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Candle Making Help

Candle Making 101

Choosing the Right Wick

Fragrances in Candle Making

Candle Troubleshooting

What supplies do I need to I need to get started?

If you’re new to candle making you will need some basic supplies.  These are the items you’ll need to make your first candle:

Wax

For container candles use GW464 or KeraSoy

For pillar candles use Pillar Wax

Wick

The correct wick depends on a variety of factors. Check out our Wick Guide for full details on selecting the right wick.

Container or Mould

You can choose from a range of glass, ceramic or tins.

For free-standing candles we have a range of seamless pillar moulds.

Fragrance

We have a huge range of fragrance oils to choose from. There is no right or wrong fragrance, pick one you love!

Colour

We have a range of candle dye blocks.

Wick Stickers

These little dots keep your wick stuck to the jar.

Wick Holders

Keep the wick centered and stop it from falling over.

Warning Labels

These provide burning and safety instructions.

Thermometer

To measure the temperate of your wax.

Candle Making 101

Fragrances in Candle Making

Click to view our soy candle instructions

Which wax to use depends on what type of candle you want to make.

Container Candles
GW464 Soy Wax – our standard soy wax
KeraSoy – our premium soy wax
Coconut Apricot Wax – specialty blend

Pillar Candles
Uniwax 5501 Pillar Wax

Wax Melts
Uniwax 5501 Pillar Wax

You can check out our wax comparison chart for more details

Wick size depends on a variety of factors. We’ve got a full guide on choosing the right wick here.

If you purchased your jars from our website you can find how much wax to use in the product description.

If you’ve found some cute jars somewhere else and don’t know how much wax to use to fill the jar, there are a few basic steps to figure this out.

  1. Place the empty jar on some kitchen scales and hit TARE
  2. While the jar is still on the scale, fill with water to about 1cm below the top of the jar, or where you’d like your candle to fill – make note of the weight on the scale.
  3. You now have your “fill line” measurement. In this example our fill line says 280 grams on the scale.
  4. Decide how much fragrance you will use, in this example we will be using a 10% fragrance load.
  5. Calculate the fragrance usage rate by multiplying the fill line x fragrance load. For example 280 x 0.10 = 28ml of fragrance.
  6. Next, subtract the fragrance from the fill line weight. 280 – 28 = 252 grams.
  7. Finally, we have to do one last calculation. Take the number from the last step and multiply by 0.86.

252 x 0.86 = 217 grams (number rounded for ease)

You need 217 grams of wax to make a candle in your jar.

I know that seems like A LOT of math which is why we’ve got this super handy calculator! All you need is your fill line weight and to decide how much fragrance to use and we’ll do the math for you.

We’ve found over years of testing, the optimum range of fragrance load to be 6-7% to get a nice medium strength scented candle.

 

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when deciding on how much fragrance to use:

  1. What is the maximum fragrance load for the wax you are using? You can find this information on our wax comparison chart.
  2. Are there any IFRA restrictions? Most fragrances are safe to use in candles up to 100%, but there are a couple that have usage restrictions. Every fragrance we sell will give you the recommended usage rate on the label of the fragrance, and on the website in the description.

To calculate how much fragrance you need to make a candle you can simply use the Wax Calculator above. Once you enter your container fill line weight and desired fragrance load the calculator will tell you how much wax and fragrance is required. If you are making more than one candle, just multiply the amounts by the number of candles you’re making.

Each wax has its own melt point which you can find on the wax comparison chart. However we’ve found melting any of the waxes we stock to 80-85°C works best. This also ensures you can add the fragrance oil at the optimum temperature.

Adding the fragrance at the correct temperature ensures the fragrance will bind correctly to the wax. This ensures your candle will have great fragrance throw.

We’ve found adding the fragrance as soon as you’ve melted the wax at 80-85°C is the optimal temperature to bind the wax and fragrance together and create a great candle. Make sure you stir the fragrance into the wax well – stir for 1-2 minutes to give it the best possible chance to bind to the wax.

There are two different methods for melting wax:

Double Boiler

1. Fill a large pot about half full with water and bring to a simmer on the stove top.

2. Add your wax to a smaller, heat safe container and put that container inside the larger pot.

3. Melt the wax to 80-85°C then add colour if desired.

4. Remove from heat and add fragrance.

Make sure your large pot doesn’t run out of water – add more as needed to prevent complete evaporation.

 

Microwave

1. Add wax to a microwave safe container or pouring jug.

2. Melt on high in 30 second bursts until the wax has reached 80-85°C. Stir between bursts.

3. Once wax has melted add colour and fragrance.

Each wax has an optimal pour temperature to give you the best results.
GW464 60-65°C
KeraSoy 4130 45-55°C
Uniwax 5501 75-80°C
Coconut Apricot Wax 68-76°C
 
No it is not recommended. Crayons are made from pigments that aren’t intended to be burned and although the candle might look fine, it might have issues with burning properly. We have a range of dyes that are specifically formulated for candle making.

