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The Ultimate Candle Troubleshooting Guide - Soy Candle Making Problems and Solutions

Problems Solved in this Guide:

Problem 1: Mushrooming or Excess Carbon
Problem 2: Tunneling or an Uneven Burn
Problem 3: Frosting on Candles
Problem 4: Poor Adhesion - Shrinkage, Air Bubbles and Wet Spots
Problem 5: Dipping - Cracking and Uneven Surface Around the Wick
Problem 6: Sweating or Curdling

Solving Common Candle Making Problems for Soy Candles

Soy wax is a natural product and therefore the process of pouring and making soy wax candles can result in imperfections. While these are all part of the candle making process the strategies below will help you identify and reduce candle burning problems.

Problem 1: Mushrooming or Excess Carbon

mushrooming candle with excess carbon

Soy candle wick mushrooming can occur when the wick chosen is too large for the container used. This is characterised with a flame that burns very bright and excess carbon that falls to the side of the wick and into the burn pool.

Solution:
To avoid mushrooming simply use a smaller wick, you can use this wick selection guide to help you find the right wick size for your candle and ultimately solve this problem.

Problem 2: Tunneling

tunneling candle

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. So if you are wondering how to burn a candle evenly or how to burn a candle properly, then refer to the solution below.

Solution:
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.

Problem 3: Frosting on Candles - When White Flakes Appear on the Surface and Side of the Candle

candle with frosting

Frosting on candles occurs naturally in wax and is characterised by a white discolouration or crystals that appear in the top of the wax or side of the jar.

Solution:
To prevent frosting soy candles try the solutions and 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 and eliminate frosting in your candles.

Problem 4: Poor Adhesion - Shrinkage, Air Bubbles and Wet Spots - When the Wax Pulls Away from 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’).

Solution:
If your candles have wet spots or shrinkage then read the solutions and follow the steps 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.

Problem 5: Dipping - Cracking and Uneven Surface Around the Wick

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.

Solution:

This can be minimised by following the steps below.

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). 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.

Problem 6: Sweating or Curdling

candle with sweating and curdling Source

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 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.

Solution:

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.



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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