Candle Making FAQs

Q: Do I have to use the votive pin when making votives and how do I use this pin?

A: The votive pin is not necessary but definitely will help make a better votive. The pin is placed inside the cup, pour the wax as you normally do and top off. When the candle is hard, remove the candle and pin.Slide the pin out and slide your pre-wick assembly into the hole which has been formed.

The pins are also available for 2", 3" and 4" round pillars molds. With the pillars pins the process is slightly different, with this item you slide the pins from the outside of the mold and the base will nest in the concave of the mold.

Q: How can I identify problems with my candle making process?

A: New candle making products and technologies are introduced on a regular basis. Once in a while a candle maker will run into a challenge during a late night candle pouring session, or while I am off traveling the world on weekends looking for new and exciting products. These are the times when you need answers most, but there is nobody awake you can call. There is good news. Most times the answer is in your very own hands, and you do not even realize it. There are two factors to concentrate on - candle wax temperature and candle making variables.

It is amazing how pouring and heating temperatures can dramatically affect the appearance of your candle. Check all your candle making ingredients and make sure you are following the manufacturers suggestions on temperatures. Some additives need higher temperatures to fully incorporate, while others may have restrictions on how hot they can be heated.

The other things to note are the variables in candle making when adding ingredients. Try removing different candle making ingredients one at a time in order to see if the undesired aspect is affected. Let's take a basic candle with fragrance and color and suppose you are unhappy with a certain characteristic of that candle. The next step is to make the candle other ways but leaving out the ingredients one at a time. You would make one candle with just candle wax, one candle with just candle wax and fragrance, and one candle with just candle wax and color. After each candle has cooled, inspect the new candles and see which one loses or gains the undesirable characteristic. By doing this, you can narrow down which candle making ingredient is causing the problem and take the corrective action that is needed. Sometimes it is as simple as decreasing candle fragrance, using some additional additives, or changing your pour temperature.


Q: How do I get rid of the air bubbles in my candles?

A: In most instances air bubbles are caused by air trapped between the wax and the surface of the container you are pouring into. For containers several things will help reduce/eliminate the air bubbles:

Preheat container: In most instances warm to the touch is all that is needed

Pour hotter: As the cold weather sets into many work environments the wax can set up quicker. Raising your pouring temperature even by 5-10 degrees F is enough.

For pillars: The same procedures can help eliminate these air bubbles


Q: How do I make candles on a limited budget?

A: There are definitely things you may have already in the home that can be incorporated into your craft/hobby. Many candy & chocolate molds can be used for making tarts and similar smaller candles. Do be careful to pouring temperatures in that you do not want to melt your molds and the wax leak out. Dixie cups, quart milk containers and other similar items can serve as molds. If you have PVC, aluminum tubing from a home improvement project they can be used for molds. If you have candy thermometer this can be sufficient just be sure to clean thoroughly before making candy again.

If you just wish to play around initially with candle making you can melt old candles down and reuse. This can help you appreciate the process but it can be difficult to find the proper wick because you will be mixing several different melt point waxes together.

Things that should not be used especially if you want to make quality candles is melting down old crayons (they have pigment dyes which can clog the wick and not allow it to burn properly).


Q: Is there an easy way to make candles that look elaborate?

A: One way to easily achieve this is to use polyurethane rubber candle molds. These easy to use candle molds help the candle maker create unique brand extensions of their existing line in order to help separate themselves from the competition.

  • Use a few rubber bands around the candle mold to seal the sides together. Some people use hose clamps, but they can be cumbersome and difficult to gauge tightness. Rubber bands break down over time, so keep a few extra on hand.
  • Leave extra wick at the bottom of the mold. This extra length can be used to tie beads or information cards to the candle, which sometimes are difficult to label. This extra wick can also be used as the wick for the next candle. By removing the candle and pulling the extra wick through, the candle is ready for the second pour without having to re-wick it.
  • Keep your candle molds clean to avoid any discoloration of the candles when changing colors. If you leave a little red wax left in the candle mold, and then change to yellow, you may get orange spots in the yellow candles. Keep them clean!
  • Have fun with color bleed. One example is the M-22 Rose Floater Candle Mold. By pouring a deep red a few times, then switching to a hot pour of uncolored white, will result in a really uniquely colored candle. The left over red candle wax in the mold gives a neat pink striped affect to the white candle wax.

