Candlemaking Materials


Functions and Parties

Materials Information

This section contains information on basic candlemaking materials and their use. For pricing information go to the materials pricelist.

Paraffin Wax
Paraffin wax in the most commonly used wax in candlemaking. It is a petroleum by-product and has a melting point of approximately 60c. Oil soluble dyes, scents and other waxes can be mixed with it to produce different candles. It generally comes as blocks and less commonly as small beads.

This is a hard white flaky substance which is added to paraffin to make the candle burn better. It also increases the amount of contraction which the candle undergoes when it cools which makes the candle easier to remove from the mould. We recommend using 10% stearin - a 100grm packet will do 1 kg of wax. If a greater proportion of stearin is used the candles become whiter (or more pastel in the case of coloured candles) and more opaque. Cooling the candle by putting it in the fridge can also help to release it from the mould.

Candle hardener is a synthetic wax which has a melting point of around 90 degrees C. Because of its high melting point it is a very hard wax. Adding a small quantity (usually only 1 part hardener to 100 parts wax) to moulded candles tends to make them harder and possibly last longer. It also makes the surface of the candle shinier and makes the candle more cloudy and opaque. Dipping tapers in wax containing hardener helps prevent dripping by putting a harder outer shell on the taper wick acts as a ‘cup’ for the liquid wax when the candle is burning. Because of its high melting point it is best to melt hardener with a small quantity of wax before adding it to other pots of candle wax.

Plasticiser is also a synthetic material which like hardener has a high melting point. Because of this it is best to melt plasticiser separately with some wax before adding it to other pots of candle wax. It makes the wax go more pliable at temperatures just below its melting point and makes it thicker once melted. For this reason it is good for sculpturing effects where you want the wax to be less brittle. It is also used in dip and carve candles as it allow the successive wax layers of the candle to be cut and twisted while still warm.

Beeswax is softer then paraffin and has a lower melting point. It is golden in colour and has a beautiful texture and smell. Candles made from beeswax burn with a softer, more golden light then those made from paraffin. Because beeswax is thicker then paraffin, a thicker wick needs to be used in beeswax candles. Beeswax is mixed with paraffin to make cream coloured church candles. Beeswax candles can also be rolled from the beeswax foundation sheets. These sheets are placed in hives on frames so that the bees make their honeycomb in an ordered and manageable way. The makers of beeswax sheets now supply different colours so candle makers can make coloured beeswax candles.

Candle dyes
Stacks of Wax produces its own range of dye tablets. Powdered dyes are dissolved in stearin and set as tablets. Because they are pre-dissolved they mix easily into liquid wax. Colours available include red, blue, yellow, black, violet, brown, orange, green, turquoise and pink. Other colours can be made by mixing these colours, for example, blue purple - 1 part blue to 3 parts pink or dark purple - 1 part blue 1 part red 2 parts pink.
When mixing colours it is a good idea to add the light colours first and then slowly add the darker colours. To make darker colours add more dye. More dye needs to be used when dipping candles where the coloured wax layer is quiet thin then with thicker moulded candles where the colour is throughout the candle. It is important to only use the minimum amount of dye necessary as excessive use of dye can retard burning. This is particularly true of brown, black and red. The dye is a pigment and fine particles of it collect in the wick and over time can block the uptake of liquid wax by the wick. This will prevent the candle from burning correctly. It is also important to ensure that the dye is fully dissolved by stirring it repeatedly. If too much dye is used it may reach saturation point and no more dye will dissolve. Undissolved dye and other impurities can be removed from the wax by filtering it through two deep fryer oil paper filters which are available from catering supply stores.
One dye tab will dye approximately 10kg of wax to a medium colour tone. As they vary in strenght it is important to test your waxes for colour depth by letting a small sample set on a piece of white paper or in some cold water before pouring your candles. We recommend that no more then 2 dye tabs be used per 10kg of wax.

Wicks are generally braided cotton which is chemically treated to better suit the purpose. Different wicks are used for different candles. Generally flat braid wick is used for ordinary household or pillar candles. The thicker the candle the thicker the wick should be. Using too thinner wick will cause the flame to go down the centre of the candle and drown. Too thicker wick causes candles to burn too quickly and smoke. If a candle smokes and flickers it can be fixed by trimming the wick. We recommend square braided which does not bend as much as it burns. This tends to promote more even burning, particularly in thicker candles. It does however mean that the wick has to be trimmed when it gets too long. Paper and metal core wicks are used in container candles as they are resistant to falling over into the wax. They can also stand relatively straight when mounted in a wick tab while you are pouring the candle. Follow this link to the wick and wick tab pricelist.

Essential and fragrant oils can be added to candles to scent them. This can either be done by adding it when making the candle or when the candle is burning buy mixing a few drops into the liquid wax on top of the candle. We generally recommend using 1% scent so a 50ml bottle will scent 5kg of wax. More can be used if you want a stronger smelling candle. Some oils tend to contribute towards smoking in candles so it is a good idea to test any you make, especially if using more then 1%. Excessive oil may soften the wax. This can be countered somewhat by adding hardener to the wax mix. We stock a large range of essential and fragrant oils which are listed in the oils pricelist.

Stacks of Wax Pty Ltd - 239 Australia St Newtown 2042 - Ph 61 2 9557 0306 - Fax 61 2 9557 0804