Choosing the Right Color
Our industry, including ourselves, focuses a great deal on the importance of fragrance when making candles. But an important aspect of the candle is also the color. In addition to people enjoying the fragrance, for many they also need it to match the decor of the home as well. In many instances, the choice of the pillar is based solely on color and not fragrance.
Color grabs our eyes, alters our mood, beautifies our surroundings, and evokes feelings of days long past. A great deal of material has been written on the topic of color and, in fact, there is a great website completely devoted to the subject of color and how it truly influences the world.
Because the subject is so expansive, this article will only highlight a few key aspects that impact the candle maker directly. For our purposes in the candle making community, color may quite simply be boiled down to the sensation caused by light rays as they interact with the human eye, brain, and past experience. Here are a few tips that help candlemakers control color and use it as a tool to help create wonderful candles that tempt the eye and tease the senses.
For some of us, it has been a while since we sat through an art class. If the following paragraph is too dry or basic, please continue on to the next paragraph about the actual techniques that are used in candle making.
The three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. These 3 colors are mixed to create all the other colors in the rainbow. When you mix the 3 primary colors, you get the secondary colors, green, orange and purple. From there on out you can mix any color you need. This is how a color wheel was developed. When using multiple colors in a single candle, a good starting point is to use analogous or complementary colors. Analogous colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel such as shades of
yellow and green. Complementary colors are those that are opposite on the color wheel. These are just the basic starting point to a phenomenon that knows no boundaries. You can use colors that resemble groupings found in nature, school/team colors, the latest popular interior design colors, or anything else that touches you or your customers' inner feelings.
There are countless techniques available to candle makers to help solve color challenges. The first question a candle maker must ask themselves is how important is uniformity. Uniform color may be extremely important to larger manufacturers as well as any candle maker looking to sell their candles wholesale to stores that will be reselling the candles. The uniformity is important for aesthetics on the shelf in a retail environment.
Increasing batch sizes solves this challenge. The larger the batch, the easier it is to measure dye accurately. This is simply achieved by using a larger melt tank. The sound of a larger tank might sound painful on the budget, but sometimes it may be necessary for some investment in equipment if the candle maker is looking to produce candles that are "factory perfect".
If you are using color blocks, it never hurts to buy larger amounts of dye per order to insure colors from the same lots. Candlewic offers aggressive pricing on 144 piece lots. This saves money on shipping expenses, material cost, and helps to insure you have enough dye on hand to handle any order that comes through your door - especially during the busy season.
Quality measuring tools are very important when measuring color. Whether you are using a scale, a dropper, or a measuring cup, it is important that you use the precise amount each time. It helps to have a heat resistant white surface to put a few drops of color on to visually see if they match the last drops but remember the drops will not accurately represent the true color.
Believe it or not, there are times when color uniformity is not as important as it seems. Take for instance online purchases. All monitors and printers interpret color slightly differently, so the color of the finished candle will probably never match the screen of the purchaser. Slight variation may be OK. If you are marketing the fact your candles are hand poured, there are times when customers expect slight differences in color and actually appreciate the choice between shades. In the case of fundraisers or direct sales, the purchaser is usually helping to support the seller and has a bit of tolerance for slight variations in color. It is up to the candle maker to make the choice and tailor their operations to fir customer expectations.
Candlewic offers a variety of dye and color options for the candle maker. Our EVO line of liquid dye is known to candle makers for its consistency, deep color, and user-friendly attributes. Candle makers who market vegetable waxes appreciate the fact that EVO dyes are made using eco-friendly ingredients and do not have a bad odor.
Our color blocks are an easy way to use color with less mess and our large selection eliminates the need to manually mix colors (but you may mix them if you prefer).
Pigment dyes produce spectacularly deep colors, but are used for over dips only (if you use pigment to color the core, it may clog the wick).
Powder dyes are the most economical way to color large batches. They are extremely strong, and although they may be economical, care should be used because a little goes a very long way.
Please remember that your color may fade after all your hard work, so a little insurance is to use UV light absorbers U.V. 531 and U.V. 5411 to help maintain the color you want.
With all of the questions that continue to come in, the one most people really start with is...which wax is right for me?
I have developed the chart below as a kind of summary to review. The good news is that there really is not a true right or wrong wax if the end result is that the candle performs safely and meets your requirements. I am here if you need any further guidance on selecting the best wax for you.
||Low Shrinkage Blend
||Every so often there is a cartoon,
quote or funny antidote relating to candle making that
is fun to share. This is a picture that we have always
One of the important aspects in today's market is customer experience in the purchasing of the candle.
By consumers coming into your location you have an extreme advantage over the internet and now the key is to "hook" that customer on your candles.
A growing trend in retail is to let people make their own candles. The problem is with most candles the long set up time necessary for the candles.
One way around that is to have them make chunk candles. In this case the vast majority of the candle is already hard and they need to do is fill in the gaps. Even if you don't have a store, making chunk candles can allow the customer to pick there own colors.
For the best results a 140 Paraffin wax should be used for the chunks. Begin by melting your wax to make the actual chunks in any color and pour into a cookie or baking sheet.
Hint: If you have extra wax use it for the chunks. These chunks can be scented or unscented. (For a uniquely scented candle try using different types of scents in these candles.) Using different scents will allow these candles to "throw" different smells during the burning cycle.
As the wax begins to harden take a knife and cut the slightly gelled wax into different shapes, patterns or designs.
When the chunks are completely hard remove them from the sheets and place in any type of pillar mold. Common mold sizes would include 3 x 6-1/2, 3 x 9-1/2 and 4 x 4-1/2. Once the chunks have been placed in the mold, take a pillar wax (scented or unscented) and pour over the chunks. When the candle is completely set up, remove the pillar from the mold.
For variations in the basic chunk candle, try some of the following variations
- Once the chunks are placed in the mold, pour your pillar wax at a higher temperature, which will cause the chunks to streak and create a unique look.
- Try using different types of molds such as octagons, squares and other unusual shapes.
- Try making chunk candles in a jar. For best results make the chunks out of wax with a lower melt point wax.
What makes the chunk candle so unique is the endless possibilities that can be made with the same basic concept. Some candle makers are starting to use this same concept with palm waxes for truly unique candles.
Also be sure to make unique shaped chunks using the floating molds and even candy molds in some instances.