Professional Candle Making Supplies Since 1972
November 01, 2006
This time of year the established candle makers daily routine involves how to make more candles in a day, so the process of selecting a wax to use in production is not normally a task that is engaged. However, this is also the time of year many people are being exposed to candle making for the first time, so we feel it would be appropriate to "introduce" the various wax choices available and how to select the proper wax.
If you are well entrenched in candle production this will still be a worthwhile reading in that you have probably seen the market place has undergone a tremendous change. There are many types of waxes in the market, and we will break this series into two parts. Today we will feature choosing a blend or straight paraffin for containers and pillars. In our January issue, we will highlight the ever growing Natural wax market.
When starting out making candles, the first question that has to be answered is if you wish to use a blend or a straight paraffin wax. The demand for candle blends has increased over the last number of years and will continue to increase. Blends are easy to use because all of the necessary additives, except the UV, scent and color are part of the blend.
In most instances you melt this wax, add the color, scent and UV, and you can pour your candles. If you are only making a couple of candles and wish to simplify the learning curve, a blend is the perfect wax for starting out.
By now you have to be asking, if it was that easy why would I want to use anything else? While blends are easy to use, if you have a unique application or are looking to achieve something different, then a blend may not fit your requirements. Using a "straight paraffin" allows you to create a unique and one-of-a-kind look by testing different additives in your formulation. You can change the look of your candle through the course of the year having vibrant colors for the spring and summer, and pastel and more neutral colors in the fall and winter.
As you grow and your wax consumption increases, there are more savings that can be achieved by using straight paraffins. Blends are developed for all levels of scent load, so in many instances, more additives are added to accommodate that variation in scent loads. In addition blends involve labor on the manufacturing side and you pay for that cost in the blend.
If you are going to use a blend and wish to make containers, the next step is choosing which blend to use. The first is the blend that is paraffin based and generally has good scent throw, both hot and cold, but will require topping off. In our family of waxes this is our best selling CBL-129.
The next type of container blend is the paraffin/petrolatum formulation this would encompass the CBL-125, J-50 and J-223. These waxes have petrolatum in the formulation and function as low shrink waxes.
These have the tendency to be the highest price because petrolatum is an expensive component.
The third type of container blend is a hybrid of paraffin and Soy. This wax would be the CBL-130 and the recently discontinued J-300. This wax is great for making layered candles and the first step towards making Soy waxes.
For the pillars it is much easier in that low shrink waxes do not exist and in general you are choosing a wax that will create a nice smooth creamy look. This would include our CBL-141 and many others on the market.
Depending on who you talk to, a wax that mottles may be considered a straight paraffin or a blend. NOT all waxes will mottle, and a wax that has been designed for this application should be used to achieve best results. The best mottling waxes are the H series we offer.
If you elect to use a straight paraffin for containers a melt point wax between 121-129 is ideal. If you go much above a 129, it will be difficult to get a wick to burn the full diameter of the container. In our family of wax the Container Fill (CF) or the 3032 are the perfect starting base.
In addition to selecting the proper wick the Custom Wick Builder also is asking me to choose other options on the wick coating and sustainer base, are these important?
They can be for the performance of the candle, how you make your candles and how you wish to market the candle. After you select the quantity, height and wick type, you then chose the sustainer base. While the most popular base is the 20 mm x 3 mm there are other choices and the type of candle you make will determine which clip. The 15 mm (about size of a dime) is good for tea lights, the 33 is good for centering votive and for small containers and a wick base like 20 x 9 mm would be good to use in gel candles. You should definitely do some research to determine which wick sustainer to use and which will make the safest burning candle.
After the sustainer base the type of wax is next. The super-high melt will be the most rigid of the wicks, and if you are using a hot pour process this wax should be used. If you are making natural candles you may want to choose the beeswax.
Since every component has an impact on the safety of the candle should research to make sure you are using all of the right components.