a minimum.
The candle market is an ever changing market in terms of fragranced candles. Not more then 5 years ago 2%-3% was considered a lot of fragrance. There are now candle companies adding 8%-10% to their candles and calling them super fragranced candles. In general, most candle companies are adding 4%-6% fragrance to their containers and votives. In pillars it runs around 3%-5%.
However, we would also like to caution candle makers from relying totally on percentages. Scent companies offer different levels of concentration on the fragrances they sell. In instances where the concentration level of the fragrance is higher, you will be able to use less and still achieve the same smell from the candle.