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July 17, 2015

July: Half Empty or Half Full?


"The En-Light-ener"
Candle Making Newsletter

July: Half Empty or Half Full?

As avid readers of the Enlightener know, we don't ever shy away from using clichés or idioms--no matter how bad they might be. The month of July, in our mind, reflects one of the more common ones: the "glass 1/2 full or 1/2 empty" cliché. July 1st signifies the start of the second half of the year. If you had a number of lofty goals this year you might have realized you're behind schedule, or if you are a sports fan, you might have realized the baseball season is half over. For others, the first week of July represents the halfway point of summer.

However, if you are a "glass is 1/2 full" type of person, all of these situations are painted as positives. If you have not achieved your goals, you still have a long time to get things done. If you like football more than baseball, pre-season is rapidly approaching. And if your kids have cabin fever already, they'll be back to school before you know it!

It's Testing Time

The fall holiday season will be upon us shortly. In addition to continuing candle production, you should take this time to conduct tests on all of your candles to ensure your customers will be completely satisfied when the busy season arrives. Most of these tests are relatively easy and should be done if you want to keep your customers 100% satisfied.

1. Color Fading

If you are selling your candles outside at fairs and festivals, make sure you test placing several of your candles outside in direct sunlight to determine if they will experience fading. Ultra Violet Light Absorbers (UVLA) were designed to reduce fading in candles that are displayed in natural or artificial light. Think of them as sunscreen for your candles. Ugly fading (photo degradation) can be caused by a variety of factors, but nearly always can be avoided by the addition of UVLA. Usage levels vary greatly depending upon your application, but a general rule of thumb for large batches is to use about 45 grams per 100 pounds of wax. For smaller batches, use 1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds of wax. Some testing will be required to maximize effectiveness in different colors.

Some candle makers view UVLA as an unnecessary increase in the cost of materials, while others realize the value of UVLA as an extremely simple way to increase the shelf life of their candles. On average, UVLA only costs about 4 or 5 cents per gram, which equates to less than $2.25 per 100 pounds of wax (or just over 2 cents per one pound candle). You can even announce the added value of protection on your label and charge an extra 50 cents per candle. That is over 2000% markup on investment!

Learn more about UVLAs.

2. Fragrance

The one thing that probably every candle maker does on each and every batch is test the fragrance. It becomes second nature to smell each candle before putting the lid on. While this is a great frontline determination, it is best to also do "off site testing." Candles should always be tested for fragrance in a different location from where they are poured. This is important for several reasons. When working around fragrances, especially when candles are being poured, you might be smelling fragrances at the most concentrated level. Anything less might not meet your expectation. Burning them off site provides an objective opinion. Additionally, when you smell them where they are poured, you might be picking up a lingering effect, giving you the impression of a better fragrance throw.

You can also rely on friends and relatives to provide objective feedback. If you are comparing fragrance throw to your competitor's, it is important to note if they are similar types of candles. For example, do not compare your 100% soy candle to a 100% paraffin candle; they are going to perform differently.

3.Wick Size

The final, and perhaps the most important, test concerns wick size. This aspect of the candle should not be taken lightly. The color, fragrance, diameter and burn time are all variable factors to consider in choosing the proper wick size.


The standard protocol when testing a wick is:

  • Light the candle, burn it for four hours, then extinguish.
  • Wait one hour, then trim the wick and relight.

This process should be followed for the entire burn cycle and will determine not only the proper wick, but also the burn time of the candle. Since most instructions on the candle read that way, you will always have a basis if a customer is not happy with how your candle performed.

Don't forget to also test different color/fragrance combinations. A burgundy/cinnamon candle will more than likely require a different wick then a white/hyacinth candle.

A candle lit and burned continuously will yield a different wick size and burn time than one determined with the above process. It is extremely difficult to get a wick to perform properly when it is not used as designed.

When you are going through your wick testing process you should be reviewing:

  • Flame height
  • Wax pool reaching the sides in a reasonable time period
  • Temperature of the container
  • Carbon build up
  • After extinguishing the smoking or after glow

The wick testing cannot be emphasized enough. You might have the most fragranced candles at the best price, but if the candle does not perform to the customer's satisfaction, they more than likely will not come back.

As a company that services the candle industry, we always look at the halfway point of the year with a "glass is 1/2 full" attitude. Have a great summer and we look forward to communicating with you next month!


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

How do I get the wood wicks to perform optimally?

Without doubt, wood wicks continue to generate interest, but to achieve the best performance it is important they are used properly. The first rule is using the proper wax. While wood wicks will burn with pretty much with any wax, to get them to crackle and burn effectively for the entire candle it's best to use a soft paraffin soy blend. Most customers find CBL-130 performs best.

The wick also needs to be sized properly to the container size. The chart below can serve as a starting point, but testing is necessary to ensure they work best with your color/fragrance combination.

Small wood wicks - Small Containers (Up to 3")

Medium wood wicks - Medium Containers (3" - 3.75")

Large wood wicks - Medium & Large Containers (3.5" - 4.25")

Extra large wood wicks - Large Containers (4" - 4.75")

Fast Fact

New Fragrances

  • Black Bamboo - A mystical blend of bamboo and sandalwood, wrapped in violet petals and white musk to create a magical experience.
  • Ice Macchiato - Chilled for classic summer days, this refreshing blend of premium espresso topped with a creamy vanilla froth is enhanced with a touch of caramel and served over ice.
  • Moroccan Water Mint - Exotic mint joins a fresh combination of juicy pineapple and strawberry to create a soothing tonic to purify and balance the senses.
  • Watermelon Cooler - This scent exudes a watermelon sweetness and juicy raspberry flavor for a mouth watering experience.
  • Wild Twisted Berry - The breeze of blooming jasmine is mingled with violet and raspberry and perfected with blonde woods and musk.

Try All 5 (1 ounce each) for only $6.50!

Essential Oils - Great for Soap and Candles


July 2015


Featured Project:
Making Votives With Votive Pins



Step 1
Insert votive pin into votive mold.

Step 2
Heat wax to 180 degrees F and stir in color.

Step 3
Let wax cool to desired pouring temp.

Step 4
Add 4% to 6% fragrance.

Step 5
Fill mold/pin with wax.

Step 6
Remove pin by carefully tapping.

Step 7
Insert wick assembly into candle.


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Candlewic Company
3765 Old Easton Road
Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901

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