Do-it-yourself projects are all the rage right now, and making your own candles definitely falls into that category. But what happens if you want to get serious about your creations? What works best for each type of candle, and what is best for the environment? Which wax works best for pillar candles?
Which wax is best for candle making?
- Gel Wax
- Palm Wax
- Paraffin Wax
- Soy Wax
While any of these types of waxes work well for burning candles, read on to find out more about your choices and how to choose between them, whether you’re looking to keep things inexpensive or are focused on improving the environment.
How do you choose which type of wax to use?
In most cases, choosing the type of wax to use comes from what type of candle you’re planning on making. Each type of wax functions differently in each form, so you’ll have to decide early what type of candle you’ll be making before you decide on the wax.
In the case of pillar candles, they are freestanding without an exterior container. Using a firmer wax is best for these candles, since they do not have the support of that container.
Container candles are the bulk of the candles you will be finding in stores today. These candles are usually within some sort of metal tin, glass container, or other type of container and do not have to stand on their own, which means you can use any type of wax.
When it comes to votives and tealights, they are designed to be created small, so any sort of wax can be used. Taper candles, like pillar candles, need stronger wax, so using paraffin or beeswax is your best bet.
When it comes to beeswax, this tends to be the most expensive of the popular candle waxes. You can purchase it in several forms, like slabs, blocks, or even pre-rolled sheets. Beeswax typically comes with a natural scent, so know that before you consider using it.
Beeswax is the oldest form of candle making wax and many candle makers still consider it the best. Because the melting point is around 150 F, it makes it a great blending wax. You can also easily wick beeswax or mix it with other waxes to create a firmer candle. Because beeswax is natural, it can actually help clean the air when burning.
Beeswax works well on votives, tealights, pillar candles and container candles. Beeswax is also best for taper candles.
Gel wax is similar to other waxes, but it is typically transparent and used for more decorative candles. It’s not actually a wax, but rather a mixture of mineral oil and resin. This type of wax is patented by the Penreco Company, so if you’re using gel wax, you’re most likely purchasing it from that company.
Functioning the same as other wax types, it does still hold color and scent and burns properly. If you’re looking for a more novelty candle set up, the transparent look of the gel wax can be used to emulate water or liquid in a decorative creation.
Because of its construction, gel wax is best used for votive or container candles. You can purchase a firmer type of gel wax for crafting votives, tealights, pillar candles and container candles.
Similar to soy wax, palm wax is made from natural palm oil. Because it is so firm, it works best for your pillar and votive candles. That firmness means it is typically mixed with soy wax to make it firmer, as well.
If you’re looking for artistic effects that come out of your wax, look no further than palm wax. When made into candles, the wax can feather, making it almost look crystalline.
Palm wax works well for votives, tealights, pillar candles and container candles.
Paraffin wax is your most versatile option. Also known as straight wax, it is a by-product of refinement of crude oil, but it’s not always toxic. Because of this, more naturally based candle makers tend to shy away from paraffin. Still, this is the least expensive wax option.
With paraffin, you can make any type of candle—whether it be a pillar or votive, paraffin works well for your project. Most candles that you buy in the store are going to be made from paraffin.
Paraffin is considered the opposite of soy and can be extremely hot when working with it. Because of its strength, you may need to increase the heat or blend it with another type of wax to create the look and feel you want. It also can be translucent or create a glossy finish, so remember that as you add color to your candles. It can also burn quicker than other types of candle wax. Paraffin wax is the best wax to hold scent and color.
Paraffin wax works well for votives, tealights, pillar candles and container candles. Taper candles are also best made from paraffin wax.
If you’re looking for a more affordable, natural option compared to beeswax, soy wax is your best bet.
Because it is a newer wax, it has gone through many forms. Often, they will sell a soy wax blend, meaning at least 51 percent of the wax is soy. Some are made completely of soybean oil, while some of the possible mixes include vegetable oils like coconut or palm wax and beeswax.
Soy wax can appear differently from paraffin wax, so know that before you commit to a type. They will typically have a pastel shade to their coloring, so make sure you realize that before you use soy—you will need more dye to make it the color you want.
Because of the way it is made, soy wax can be more difficult to work with and can cause rough tops to your candles. It also is inconsistent when mixing with fragrance oils, but you have the advantage of it being much easier to wick than other waxes. Also, because of the natural form of the soy wax candles, it can create allergic issues.
Soy wax works well for votives, tealights, container candles.
When it comes down to choosing, you need to consider the heat needed to create the candle and the shape of the candle before choosing your wax. After that, it comes down to personal preference—you can decide whether you want to focus on a more natural option or are focused more on cost. Whichever you choose, take the proper safety measures when melting and working with hot wax, and use the proper materials and containers to ensure that your candles are safe to burn.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I keep my candle wick centered in my homemade candle?
Keeping your wick centered while pouring your wax is best done using something like a wick pin or a clip. They fit on the bottom of the candle and make sure your wick stays centered at the bottom when creating votive candles. For jars or container candles, you can use glue dots to keep them centered in the bottom, along with securing the wick with a wick bar at the top of your candle.
What type of mold is best for candles?
Depending on what you’re creating, you have several options for molds. Aluminum molds create a professional finish, while polyurethane molds require you to trim down the sides. Polycarbonate molds are low heat, and make sure you use the right wax, or it may get stuck.
How do I make my candles smell stronger?
Consider the type of wax you are using first and find out whether it holds fragrance well. If not, consider changing to a type of wax that holds fragrance better. Add your fragrance at a high heat and stir it thoroughly into your melted wax before pouring.
Do white candles burn faster than colored candles?
No, the color of the candle does not affect the speed at which it burns. While many believe that candles without color burn faster because they are not weighed down by the dye mixture, that is untrue. The dye chemical makeup does not affect the fibers of the wick. The size of the wick and physical makeup of the wax—whether it is firm or soft—determine the speed in which the candle burns.
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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.