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March 24, 2015

Crazy For Candle Color


"The En-Light-ener"
Candle Making Newsletter

Crazy For Candle Color

Before any customer picks up and smells your candles, chances are the color is what has caught their attention. As the cliché goes, "You only get one chance to make a first impression." Too many times this notion gets lost among all the focus on fragrance and glassware. We need to utilize candle color as yet another opportunity to appeal to our consumer, because it will always be the first thing they see.

Color can grab our eyes, alter our mood, beautify our surroundings, and evoke feelings of days long past. Some companies plan color trends three or four years in advance, and for bigger consumer items, they can take even longer. In the candle industry, many times it's best to wait for these trends to set in, and then adjust our colors based on other consumer products.

For the candle making community's purposes, color might simply be defined as the sensation caused by light rays as they interact with the human eye, brain, and past experiences. Here are a few tips that help candle makers control color and use it as a tool in creating wonderful products that tempt the eye and tease the senses.

The Basics About Color

For some of us, it's been a while since we sat through an art class, so if the following paragraph is too dry or basic for you, please continue on to the next paragraph about the actual techniques used in candle making.

The three primary colors are red, blue, and yellow. These three colors are mixed to create all the other colors in the rainbow. When you mix the three 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 the color wheel was developed.

When using multiple colors in a single candle, a good beginning tip is to use analogous or complementary colors. Analogous colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel such as various shades of yellow and green. Complementary colors are those that sit opposite one another on the color wheel. These are just the basic starting points to a phenomenon that knows no boundaries. You can use colors that resemble groupings found in nature, school/team colors, the latest interior design colors, or anything else that invokes you or your customers' inner feelings.

Color Techniques

There are countless techniques available to candle makers to help solve their color challenges. The first question a candle maker must ask themselves is "how important is uniformity." Uniform color might 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 might be necessary to invest in quality equipment if the candle maker is looking to produce "factory perfect" candles. If you are using color blocks, it never hurts to buy larger amounts of dye per order to ensure colors from the same lots. Candlewic offers aggressive pricing on 144 piece lots. This saves money on shipping expenses, material cost, and ensures you have enough dye on hand to handle any order that comes through your door-especially during the busy season.

Quality measuring tools are also 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 put a few drops of color on a heat-resistant, white surface to visually see if they match the previous drops, but remember, the drops will not accurately represent the true, final candle color.

Believe it or not, there are times when color uniformity is not as important. 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 might be OK. If you are marketing the fact that 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 some tolerance for slight variations in color. It is up to the candle maker to make the choice and tailor their operations to fit customer expectations.

Dye and Color Options

Candlewic offers a variety of dye and color options for the candle maker. Our EVO line of liquid dye is well-known to candle makers for its consistency, deep color, and user-friendly attributes. The EVO dyes are made using food grade oils as base and have minimal 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).

Please remember that your color may fade after all your hard work, but you can provide a little insurance by using UV light absorbers U.V. 531 and U.V. 5411 to help maintain the color you want.


Each year, Pantone choses the "Color of the Year." This year's winner is Marsala. "A naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls." (Pantone)

Pantone LLC is the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries. The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer.


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

"It seems like most of my questions come up at 11PM when I am pouring my candles. Is there a good resource where I can find answers to my questions at any time?"

There are actually a number of different resources that can be found on our website. I am somewhat biased, since I write for the Enlightener, but this might be one of the best resources available to you! We have been publishing this newsletter for more than 14 years and have covered many topics. You can view all our past issues free of charge here.

We also have a section of our website that lists frequently asked questions.

Check out this other section dedicated to those who want to learn all about candle making. It includes some excellent videos, articles and summaries.

We also have a specific website just for helping people with candle making in general:

If can't find your answer in any of these places, be sure to send me your question just as you did above.

March 2015

Featured Project:
Layering Natural Wax

Want to get more of your favorite fragrances out to customers without making them spend more money? Why not try offering them 2 or 3 in 1 AND have it natural? This project gives you a way to layer different colors of natural wax in order to increase your offering of natural waxes. By layering different colors, you will give yourself a simple way to make candles more marketable to select groups. This is a great way to create fundraisers, holiday themes, or specialty candles for specific wholesale customers without the increased cost of customized labels. Simply layer the colors of your holiday, team, organization, etc., and it creates an instantly themed candle with little extra cost of materials.



1. Select, clean, wick, and prepare your jars or molds as you normally do. Take a moment and plan out where the fill lines are going to be. For example, a patriotic jar may use equal amounts of colored wax for uniform stripes of red, white, and blue.

2.Be sure to select the appropriate wax for jars or freestanding candles. Prepare both colors of wax at the same time in order to be ready for "show time." The Soy 125 can be an excellent choice for this project. The low pouring temperature between 110-115°F will help the wax set up fast and minimize bleeding between layers.

3.Heat jars or molds when necessary and pour your first layer. Note your ambient temperature (room-temp), your pour temperature, and start the timer.

4.You have some flexibility in this step. The time and temperature of the second layer of wax changes the final result. Your individual taste will decide when and how hot to pour the second color. In general, you want to wait long enough for the first layer to set up enough so the second color does not mix with the first color, but not too long that the wax pulls from the sides. If the wax pulls from the sides, the second color slips between the first color and the mold, which creates, what is considered by most, an undesirable appearance. By adjusting the second color's temperature and timing, you can create hard or soft color transition lines. Hard means a flat, distinct line of color change and soft means a softer, faded color change. The ambient temperature and size of your candle affects the timing. Smaller candles will take less time (half an hour), while larger candles might take as long as two hours between pours. Cooler ambient temperatures decrease time, while warmer temperatures increase times.

5.Repeat the same time and temperature for the rest of the colors so all color seams are uniform. As you take notes and get more experience, the timing and temperature starts to become second nature. You can even learn to mix hard color changes and soft color changes on the same candle for a unique look that will surely dazzle your customers.



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