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
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.
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”.
The Perfect Candle
||Pop U. LarFragrance
||Wick Assembly (a.k.a. Pre-Wick)
||Therm O. Meter
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
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.