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March 21, 2018

Candle Making Unique Terms

The 'En-Light-ener' Candle Making Newsletter
March 2018
This time of year, many of us are hearing terms like "Bubble Teams," "Cinderella Team," "Bracketology," "Sweet Sixteen," and "Final Four." Many of these phrases and discussions only seem to occur in March and April. To those not following the NCAA basketball tournament, the terms or references may not take on much meaning. Those new to candle making may experience a similar situation. Terms, phrases and definitions are not always the same as you would think in regard to making candles.

In past issues, we've highlighted some of the terms associated with candle making, but there are also some additional unique terms or "rules" that apply to the candle industry. As you become more seasoned in making candles, you, too, will be using these terms or phrases on a regular basis.

One of the first things that seems to trip people up when they're making container candles is sorting out the size of the container. The glassware industry always measures a container's liquid capacity when it's filled to the top. When making candles, you do not fill the glass to the top with wax, and wax weighs less than water, so your container will not hold the capacity listed on the box. It is important to weigh the glass empty, fill the container to the desired level, weigh it again, and subtract the weight of the glass. This will give you the weight of the wax to list on your label.
Fragrance Load, or scent load, is especially important in candle making. In general, scent load refers to the percentage of fragrance placed in the wax. Scent load can run anywhere from 1 percent up to — and, in some instances, exceed — 10 percent. This translates as: 1 ounce of scent to 1 pound of wax results in a 5 percent scent load. However, these rules should only be used as a point of reference, since fragrances can be of differing qualities depending on the source of the fragrance. Another important fact to be aware of in the candle market is that fragrances are sold by weight, not by liquid volume. To achieve the best results, you should weigh everything.
Double scented/Triple Scented — When these terms are used, they’re generally associated with the marketing of candles. There is not an industry point of reference as to what constitutes double and triple scented, but the implication is that the candles have a 10 percent, maybe even 12 percent, fragrance load. Without a point of reference as to what standard "scenting" is, the terms double scented or triple scented do not reference anything specific. They simply suggest to the consumer that there is a lot of fragrance in the candle.

You also may come across the term "burn rate." This is the amount of wax that is consumed in one hour of burning with a specific wick. However, without some type of base, the burn rate is difficult to evaluate.
"Melt Point" — In general, waxes are sold based on the melt point of the wax. The type of candle you plan on making will determine which melt point wax to use. For best results with any candle making project, it is best to stay within these ranges: container candles, 120-129⁰F; votives, 129-134⁰F; pillars, 134-148⁰F; tapers, 140-145⁰F; and novelties and hurricane candles, 150-160⁰F.
"Blended waxes" offer a great way to start your candle making. The first component beginners choose is the wax: natural, straight paraffin or a blend. A blend is always a great way for a beginner to start, because it generally has all of the additives needed. With blends, all you need to do is melt the wax, add your color/fragrance, and pour. Blends are also generally formulated to hold a significant fragrance load, in some instances close to 8-10 percent.
"Hybrid Wax" is generally one that has both a natural component and paraffin component. Many candle makers like to make natural candles but cannot always achieve the desired performance using only natural waxes. Some will add some paraffin wax to improve the candle’s fragrance throw, raise the melt point, or improve the burn. There is no assigned percentage or type, but most candle makers will call anything with natural wax and paraffin wax hybrid wax.
"Sweating" — You may hear this term in the upcoming tournament, but candles can also sweat. All waxes will reach a point where they cannot hold any more fragrance, and the fragrance will start to bleed out of the candle. Many refer to this as sweating. It is important to note that some people incorrectly will think that this sweating is the color bleeding out of the candle. In reality, it is the fragrance, but the fragrance is pulling the color with it. Depending on the wax you are using, vybar can resolve this issue. Also, cutting back on the fragrance used will keep this from occurring.
Loss Leader — This involves a retailer selling an item below cost to drive traffic to his or her store in hopes that people will also buy higher-margin items.
ROI (Return on Investment) — This is the percentage of return you get from investing in advertising, equipment, or other areas to help your business grow. This is a common term used these days when referring to pay-per-click advertising used in online marketing.

As with any new craft, hobby, or interest, there are definitely new terms and processes that you need to learn and understand. We hope that The Enlightener, the Candlewic website and our instructional videos can help you learn the candle-making process much faster.
"Frosting" is generally associated with a natural wax candle that was poured too hot or to which too much fragrance has been added. The frosted candle generally looks like white powdered sugar. Some may refer to the white spots or moisture in the jar as frosting, but the fix for each issue is different. Determining which one it is can be challenging. The frosting can be controlled by adjusting your temperature, generally by lowering the pouring temperature. If this does not fix the problem, you may want to look at the fragrance load to resolve the issue. Most people see the frosting go away after adjusting pouring temperatures and/or reducing fragrance loads. The moisture issue can be resolved by preheating the jar with a dry heat.
Here are some of the most frequent questions I receive when customers are using paraffins or blends:
Can I use a 141°F melt point wax to make jar candles?
In most instances, any type of paraffin wax can be poured into a container to create a candle that looks good. The problem with using a higher melt point wax in any container is that it becomes difficult for a single wick to burn in the container. In most instances, if you use a melt point as high as 141°F, the largest "burning" diameter when using a 60-44-18 zinc wick will be approximately 2-1/2" to 3". Also, because of the oil contents in the low melt point waxes, they have the ability to deliver better fragrance throw.
Can I use a 121°F melt point wax to make pillars? 
Definitely not. The 121°F melt point is too low of a melt point for pillar candles, and, when making 3" x 6 ½" and other similar-sized candles, the candle can sag and lean, creating a dangerous situation. The lowest we would reasonably say you could use is a 130°F melt point wax for a pillar, although this is not the ideal one to use.
Why does my "One Pour Wax" shrink?
Unfortunately these waxes are not always one pours. In most instances, if the candle is under 12 ounces (plus or minus), you should not need to top it off if you're following the proper pouring temperatures. However, if you are pouring when the wax is too hot, usually above 150°F, or if the container is bigger than 12 ounces, you will experience some shrinkage in the candle.
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