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March 01, 2006

The Perfect Cast of Characters


The Perfect Cast of Characters.

Candle making is a lot like making movies. In all of the years of being around the candle industry I am not sure if anyone could find a way to make this statement. I hope by the time you finish this Feature Presentation that you will not think I got too caught up in the Academy Awards.

When making a movie the Director in most instances looks for the big name stars for the movie to ensure they have some guaranteed audience when the movie is released. As candle makers we do much the same by selecting fragrances that are very popular thus ensuring some level of interest in your candles. This is the first step in ensuring your candles sell -- same as movies.

But the good directors know the smaller details are what can make or break a good movie. They hire a good special effects director, outstanding supporting cast and other details that are not quite as glamorous. In candle making this is very true. The fragrance will capture the interest of the consumer but it is all of the details that go into producing the candle that will ensure the consumer likes and more importantly purchases more of your candles.

In my unique analogy we are going are going to use the wick and wick base as the “Supporting Cast” (I hope Rachel Weisz does not read our newsletter). A good performing wick and the right wick base is not only important to the performance of the candle but is critical to ensure the candle burns safely.

As candle makers it is extremely important that time is spent testing and choosing the right wick. Unfortunately, sizing your wick is not an exact science. Many variables go into choosing the right wick, including but not limited to the wax used, fragrance load, color and diameter of the candle. We have included information on our website to help in the first step which is always identifying which series of wicks to start testing. In many instances the series of wicks used in the container may not be what you use in your votives or pillars.

We have covered choosing wicks in past issues of the En-Light-ener and what we really wish to focus on in this issue is the smallest of all details, the wick base. It is hard to believe but one of the smallest components of the candle, the base can have a big impact on the safety performance of the candle. Choosing the right base is critical in how the candle performs at the end of the burning cycle.

When using Pre-Wick assemblies there are two main features of the wick base that need to be reviewed. The first is the diameter this generally measured in millimeters. One of the most common bases used is the 20 mm (about the size of a nickel). The 20 mm clip works well in votives, containers and tins and is good all around wick base. The next size is a 15 mm clip (about the size of a dime) and is most commonly used in tea lights.

A specialized and popular wick base is the 33 mm clip. This oblong clip is very popular when making votives because it ensures the wick is centered at the bottom of the votive.

Now, the most important feature of the clip is the neck height. This is the measurement of the little neck that helps hold the wick in place. For years the industry used a neck height of 3 mm and is still used commonly today. With more candles on the market and the innovation of gel candles many companies now use wick bases with longer necks. The longer neck is used to try and extinguish the flame before it gets to the bottom of the container. This is extremely important if the consumer lets matches fall to the bottom, deposits from the wick fall into the bottom and the wick can come in contact with these materials.

Another potential problem arises if the wick base is not secured to the bottom. This can allow the base to slide when the wax is totally liquid at the bottom of the candle and come in contact with the glass and/or other materials that have fallen to the bottom.

While we will never win an Academy Award for the perfect candle but we can achieve our desired result which is future sales and word of mouth for a quality candle that is better then a “Crash”.

Starring: Pop U. LarFragrance
  Paraffine Wax
Co-Starring: Dye Block
  Wick Assembly (a.k.a. Pre-Wick)
  Glass Container
Supporting Roles: Pouring Pot
  Therm O. Meter


Hi! I'm Chandler!
I can help you
learn how to make candles.

One of the growing trends we have been writing out these days has been the continue growth of Soy and Palm candles. So naturally we receive many inquiries regarding this topic. One of the most asked is this:

Can I add Soy and Paraffin together?

Both Soy and Palm will work effectively with paraffin waxes. In fact many are probably aware our CBL-130 is a blend of paraffin wax, soy and other carefully selected components.

There are a number of reasons you may wish to consider this alternative. Soy is a very low shrinkage product and by adding Soy to paraffin you can reduce the amount of shrinkage in your container. The “natural” aspect of this wax is growing in customer awareness and with the right percentage you can market these candles as having natural wax as one of the ingredients.

If you have worked with soy and are not pleased with the scent throw, adding paraffin to the formulation can help with improve that. The final unfortunate reality is that paraffin wax continues to increase in price where soy has been relatively stable. Using soy as one of the components can help soften the price increases. (Note: the price of soy is not guaranteed to be stable forever either).

For all of the above reasons many candle makers are making Palm and Soy part of their formulation.


March 2006

Making Palm
Wax Candles

Without doubt one of the fastest growing trends in the candle market is the use of Palm wax and soy wax. In the January 2006 issue we covered how to make soy candles and this issue we will outline the Palm wax. While this is an introduction to Palm think of all the other projects you can do, layered unique shapes, Aromatherapy scents. In today's market we feel it is important to really explore all opportunities available.


Any Aluminum Mold
Palm Wax
Color Blocks
Wick Bar
Rubber Plugs


Melt Palm Wax in pot. Note that the hotter you make the wax, the more the wax will create a snowflake look on the candle. Do not exceed 300°F (150°C).

Add some shavings of color blocks and 4% to 5% of fragrance.

Using the rubber plug and wick bar, prepare your aluminum mold for pouring.

Before pouring wax, it is suggested to heat the mold with a heat gun or a heat lamp to maximize the crystalizing effect of the Palm Wax.

Pour liquid Palm Wax into the mold and let cool. By slowing the cooling rate of your poured candles, you can create fantastic crystal effects in your Palm Wax candles.

Sometimes Palm Wax requires a second pour. You will know it is necessary if a thin layer of wax forms over your candle when cooled. Simply poke a hole in this layer and perform your second pour.

Product Feature

We now have the plastic votive cups back and better than before. If you have not tried this you owe to yourself to try. This polycarbonate mold gives the candle that extra bit of shine. We are offering these at an introductory price of $.35 for any quantity over 51 pieces and only $.55 for quantities under 50 pieces.


Crafter's Site Special Offers

Get Free Shipping in March at our crafter's site: Soap Expressions/ Country Lane Candle Supply. Just get your promo code here!

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