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March 01, 2004

Somewhere, Over the Rainbow


Somewhere, Over the Rainbow

Color is a very important element to the candle maker. Color grabs our eyes, alters our mood, beautifies our surroundings, and evokes feelings of days long past. Although there are volumes and volumes of written material based on the topic of color, this article will just highlight on a few key aspects that impact the candle maker directly. For our purposes in the candle making community, color may quite simply be boiled down to the sensation caused by light rays as they interact with the human eye, brain, and past experience. Here are a few tips that help candlemakers control color and use it as a tool to help create wonderful candles that tempt the eye and tease the senses.

The Basics
For some of us, it has been a while since we sat through an art class. If the following paragraph is too dry or basic, please continue on to the next paragraph about the actual techniques that are used in candle making.

primary and secondary colors

The three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. These 3 colors are mixed to create all the other colors in the rainbow. When you mix the 3 primary colors, you get the secondary colors, green orange and purple. From there on out you can mix any color you need. This is how a color wheel was developed. When using multiple colors in a single candle, a good starting point is to use analogous or complementary colors. Analogous colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel such as shades of yellow and green. Complementary colors are those that are opposite on the color wheel. These are just the basic starting point to a phenomenon that knows no boundaries. You can use colors that resemble groupings found in nature, school/team colors, the latest popular interior design colors, or anything else that touches you or your customers’ inner feelings.


complementary colors

There are countless techniques available to candle makers to help solve color challenges. The first question a candle maker must ask themselves is how important is uniformity. Uniform color may be extremely important to larger manufacturers as well as any candle maker looking to sell their candles wholesale to stores that will be reselling the candles. The uniformity is important for aesthetics on the shelf in a retail environment. Increasing batch sizes solves this challenge. The larger the batch, the easier it is to measure dye accurately. This is simply achieved by using a larger melt tank. The sound of a larger tank might sound painful on the budget, but sometimes it may be necessary for some investment in equipment if the candle maker is looking to produce candles that are “factory perfect”. If you are using color blocks, it never hurts to buy larger amounts of dye per order to insure colors from the same lots. Candlewic offers aggressive pricing on 144 piece lots. This saves money on shipping expenses, material cost, and helps to insure you have enough dye on hand to handle any order that comes through your door – especially during the busy season. Quality measuring tools are very important when measuring color. Whether you are using a scale, a dropper, or a measuring cup, it is important that you use the precise amount each time. It helps to have a heat resistant white surface to put a few drops of color on to visually see if they match the last drops but remember the drops will not accurately represent the true color.

Believe it or not, there are times when color uniformity is not as important as it seems. Take for instance online purchases. All monitors and printers interpret color slightly differently, so the color of the finished candle will probably never match the screen of the purchaser. Slight variation may be OK. If you are marketing the fact your candles are hand poured, there are times when customers expect slight differences in color and actually appreciate the choice between shades. In the case of fundraisers or direct sales, the purchaser is usually helping to support the seller and has a bit of tolerance for slight variations in color. It is up to the candle maker to make the choice and tailor their operations to fir customer expectations.

Candlewic offers a variety of dye and color options for the candle maker. Our EVO line of liquid dye is known to candle makers for its consistency, deep color, and user-friendly attributes. Candle makers who market vegetable waxes appreciate the fact that EVO dyes are made using eco-friendly ingredients and do not have a bad odor. Our color blocks are an easy way to use color with less mess and our large selection eliminates the need to manually mix colors (but you may mix them if you prefer). Pigment dyes produce spectacularly deep colors, but are used for over dips only (if you use pigment to color the core, it may clog the wick). Powder dyes are the most economical way to color large batches. They are extremely strong, and although they may be economical, care should be used because a little goes a very long way. Please remember that your color may fade after all your hard work, so a little insurance is to use UV light absorbers U.V. 531 and U.V. 5411 to help maintain the color you want.



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Staying Afloat

I get a lot of questions every week asking about making floater candles. The common thread between all the questions is that it just seems too easy to believe. Luckily, the answer is yes, it really is that easy. We offer a complete line of floating candles in a variety of molds. All wax floats, so it is only important to pick a wax that releases from the mold. Just about any wax over 130-melt point should be suitable. The only thing you need to watch out for is getting the correct wick. You need a wick that does not quite burn out to the edge so water does not flow into the wax pool. Our most popular mold is the tart mold. This mold works double duty because it can also make an attractive tart for use in tart melters (by simply not adding a wick). Floating candles in colored water helps to create an attractive retail display or wedding decoration.

March 2004


This month’s 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. The best part is that this month we have a special that offers free tea light wicks with every tea light cup purchased (limit 10,000). 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 tea light mold on a flat, level surface. Insert the pins and spray a light coat of 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.

Hot Off The Press:
You can never have enough books to peruse for new ideas, new techniques, or to use as an aide for educating your employees. This month’s book is titled Creative Soaps written by Soap Expressions. It has great beginner soap projects with full-color photos. Although geared more for the beginner, the many different types of soaps shown in the book will inspire larger manufacturers with new product ideas as well.
Quick Facts:

Anatomy of a Candle Jar

When calling our tech support to discuss jar candles, the following information may be helpful in facilitating the discussion. Please remember to measure the “body” of the jar when asked about the diameter of the candle.
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