Crackling candles are becoming popular with DIY candlemakers everywhere. The first time I saw crackling candles in a store, I was so intrigued, I had to know if a candle hobbyist like me could make them at home.
Crackling candles are a special type of candle that uses a wooden wick instead of cotton. These crackling candles emit the same soothing snapping and popping as wood does when it burns in the fireplace.
Crackling candles can be made in an easy three-step process
- Choose Appropriate Materials
- Pour the Candle
- Conduct a Burn Test
Fortunately, making crackling candles is easy, fun, and within the capabilities of any candle enthusiast. Once you start making crackling candles, you may never go back to using cotton wicks again.
Step One: Choose Appropriate Materials
Crackling candles, also called crackle candles, are not difficult to make, but it is important to choose the right materials for the effect you want.
You can purchase the wicks for your crackling candles at many online retailers, such as Woodenwick. These are often pre-treated with oil to make them burn better. Wicks differ in terms of color, wood type, and shape. My favorite wicks are X-shaped, which allows for a more intense crackling sound than simpler flat wicks.
Next, you’ll need to choose the wax you’d like to use. For DIY crackle candles, you can use virtually any type of wax, although some work better with wooden wicks than others.
Paraffin or beeswax are good choices, along with soy wax. Soy wax offers the cleanest burn, freeing your house from soot and other pollutants. You can use any natural wax to make your crackle candle.
Some factors to consider when choosing wax. Whether it is a natural or synthetic blend, the expense of the wax; and of course, how easy it is to purchase the quantity needed.
In addition to wood for the wick and wax for the body. You need to choose the containers for your crackling candles. Normally, any decorative, wide-mouth glass jar or other heat-resistant mold will do just fine.
You also need base clips. Base clips, sometimes called wick clips, are metal clips that anchor the wick to the bottom of your container. You can find these online at any retailer that sells candle making materials.
Essential oils are a final, optional ingredient. Use these if you would like to add an aroma to your candle.
Ideal Essential Oils for Crackle Candles
Popular choices include eucalyptus, pine, tea tree, peppermint, cedar, jasmine, lavender, and rosewood. Basically, any essential oil you can think of can be used in your crackling candle; although you should do some research to make sure that the essential oil you choose for your candle doesn’t have any potential toxic properties.
You can even blend oils to enhance the aromatic properties of your crackling candle, though from my experience, you shouldn’t try to combine more than three or four different essential oils. Too many aromas can undermine the relaxing properties of your crackling candle.
Note that essential oils should be used in a specific ratio of oil to wax as you make your candle. For most waxes, you will use an 8:1 ratio of wax to oil. Thus, for every eight ounces of wax in your candle, you would use no more than one ounce of essential or fragrant oil. If you use too much oil to wax, the aroma of the candle may be overwhelming, and you will have difficulty maintaining a good burn on your candle.
Some waxes can maintain a higher load of essential oil load, such as soy wax, where you might be able to use essential oils in a 4:1 ratio, that is, four ounces of wax to one ounce of oil. There are a lot of different variables to the ideal blend of essential oils and wax in your crackle candle, which is one reason why it is crucial to make a burn test before delving into a bigger batch. How to properly conduct burn tests is discussed later in this article.
Step Two: Pour Your Candle
Now you have designed your candle and gathered your ingredients, it is finally time to pour your candle! For me, this is the most fun part. Follow these steps to pour your candle:
Heat the Wax
People heat their candle wax in a variety of ways, from slow cookers to a pot on the stove and even in the microwave. But the best way is to use a double boiler, which is a pot sitting inside another pot that has water in it.
Use plenty of water in the bottom pot of your double boiler, so the wax heats gently and doesn’t get too hot. Once all the wax has liquified, it is time to remove it from the heat.
Add the Oils
Next, you want to pour the wax into a heat-proof container, so it can cool slightly, ideally for about one or two minutes. This allows the wax to come down in temperature so that it mixes well with the essential oils. Then measure and add your oils according to the ratios discussed above. Pour the wax-oil mixture into the container, until it reaches about 11/2 inches (about 4 cm) from the lip of the container.
Add the Wick
Now it’s time to connect the wick to the metal base clip and gently push the wick (base clip side down, of course) into the center of the candle until the base clip reaches the bottom of your container. Next, trim the wick until it reaches just slightly below the lip of the container.
And that’s how simple it is to make a crackling candle! Now all you need to do is let your candle cure for 24 hours, and it will be ready to use. But before you make a big batch of candles using your selected materials, there is one more step. You should conduct a burn test to check the feasibility and safety of the candle.
Step 3: Conduct a Burn Test
The primary importance of a burn test is to make sure that your candle is safe to use before you make bigger batches or decide to give your DIY candles as gifts to friends and family. It is also a way to check that your candle turned out the way you wanted it to in terms of fragrance, crackle, and burn life.
You are testing the safety of your candle; burn tests should be conducted on a flat surface, away from other flammable items. The room should not be too hot or too cold, 68-85 degrees Fahrenheit or 20- 30 degrees Celsius.
Start the Test
Trim the wick to 1/8” and start burning your candle for four hours at a time. During the burn test, you should make sure that the container temperature does get too hot, anything above 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65 degrees Celsius). You can use a stick-on thermometer strip to test this.
Other things to look for in your burn test is whether the container cracks or breaks as you are burning. If this happens, do you need to re-think your container choices and purchase a more durable container.
You should also make sure the wick burns normally. Sometimes, more than one flame will burn on a wick, which is called secondary ignition. This is a sign that something is off with the composition of your candle, and you might need to try a thicker wick.
Finally, you need to make sure the candle does not emit too much black smoke and the flame is not too high (more than 3 inches or 8 centimeters).
Keep Testing in Four-Hour Cycles
Once you have put your crackle candle through a successful test burn for one four-hour cycle, keep re-doing the four-hour cycles until your crackle candle has reached its end-of-life, which you will know because there is no more wick to burn, and very little wax left.
Also, since this is a crackle candle, make sure your candle crackles like a roaring fireplace as it burns. If it doesn’t try other combinations.
Once your candle has completed the burn test, you know it is viable and can make larger batches that you can use for yourself, as gifts for family and friends, or even to sell online.
Are crackling candles expensive to make?
While crackling candles are often significantly more expensive than regular candles when you buy them in the store, making your own is relatively cheap. The difference in cost between wood and cotton for the wick is negligible in most cases.
What is the best wood to use in crackling candles?
It comes down to personal choice, but I make my own wicks using balsa wood. Balsa is cheap and sold in craft stores. Be sure to soak the balsa in olive oil before using, which will enhance its burning properties.
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Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Candle Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online candle business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a candle business owner at a craft fair, farmers market, retail location or anywhere else I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive. That’s why I created Candle Business Boss: I want to help candle business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.