Candle Making Newsletter
3 Candle Waxes You Should Try
By now, all schools are back in session and the students are knee deep into homework, studying and working on the next big project. As many of our readers know, we always stress the importance of developing new strategies to market and produce candles, improve manufacturing processes and offer new products. Fragranced containers made with both soy and paraffin blends continue to be the overwhelming choice for most startups.
Even though these are the most popular choices, there are other options to consider to help you stand out from the competition.
One of the first products to consider using is the Versagel line. For those of you who have been making candles for more than 15 years, you will recall the introduction of one of the most unique products to hit the candle market in a long time: candle gel. This patented product is described by Penreco (Patent Holder) as:
"A specially selected processed mineral oil that is gelled with copolymers that give it a clear rubbery texture. Similar to traditional wax candles, clear gel candles are commonly produced from a hydrocarbon base stock."
At the time, the product piqued the interest of everyone in the candle industry and many jumped into candlemaking just to use the gel. Creative designs included beach scenes, golf balls at the bottom of a blue colored gel, fish floating in a container, and the single most popular candle of the last few years, the fruit preserve. The fruit preserve uses wax icons of fruit pieces sealed with gel in the jelly jar, making the finished candle look just like it came out of ”granny’s kitchen.”
Fast forward 15 years and many of these exciting candles are still found in the market. One of the most exciting aspects of the gel candle is that this segment of the candle market is completely dominated by small candle manufacturers and crafters. These types of candles, when made right, still capture many consumers' interests.
The key is always developing new products and using the “strength” of the product, which in this case is the translucency of the product. Candles poured into champagne glasses with prom themes will always be popular. In beach towns, scenes of the beach with fish and coral are always a good impulse buy for visitors. While there are many similarities between making gel candles and paraffin candles, there is enough of a difference to warrant doing your own research to ensure you are using all of the right products.
First, choose the right gel. The selection of the proper gel is limited to three different densities. The determination of the proper gel for your application is dependent upon the type of gel candle you will be making and how much fragrance will be used.
The low density is generally suited for gel candles with 0-3 percent fragrance loads. Generally, the low density can be poured at lower temperatures, ideally 195°F - 205°F.
The medium density is generally suited for candles with 3-5 percent fragrance. This density is a good gel for embedding wax inserts. This particular gel is quickly becoming the most popular.
High density is best suited when embedding heavier wax inserts and higher scent loads.
After choosing the right gel, it is important to review all of the other components required to safely make your candle. These safety precautions include, but are not limited to:
- Using fragrances that are non-polar; if you are unsure, check with your fragrance supplier.
- Using fragrances with a flash point higher than 170°F.
- Selecting the proper wick. This is critical. In some instances, you may want to undersize your wick; this can create a unique "glowing" effect as the candle burns. It is important to test wicks in all of your containers.
- Choosing a wick assembly with a wick base that has a 9mm neck.
- Not going over the recommended percentage of fragrance for your density.
- Always following proper burning instructions.
- Making sure gel embeds are not flammable; it can be surprising at times what objects are flammable.
Versagel is still a very unique product and can create candles that no other product in the marketplace can replicate. If you are interested in checking out something new, then it just might be the right time to look at this exciting product.
If you are looking for a completely unique look, and aren't interested in the gel, palm waxes are an excellent choice. With both crystallizing and feathering patterns, each candle looks completely different. This wax is also all natural and, in most instances, has better fragrance throw than soy wax.
Palm-1 is an excellent wax that will produce a crystallizing pattern designed for use in jars.
Palm-2 will create the same crystallizing pattern as Palm 1 but is designed for use in Pillars and votives.
Palm-3 will create a feather patter for pillars. Unfortunately will be to hard of a wax to use in containers.
If you're still looking for something different, why not consider what we call “Nature’s Gold?” Beeswax has been around for centuries and is great for almost any type of candle. White and yellow beeswax can be used in containers, pillars and tapers. The natural aroma makes this wax a winner in all of those applications. However, the price of beeswax is always a factor in why this wax is not used more often.
In addition, any of these waxes can be blended together at any percentage so you can create your own truly unique, all natural candle.
I see both color blocks and liquid are available to color my candles. Which one is best for me?
Both products are excellent choices. The batch size, ease and type of candles you are making will determine which method of coloring is best for you. The liquid dyes are always the most concentrated, making them the most cost-efficient product. Liquid dyes are best to use when making soy wax candles.
When mixing in small batch sizes, measuring out the liquid dyes can be difficult because it is based on drops as opposed to weight. The liquid dyes can also be messy when trying to use them fpr smaller batches. In batch sizes of 50 pounds or more, and when making gel candles, liquid dyes are definitely the best way to go.
The color blocks are great to use when you are mixing in smaller batch sizes. Each block will color approximately 12-15 lbs of paraffin wax and about 6-9 pounds of soy wax. When mixing in the 1-4lb range, you can do shavings or swirl the block around in the wax to melt it. When you are done, the blocks can be put back in a bag, making them easier to store and eliminating the need to deal with messy spills or bottles.