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May 01, 2006

Summertime Candle Making


Summertime Candle Making.

Hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. The summer months are always a challenge on several fronts. First it can create havoc in the manufacturing process between the heat and the humidity. The second is the candle market itself seems to go on vacation. Since people spend more time outside, on vacation and leave the windows open more often the tendency from most consumers are to burn less candles.

The first issue on the manufacturing side is something that can be addressed in a couple of ways. If humidity is a factor, it will be important to pre heat your containers/molds to take the humidity off the surface. It is a good practice to always preheat your containers because during the winter months the “chill” on the glass will have an impact on the finish of the candle.

Depending if your workspace is air-conditioned or not will determine if you have to adjust your pouring temperature. Certain waxes have effects, (mottling etc.) which are caused by the cooling process. When it becomes too hot the cooling process takes longer and in some instances you may loose the effect. By reducing your pouring temperature it may allow the workspace to remain hot and still get the desired effect.

The second issue of candle sales declining during the summer months is a more difficult challenge unless you are in a resort town. We have written in the past how important it is to continue to increase the awareness of candles as a year round item. See past issues of the Enlightener. While Candles are not always in the consumers’ minds during the summer there are ways to continue to promote them in the upcoming months.

There are many camps that take place in the summer contact some of these and offer to teach a lesson on candle making. If the age group is too young to handle hot wax consider offering to teach a class using Wax Art Crystals (see past issue of the Enlightener) or making beeswax candles with beeswax sheets. While these products may not be part of your standard product line, by offering these products it is a way to continually remind consumers that candles are a great item.

The summer months are also a time that many festivals and carnivals are held. If you have never done one of these events it may be a great time to try. In addition to offering summer fragrances you may want to take some of your unsold candles and sell at a greatly reduce price that will get the customers attention. This will allow you to sell inventory that normally would sit until the fall and a potential long term customer will get a chance to try your candles at a reduced price.

Consider making candles that are suitable for outside use. If you pour into tin buckets or something similar, colors are not really important and you might be able to use scrap wax. You can scent these heavily with a citronella or other outdoor scents. One important note is that the buckets should be seamless and even though the candles are burned outside the same precautions should be used by the end user.

If your workspace and cash flow allows, summer can also be a great time to get head for the fall season. It seems when fall comes there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Just think if you could have done some of those candles in June and July the other things you could get done during the fall season.

If you don’t like anything identified yet, one final thought might be if you have not yet tried, make decorative Soap part of your line. While lighting a candle may be furthest thing in many consumers’ minds during the summer months, you can bet they will be taking a shower sometime in the near future.

While it sure is tempting to take advantage of the nice weather that summer brings, if you are serious about candle making you should not just let your business take a vacation.


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One question that I get asked quite often ever since “one pours” were introduced is Why would I want a wax that needs to be topped off?

Many candle makers use low shrink or one pours, but there are other options available. All paraffin waxes shrink so one pours have additives such as petrolatum and soy to help reduce the shrinkage. These make very nice candles but creating different looks is not possible with these waxes. You cannot make mottled candles, achieve vibrant colors and in some instances you do not get the scent throw you may get with a paraffin-based wax. While the low shrinkage waxes are good to use, be sure you at least look at some of the other paraffin based products.

Candle Terms

In many instances we at Candlewic eat, sleep and breathe candle making and assume everyone knows all of the terms that are associated with the Industry. In each issue we will try to introduce some of the terms that may not always be part of the standard crafting world.

Topping Off or Back Filling
Most waxes have some level of shrinkage associated when using. As the candle hardens it will shrink and additional wax will need to be added to level off the top. These is commonly referred to as Topping Off or back filling. Note: Most Soy waxes and some container blends have additives that help reduce the shrinkage.

Pigment Dyes
These dyes have been developed for use in cut n carve. They are pigments ground into wax. They are only suitable for overdipping and cut n carve applications. They will not fade or blead.

Scent Load
The amount of fragrance being added to the wax. In most instance this is measure in percent.



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May 2006

Natural Lemons

It is easy to make a natural candle that can be enjoyed for those special dinner occasions, to give as gifts, or to have as a decorative show piece. These natural lemons look great as an added value product when displayed with your other candles. They are fun to make and act as a wonderful conversation piece. These candles may be natural and easily mistaken as the real thing, but please don’t eat them!

All Natural Pillar Blend
Polyurethane Lemon Mold
Wick Holder Bar
Lemon Essential Oil
Spooled Wick
(hemp wick is optional)
Yellow dye
Iron Candle Holder (optional)

Step 1
Melt the natural CSP-1 wax on a double boiler to about 165 degrees. Add EVO-13 yellow dye after the wax is up to temperature and stir well.

Step 2
Prepare the M-272 mold by inserting the wick through the bottom of the mold using a thin wire or very dull, oversized sewing needle. Be sure to leave an extra length of wick, so it pulls through when the candle is removed and is ready for the next time you make a lemon. Use the M-321 wick bar to hold the wick centered over the top of the mold. Place a few rubber bands around the mold to hold the mold tightly together.

Step 3
Add roughly 1 to 3 percent of essential oil to the wax just before pouring, and pour at 150 to 170 degrees. Some candle makers prefer different pour temperatures. Higher temperatures may give easier release but may cause more shrinkage. The perfect balance is your preference.

Step 4
Top off if necessary. You may need to experiment a little to determine the optimal timing and temperature for the second pour depending on the ambient temperature of the room and initial pouring temperature of the first pour.

Step 5
Place the candle on an appropriate candle holder, light the candle and ENJOY!

Polyurethane molds are simple to use, make beautiful candles, and last a very long time. Many candle makers prefer them due to the fact they do not require heating and they make a unique candle that is entirely different than the common jar candle. Often the candles made with polyurethane molds are added to themed baskets as the perfect complement to soaps and lotions or sold with an inexpensive iron candle holder as a gift set.

One of the things to consider during the summer months is how to capture the attention of your customers. As we mentioned in our feature article candles are not always a standard purchase for many consumers. One way to capture their attention is to offer candles in the shapes that abound during the summer. Some ideas include Lemons, Limes and Oranges. These are great shapes and can be scented and made with natural wax such as CSP.

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