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Candle Wax


Candle Making Instructions
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Learn To Make Floating Candles Using Wax Crystals
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Before I begin I wanted to mention a few things. Candle Wax melting point and flashpoint can vary by manufacturer and batch, so always read the manufacturers information supplied with your wax when purchasing.

There are also different types of wax within each group, so for instance, you can buy several types of paraffin wax with different melting points. If candles are going into a warm room or into a higher temperature climate, the higher the melting point the longer your candle will last. When adding coloration and/or fragrances, the melting point of your wax will change since the wax is no longer pure; so make sure to ask what the effects are prior to purchasing.



Paraffin Candle Wax

Paraffin is a petroleum based candle wax. It tends to be less expensive than other forms of wax and comes in chunks or powder form. You can buy the wax precolored or you can buy the wax in a neutral color and your own color. This is the most popular type of candle wax used.

Of interest - Candle wax is rocket science: Paraffin fuels test launch

http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2003/november5/rocketwax-115.html

Beeswax

Beeswax Candle wax is made from the wax bees use in their hives. Beeswax can be bought in several forms including flat & honeycomb sheets, blocks, chunks and pearls. In most cases the sheets can be bought precolored, while the chunks, blocks and pearls tend to come in their natural color. Beeswax is naturally aromatic, so it is rare that one would add fragrance.

The wax is quite sticky, and has a low melting point. When one is making candles from the sheets, the heat from your hand will make the wax pliable and easy to roll.

If you are using pure beeswax in candle molds or containers, you should consider adding a candle hardener and also be prepared to top up your molds since the wax tends to shrink quite a bit when cooling. Beeswax tends to be more expensive than paraffin wax, and you tend to get a lot of variation in color and melting point between waxes, but don't let that stop you.

Bayberry Candle Wax

Bayberry candle wax was discovered by early American colonists who were looking for an alternative to tallow, which gave off tons of soot, air pollutants and a somewhat unpleasant smell. Bayberry candle wax comes from the bayberry shrub which produces very decorative bluish grey tinged berries. There are two types of Bayberry shrubs, the Northern Bayberry (Myrica Pensylvanica) and Southern Bayberry (Myrica cerifera), both which produce the berries.

There is no need to add fragrances or coloration since this wax is naturally aromatic, and dries to a very nice olive green color. Its only drawback is that it is quite expensive since it takes anywhere from 3-15 pounds of bayberries to make 1 lb of wax, depending on growing conditions such as moisture availablity.

Soy Wax

Soy candle wax is one of the newest candle waxes out there. It is becoming popular because it is a renewable resource, biodegradable, can be melted in the microwave, and it is great for North American farmers. The wax is very soft, so you will either want to use it in a container candle, add lots of hardener and use either a larger wick or paper-cored wick.

When making your candles, you will notice quite a bit of shrinkage as it cools so you will need to add a bit more wax to level off the top. The finished candles are creamy in color.

I have seen many claims that this wax burns cleaner, with reduced carbon build up, has no pollutants and less likely to trigger allergies. While these claims are nice, I have a feeling that this is more marketing spin rather than based on hard facts since I have not been able to find any reliable third party research that has been conducted to back it up. I have contacted several candle making organizations to find out the information and am waiting for a response. When I get the information, I will update this article.

Wax Crystals

Wax crystals tend to be made from paraffin wax but I thought that I would treat this as a separate wax since no heating is required (but can be if you are making molds etc.) and thus perfect for children. The wax as the name implies comes in crystal form and can be bought in bags of various sizes at your local craft shop. The wax is premixed with color and hardeners, and prepackaged treated wicks are usually available. One of the most well known brand is Candle Magic.

Gel Wax

Gel Candle wax is used in those candles where you see bubbles within the wax. Click here to see an example. Gel candle wax is made from a combination of processed mineral oil and a gelling agent. It is clear and has a rubbery texture, but when scooping it out it, it looks somewhat like hair gel.

Gel wax candles are one of the most dangerous types of candle to make because you will find it very difficult to heat in a double boiler to reach its melting point. In every case I have had to place the wax in a pot on direct heat in order to melt it. You can't take your eyes off of this wax for a second and must closely monitor the temperature of the wax. If you reach the flashpoint you are in for an explosive surprise, so the best thing to do is start off heating it on the lowest setting and slowly increase the temperature to reach your desired heat. The longer you heat the wax, the less bubbles you get.

**I do not recommend adding any fragrances or coloration since they affect the melting point and flashpoint.

Jelly Candle Wax

This is another simple wax for kids to use. It looks and feels exactly like hair gel and comes in squeezable tubes. They come pre colored and pre scented. I use them in tealights.

Starburst Wax

I don't recommend this wax for beginners since it is used for decorating your candle rather than as the prime ingredient. Lots of testing is required! Once you have made your candle and let it completely cooled (don't trim the wick yet because you need to hold onto it hold onto it) , dip your candle into the melted starburst wax quickly and watch snowflake like patterns appear. The wax is fairly expensive but a little goes a long way since it is used as a coating.

Microcrystalline Wax

This is an additive for candle wax to add rigidity to tapers, help wax adhere to the walls of the container, and reduce or eliminate mottling in pillars.

 

 

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