Six Helpful Facts for Budding Candle Makers

Candle making can be tricky, but like most crafts, practice makes perfect. At New Zealand Candle Supplies we get asked a lot of questions about the ins and outs of making a sellable candle, so here are our six helpful tips to consider when on your candle making journey. 

1) Different waxes and dyes will have different effects on your final product 

Like any ingredient-based craft, candle making is both an art and a science. It can be fun to test different variations when creating your final product, but keep in mind that like all creations the amount of each ingredient you use will affect how your candle turns out. 

The three main ingredients when it comes to candles are wax, colours and fragrance. But first let's focus on the first two.

When it comes to making candles, picking the right wax is paramount. If you haven’t already read our handy guide on picking the right wax for you. Once you have chosen your wax, picking the colour and dye type will also affect your overall style. 

Solid or liquid colour dyes are the best choice for candles. If you’re using dye chips, which are made up of synthetic colourants suspended in a paraffin base. For a medium shade of a colour (like red, blue, yellow, etc.), start with 5gms per 1kg of wax.

If you're using liquid dye, 1 pound of dye for 2000 pounds of wax. Now since most of you make candles on a much smaller scale, this is equivalent to using about 7 or 8 drops of colour per pound of wax. 

Note that the more dye you use, the more vibrant your colours will be. However too much dye will interfere with the performance of the wick and the burn ability of the candle. So make sure you’re testing your colour batches, letting them cure and testing their burn rate before deciding to add more colour next time. 

2) Less is more when it comes to fragrance 

When it comes to fragrance, remember that often less is more. It can be exciting to throw in your favourite scents on your quest to make a truly unique-to-you scent, but this can confuse the oils, often resulting in something over-powerful and not at all pleasant. 

Choosing and fragrancing your candles is a super fun part of creating your products, so we recommend starting off small. As a rule of thumb, 30mls of fragrance for 300gms of wax.

However once you start you can play around with the fragrance load and get to a point where you’re happy with the scent throw. 

3) Not every wick is suitable for every container 

Unsurprisingly, not every wick is perfect for every candle. There are many wicks in many sizes, and the sizes correspond to a certain size of container. Get the wrong size wick and your candle won’t burn right. 

The rule here starts with the numbers, you’ll likely see four numbers when selecting a wick: Burn Diameter, Wick Length, Diameter and Tab Height. These all provide useful guidance for the candle product you're looking to make. 

A good starting point for testing is to measure the diameter of your container and match this to the burn diameter of your wick. 

Also a very common mistake for a beginner candle maker is not anchoring your wick. The metal tabs you can place at the end of your wick are only meant to keep the wick from being pulled out of the candle but that doesn’t guarantee it will stay in place. Try our wick stickums to keep everything in place.

Check out our Wick Guide to use as a reference before planning your purchase.

4) Think about label adhesion and heat! 

So believe it or not, heat resistant labels for candles are a must have when it comes to your creations. Just as the custom labels on bath and body products must be waterproof to stand up to water and oil exposure, candles need heat proof labels that will remain safe when exposed to high temperatures. 

This is mostly something to consider when choosing to design and get your own personal labels made for your candles. When using vistaprint or anything along those lines, assuring your have heat resistant labels is paramount to the success of your creation. Or, for ease just have a look at our labels here

5) The curing process is important - Don’t rush it! 

Although it might be tempting to light your candle as soon as it sets, don’t! There is an important curing stage many candle makers forget. 

Allowing your candle to cure, or rest, for several days before burning for the first time will allow the soy wax and fragrance molecules to fully bind together. Cure times are recommended at a minimum of 3-4 days and a maximum of 2 weeks. 

You may also be tempted to put your candle in the refrigerator. While you will be anxious for your candle to set up completely, putting your candle in the refrigerator will speed up the cooling process but can "hurt" your candle in a few different ways. 

It can cause the glass to crack or shatter, make the wax shrink up and create wet spots or sink holes, and even weaken the scent throw. Try to let your candle cool down as slowly as possible to avoid all of these potential problems. 

6) Practice makes perfect!

As much as you may want to start your candle making process head first, don’t be disheartened when learning the ropes takes time. Like any craft, practice makes perfect, so have fun with trial and error and enjoy the learning process!

However, if you’re like me and would rather run a few experiments first, try our beginners candle making kit. The perfect option for those wanting to give it a crack without wanting to overstock on products.

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