February 01, 2003

Sweat The Little Things

"The En-Light-ener"
Candle Making Newsletter

Welcome to the En-light-ener, Candlewic's newsletter for the candle making community.

One of the truly enjoyable things about candle making is that it constantly changes with the seasons, holidays and even with the products being offered. This allows the Candle Maker to continually introduce new products to the customers. For those doing candle making as a craft, the excitement is learning new and exciting techniques that will continually keep your interest in the hobby/craft.

The changes can be as simple as introducing a new fragrance to match the season or holiday, or they can be as novel as working with the clear pillar base. The challenges can be exciting, fun and if desired be profitable. As you will learn early on, it is the "little things" in candle making that can make the difference in quality and consistent candles. Each medium (gel, natural waxes and paraffin wax) has their "little" factors that contribute to these results.

SWEAT THE LITTLE THINGS
While a Realtor might say location, location and location is what sells a property, a Candle Maker would have to say temperature, temperature and temperature is what makes a good candle. While many other factors contribute to the quality of a finished candle, the importance of temperature cannot be overstated.

Recommended pouring temperatures should always be followed for each of the products being used. The temperature of the wax should always be measured in the pouring pot prior to pouring your candle. The temperature of the wax can change when poured into the pouring pot, or when scent is added or even by the time you finish pouring the candle so do not always rely on the temperature in your wax melter (if using a different tank).

You may also want to check to see if there are other options available for pouring the waxes. For example the recommend pouring temperature for a wax such as the CBL-129 is 170 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. In some instances, better results can also be achieved by pouring this wax hotter. There may be other issues such as increased shrinkage and color changes, but it may be something worth pursuing.

The second temperature variable is the temperature of the mold or container that the wax is being poured into. In most instances, the best results are achieved by preheating the mold or container to some level, with a general rule of “warm to the touch.” The precise temperature level will be determined by the product, room temperature and your pouring temperature.


An accurate thermometer is an essential tool.
 
Heating to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit should be sufficient with everything except some of the special effect natural waxes (F Wax and G wax).

 

The final variable is the room temperature. This will vary across the United States. Some candle makers have to contend with high humidity where others contend with dry heat and others extreme cold. The important issue is to recognize this as a variable and compensate where possible. For example, if the work area is very cold you may have to preheat your mold container more and pour at a higher temperature.

For best results, everything should be measured by weight, including fragrance. This allows for more consistent results. Unfortunately, teaspoons and tablespoons are not always reliable. When you use an effective additive such as vybar, being off a little bit can dramatically affect the results of the candle.

While most candle makers learn this early on, it is still important to note that the fragrance should always be the last thing added to the wax just before pouring.

There are many other little “tricks” that we try to cover in this newsletter and encourage you to visit past issues to review some of these helpful hints.

CHANDLER'S CORNER

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

Based on the number of questions I receive, it seems like everyone is keeping busy. In general votives are one of the most popular candles made these days, so I am often asked, “Is there an easier way to make votives?”

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. We encourage you to try both of these products and, in fact, if you order the Votive Pin before the end of February we will send you a metal votive cup for each pin that you order.

It should also be noted that pins are also presently available for 2" & 3" diameter pillars up to 6½ in height.

As always, I am available to address any questions you may have and encourage you to visit my own personal section on the Candlewic website.


 


February 2003

GRUBBY CANDLES?

Before beginning this project it may be best to describe what a Grubby Candle might be. While you probably will not find an official definition for a grubby candle, many people refer to the look of the candle where it appears the surface of the candle is frosted or maybe wax may be missing a layer in sections. Unlike mottling where the finish is actually "internal" on the candle, the finish on this candle will actually impact the surface of the candle.

This candle is always a favorite of candle makers since it is relatively easy to make. The level of the “grubbiness” can be controlled.

Any size aluminum mold can be used for this candle. The most popular we find is the 3 x 4½. You begin this project by chilling the mold for about 10-15 minutes. You then take the 4045H wax and add about 10% stearic acid to the formulation. Melt your wax to around 150-155 degrees Fahrenheit and pour into the chilled mold as any standard pillar. Top off where needed and remove when the candle has completely hardened. Due to the peeling of the wax the candle may have to be placed in the freezer for removal.

 

CANDLE MAKING AS A SECOND LANGUAGE

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.


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