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The 30 Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Making candles can seem like a straight forward process, you melt the wax, add fragrances and colours then pour the wax into a container. However behind a beautifully made candle is hard work, experimentation and a lot of trial and error. Whether you are brand new to the craft or trying out a new wax, you are bound to have a lot of questions. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions by new or experimenting candle makers.

Wicking Candles

Wax and the candle making process

Adding fragrance to candles

Colouring Candles

What is the best wick to choose?

There are three primary types of candles wicks.

  • Cotton wicks
  • High tension paper wicks (HTP)
  • Wooden wicks

Cotton wicks are as they say, pure cotton, these are the most common wicks used by candle makers.

High tension paper wicks are also used by candle makers and burn hotter than cotton wicks. This can be helpful for waxes with a higher melting point such as beeswax candles or candles in large containers. Wooden wicks are relatively new to candle making craft and can be either hard wood or soft wood. Whether the wick is made from cotton, HTP or wood, all wicks work well in every type of wax as long as they are large enough to create the desired melt pool. In order to select the right size wick you must match it to the diameter of the container you are using.

You can find an extensive chart that displays the different wick sizes and the corresponding diameter of there burn pool here.

How do I stop the wick mushrooming or avoid excess carbon?

mushrooming candle with excess carbon

Wick mushrooming can occur when the wick chosen is too large for the size of the candle. This is characterised by a flame that burns very bright, with excess carbon falling to the side of the wick and into the burn pool. To fix this, simply use a smaller wick, for more information on selecting the right wick for your container read our wick selection guide.

Can I use ordinary string for the wicks?

You can create your own wicks out of cotton string. However the string must be 100% cotton to burn properly. Wicks themselves are quite inexpensive and can be purchased from our website.

How do I double wick a candle?

When your candle container diameter is larger than 9cm it is worth experimenting with double wicking. This will ensure you have a consistent melt pool that reaches the edge of the container. You can find more details on how to double wick your candles in this wicking guide.

How do I make wood wick candles?

You make wood wick candles just the same way you make regular cotton wicked soy candles. Simply follow this guide and use a wooden wick instead of a cotton or HTP wick.

How do I stop my candle from smoking?

If your candle is emitting a lot of smoke while burning, this is usually an indication that you are using the wrong size wick. If this is the case then you will need to test a smaller wick for the container you are using. For more information on which size wick to choose, have a look at our wick selection guide.

How do I stop my candle from tunneling?


Tunneling occurs when the wick used is too small and flame does not sufficiently melt the whole surface of the candle. This will result in the candle burning unevenly, a smaller flame, lower scent throw and the candle extinguishing itself. The best candle tunneling fix is to use a larger wick size, you can use this wick selection guide to help you find the right wick size for your candle and ultimately solve this problem.

What is the best type of wick to use for soy, paraffin or beeswax?

Whether it’s wood, cotton or HTP all wicks should work well in your candle as long as you have the right size. It is always recommended that you experiment with multiple wicks and wick sizes to get the one that works for your container and wax blend. For more information on the size of wick to use follow our wick selection guide found here.

What is the best wax to make long-burning candles?

The most common types of wax used in candles is soy wax, paraffin wax, palm wax and bees wax. All these wax types produce long-burning candles. The best wax mostly comes down to personal preference, however it is worth noting that paraffin is derived from petroleum and palm wax is linked to deforestation. Therefore, here at Crafty Candle Supplies, we believe the optimal wax to use would be either soy wax or bees wax.

How do I make a pillar candle?

Similar to making a container candle, a pillar candle is made by melting wax and adding the fragrance and colour before pouring into a pillar (instead of a container). You can then remove the candle from the mould once it’s cooled. Softer waxes such as soy wax cannot be made to use pillar candles unless blended with firmer waxes such as paraffin or bees wax. This is usually called a ‘pillar blend’ specifically created for pillar candles.

How do I make a wax melt?

A wax melt is created in much the same way as a container candle. Simply melt the wax, add the necessary fragrance oil and colouring before pouring into a clam-shell mould. Once it has cooled it is ready to be removed and placed into a candle melt burner for use. You can find more information on this in our candle making guide.

