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April 01, 2001

Natural Wax


"The En-Light-ener" April 2001
Candle Making Newsletter

Welcome to the third edition of "The En-Light-ener," Candlewic's monthly newsletter for the candle making community. For those who have been with us for a while, we hope you are finding it to be very informative and "enlightening" in your quest for information on candle making. For those who have joined recently, we hope you enjoy it and look forward to hearing from you. We continue to state that this newsletter has been developed to keep you informed on various aspects of both standard and gel candles and would welcome any topics you may wish to have included.

Solid animal fats and natural waxes were the very first candle fuels. Animal tallow, bayberry wax and beeswax were among the early raw materials for candles that filled the requirement of being solid at room temperatures.

With the discovery of petroleum and the refining processes that followed, candle makers soon shifted their production to the more plentiful, less expensive, and more consistent petroleum wax, which became their raw material of choice. 

Today, with petroleum wax prices increasing and talk of depleting oil sources, candle makers seem ready once again to return to natural fats and waxes as a source of solid fuels for candle making. We continue to see a trend in our industry to manufacture candles using renewable, biodegradable, all-natural products. Soy and palm based waxes along with beeswax are just a few of the ever increasing natural wax products used in making "all-natural" candles. 

Natural oils and fats are routinely hydrogenated using today's modern processes to create many grades of natural wax products, which equal and exceed the consistency of petroleum waxes. The resulting products burn cleanly and efficiently when a proper wicking system is used. In many instances, burn times can be increased using all-natural wax products.

Highly crystalline products offer different and interesting structures and textures which make it possible to create many new products for the ever-changing retail candle market.

Since there are so many new materials available on the market today it is important to move slowly and test thoroughly before introducing your "all natural" wax candles. 

When making any type of candle that is intended for the consumer to burn, it is important to establish a burn time for your candle. Establishing a burn time will assist to ensure the quality of the candle is upheld and when used properly can be a very effective marketing tool. The burn time should coincide with your burning instructions, so when a consumer questions your burn time, it is important that you have data to support the burning rate.

While there is not a "true" regulation on how to determine a burn time the generally recognized standard is to light the candle, burn for 4 hours and blow out. You then wait a minimum of 1 hour and relight the candle. This procedure should be followed until the entire candle is consumed. Notes should also be recorded along the way indicating the extent of smoking, possibly mushrooming or other key characteristics. Using this method also will be of great assistance in determining if you have the proper wick size for your candle. Here are some tips:

1. If when you complete the burning cycle and there is wax on the sides of the container, it probably means the wick used was too small and you should go up a wick size and start the process again. 

2. If all the wax was consumed and you had excessive smoking and sooting you should try a smaller wick.

3. If the wick "drowns out" during the burning cycle your wick was too small.

4. If your candle burns much faster than other candles you have recorded burn time notes for, your wick may have been too large.

These points are just some general suggestions on selecting the proper wick. Selecting your wick is one of the most important components of your candle and using this method will help ensure that you are using the proper size. If you require any further information please do not hesitate to contact us.

With so many different types of molds for making pillars, how do I know what type to use? 

In the current market, there are three standard materials for pillar molds. Each one offers specific benefits and drawbacks. The most popular are aluminum molds. These molds are seamless and generally produce the best finish on a candle when used properly. However, in many instances odd sizes are not as readily available in aluminum, i.e. stars, ovals and scallop molds. Tin molds are widely used because of the ease in doing different shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, tin molds do have a seam to contend with. The acrylic or plexiglass molds are very good to use for botanical and other candles where objects need to be placed in the candle. The drawback with these materials is generally the cost and production life when subject to fragranced candles. 

What is the proper pouring temperature for making candles? 

There are many variables which go into the recommended pouring temperatures for candles. These include but are not limited to the desired finish, wax formula, type of mold being used and production requirements. In general, the hotter pouring temperature (caution should always be exercised when pouring over 150 degrees F) you pour the better finish you will get from the wax. In general, containers should be poured between 160-175 degrees F, pillars poured between 170-195 degrees F and votives 170-190 degrees F. You should also consult with your wax supplier to determine if other variables should be considered when determining your pouring temperature.

You can now track your candle supplies orders directly from the Candlewic web site. Just take your UPS tracking number to and enter in into the box under Order Tracking at the bottom right hand side of the page. When you click the Track button, you will get information about the shipping status of your order.

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