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January 18, 2017

2017 in Full Swing

January 2017
The year 2017 is in full swing these days, and, if your New Year's resolution was to improve your candle business, we believe you have come to the right place. The Enlightener is a great place to find ideas to improve your candle line. In each issue, we focus on a relevant topic in candle making for our avid readers. We thank those of you who read our newsletter regularly and those reading The Enlightener for the first time. We hope this issue will help you make better candles in 2017.

It's no secret that the candle market is flooded with container and jar candles. That's because these candles are easy to make, smell great, and are relatively easy to maintain if you want to create multiple brands using different labels. Every candle maker is faced with the challenge of creating more revenue for various reasons, whether it is at the crafting level to fuel his or her hobby, or at a manufacturing level to meet next week's payroll. One way to gain new customers and increase sales is to offer new and unique candles that are not offered by your competition. This easily can be achieved by learning how to make freestanding or pillar candles using a variety of mold techniques.

According to the National Candle Association, candle users say they most frequently burn candles in the living room (42%), followed by the kitchen (18%) and the bedroom (13%). One may assume that aesthetics are important in the living room, and creating beautifully unique pillars that burn cleanly could be a great way to increase sales. The following tips and tricks should help you with increasing your freestanding candle offerings.
This style of mold is normally available in the most common size candles in the market, such as 2", 3" and 4" diameters. They are available in various lengths from 3 ½" to 9 ½" tall. Aluminum molds also are commonly used for 3" and 4" inch square pillars. Aluminum molds allow elevated pouring temperatures, which, for palm wax or beeswax, results in the best finish on your candles. The downside of using aluminum molds is that they're generally not available in other sizes, such as 3 ½" diameter, or unique shapes, such as stars, that you sometimes find with other candles.

Note: With aluminum molds, the bottom of the mold becomes the top of the candle.
  • Aluminum molds are heat resistant, durable, and leave no ugly seams in the finished candle. Finished candles are professional looking and have an extremely smooth finish.
  • Fragrance will not break down an aluminum mold, and, with general maintenance, your aluminum molds should last for many pours.
  • If you are using rubber plugs to seal the wick holes, place your molds on two parallel strips of wood or other material that allows you to keep the molds level. The tops of the molds can be secured with bow tie clips or wick bars.
  • Adjust the pouring temperature to achieve different effects. If candles are not de-molding easily, try raising the pouring temperature a bit.
Polyurethane molds are great when you want to make unique shapes or designs. They are also the most common way to create tapered candles. The material is very smooth, and in, most instances, candles can slide out easier. Below are some ways to make candle making easier when using these molds.
  • Leave an extra few feet of wick coming from the bottom of the mold. This way, fresh wick comes up through the wick hole when you remove the finished candle, eliminating the need to push wick through the tiny hole for the next candle.
  • You can carefully trim the mold down the sides or where needed with a sharp razor blade.
  • Rub a very small amount of petrolatum on the mold's seam to help smooth it.
  • While you are rubbing the petrolatum on the seam, use the opportunity to verify that you have the mold correctly aligned.
  • Use picture wire or a D-string from a mandolin to help you wick the mold the same way you would thread a needle.
Polycarbonate molds are the most common choice when you want completely unique and different types of designs. The problem, however, is that using palm waxes and highly scented candles can abbreviate the life of these molds. To get the most of them, consider some of the tips below.
  • Be sure to use the correct wax, designed for free-standing candles. If you use the wrong wax or the incorrect pouring temperature, cleaning your molds may be difficult.
  • If wax temperature exceeds 200 ⁰F, do not pour wax into the mold, or damage to the mold may occur.
  • Do not use palm wax in these molds. When using paraffin, do not use heavy fragrance loads.
  • Remember, in most instances, your customer is purchasing these candles for their unique shape and design.
  • When using these molds, wick sizing can be tricky. In most instances, you should plan on sizing the wick so that your candles will burn properly at the narrowest points. Otherwise the candle will burn too quickly at these points.
Technically, the votive cup candle is not a free-standing candle, because the candle, when burning, must be placed in a container. However, votives are poured into molds, and, unlike a traditional pillar mold, the top of the mold is the top of the candle. These molds, being steel, allow for higher pouring temperatures and are very resistant to fragrances.
  • Our newly designed votive pin works great with these molds
  • These molds can withstand higher temperatures.
Are clamshells/melts hard to make?
Hi. I'm Chandler.One of the most rapidly growing segments of the candle market might be the candle melts that many call clamshells. These are a great addition to any candle line, because you can purchase the clamshell, pour directly into the plastic mold and apply a label, and you have a product ready to go market. Many waxes can work with these, but, ideally, the CBL-129 is the best one to use. This wax holds high a fragrance load, allows easy release from the mold for the customer and comes in vibrant colors. If you have not tried making clam shells, there is not a better time than now. We're offering our customers 50 free clamshells, with any order of $125 from now until January 29, 2017, so you can see how easy they can be!
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