August 01, 2003

Palm Wax - Calm Yet So Exciting

Welcome to the En-light-ener, Candlewic's newsletter for the candle making community. And welcome to a whole new look for the Candlewic web site!

To serve you better, we need to know what you think about our new site. Please give us feedback. We're so interested in what you have to say that we're having a random drawing from all of the comments submitted between now and September 15 to win a $30 Candlewic gift certificate.


Palm Wax - Calm yet so exciting...
By now, just about every candle maker has seen or heard some sort of buzz about the palm wax and its many benefits to both the professional candle maker and the hobbyist. We get many calls each day requesting information about our palm wax, so we figured it is time to trumpet our knowledge to everybody. Over the last 30 years we have introduced many developments to the candle world, but none have impacted the industry as the explosion of natural waxes within the last 5 years.

Palm wax is an all-natural, renewable resource that is obtained from the oil palm in Southeast Asia. Due to its environmentally friendly attributes, palm wax offers a whole new choice for candle makers who market sustainable or renewable resource based extensions to their candle lines. It has been grown as a commercial crop in well managed and regulated estates since the early 1900’s. The oil palm produces fruit in bunches which are harvested, and sent to palm oil mills where the oils are extracted, sterilized, clarified and purified into crude palm oil. The crude oil is then sent to palm oil refineries where it is processed further into products such as cooking oil, shortening, cocoa butter substitutes, non-dairy creamers, soaps, and of course everybody’s favorite – Palm Wax.

Palm wax is a superb material for making excellent burning candles. It resists melting in hot summer months, has high contraction (making de-molding easier), takes colors easily, holds fragrance well, and best of all, can be easily manipulated to produce an infinite array of surface patterns ranging from complex crystalline designs to smooth solid colors. Palm waxes blend well with other waxes to further expand your possibilities.

Using palm wax is very similar to traditional candle making techniques except there are no additives required other than fragrance and coloring. We offer palm waxes for making container candles or freestanding pillars. The crystal formations can be achieved for either style of candle and are greatly influenced by the pouring temperature and rate of cooling. By adjusting these variables slightly, candle makers can create a wonderful array of crystal formations. The ideal pouring temperature is between 199 and 203 F. Going above the temperature will actually decrease the crystal formations to achieve a smooth solid color. Pouring below these temperatures may make it harder to de-mold or cause deformations. Aluminum molds work best for producing crystals (see next article about using aluminum molds) as well as slowing the rate of cooling.

Palm candles emit fragrance quite nicely. Usually candle makers will use 5-6% fragrance loads to start for a nicely scented candle that does not “sweat”. Some scents may be used at higher levels, but it is up to the candle maker to push the levels on a case-by-case basis. Essential oils also work well, but they must be tested on an individual basis depending on strength and type of oil.

Coloring your palm candles is achieved with most oil soluble dyes. We suggest trying our EVO series liquid dyes. Always start light and gradually go deeper with each color, so you can master how the contrast affects the color selection between the darker colors and the lighter candles as compared to the crystalline appearance. The Palm 3 feathering wax will actually appear to change shades as you rotate it in the light – truly amazing.

Wick selection is similar to other natural wax candles. Be sure to get wicks that are specifically treated to work with natural wax and are designed to resist breakdown in natural candles. The CD, HTP, ECO Series, and RRD series of wicks all do very well depending on fragrance loads and diameter of the candle.

CHANDLERS CORNER

Hi! I'm Chandler!
I can help you
learn how to make candles.

There are many techniques for increasing profit margin on your candles, but none are as inexpensive as the three R’s – reduce, recycle, and reuse. These simple actions cost the candle maker nothing and actually help the environment at the same time.

Reduce – In order to save money on many different levels, reduce the amount of trash you accumulate by looking at your orders over the year and try to buy larger sizes of commonly used items. For instance, why pay the higher price for a yearly usage of eight 4oz bottles of scent/color when you could save money and produce less waste by purchasing two 16oz bottles. The benefits also include less ordering cost, more efficient shipping charges, lower price per unit, and ensure you have raw materials on hand when it is needed.

