Candle Making FAQ

Since I've started this website, I've gotten tons of questions from beginner candle makers about how to perfect their craft. I've decided to compile a list of these questions to help anyone getting started in candle making!

What is a double boiler and why do I need one to melt wax?

When you're melting wax you always want to use a double boiler type setup. The purpose of a double boiler is to avoid placing the wax on direct heat. When you place wax on direct heat it can get too hot, too quickly and cause a fire hazard.

A double boiler can consist of simply one pot inside of another pot with an inch or two of water in the bottom pot.

Many candle makers make their double boilers by placing a pouring pot inside of another old pot and again placing a an inch or two of water in the bottom pot.

What are the benefits of using a pouring pot?

Many candle makers can't live without their pouring pots and there's a couple of good reasons.

  1. You don't have to ruin your good pots for candle making. It's hard to get wax out of pots that have any kind of teflon-like, non-stick surface. Once you use a pot for melting wax, you probably wouldn't want to cook food.
  2. You don't have to ruin your good pots for candle making. It's hard to get wax out of pots that have any kind of teflon-like, non-stick surface. Once you use a pot for melting wax, you probably wouldn't want to cook food.
  3. Pouring pots have a nice spout which makes it easy to pour wax into your mold or container. This is nice given the fact that you are working with hot wax and you don't want to spill it.

Can I microwave wax to melt wax for candle making?

You should not use a microwave to melt wax. Microwave heat in such a way that certain areas get extremely hot while others are still cold. This can be very dangerous and create a fire hazard. Hot wax also splatters. This can create a mess and also create a fire hazard. You should always use a double boiler to melt your wax.

Can I use crayon shavings to add color to melted wax?

You can, but your candle will not burn properly. Using crayons to color wax tends to clog the wick up the wick so it is not recommended.

Why do I get small bubbles and pits on the outside of my pillar candles?

These bubbles form for a variety of reasons. Usually this happens when your wax sets too quickly and any air bubbles don't have a chance to escape. There's a few different things you can try to get rid of them.

  1. Heat your mold before you pour your wax. Heat guns work well for this.
  2. Try pouring your wax at a slightly higher temperature.
  3. Try using placing your mold in a warm water bath while the wax cools. This can help the wax cool more slowly and let air bubbles escape.
  4. Finally, you can try adding about 1% of vybar to your paraffin wax.

I have wicks that are 62-52-18C. What do these numbers mean?

The first number describes the wick size. The larger this number, the larger the wick.

The second number described the density of the wick. The higher this number, the tighter the braid of the wick. The tighter the braid, the lower the wax consumption.

The third number is the temperature of the wax that coats the wick.

The letter at the end of the wick number tells what the wick core is made out of. The following describes the usual letters:

Z - Zinc Core
P - Paper Core
C- Cotton Core
H - Hemp

The wick that you have would probably be used for a rather large container candle such as an 16 oz candle with a 4 inch diameter. Since there are so many different combinations of waxs, additives, wicks, and containers, the best way to find the right size wick for your candle is to do lots of testing!

What should I use to dye my candles? Chips, Blocks, or Liquid Dyes?

This really depends on personal preference, but here are some of the properties of each that I've noticed. Liquid dye is easiest to work with since you can measure it easily and get consistent results. On the other hand, it's sometimes difficult to get really vibrant colors using liquid dye. Overall liquid is good for lighter or pastel colors.

Often you can get color blocks in a wide variety of colors and using more or less of the block in your wax can get you light or very vivid colors. The problem is that it may be difficult to get consistent results everytime since it's difficult to measure how much you use.

Color chips can be an all around good choice since it's easy to measure, if you use an even number of chips. They can also produce really bright colors.

I'm having difficulty getting consistent results in my candle making. How can I improve this?

The secret to making consistently good candles is to record everything you do in your candle making. Without a record, you'll never be able to remember what you did that worked well and what didn't. Recording your steps lets you repeat your successes and avoid your mistakes. Be sure to write down some of the basic information such as:

  • The type and how much wax - Be sure to record whether you had enough wax or too much.
  • Additives - Record which additives you used and how much of each.
  • Melting and Pouring Temperature - This can really make a difference in the appearance of your candles.
  • Colors and Fragrances - Write down what type and how much colorant you used. Also record, what type and how much scent you used. Some combinations of colors and fragrances work better than others.
  • Wick - Record what type and size of wick that you used. When you test-burn your candle later, be sure to note how well the candle burned with the particular wick you chose.
  • Additional Thoughts - While you're making a candle, you may have some great ideas on how to improve your candle. Write these down so that you won't forget to give them a try next time!

Should I use candle fragrance oils or essential oils to scent my candles?

Candle fragrance oils are made specifically for scenting fragrances. As a result this makes them the best choice for scenting candles. Some people prefer to not use synthetic fragrance for their candles so they turn to essential oils. Unfortunately, very few essential oils work well in candles. Usually the fragrance will either be very weak or the candle won't burn well due to a clogged wick. As a result, we suggest that you stick with fragrance oils unless you're up for a lot of serious testing.

If you have any candle making questions you'd like answered, please submit it through our contact page and we'll answer it and add the answer here!


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