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January 05, 2007

"Green" Candle Making


"Green" Candle Making

We hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday, and we truly look forward to working with everyone in 2007. As always we have many exciting plans for 2007 and look forward to assisting you. Be sure to share our newsletter with all of your candle making friends. It is always free and helps you stay on top of what is going on in the candle industry.

Palm WaxIn the past couple of weeks there has been a lot written in a number of different publications highlighting how the “greening trend” just continues to get stronger. Houses built with environmental features are now getting a premium, Wal-Mart is implementing “greening technology” to conserve energy and the development of hydro cars continues to steal the headlines.

It only makes scents (I just love using that pun) the candle market continues to move in that direction as well. In our November issue of the Enlightener we started our series on choosing the right wax and saved the natural waxes for our first issue in 2007. For our loyal readers you know we have been highlighting the positive virtues of natural waxes since our first publication in April 2001. Since that time the market has continued to change and many new and exciting products are available. 

Soy WaxSoy Wax
The first wax we will feature is soy. Soy wax is simply hydrogenated soybean oil and the best application for this wax is in containers. When using soy wax it is important to note that there is definitely performance and appearance differences between paraffin wax and wax and soy wax.

  • First and foremost is the appearance of the candle. Soy wax in general produces candles that have a “flat” or pastel shade to the candle. This can play very well to the scents used; in the fall nothing is better than harvest colors and fragrances.
  • Soy wax will always require more dye to get to the desired color.
  • It is as close to one a pour wax as exist in the market. It will still require some topping off if poured too hot or the container is too large.
  • Another very positive feature of the soy wax is that the pouring temperatures have less impact on the finished candle than paraffin waxes.
  • Depending on the scent load you are using, in most instances no special additives will be needed.

By now you have to be asking yourself if it is that good then why not just switch to this wax while I read this article. The main reason is that the scent throw that candle makers achieve with paraffin just cannot be at the same level when using soy wax. As these waxes get better at scent throw or fragrance companies improve the scent throw that can be achieved, the soy market will continue to grow.

If you are looking to make votives and pillars with a natural wax we would highly recommend a soy/palm blend. The issue with using all soy wax for freestanding candles is generally they are too brittle, and because they are so hydrogenated they do not burn that well. The soy/palm blends and palms in general have a little more “structure” to the wax and are not as brittle (see Candlewic's Smooth Pillar Blend - CSP-1).

Palm WaxPalm Wax
Another very exciting option is our palm waxes. These are also 100 percent natural and create looks that are definitely not achieved with paraffin wax. There are several different “design patterns” like the feathering and crystallized look. Working with palms is very much like soy in that more dye is required, and they don’t quite have the scent throw that a paraffin wax candle can achieve. The nice thing about palms is that they can be used for both containers and pillars. 

As both soy and palm grow in popularity, we definitely cannot forget one of the oldest type of natural waxes on the market, beeswax. This product as we always like to call “Nature’s Gold” is a very versatile wax and can be used in most candle options. You can make containers, votive and pillars with this wax without the need for any other additives. What makes this wax even better is that without scent this wax can smell wonderful. If only bees could find a way to produce more of this product it could be the answer to everything.

No matter what level of candle making you have achieved, it is always important to know what options are available. One of things that always needs to be stressed in candle making is there isn’t one wax that is suitable for every candle making. No matter what the wax is whether it is paraffin, natural or gel there are always trade offs that have to be made. The type of customer base you have greatly influences the type of wax you use.


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I have always used paraffin wax, but some of my customers are asking for natural wax. I have heard that the scent throw is not as good with soy wax. Can I mix soy with paraffin?

The mixing of soy and paraffin wax continues to grow in popularity. In fact our CBL-130 for containers is already a blended product of soy and petroleum based products to be used in candles. The advantage of mixing the two types of waxes is that you get the positive attributes of both waxes. Soy having the “renewable aspect”, low shrinkage and then getting the good scent throw and “wax structure” with the petroleum waxes. The percentage you mix together will depend on what you wish to achieve. You can do the same for pillars using the palm and a pillar paraffin wax.

January 2007

Featured Project:
Jar Candle

Soy Wax

Materials Needed

- 2 lbs of Palm 1 wax
- Pouring pitcher
- Thermometer
- Burgundy liquid dye
- Apothecary jar
- RRD-50 wick
- Wooden popsicle sticks

Step 1
Add 1 lb of the Palm 1 wax into the pouring pitcher.

Step 2
Clip the thermometer onto the top of the pouring pitcher with the thermometer inside.

Step 3
Place the wax filled pouring pitcher into a large pan of boiling water. This will create a double boiler for you to heat your wax. Do not allow the water to boil dry.

Heating wax on direct
heat can cause the wax
to overheat and possibly ignite.


Step 4
As the wax melts, monitor the temperature with the thermometer. For accuracy do not allow the bottom of the thermometer to touch the bottom or sides of the pouring pot. Tip the pouring pot until the bottom of the thermometer is covered with the liquid wax. When the wax temperature reaches 185° F add two teaspoons of the liquid EVO-12 Burgundy color and stir. 

Step 5
Now you are ready to pour the first layer into the Apothecary jar. Monitor the temperature making sure it is at the pouring temperature of 180° F. Pour the first layer of colored wax into your jar to a height of 1”. After approximately 5 minutes place the RRD-50 wick into the jar. Make sure the wick tab is centered on the bottom of the. The hot wax will cause the wick to lean so use wooden popsicle sticks or wooden coffee stirrers to prevent the wick from falling toward the sides of the jar. Place the stick across the top of the jar to support the wick. Two sticks may be needed. Place the wick between each stick until it is centered.

Step 6
Allow the wax to cool for approximately 3 hours or until the layer is solid and firm. 

Step 7
To prepare your second layer you will add 4 oz of Palm 1 wax to the colored wax that remains in your pour pitcher and repeat the melting and pouring process above (remember do not add any color).  We are increasing the wax amount so that the original color will decrease in intensity.

Step 8
Repeat the cooling time for the second layer.

Step 9
Last layer, add 4 oz. of Palm 1 wax to the remaining wax in the pour pitcher and repeat the melt and pour processes, making sure that the pour temp is at 180° F. Repeat the cooling process.


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