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Tips on Creating Gel Candles

by Chandler 28. February 2013 17:53

Blueberry wax candle inserts

Gel candles are an extremely popular and versatile type of candle. They allow for a lot of artistic possibility. One popular gel candle creation you've probably seen is the "Fruit Preserve." This is where a jelly jar is filled with wax fruit inserts (shown right), then filled with gel. You can even create champagne glasses, beer mugs and other "drink" candle creations with gel. In some respects, gel can be easier to learn with than most candle materials. It's important to know the requirements and properties of gel,
however, before you venture into the process.

Gel, as previously defined by Penreco and now Calumet, is:

A specially selected, processed mineral oil that is gelled with copolymers that give them a clear rubbery texture. Similar to traditional wax candles, clear gel candles are commonly produced from a hydrocarbon base stock.

Instructions for Selecting the Proper Gel

The selection of the proper gel is limited to three different densities. The determination of the proper gel for your application will be dependent upon the type of gel candle you will be making and how much fragrance will be used.

  1. The low density (Candlewic's CG-1) is generally suited for gel candles with 0-3% fragrance loads. Generally, the low density can be poured at lower temperatures, ideally 195°-205°F.
  2. The medium density (Candlewic's CG-2) is generally suited for candles with 3-5% fragrance. This density is a good gel for embedding many of the wax inserts. This particular gel is quickly becoming the most popular gel.
  3. The high density (Candlewic's CG-3) is best suited when embedding heavier wax inserts and higher scent loads.

When making gel candles there are no additives needed, and in most instances, anything you add to the gel, including fragrance sometimes, can cloud the finished product.

Safety Precautions for Making Gel Candles

Before making gel candles for resale it is important that you review all of the safety precautions for manufacturing these candles. These safety precautions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Must use fragrances that are non-polar. (If you are not sure, check with your fragrance supplier)
  • Fragrances must have a flash point higher then 170° F
  • Proper wick selection 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 burn wicks in all your containers.
  • A wick assembly should have a wick base that has a 9mm neck.
  • Depending upon density, do not go over the recommended percent usage for fragrance.
  • Always have burning instructions.
  • Make sure gel embeds are not flammable. (It can be surprising at times what objects are flammable.)

One of the most intriguing aspects of the gel candle is its endless ability to create new and interesting designs. The gel candle has brought a whole new level of "art" to candle making. Glass containers filled with "scenes" and other designs make this product as popular as ever.

Want to know more? Check out our Gel Candle Making Tips for Beginners.


Determine the Right Fragrance Load

by Chandler 15. October 2011 01:46

Candle makers learn quickly that people purchase their candles because of the fragrance it delivers. However creating a balance on correct fragrance load (a.k.a scent load) and still selling the candle at a competitive level can be a very tough subject and one that everyone has varying opinions on.Fragrance load is the percentage of fragrance added to the wax

Adding more scent than you need is not always the answer and will be costly and may not be necessary. Fragrances do have what is commonly referred to as the point of diminishing returns; you are adding more fragrance, but it does not result in a better product.

For many candle makers, the tendency is to add more fragrance because you think there is not enough. The best thing to do is test your different formulas with friends and neighbors. Be sure to evaluate the fragrance in a location other than where you pour the candles. Fragrances can easily take over the room when you pour your candles. When you then try to smell them, your ability to sufficiently evaluate can be compromised. Also, it is very difficult for you to judge your own finished product.  

When smelling a fragrance for too long, your senses become dull and you become accustomed to smelling the fragrance at stronger doses. While it can be hard to let other people help you determine if your candle smells strong enough, it is critical to finding the right fragrance load.

Tags:

Categories: Candle Busines


Tealights Project

by Chandler 10. March 2010 01:21


Soy Wax

This project features a useful item to add to your operation regardless of your size. Tea lights are a great way to use up extra wax, create little "calling cards", or offer prospective customers a chance to sample your scents before purchasing a larger candle.

Below you will find the instructions for using our tea light mold that ensures perfectly straight wicks, but alternative techniques follow.

Step 1
Lay the mold release over the entire mold.

Step 2
Prepare wax with color and fragrance to suit. Pour wax into the mold so that all cavities are filled. There is a lip that holds overflow wax.

Step 3
Remove pins and pop the tea lights out of the mold. Clean any overly rough edges with your fingers.

Step 4
Insert a pre-assembled wick assembly into the hole in the candle and place into a tea light cup. You will notice that tea light cups have a small circular indentation on the bottom. This indentation is 15mm and is designed to match our 15x3mm wick tabs.

Alternative Methods
When pouring batches of wax, keep a few tea light cups on hand to pour excess wax directly into the cups. This is also the method used for pouring tea lights when using container wax. If you currently use a M-63-P votive pin for your votives, it will fit into the tea light cups as well. Simply place the pin in the tea light cup and pour a votive or pillar wax into the pin/cup set up. After it cools remove the wax/pin from the cup, flip the candle over and put back into the tea light cup. This will result in a beautiful recessed top.


Tips for Avoiding Margin Drain in Candle Making (Part 1)

by Chandler 10. March 2010 00:03

Candle making has always been an excellent choice for generating income for individuals and families during tough economic times.

There are a number of contributing factors to this:

  • Candle making has a relatively low entry cost.  It is possible with some research and testing to purchase some wax, add fragrance and pour into a container and have a very good quality product.  This candle can then be sold at a local craft show at a pretty nice mark up. 
  • Candles have always been a desirable household item because it can serve in various functions in the home, room freshner, home décor and for ambiance in the evening. 
  • Since home buying is down dramatically and people are not moving, they are trying to accessorize and redecorate their homes on a smaller budget and candles can fit this criteria.

For many, candle making can be so fun it is easy to lose focus that you are doing this as a source of income.  In part 1 and part 2 we are going to highlight some of the areas that sometimes do not seem like it should be a "margin drain", but without careful evaluation they could result in not to maximizing your income.  

Establish the Right Scent Load
This can be a very tough subject and one that everyone has varying opinions on.  Without doubt we have written numerous times that fragrance is considered the biggest factor in selling your candles and keeping repeat customers.  The key is finding that right balance of fragrance for your candle without adding more then you need.  Adding more scent than you need will be costly and may not be necessary.  This is commonly referred to as the point of diminishing returns (you are adding more fragrance but it does not result in a better product). For many candle makers the tendency is to add more fragrance because you may think there is not enough.  The best thing to do is test your different formulas with friends and neighbors.  Be sure to evaluate the fragrance in a location other than where you pour the candles.  Fragrances can easily take over the room when you pour your candles and when you then try and smell them your ability to sufficiently evaluate can be compromised.  Also it is very difficult for you to be the own judge of the finished product.  

When smelling fragrances for to long of a time period your senses can become somewhat dull and you become accustomed to smelling them at stronger doses. While it can be hard, let other people help you determine if your candle smells strong enough.

The last four tips are coming in part 2!

 


About the author

Hi I'm Chandler. Thanks for visiting! Illumine is all about helpful projects, ideas, and articles related to candle and soap making and the candle and soap making business.

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The Candlewic Company

Supplies the candle making industry with candle making kits, molds and accessories including candle wax, gel, and wicks.

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