To calculate how long your candle will burn for there are a couple of steps

Determine Pre-burn Weight

1. Weigh the original container (empty – before you make a candle in it).
2. Weigh the new, unburned candle.
3. Subtract the original jar weight from the unburned candle weight. This is your “pre-burn weight”

Post-burn Weight

1. Light the candle and allow it to burn for four hours. This must be four continuous hours – no stopping and starting.
2. After four hours, blow the candle out, let it cool completely, then weigh the candle again.
3. Subtract the original jar weight from the burned candle weight. This is your “post-burn weight”

Determine Hourly Burn Rate

Pre-burn rate – Post-burn rate / 4 (hours burnt) = Hourly burn rate

Determine Total Candle Burn Time

Pre-burn rate / Hourly burn rate = Total candle burn time

Don’t worry, I know that could be confusing, that’s why we’ve got another handy calculator to help you calculate burn time.

 

Essential oils (EO) are 100% natural. They are made from plant material most commonly by either steam distillation or pressing/expelling. These are classed as natural ingredients.

However, we don’t recommend using essential oils in candles for a few reasons:

  1. Most EOs have a low flash point which means they will burn off when you light the candle so you won’t get much scent throw.
  2. Some EOs can be toxic – especially to pets and children.
  3. They can be expensive – especially when you will get very little scent from a candle containing EOs!

Fragrance oils are made from a mixture of synthetic ingredients and natural ingredients. That’s why you can get thousands of different fragrances that aren’t possible with essential oils.

All our fragrances have been tested extensively and have IFRA certification. Our fragrances come from two of the worlds leading fragrance manufacturers based in the USA. All our fragrances are safe to use in candles.

Getting a better scent throw is one of the most commonly asked questions, there are a couple of tricks you can follow to try and maximise the fragrance strength in your candle:

  1. Add the fragrance at the optimal temperature of 80-85°C and make sure you stir well for 1-2 minutes so it binds properly to the wax.
  2. Use the correct wick size.
  3. How big is the room the candle is burning in? Often people complain they can barely smell their candle, while forgetting they have a travel sized tin burning in a large living room. The bigger the room, the bigger the candle needs to be. It doesn’t matter if you use the maximum amount of fragrance oil in a candle – it still won’t smell very strong if it’s in a large/open area.
  4. Let your candle cure. 1 – 2 weeks is the optimal time for curing.
  5. Don’t over-fragrance. Make sure you’re not using more than the maximum fragrance load for your particular wax. Despite what many people may thing, adding more fragrance won’t necessarily make your candle smell stronger.

Sure! Mixing fragrances yourself is the perfect way to get a “custom blend”. The candle market is full of Vanilla or French Pear candles, why not get creative and make your own unique scent.

The easiest way to get started with fragrance blending is to go by drops.

For instance, if I wanted to make a coconut, pineapple and strawberry blend I could start out with:

1 drop coconut
1 drop pineapple
1 drop strawberry
Result: The pineapple was way too strong and I could barely smell the coconut or strawberry

Second attempt:

3 drops coconut
1 drop pineapple
2 drop strawberry
Result: Much better!

Now I have my blend I can mix this up into a larger bottle so I need to translate drops into millilitres.

To fill a 500ml bottle with my custom blend I would use:

250ml Coconut (3 parts)
83ml Pineapple (1 part)
167ml Strawberry (2 parts)

It depends. Many of our fragrances contain natural ingredients such as vanillin, citrus oils and spices. These can all cause discolouration – over time and exposure to sunlight you may notice your candle turning yellow – brown.

There’s nothing wrong with your candle or the fragrance, this is just a natural occurance when using certain fragrances.

Try to keep your candles out of sunlight by storing in a cool dark place and using lids where possible.

We’ve got a handy guide and calculator you can find here to help you figure out how much fragrance to use.

Our bestselling fragrances can change over time depending on what’s currently “in” or on trend, but these fragrances are consistently in our top five.

  1. Black Raspberry & Vanilla
  2. French Pear
  3. Coconut Lime
  4. French Lavender
  5. Wild Frangipani

You can see a more complete list of our bestsellers here

Candle Troubleshooting

Firstly, what are wet spots?

“Wet spots” aren’t actually wet. It’s just the name we call the area on a candle where the wax has pulled away from the jar, creating a kind of bubble. This can happen in a small spot, or to a large area of the jar (as pictured).

There are a couple of things you can do to try and prevent this happening:

  1. Warm your glassware up prior to pouring. Placing them on a low heat in the oven works well. They don’t need to be hot – you should still be able to hold them with your hands, just take the chill out of the glass.
  2. Make sure your work room isn’t too cold. Soy wax can be finicky with temperature. The ideal ambient room temperature is 20 – 22°C.
  3. Raise your pour temperature. Wet spots can occur when the wax cools to fast. Try increasing the wax temperature so the candle can cool slower.
  4. Try cooling your candles on a wire baking rack. This will ensure even air flow around the sides and bottom of the candle.

