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April 01, 2002

Wax 101 Part 3: Natural Wax


"The En-Light-ener"
Candle Making Newsletter

Welcome to the En-light-ener, Candlewic's newsletter for the candle making community.

The candle market always seems to have new and exciting products in the forefront of the gift market. It is exciting to be associated with this type of industry, which always seems to be expanding in the marketplace. As we discussed in past issues of the En-light-ner, candles in many instances have expanded well beyond their traditional marketplaces. It is not unusual to now find candles in hardware stores, tobacco shops and beauty salons. These are venues that 5 and 10 years ago had very limited offerings or none at all.

There are many different forces driving this, including paraffin wax candles in new designs with new fragrances, gel candles and now "Natural" wax candles.

Wax 101 part 3: Natural Wax
This is the final part of our series, Wax 101. The first part, in our February 2002 issue, focused on paraffin waxes. The second part, in our March 2002 issue, discussed gel waxes (Penreco's Versagel). This edition will focus on the third category of wax, Natural Waxes. If you missed the first two parts they can be reviewed at our website.

Over the last number of years there has been a rebirth in the popularity of "Natural Candles." In the past, companies made candles using natural products such as beeswax, bayberry and palm. These natural products were generally available. While they cost more, the benefits were easily measured by the consumer and the manufacturer, although little was done in the way of marketing or branding these products.

With the introduction of vegetable based products, the definition of "natural" has become much more difficult to define. At the present time there is no recognized authority that has clearly defined what is a true natural wax. However, for the moment and this article, a general working definition for a natural wax is as follows:

A "Natural" Wax is a wax from a renewable resource such as a plant, insect or animal. The wax from an animal would be from the exterior of a living animal such as Lanolin (wool grease).

Paraffin wax, it is argued, is also a natural wax because it comes from the ground and is renewable. However, because it does not meet our working definition it is not considered a natural wax.

One of the most popular natural waxes is beeswax. Beeswax comes from the honeycomb and is available in yellow or white. The beeswax candle has always been desirable due to the very pleasant aroma, the hardness of the product and its burning characteristics. The other advantage this product offers is that it performs very closely to paraffin wax with very little if any additives. The drawback to this product has always been the cost, which ranges from $2.50 to $4.50 per pound.

With the new natural waxes comes new terms such as vegetable based, soy based and palm based. In general companies take raw materials readily available in nature and process them in a manner that makes them suitable for use in candles. Of these new products, the most viable one to challenge paraffin is vegetable based wax containing soy. Soy based vegetable wax is processed by hydrogenating soybeans, making them suitable for a candle formulations.

Soy based vegetable waxes offer the candle maker many exciting opportunities for making candles with a different appearance, design and marketing approach. Because soy based vegetable waxes are relatively new and unique it is important to note that the pouring characteristics and performance characteristics are different than those of paraffin waxes. Performance differences include but are not limited to some of the following: scent retention, scent throw, impact on performance of the wick and rigidity of the product. Pouring differences include temperatures, coloration and setting times.

Candlewic has a complete program of vegetable based soy products. They are all 100% vegetable waxes and meet our working definition of "Natural." For container fills Candlewic offers Soy 120 and S1*. Both are excellent container fill waxes and are considered true one pours. They have very little if any shrinkage. For pillars Candlewic has PS, which is a votive/pillar blend. The finished candle exhibits a rich glossy opaque finish. For fancy pillar designs Candlewic has four products that offer outstanding finished candles. They are G wax*, F wax*, PQ wax, and Q wax. G wax has a unique marble or granite finish while F wax has a feather crystal design. PQ finishes with a surface pattern and Q has a quartz look.

In summary, the new "Natural" vegetable waxes offer a realistic alternative in both design and appeal to paraffin waxes. Although higher priced than paraffin, the difference is not as great as with beeswax. Competitive pricing for vegetable based waxes could allow companies to offer Natural candles in addition to their paraffin candles.

Time will tell if Natural waxes will have an impact on the finished candle market. Candlewic believes it will. We are fully stocked should you decide to produce candles using Natural waxes. Candlewic is here to help and advise you in any way possible including choosing the correct natural wick for your natural candle.

* These waxes will be available soon.

April 2002

Making Streak Candles
One of the easiest novelty candles to make is the streaking candle. What makes this project so easy is that you do not have to change anything you are doing when pouring your candles.

To start this project, first select any pillar type mold. Melt your wax 10-15° F higher than your usual pouring temperature. Add your scent as usual but do not add color.

Before pouring your wax into the mold take any color block or pigment dye and shave it into smaller pieces, you can do as many colors as desired.

Once you have shavings of several colors pour your wax into the mold.
As soon as you are finished pouring take pieces of your shavings and place a needle through the shavings.

Hold the needle with the shavings against the mold. The dye will begin streaking down the sides causing a "tie dyed" effect. Repeat this using the same or different color, being careful not to over color.
Any mold can be used for this project.

Each candle made will look different than any other one and allows you to do an infinite amount of themed candles such as red, white and blue or any other color.


Always check out this new feature on our site. [ go there now! ]

Our Special Price Continues On Our 4 lb. Pouring Pitcher $7.00.

Round Votives: $.50

Check Our Gel Prices



Q. My candle seems to burn well with all of my fragrances except for one or two. Why would this happen?

A. The problem could be your wick. There are many things which go into determining the correct wick size for your candle including but not limited to melt point of the wax, additives if any, color and even the scent. While many scents do burn the same there is the chance certain scents may require a larger wick. It is always recommended when using a new fragrance to test burn the candle to make sure that the candle burns properly. Test burning should also include increased amounts of scent, which can impact the burning of the candle.

You can use our Custom Wick Builder to create the perfect wick for any candle.

Q. Why are there so many different types of recommendations on pouring temperatures?

A. Correct pouring temperatures vary greatly from wax supplier to wax supplier. Pouring temperatures vary depending on the wax used and other procedures, which may be recommended such as heating the container or mold before pouring. Pouring temperatures also change depending on the type of mold, the desired finish or the type of candle being made. With many of the one pours, natural waxes and candle gel it is always best to pour within the recommended temperatures. For many candle makers it's personal preference. With better waxes there are several things that occur, the hotter you pour (in most instances not over 200° F.) the better the finish you get with the wax. However, pouring hotter will increase the shrinkage and can burn off the scent if kept too hot for too long. It may be best to try different pouring temperatures with your wax to see what generates the best results for your candles.

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