Do I have to line my candle mould?

You don’t have to line your mould when making pillar candles but it can be trickier to release the candle from the mould without some kind of releasing agent. You can purchase a commercial releasing agent spray but vegetable oils or cooking spray is just as effective.

How do I stop my candles from cracking?


Cracking usually occurs when the candle sets too quickly, or the wax is poured when it is too hot and hasn’t had a chance to cool down. If you find your candles have cracked then try the following methods.

Pour at a cooler temperature: 

Similarly to wet spots, try pouring your candles 5-10 degrees Celsius cooler. Check the melting point of the soy wax you are using to see how low you can go when pouring at a cooler temperature (and to ensure the wax does not set before you pour). Many waxes can be poured at as low as 38 degrees Celsius. Note: It is important to remember to continually stir the wax to stop it setting when pouring at cooler temperatures. 

Pour candles in an environment that is at room temperature:

 

Ensure you pour your candles in a room that is between 18-25 degrees. This will ensure that the candles set gradually and do not cool too quickly. 

How do I stop my candle from frosting and creating white residue on the sides of the container?

candle with frosting

Frosting on candles occurs naturally in wax and is characterised by a white discolouration or crystals that appear on the top of the wax or side of the jar. To reduce the frosting in your candles follow the steps below.

Pour your wax at a cooler temperature:

If you usually pour your soy wax at 50 degrees Celsius, try pouring the wax 5-10 degrees lower. Many waxes can be poured as low as 38 degrees Celsius. Note: It is important to remember to continually stir the wax to stop it setting when pouring at cooler temperatures. 

Add a small amount of coconut oil: 

Some candle makers have found that using a small amount of coconut oil in their candles reduces and eliminates frosting in their soy candles. Simply add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil for every 1kg of wax, stirring it into the wax when it is fully melted. This combined with a lower pour temperature should help to minimise or even eliminate frosting in your candles.

Why is the wax shrinking away from the sides of the container?

candles with adhesion problems including wet spots & air bubbles & shrinkage Source

Poor adhesion (sometimes called candle wet spots) occur when the wax pulls away from the side of the container - creating air bubbles in the candles. This is most noticeable when using transparent containers and appears as a pocket of air trapped between the container and the wax (often appearing ‘wet’). 

If this is occurring in your candles then try the methods below.

Pour at a cooler temperature: 

Similarly to when frosting occurs, try pouring your candles 5-10 degrees Celsius cooler. Check the melting point of the soy wax you are using to see how low you can go when pouring at a cooler temperature (and to ensure the wax does not set). Many waxes can be poured at as low as 38 degrees Celsius. Note: It is important to remember to continually stir the wax to stop it setting when pouring at cooler temperatures.

Clean all containers thoroughly before pouring the wax: 

Sometimes dust or dirt from the factory will be inside the container, causing issues with the wax sticking to the side of the glass. By cleaning all containers you remove this dust and ensure that the wax can adhere to the sides of the container correctly.

Pour candles in an environment that is at room temperature:

Ensure you pour your candle in a room that is between 18-25 degrees. This will ensure that the candles set gradually and do not cool too quickly.

Is there an alternative to using a candy thermometer?

No you do not have to use a candy thermometer, you can try a LED instant-read thermometer or a laser-beam surface thermometer. You can find these in our store here.

How do I calculate how much soy wax to use in my candle?

As soy wax is less dense than water you need less than you think to fill a container. As a rule of thumb multiply the volume of your container (ml) by 0.85 and this will give the amount of soy wax (g) required.

So for example if you had a 250ml container then the calculation would be.

250 x 0.85 = 212.5 grams

For a detailed explanation and step by step guide on how to calculate the amount of soy wax required read through this guide.

Are there any types of glass jars or containers that aren't safe for candle making?

The short answer is yes, there are certain containers that you should avoid when making container candles.