Unfortunately once you get a wet spot there really isn’t a lot you can do to fix it. Take a look at any candle, even in high end stores, and you’ll very likely see this occurrence. It’s completely common, and doesn’t affect how your candle burns in any way.

If all else fails you can try one of our coloured glass jars or tins!

Getting a better scent throw is one of the most commonly asked questions, there are a couple of tricks you can follow to try and maximise the fragrance strength in your candle:

  1. Add the fragrance at the optimal temperature of 80-85°C and make sure you stir well for 1-2 minutes so it binds properly to the wax.
  2. Use the correct wick size.
  3. How big is the room the candle is burning in? Often people complain they can barely smell their candle, while forgetting they have a travel sized tin burning in a large living room. The bigger the room, the bigger the candle needs to be. It doesn’t matter if you use the maximum amount of fragrance oil in a candle – it still won’t smell very strong if it’s in a large/open area.
  4. Let your candle cure. 1 – 2 weeks is the optimal time for curing.
  5. Don’t over-fragrance. Make sure you’re not using more than the maximum fragrance load for your particular wax. Despite what many people may thing, adding more fragrance won’t necessarily make your candle smell stronger.

Lumpy or cracked tops are usually caused by various temperature issues. When the candle cools too quickly it can suck down the wax on top causing pitting or cracking.

Try these tips to help prevent imperfect tops:

  1. Increase pour temperature by 2-3°C
  2. Ensure your glassware is warm. Hot wax hitting a cold jar isn’t ideal.
  3. Use a wire cooling rack so your candles can cool evenly on all sides.
  4. Don’t stir the wax too vigorously before pouring. You don’t want to introduce too much air. Once you pour your candle give the side of the candle a light tap, this will force any air bubbles to the surface before the candle sets.

If your tops still aren’t smooth after following these tips, you can do a double pour to cover the surface of the candle (about 5mm should be sufficient) or you can use a heat gun to gently melt the top of the candle.

Frosting looks like tiny white snow flakes on the surface of a candle. It’s usually much more noticeable on coloured candles because of the contrasting colours.

It’s a completely natural by-product of using natural wax. That’s how you know you’re using high quality soy wax. This is a purely aesthetic issue and won’t affect how your candle burns at all.

Just like the other issues you can face when making candles, there are a few things you can do to try and lessen the extent of frosting.

  1. Ensure your glassware has been heated. This will also help with wet spots and cracked or lumpy tops.
  2. Try pouring at a lower temperature. Start out 2 – 3°C lower than you normally would. For most other troubleshooting issues we raise the pouring temperature, so if you’re having multiple problems you may need to choose a middle ground in pouring temperature to ensure you get the best results.
  3. Try adding some universal additive. Use 0.5% of UA to wax by weight. This can also help with lumpy tops and fragrance retention.
  4. Don’t make coloured candles. While frosting still happens to un-coloured candles, it isn’t nearly as noticeable. Instead opt for one of our pretty coloured jars. This will hide any frosting on the sides of the candle and you won’t see wet spots either!
We’ve got a handy guide and calculator you can find here to help you figure out how much fragrance to use.

This is called “tunneling” and it usually happens when your wick is too small.

Your candle should create a full melt pool within 2-4 hours of being lit. Depending on how narrow the tunnel is (how much wax is left around the sides) you may need to go up several wick sizes.

We have a handy wick guide and we also give wick recommendations for all our jars, however things like fragrance, fragrance load and dyes can affect wick sizing. That’s why you should always conduct a test burn.

Memory Burn

There is also something called “memory burn”. This is the first time your candle is lit and burned. This first burn creates the initial melt pool. If you blow your candle out too soon during the first burn and your candle hasn’t had a chance to melt all the way to the edges, the next time you light the candle it will keep burning down that same diameter hole, wasting wax.

For example: if you have a candle 100mm in diameter, but only let it burn for one hour, so it only created a melt pool of 50mm. Next time you light the candle it will keep burning down that 50mm hole.

Note this only applies to the first burn – once you create that initial melt pool you can burn your candle for shorter periods in the future.

This is why it’s important to give your customers good candle care instructions. They may think your candle is faulty because it is tunneling, but 9 times out of 10 it’s due to poor memory burn.

Mushrooming refers to the blob shaped form that can happen at the top of the candle wick after burning. It’s a buildup of carbon that can happen when the wick size is too large for the candle.

Some wicks, such as the CDN series are more prone to mushrooming than our ECO series.

If mushrooming is occurring along with blackening on the inside of the jar (soot buildup) then that is a pretty good indication that the wick is too large for the jar. Try going down one wick size and re-test.

You should also ensure you include instructions in your candle care to trim the wick after each use.

Use a wick sticker to adhere the wick to the bottom of the jar, then use a wick holder to keep the wick upright and centered.

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