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June 22, 2016

Things are Starting to Heat Up

June 2016
Things are Starting to Heat Up
With the final days of school coming to end for most students in the U.S., families may now be focusing on vacation plans, camps and day trips instead of final exams and book reports. For many, the summer is a great time of year. With the weather warm, pools open and parks in full swing, it is not hard to find enjoyment for all members of the family.

Not everyone is quite as joyful when it comes to working during the summer. If you work in construction, the long, hot, humid days can wipe out the strongest of folks. For those who work in office environments, having to take on extra work as colleagues go on vacation certainly can keep you extra busy. If you have active children, keeping them occupied for the next three months is a task that will challenge even the best parent or guardian.
Warm Weather Challenges
For those who have made candles during previous summers, you likely already know you may have your work cut out for you, as warm weather brings new challenges for candle making. In this article, we will highlight what to look out for and provide some tips and tricks on how best to face these anticipated hurdles.

Often, with warm weather comes humidity, and any experienced candle maker will tell you that moisture and candle making do not mix well. Moisture will accumulate on any glass stored in warm areas, tends to gravitate to aluminum molds and can gather on the surface of any open wax containers. This moisture can be a primary cause for wet spots, cold streaks, air bubbles and moisture pockets in any container candle.

During the warmer months, it is always best to store glass in a cool, moisture-free environment whenever possible. If this is not possible, be sure to preheat your containers and molds with a dry heat and to higher temperatures than you normally would use. You will want to ensure that your containers and molds are warm to a touch and do not have any remaining moisture. In some instances, by preheating the container longer than you normally would, you also can lower your pouring temperatures. A warm climate itself will slow down the process and allow any air bubbles to escape, so experiment with pouring at lower temperatures. This also will help reduce the amount of fragrance that can burn off.

If you're working with soy wax, and the candle has too long to set up, you will find that the wax can start to "reject" the fragrance, causing crustiness and "sweat" on top of the candle, something that would normally not occur. With soy, it is imperative that you pour your candles at as low a temperature as possible. With 100-series soy waxes like Soy-125, it is not unusual to pour at temperatures of 105-110⁰F.
Using UVLAs to Protect Against Fading
This time of year, many candles are sold at festivals, craft shows and other outdoor venues, so it may be time to look seriously at using UVLAs (ultra violet light absorbers). UVLAs were developed to reduce or eliminate fading of candles 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 it almost always can be avoided by the addition of UVLAs. Usage levels vary greatly depending upon application, but a general rule of thumb for large batches is to use about 45 grams of a UVLA per 100 pounds of wax. For smaller batches, use 1/2 teaspoon for every 10 lbs. of wax. Some testing will be required for different colors to maximize the UVLA's effectiveness. Some candle makers view the use of UVLAs as unnecessarily increasing the cost of materials, while others recognize the value UVLAs provide in increasing the shelf life of their candles. On average, adding a UVLA costs only about four or five cents per gram, which equates to less than $2.25 per 100 lbs. of wax (just over two cents per one pound candle).
Altering Melting Point of Waxes
Candle makers have been using stearic acid for well over 150 years as a way to increase the melting point of lower-melt-point waxes. With a melt point of 150⁰F, stearic acid is a fatty acid that is available in two types. Regular stearic acid is great for use in paraffin candles, while its vegetable counterpart, palm stearic, is great for use with soy waxes. Another popular additive is Micro 180, which is a microcrystalline wax. Used in concentrations of anywhere from 2-10%, Micro 180 can help eliminate saggy candles even in very hot weather. A word of caution: Any additives that you introduce may alter the appearance or burn properties of your candles, so you will need to test the results of these additives to know how your finished candles will appear and/or perform.
Setting Holiday Goals
If you have a candle-making business, one of your most important goals this summer likely is to make sure you are ready for the holiday season. Although it is still months away, with necessary lead times being what they are for your supply chain, you will need to begin getting your fall line together in the coming weeks. Now is the ideal time to start looking at new glassware, testing new fragrances and lining up orders for both. Black Friday is only 155 days away.
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Why are there so many different types of molds for making pillar candles?
Hi. I'm Chandler.We like to narrow the selection to three basic materials: aluminum, polycarbonate and polyurethane. Each of these materials is good for certain types of candles.

Aluminum molds are great for making standard round and square candles. Available in standard sizes, they are seamless, are competitively priced, add a nice finish to the candle and generally allow the candle to release easily. However, due to tooling costs associated with producing aluminum molds, creating many different shapes and sizes is not practical.

Polycarbonate molds are great for creating candles in unique shapes and sizes. They are made of durable plastic and result in an excellent finish on the candle.

Polyurethane - This material is in the same family as silicone and is very well suited for novelty, figurine and custom candles. The most popular finished candles using polyurethane molds are tapers. They are available in lengths from 6-12 inches.
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