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