Recycle – To protect your supplies during shipping, we must use packing materials to be sure your products arrive to you in perfect condition. Candlewic’s “air pillows” used in packing as well as the plastic scent bottles are suitable for most recycle programs that accept plastic. Since reusing is also recycling, we highly encourage the candle maker to reuse the packing materials and boxes to reship finished goods, or even cut the cartons apart to lie on the floor in order to absorb spilled wax.

Reuse – Once again, reusing an item is recycling, so please reuse any packing material you can. The boxes and packing materials are sturdy enough to get repeated uses, which reduce the cost of shipping your final product. Most candle makers will reship finished jar candles in the original cartons the jars were received in.

New Product
Beeswax Sheets!

Candlewic now offers 100% Beeswax Craft Sheets. They're made of 100% pure beeswax in dimensions of 8" x 16". They're available in in 6 different textures -- Honeycomb, Corrugated, Smooth, Woven, Floral and Asian -- and in a myriad of colors.

[ BUY NOW! ]


August 2003

Candlewic Now Offers
Soap Making Supplies!

We are excited to announce that Candlewic now is offering Soap Making Supplies in addition to our Candle Making Supplies. We know many of you produce both candles and soap, so we hope this makes your shopping and buying process more convenient. When you're finished reading the newsletter, go to our web site and take a look!

As an Introductory Special, we are offering FREE SHIPPING* on your soap products when you order $50 or more of soap products. (Candle making products are not included. Be sure to read the sale details.)

*Shipping charges will appear in your cart, but we will refund the shipping on your soap making products if you order $50 or more of soap making products.

 

PROJECT:
Aluminum Molds
To Each Their Own

Aluminum molds for making freestanding candles are a great investment as an inexpensive way to extend your line of candles. Jars have become so popular in recent years, that many candle makers have forgot that pillar candles add a real touch of beauty to any home’s décor. Pillar candles offer extremely vibrant colors due to the fact there is no glass blocking the true color of the candle as seen with the naked eye. The profit margin on pillar candles may be higher as well because the price of the glass is removed from the cost of raw materials. Aluminum does not rust, so you can enjoy your molds for many years.

Selecting your mold can be fun. Candlewic offers many shapes and sizes depending on which pillar would best complement your existing line of candles. There are round molds, triangle molds, octagon molds, square molds, oval molds, plus many other unique shapes in our designer series of polycarbonate molds.

There are two wicking techniques that are most commonly employed when using aluminum molds. You can use the traditional method or the pillar pin method. Both techniques work well depending on the volume of candles produced or the amount of labor available.

The traditional method involves the mold, raw wicking on a spool, a wick bar, and a rubber plug. This method is best for lower volume production, or in the instance when you want to leave a little length of wick on the candle to attach a bead or a tag. You simply thread the wick through the mold and place a rubber plug into the small hole to hold the wick in place. Place a wick bar across the large opening of the mold and wrap the wick around the bar and pour the wax. After the wax has cooled, the finished product will have the wick nicely centered down the middle of the candle.

The pillar pin method involves a round mold, a pillar pin, and a pre-wick assembly. This method is better suited for the small to large production run. Basically, you are making a candle with no wick and inserting a wick after it cools. There are 2 ways to use the pin. You can either stick the disc part of the pin down into the mold or stick the pin up through the mold from the outside bottom. Pour the wax and let cool. When you are done, you will have a candle with a hole through the center core and no wick. Take a wick assembly and insert up through the hole and you are done. The wick will be perfectly centered.

When using aluminum molds, there are a few tips and techniques that will help you regardless of the method you use.

1. Take good care of your molds. Do not use them for any other use such as a penholder or thermometer holder because you may scratch the inside, which will be apparent on the finished candle.
2. By heating or cooling the mold, you can achieve different aesthetic qualities to the finished mold. Cold molds give a primitive appearance, while warm molds may give a good gloss.
3. Keep molds level unless a desired layered appearance is trying to be obtained. By resting the mold on various angles, some neat stripes can be achieved.
4. Take careful note on the pour temperatures. By adjusting the temperature, you can control the shrinkage. Pouring too hot produces more shrinkage and may involve more “topping off”, while pouring too cool may not give you enough shrinkage therefore making it difficult to de-mold.
5. For making perfect bottoms on your pillars, Candlewic highly recommends using a heated base leveler and angle plate for perfectly level pillars every time.
 
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