Q: Is there an easy way to make pillar candles?

A: One of the simplest tricks we can offer on making pillar candles when using aluminum candle molds or tin candle molds is to feed the wick through the bottom of the mold and secure on top with wick holder bar (M-321). Secure the bottom with a rubber plug (M-114)…now the secret is to leave a lot of extra wick at the bottom of the candle mold. By doing this you can automatically "wick" the mold for your next pour when you pull the finished candle out of the mold. This procedure should work with all aluminum candle molds, tin molds and polyurethane (including taper molds). This little trick can save you time by making it unnecessary to feed the wick through the hole for each and every pour.

A second option would be to use pillar pins for the 2", 3" and 4" round aluminum molds. These pins are available for aluminum molds up to 6-1/2" in height. The pins slide up through the bottom of the pillar mold and the round mold can then rest on the pin. These pins have proven to be a true time saver when used.

If using aluminum molds and you wish to reduce or eliminate the air bubbles the mold should be preheated and the wax should be poured at around 180-185 degrees F.

For making pillars, the best wax we would recommend is the CBL-141 votive pillar blend candle wax. For mottling pillars we would recommend you use the 143 melt point wax 4045H.

Q: Is there an easy way to make votive candles?

A: One of the recent developments for making votives is the votive pin. This simple devise allows a votive to be made with the wick centered each and every time. The pin also allows cotton and other specialty wicks to be used since the rigidity is not a factor. You can simply place the pin in the cup, pour the wax and if necessary top off. When the candle hardens remove the pin and slide a pre-wick assembly in the preformed hole of the candle.

Another new development for making votives is the exciting new V wax. This wax is truly a 1 pour designed specifically for votives. The V wax is easy to use and can hold up to 6% fragrance. It should also be noted that pins are also presently available for 2" & 3" diameter pillars up to 6½ in height.


Q: Should I switch over to wood wicks?

A: The wood wicks are not really designed to replace your cotton wicks but are more suited for developing a separate line of candles. If you have a new jar line that might need that something special consider using the wood wicks in that line. To maximize the impact of the wood wick it is best to use a very soft paraffin wax (CBL-125) which works very well. Each fragrance can perform differently so try different fragrances in each application. The proper wood wick to use will vary depending on the wax you are using and even the color fragrance but the chart below can serve as a starting point.

Small - Small Containers ( Up to 3" )

Medium - Medium Containers ( 3" - 3.75" )

Large - Medium & Large Containers ( 3.5" - 4.25" )

Extra Large - Large Containers (4" - 4.75")


Q: Sometimes I follow all recommendations and I still can't seem to get it right. Why is that?

A: Many variables. Sometimes it's as simple as the ambient temperature of the room, or heating of the candle container or candle mold. Candle making is an art, and the longer you do it the easier it becomes. Important part is to write down all you can regardless of success or failure.

Q: What are some holiday projects for groups to work on?

A: As we approach the holidays, groups and organizations are actively engaged in crafting activities, and so I am asked this question quite often.

In general, there are several creative group projects, which are ideal for any age group. I have listed them along with the links for previously featured projects.

In order to get the most out of a project, it is always best to engage in products that do not require the wax to be heated and ones which the participants can take the project home when completed.


Q: What is the ideal pouring temperature for my candle making process?

A: 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 candle wax should be poured anywhere from 120 degrees F up to 140 degrees F. Pillar candles made with paraffin candle 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 candle 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 candle container and candle 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.)


Q: Why does my soy candle color bleed?

A: Soy has many positive attributes but one thing that it is not quite as effective at is holding fragrance. In most instances when this occurs you have put more fragrance in the wax then it can hold. The bleeding is actually the fragrance oil bleeding which pulls the color with it.

There are several things you can do to try and correct this:

  • Pouring at a lower temperature can capture the fragrance in the wax before it has time to bleed out.
  • Use an additive to help hold the fragrance in the wax Palm Stearic (all natural) at 10-20% depending on how much fragrance you want to add.
  • The least popular is try reducing the fragrance load.