April 01, 2012

With Every Season, a Change in Process

With Every Season, a Change in Process

The spring season is always an interesting time, because you never know if you will get that late March snowfall or a heat wave in early April, as we have now. Mark Twain once said, "Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." For those of you that have made candles for many years, you know that if you don't do anything in your process to regulate weather change it may result in inferior candles.

You can start with the highest quality products, but if the proper process is not followed, the results can be disastrous. Each wax requires different techniques and processes to ensure the end result is perfect. When the weather changes in your area from cold to hot or hot to cold, your candles can take on a different appearance. Many times, the wax is the first to be blamed.

One of the most important things to remember as you start your candle making process is to record the various aspects of your process. This includes the room temperature, pouring temperature, if you preheated the container and if possible, the surface temperature of the container. By doing this before a problem arises, you can eliminate some of the preliminary causes for weather-related changes in your candles. It is always important during the winter months to monitor where you store your glassware and molds. If possible, avoid storing your glassware in outside sheds or garages; if you have to, then be sure to bring them in well before you need to fill them. Also, the candle containers should be preheated to take any chill out of the surface of the containers.

As the weather continues to warm up, you may need to lower your pouring temperature for some waxes. One of the properties of paraffin wax is the longer it sets up, the more shrinkage occurs. So when it seems these days that you have to reserve more wax for topping off than in the past, this is very likely. If you are preheating your container, you may want to lower your pouring temperature to help reduce the shrinkage.

Conversely, when the weather gets cold again you will more than likely need to raise the melt point, so you do not get air bubbles in your pillars and containers. Another weather factor that can affect your candles is humidity and moisture. Glass is a "collector" of moisture, which will always cause wet spots and air bubbles in your candles. If the humidity is bad or there is moisture in the air, you should preheat your containers to a higher temperature. An important note when preheating containers is that a dry heat like heat from a heat gun or heat lamp must always be used.

In addition to making your candles, you should also be aware of how you store your raw materials. While paraffin waxes do not have a shelf life, storing lower melt point waxes in extreme heat can make for a nightmare of slabs melting together. Also, if you store your Pre-wicks in warmer areas, the coating softens and they are not as rigid. Fragrances should also be stored at room temperature when possible.

While weather is not necessarily a detriment in candle making, it is important to always know the impact it can have in your process.

HOW DO THEY DO THAT PART 2

On behalf of the Candlewic Company, we want to thank everyone that sent such kind words in response to the videos we recently posted. Another big part of our manufacturing capacity is making all of our Pre-Wick Assemblies. This is the process where we take the raw wick, wax it and then put it in the Wick Sustainer machine. This machine can cut the wick to any length from 1" up to a height of 9". The machines can run 15mm, 20 mm and even 33mm clips.

Be sure to check out this machine in operation.

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

CHANDLER'S CORNER

No doubt the topic that generates the most interest with any candle maker is fragrance. This topic dominates the posts on Facebook, most of our inquiries, and the searches on our site, with the most common question being "is 5-6% fragrance enough for my candle?"

This is always a difficult question to answer, in that in most cases only half of the information has been made available to us. While many fragrance suppliers have tried to simplify things and identify that it is the right amount, the reality is that there are different strengths of fragrances. Some manufacturers may purchase, for lack of a better term, "more concentrated" fragrances where they may only need to add 2-4% to achieve good scent throw. Cheaper fragrances on the market may actually need 6-7%. In addition, the fragrance itself may dictate if that percentage is the right load. For example, a Cinnamon is generally very strong and you may be able to use a little less, whereas a lemon may need more to achieve the same scent throw. Fragrances are definitely a case by case issue and should not be shopped for based on price alone.

View All Fragrances & Scents

 

 


April 2012

Featured Project:

Custom Molds Our NEW Miracle Mold Material (M3)

Have you noticed an item in your home that you thought would make a unique candle and/or soap mold? Did you then realize that making the mold was a difficult and costly endeavor? This was truly the case until Miracle Mold Material (M3) came along.

We have selected a flower to use for this project, but you can use any similar object. The best project to get started with should be simple, until you learn how to work with the material.

The first step is to take equal part of the material (again, starting with something small and only using a small portion of the material). One is an ivory color and the other is yellow. Mix them together thoroughly by hand. You will know they are mixed together thoroughly when the material is a consistent yellow with no streaks. You will have to work fast because the material will start to set in about 5 minutes.

The next step is to take the material and form it around the flower. Make sure you apply pressure throughout the object and that there is some level of thickness to the material around the object. Depending on what the object is, leave the bottom of the object open so you can pour the wax/soap base into the complete mold. The thicker the molding material is, the more durable the mold will be in the future.

Once you have the material uniformly covered (leaving the bottom open), take the bottom of the mold/top of the candle and gently flatten it out so the mold will rest flat.

Let the product set, which generally takes 30-40 minutes, and then remove your object from the material. You now have your finished mold, and you can take the wax and pour it into the mold.

FEATURES

  • Make your own custom candle and soap molds that are great for weddings, baby showers and other special events.
  • Make your own embeds.
  • Easy to mix by hand.
  • No waste of materials - only mold to the level of the desired thickness of the mold.
  • Very fast set-up time; no need to wait overnight to use.
  • Can be used with wax or soap
View All

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On behalf of the entire Candlewic staff, I want to sincerely thank you for all of your support in 2012. Without the support of our customers we would not be entering our 43rd year of business in 2013. We often write that over the 42 years there have been many changes in the business environment, but in our little "candle world" very little has really changed. Yes, there are new types of waxes, new fragrances being introduced and new jars designed, but the basic premise of melting the wax, adding color/fragrance and pouring remains virtually unchanged. In the technology world, it seems that every year a new product arrives another one becomes obsolete.

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