Choosing the Right Wax
September is always associated with back to school as students head back to the classroom at all levels. For some students going back to school is just routine and
the classes merely change. For others it is a completely new school, new studying techniques or grading system.
As a candle maker we recommend treating September as "Back to Candle Making". It is a great time to reacquaint yourself with all of the waxes available and if you
act quickly time to test the various waxes. If you are just starting out this should be a great summary of all the waxes available. As supplement to this article
we also recommend you view this video which summarizes the various wax types.
In general we try to break the waxes into several categories:
- straight waxes
- blended waxes
- natural waxes
- and then a subcategory of granulated wax
Straight Wax for Candle Making
Straight waxes, also known as paraffin wax, do not have any additives and are
what many blends start with. These are used in many other applications and in most instances the most cost-effective product. The type of candles you make will dictate
the melt point of the wax you use.
For containers a melt point of 121-129 °F is ideal for this application. You can make a very good container by using any waxes with these melt points and then adding
a very small (no more then 1%) of Vybar 260. To enhance the wax you can even add 5% of
Micro 180 to this wax.
For votives the ideal wax melt point would be 130-142°F. You can make a nice votive by adding some
Vybar 103 (no more then 1%) and maybe something like 5% Stearic Acid.
For pillars it is best to use waxes 137-150°F. If you plan on putting a great deal of fragrance adding something like vybar and Micro will make for an excellent
formulation. The nice thing about using straight waxes is that you can constantly tweak your formula and find that special look. The other added advantage is that in
most instances this will allow you to purchase at the most economical means.
Candle Wax Blends
If you are starting out and want to simplify your process then blends are the best way to go for your operation. Blends are a combination of the paraffin waxes and then
various components such as Micro's and Petrolatum's are used. In most instances the manufacturer will not provide the formulation to the end user. Blends are an excellent
option in that all you will need to do is add your color, fragrance and UV inhibitors.
The shortcomings of blends are that in most instances they have to be developed for a wide range of applications so if you are adding a little less fragrance then the
manufacturer is recommending, you may not get the exact results you desire. Another flaw with blends is that if problems develop, it can be difficult to troubleshoot
without knowing what the components of the particular blend.
The next category would be the Natural Waxes and we include in this selection Soy, Palm, Beeswax and Bayberry. Without doubt Soy wax is continuing to grow in popularity.
The first wax we will feature is soy. Soy wax is simply hydrogenated soybean oil and the best application
for this wax is in containers. When using soy wax it is important to note that there is definitely
performance and appearance differences between paraffin wax and wax and soy wax.
First and foremost is the appearance of the candle. Soy wax in general produces candles that
have a "flat" or pastel shade to the candle. This can play very well to the scents used; in the fall nothing is better than harvest colors and fragrances.
Soy wax will always require more dye to get to the desired color.
It is as close to one a pour wax as exists in the market. It will still require some topping off if poured too hot or if the container is too large.
Another very positive feature of the soy wax is that the pouring temperatures have less impact
on the finished candle than paraffin waxes.
Depending on the scent load you are using, in most instances no special additives will be needed.
By now you have to be asking yourself if it is that good then why not just switch to this wax while I read this article? The main reason is that the scent throw that candle
makers achieve with paraffin just cannot be at the same level when using soy wax. As these waxes get better at scent throw or fragrance companies improve the scent throw that
can be achieved, the soy market will continue to grow.
The other natural wax to consider would be the Palm wax. This wax is produced by hydrogenated Palm Oils.
These waxes are great because of the unique textures which can be produced with these waxes. In most instances there is a crystallizing pattern which is available for
both containers and freestanding candles. In addition there is a feathering pattern which is available for free standing candles.
One of the best natural waxes we offer is the CSP wax. This is an all natural blend of soy and palm wax
which creates a very nice creamy finish. This wax is excellent for pillars, votives and tarts.
The other natural wax which is commonly used and has been for hundreds of year is beeswax. This product is used in all type of candles including tapers, pillar, votives and
even containers. Beeswax is one of the best all around waxes on the market.
The final type of wax which is used more for crafting and easy candle making is the granulated wax. This wax is
a 140 Melt point paraffin that is formed into little beads. These beads can easily be poured into containers and a wick inserted for an instant candle. This activity is great
if you own a candle shop, if you teach classes or when you do shows it is an activity the kids would want to do while the parents shop your candle selection. No matter which
wax you are currently using it always helps to know what options are available if you are adding another line or looking to change things up.
How do I determine the burn time of my candle?
One of the important elements when marketing a candle (besides the candle itself) is the burn time. Each candle company has different burning rates depending on the waxes used
and the size of the wick. In order to properly determine the burn time of a candle, the following procedure should be used:
- Light the candle and let burn for four hours. At the conclusion of this time, blow out the candle.
- Wait one hour. Then trim the wick and relight for four additional hours.
- Repeat this procedure until the candle is consumed.
- Record how many hours you burned the candle.
This will give you a standard burn time at which you can market the candle. Many times consumers will let the candle burn continuously. This will not allow the candle to
obtain the maximum burn time.
Ancient Egyptians recognized the value of beeswax as a preservative, and early Romans fashioned coins from beeswax to pay their taxes. Invention of the candle dates back to
about 400 B.C., but the idea to use beeswax to form candles didn't emerge until the Middle Ages. Source: http://www.wisegeek.com
Editor Note: Boy weren't the good old days great. If only I could pay my taxes with beeswax now.