The key things to look out for when choosing a container are:

  • A wide enough diameter so that it can be lit and extinguished easily
  • Have lids that help the candle retain it’s fragrance and help stop dust and debris collecting in the candle
  • Test, test, test! If you are unsure then test first before giving to a friend or selling to a customer

Below is a summary of what containers work best and what you should avoid.

Don’t use

Do use

Champagne glasses Sturdy, heat resistant containers
Unsealed terracotta Metal e.g. silverware
Odd shaped glassware China e.g. teacups
Wide at top, narrow at the bottom containers Sealed terracotta pots
Metal containers with a seam Glassware from a trusted supplier

Answers to this question provided courtesy of Frosa who runs a candle making classes from Melbourne. If you are interested you can book a class here.

Why is my candle sinking and dipping in the middle?

candle with dipping problem

Dipping is the result of the wax cooling unevenly on the surface of the candle. It is often characterised by cracks around the wick - where the wax has cooled more quickly. If you are having issues with dipping or sinking then try out the suggestions below.

Pour at a cooler temperature: 

Try pouring your candles 5-10 degrees Celsius cooler. Check the melting point of the soy wax you are using to see how low you can go when pouring at a cooler temperature (and to ensure the wax does not set). Many waxes can be poured at as low as 38 degrees Celsius.  Note: It is important to remember to continually stir the wax to stop it setting when pouring at cooler temperatures. 

Pour candles in an environment that is at room temperature:  Ensure you pour your candle in a room that is between 18-25 degrees. This will ensure that the candles set gradually and do not cool too quickly. 

Pull the top of the wick as the candles set: 

A simple trick to stop dipping is to give the wick a slight tug as it sets. This releases the air that builds up around the wick, which can sometimes form near the surface of the candle. Take care to be very gentle to avoid displacing the wick in the candle.

How do I calculate how much fragrance oil to use?

To calculate the amount of fragrance oil required for your candle simply multiply the amount of soy wax you are using by 6%-10% and this gives you the weight of fragrance oil needed.

As an example, if you have 100 grams of soy wax then you need to add 6g-10g of fragrance oil.

It is considered more accurate to measure fragrance oil by weight (g) rather than volume (ml), however you can use (ml) if you don’t have scales handy. When working in small batches there will no noticeable difference between both.

For more detail on calculating and combining fragrance oil read through our fragrance oil guide.

How much fragrance oil do I need to make one candle?

The rule of thumb for fragrance oil when making a candle is between 6-10%. For example, for 100g of wax you would add between 6-10g of fragrance oil. This ensures proper scent throw without overloading the wax causing other issues such as sweating or curdling. You should be able to find the maximum scent load for any given wax on the product page of the fragrance or in product information sheet (can also be found on the product page).

For more information on adding fragrance to candle follow this guide.

What types of oils can I use to scent my candle?

It is recommended that you use fragrance oil to scent your candle, fragrance oil is designed to combine with wax achieving the desired scent throw in your candle. However, you can scent your candles with essential oils or herbs, but precautions need to be taken to ensure that these don’t diminish the burn of the candle.

Can I use essential oil in candles?

Essential oils can be used in making candles, however these can have an unpredictable scent throw unlike fragrance oils which are designed to bind to the wax. It is recommended that you experiment with 6% fragrance oil, that is 6g for every 100g of wax and work your way up from there. Also pay attention to flash point of the essential oil, this is the temperature at which the essential oil evaporates, so if you combine an essential oil to wax above it’s flash point, by the time the candle has cooled the scent will have evaporated from the candle.

If you are unsure whether the wax you are using can hold essential oils, check with the manufacturer of the wax for more information.

Find more information on how to avoid this by reading our fragrance guide.

Why is the candle sweating or curdling after it sets?

candle with sweating and curdling Source

Sweating can occurs when the fragrance oil does not properly combine with the candle wax and as a result the fragrance unbinds from the wax causing the candle to sweat or curdle. There are a few reason this can occur however they can be remedied by trying the methods below.

Pour your candle at a lower temperature

If you pour the candle when it is too hot, the fragrance oil may float to the top of the melted wax as it is setting. To avoid this simply pour the wax at or below 50 degrees Celsius.

