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Troubleshooting- Tips & Tricks When Making Soy Wax Candles

Posted on 28 February 2017

Super Creamy soy wax is our best-selling wax because it is so easy to use, and performs exceptionally, when used correctly.

We sell this wax by the pallet to many commercial candle companies, and have received great feedback and reorders.

I too, am a passionate candle maker and have made hundreds of soy candles using Super Creamy wax. So, we certainly consider this wax thoroughly tested.

However, we strongly recommend testing products on a small scale first to ensure you get the right results. As our products are natural, there can be variations from using different waxes and different fragrances. They may perform differently from what you have experienced in the past, and as such your formulations may need to be slightly adjusted.

Soy waxes are not all the same. Not all soy waxes are 100% natural. Many contain unnatural/unhealthy additives like paraffin wax sourced from petroleum, unethically sourced palm wax - causing deforestation issues around the world and even tallow wax (rendered fat of animals)

They often state that their additives are natural, but don’t list what they are? This raises many red flags for me.

Our 100% natural soy waxes are hydrogenated and formulated to exact specifications so they may perform differently from other soy waxes containing additives.

As your dealing with natural products, not synthetics, never assume that what works for another brand of soy wax and brand of candle fragrance oil will be the same without thoroughly testing. 

OVERHEATING OUR SOY WAXES MAY CONTRIBUTE TO ALL THE PROBLEMS LISTED BELOW 

  • Melt the soy wax in a pot with a thick bottom on a very low heat, until it turns into its liquid form - approx. 40 degrees. Using the microwave to melt soy wax will often cause problems and affect the look of the finished product. As you are not able to control the heat. Overheating soy wax by either pot or microwave will change the chemistry of the soy wax and may cause the soy wax to separate.

(I once forgot about a batch of soy wax on the stove, and it came to the boil.  I left the wax to see what would happen to it? It set to an almost desert like finish with highs lows and shiny spots. After hours of trolling through the internet, I found  a solution. I managed to recover the overheated soy wax, by adding 50 gms of shea butter per kg to the soy wax. This returned the soy wax to the required creamy finish. If the temperature fluctuations are too much for me to manage, I add some shea butter to my final, top pour to avoid any issues. 

  • When adding fragrance always take a few minutes to stir the candle fragrance thoroughly through the soy wax. If not mixed thoroughly this may cause separation and the fragrance may leach from the wax. If the fragrance is added to soy wax to hot it will burn off leaving a barley there scent. 
  • Bubbling - Make sure the first pour wax is not cold, as the change in temperature by adding warm soy from the second pour will cause bubbles to come to the candle surface and affect the finished look of your soy candle.
  • Frosting (candles turning white) - Pouring your candles at too hot of a temperature (Pour soy wax at the coolest possible temperature). Many factors affect the formation of frosting such as fragrance, dye pour temperature, cooling temperature, and storage temperature. Typically an easy fix with a heat gun.
  • Rough lumpy candle tops - caused by pouring the soy wax at a temperature that’s too hot for the wax. Always pour your soy wax at the coolest possible temperature.
  • Always ensure, that the first pour is hard enough to leave a finger mark in the soy wax, before completing the second pour. Otherwise, the heat of the new soy wax will cause the semi set soy wax from the first pour to come up to the surface of your soy candle. This causes a lumpy curdled effect.
  • Cooling too quickly or too slowly - In this heat, I recommend using a fan to keep the candle pouring room temperature constant. Also, keep a 5 - 6cm space between the jars to allow them to cool evenly. When the temperature is cold it may cause the soy wax to crack. Always keep your work space at an even temperature. Place newspaper or cardboard down to insulate jars/containers from stone or granite counter tops that can cause uneven cooling during cooler months. 

If it’s your first time making candles, or you're having an issue don’t worry? Most problems can be easily fixed. Another tip I learned years ago, is to use a heat gun (Bunnings sell theses for under $30 a great investment - or you can carefully use your hairdryer only with the diffuser) to re-melt the candle surface back to its liquid form allowing it to reset to a smooth finish.

The look of the candles won’t affect the scent throw or performance, as soon as you light the candle it will return to a liquid wax pool. When it rehardens it will be to a smooth finish. However, if you're gifting your soy candles you can add a small amount of shea butter (50gms of shea butter per 1 kg of soy wax) to the top pour to ensure a smooth creamy finish every time. A great way of not having to manage all the environmental factors that mother nature throws at us :)

  • Mushrooming wicks this occurs with most natural wicks (Just remind your customers to always retrim the wick before relighting to 1.5cm).
  • Too much smoke? – Generally caused by too large a wick or the candle is sitting in a draft. (drafts supply more oxygen than the wick can burn off, causing incomplete combustion). 

If you need some advice, or just want to talk something through please just give me a call :)

Good luck and happy crafting,

Nicole

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