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Candle Wax Overview
  Wax is a very broad term for a wide variety of materials that have similar properties but vary widely in chemical composition. One characteristic that they all have in common is thermo plasticity, which means they are solid at room temperature and become liquid when heated. They also share the following characteristics; solid at room temperature, combustible, low reactivity, and smooth texture. Waxes can be broken down into several categories for candle making.

Petroleum Waxes
By far the most widely used wax in the candlemaking industry is paraffin wax, which is refined from crude oil. The crude oil is filtered and put through various complex chemical processes to create the three major petroleum waxes Paraffin, Microcrystallines and Petrolatum.

Paraffin Waxes consist mostly of straight chain hydrocarbons and are available in a wide variety of melting points ranging from 120 to 160 degrees farenheit. Paraffin waxes are mainly identified in the candle industry by melt point and oil content. Typically lower melt point paraffin waxes are used for container candles and higher melt points for free standing candles. Paraffin waxes are characterized further by their oil content. Paraffin waxes that have 3-5% oil contents are referred to as scale waxes, 1-3% semi- refined, and fully refined paraffin waxes have oil contents less than .5%.

Microcrystallines waxes consist mainly of a mixture of saturated hydrocarbons; it has a much finer crystalline structure than paraffin wax. It typically has a very low oil content, high melt point, and has different physical properties. Microcrystallines are typically used in the candle industry as an additive.

Petrolatum is a homogenous mixture of oil and microcrystalline wax. Petrolatum is very soft in nature and is typically used in container candles to help with adhesion to the container walls. Used in larger percentages it can help minimize shrinkage in container waxes.

Insect Waxes
Beeswax is derived from the glands on the abdomen of the honey worker bee. The wax is chewed by the bees and formed into a plastic state and put into the honeycomb. Once the honeycombs are full of honey they are gathered and the honey is separated. The combs are then soaked in boiling water and filtered to remove solid impurities. The molten crude beeswax is then allowed to separate as a layer on the surface of the hot water.

Vegetable Waxes
Waxes that are derived from some part of a plant, in some cases it is the leaves, stems or fruit seeds. Vegetable waxes are mainly gylcerides of fatty acids. Today’s market offers many different types of vegetable waxes for candle making.

Palm Wax is ultimately derived from the hydrogenation of palm oil that is taken from palm trees.

Soy Wax is produced from the hydrogenation of soybean oil that is ultimately derived from soybean

Synthetic Waxes
Materials that are of “waxy” appearance and properties manufactured by chemical synthesis. Usually used in candle making as wax modifiers, they typically have much higher melt points.

Gel Waxes
These are new to the candle industry. They are similar to traditional waxes in the fact that they are derived from hydrocarbon based stock.



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The Candlewic Company

Supplies the candle making industry with candle making kits, molds and accessories including candle wax, gel, and wicks.

3765 Old Easton Road
Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901
800-368-3352 | Local: 215-230-3601
Fax: 215-230-3606

Official Distributors of: Penreco Candle Gels
Members: IGCA, National Candle Association

Candle making supplies

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