Stir the fragrance thoroughly

When you add the fragrance oil to the melted wax, make sure you stir thoroughly for two minutes, this will give the fragrance oil ample opportunity to bind to the wax and ensure it properly combines.

Ensure the candle sets at room temperature

Candles need to be poured and left to set in a cool, dry environment between 18-25 degrees Celsius. If the room temperature is above 30 degrees the candle can sweat and the fragrance can separate out from the wax.

Add between 6-10% Fragrance Oil

When too much fragrance oil has been used in a soy candle the wax can curdle when setting, or less extreme, a thin layer of oil can form on the top of the surface of the candle.

This is because most soy wax's can’t hold more than 12% fragrance oil, so increasing fragrance oil above this amount will result in the sweating and curdling of the candle. 

To avoid this issue simply use less fragrance oil.

It is important to note that while making the candles your ‘sense of smell’ will become accustomed to the scent. This may cloud your judgement when determining how much scent is needed to reach the right scent throw. It is always good when working with scents to take a break and give your sense of smell a chance to re-adjust.

This information was provided by candle maker Melissa Carey who run's workshops from Sydney. If you are new to candle making check out her website here and book a class.

Can I put fresh herbs or flowers in my candle?

Herbs or spices can be used in the wax to give it a natural scent. However this can affect the burn of the candle as the debris can clog the wick or catch alight. It is best to position the herbs clear of the wick towards the sides of the container to avoid this occurring. Alternatively you can use dried herbs and steep it in the hot wax and then strain it out before pouring the candle. This way you can infuse the candle with the scent whilst avoiding clogging the wick or having debris in the candle that can catch alight.

How do I calculate how much dye to use?

Understanding how much dye to use in your candle depends on the form of dye you use and how strong the colour is. We have detailed charts on adding liquid dye and dye flakes found in our guide on how to colour candles here. If you are just starting out then I recommend purchasing dye blocks (which are dye pre-dissolved into vegetable wax). You can add dye blocks to melted wax and there is much less risk of over colouring the candle. Simply shave the dye block into the melted wax using a cheese greater and then test the colour by dipping a cold spoon into the wax and viewing the colour as it sets on the spoon.

One dye block is enough to colour 3kg of wax so you should only need a few depending on how many candles you are making.

Can you use food dye to colour candles?

As food dye is water based and candles are made of oil, they do not mix. It is recommended to stick to dyes designed for candles, these will dissolve in the wax and help you achieve the desired colour. You can find more information on how to colour candles in this guide .

How do I colour candles?

Colouring candles is achieved by adding colour to the wax while it is melted. You can add colour in the form of liquid or flakes. You can also colour candles using pre-dyed vegetable wax blocks and chips, like liquid and flakes, these can be added to the wax while it is melted.

For a detailed guide on colouring candles read our candle colouring guide.

Can I colour a candle with melted crayons?

It is possible to colour candles with crayons but if you want a good quality candle with a consistent burn then I would recommend against using crayons. Crayons are coloured with pigments, unlike liquid dye or flakes these pigments don’t dissolve and can clog the wick of your candle causing it to burn improperly.

For a detailed guide on colouring candles read our candle colouring guide.

Can I use paint to colour the candle?

No, using paint can release toxic fumes as the candle burns, this will also potentially cause issues with wick clogging and diminish the burn of the candle.

It is recommended you stick to using candle based liquid dyes or flakes.

For more information on colouring candles read through our guide to colouring candles.

Further information

If you have any additional questions you want answered please send them through to us. You can also find more information about candle making in our in-depth guides.




Disclaimer: We have taken every effort to ensure that this guide is as accurate as possible. However Crafty Candle Supplies cannot guarantee or take responsibility for any errors or omissions in this information. Crafty Candle Supplies intends for this information to be used as a guide only and accepts no responsibility for actions or outcomes that are a consequence of using the information above. Please take every safe precaution in the making of candles, or experimentation of the candle making process.

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