September 02, 2013

Choosing the Right Wax

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.

Soy Wax
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.

Palm Wax
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.

Beeswax Candles
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.

Granulated Wax
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.

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CHANDLER'S CORNER

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:

  1. Light the candle and let burn for four hours. At the conclusion of this time, blow out the candle.
  2. Wait one hour. Then trim the wick and relight for four additional hours.
  3. Repeat this procedure until the candle is consumed.
  4. 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.

FAST FACT
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.


September 2013

Featured Project:
Customization Made Easy

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.

Step 1
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.

Step 2
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.

Step 3
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.

Step 4
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

 

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