When you’re learning a new skill, like candle making, you are bound to get some things wrong at first. As someone who has been making candles for years, I still make mistakes on occasion. It happens and at times, it can be a huge pain when you’re trying to perfect your candle. There are a few types of problems that happen to almost all new candle makers, even after they become seasoned.
When you’re looking for answers to why your candle flame is too small, you want to look at how long you cut the wick. If you didn’t cut it big enough, you could have caused it. It could also be caused by a lack of wax or oxygen, or if there was too much dye or scent used. The problem can usually be worked out pretty well with a simple reformulation or a different size wick.
If you have questions about other candle making problems you’re running into, here are some common problems that plague new (and experienced) candle makers.
Why won’t my wick stay straight?
To keep the wick from falling over while you’re pouring, you need to make sure it is stabilized somehow. You can get a normal pencil and wrap the wick around the pencil a few times to hold the wick straight.
They also sell wick holder bars that will sit across the top of the candle while it cools.
You want to make sure you put the wick in at the right time, as well. If you put the wick in too late, it can cause other issues with your candles.
Don’t put a cut wick from a roll inside a newly poured candle without something to brace it. The unsecured wick will fall, and it will make the wick lopsided. You will constantly have to move the wick and that will end up with lines molded into the top of the candle; in the best case, at worst, it will lead to the candle not burning right.
Why Won’t My Candle Burn Evenly?
Candles burning evenly is one of the first things you want to learn. You may find that you’re surprised when your candle burns more on one side or the other ends up being a deep dip with the outside barely being touched. What are some of the things that can cause this?
One of the things that can cause it is having the wrong size or wrong style wick. The thing with candles is that you can’t just use the same wick for every style of candle/wax/scent. You need to make sure that the formula is right, and the wick is the right wick for the job. This will be one of the first things you need to concentrate on when you’re learning how to make candles, before you start selling. If you think wicks are one size fits all, you’re wrong.
Another thing that can cause the wax to burn unevenly is that you didn’t let the candle sit long enough after making it. Candles are like soap; they need time to harden fully and set. If they don’t set, they won’t burn all the way through. With most waxes, letting them set a week before burning will be a long enough time for them to harden all the way evenly through, and you can consider them fully made. Different types of wax do take different amounts of time to harden.
- Soy 10 – 14 days
- Paraffin 3 – 5 days
- Coconut 14 days
- Beeswax 7 – 10 days
- Palm 7 – 10 days
- Parasoy 7 – 10 days
As you can see, most take about a week up to ten days, but soy can take up to two weeks and so can coconut wax. Candles can still be used before those times, but for the best scent and burn, you will want to wait.
My Wax is Dipping
When you start to harden your candle, you may see a dent in the top by the wick. This is a common and annoying eyesore. What causes it, and what can you do to fix it?
In order to prevent the annoying dipping in the top of the candle, you want to make sure the candle glass is warm and not cold before pouring the wax, and you want to make sure that there are no air pockets forming in the middle of the candle. You can prevent this by poking a hole while it’s hardening. You can use something like a string of wax, a wooden rod that they sell in candle making sections or even a toothpick. Just make sure it’s small.
My Scent Isn’t Very Strong
Scent throw is one of the most important parts of making scented candles or wax melts. The usual culprits to a bad throw tend to be that you either didn’t let the wax cool enough before you added the scent, you waited too long to add the scent, or you’re not using enough scent.
Scent is made to burn out of the candle as it burns, so if you pour scent into boiling wax straight out of the Melter, you will burn the scent out of the candle before you start burning the candle.
If the wax is too cool, it won’t stay. You need to wait until it is around 50-60 degrees F. If you go too much cooler, it will end in a lump in the bottom of the wax. If you don’t wait long enough, it will evaporate.
The typical amount to add to a candle batch is one ounce of scent per pound of wax. Also keep in mind that different types of wax will have better or worse throws and some waxes already have a bit of a scent so you will likely need to experiment if you’re using a wax like coconut or beeswax, you will
want to make sure the scent is stronger than the natural scent. Paraffin has the strongest throw, so it remains a popular choice.
My Jarred Candle Detached from the Edge and is Shaking Around in the Jar
This may or may not be a common error, but if you use a specialty wax made for molding in a jar, it can separate and rattle around in a jar. This is an issue I found out when I wasn’t thinking and used the wrong type of wax. The fix is easy, always use molding wax for candle molds and jar wax for jarred candles. There are some that are of any use, but I have not personally been impressed by those waxes.
My Color Isn’t Even
The last problem covered will be coloring. Mixing in the jar isn’t the way to color a candle. You can add candle dye to the wax right after it comes off the stove, and it won’t really matter. You do want to make sure you add enough dye and use the right type of dye. The cheap dyes that come in kid craft kits or the dye you use for soap making won’t give as good a color as using block or liquid dye. You want to make sure block dye is fully dissolved, and you want to make sure you mix it evenly before pouring.
The best thing to keep in mind is that you want a fully even look in the container you use to pour, and you do not want any kind of spots or specks from block wax not being fully dissolved. To avoid problems using block wax, shave off small amounts and don’t just toss a large chunk of the dye in the wax. The smaller and slimmer the pieces, you will have a longer and harder time melting and dissolving.
Which Wax is Best for Throwing Scents?
The absolute best type of wax to use when you’re looking for a wax that will throw the scent best is paraffin. It may not be a “natural” wax like coconut or beeswax, but it has the best formula to throw scent. It’s a softer wax that holds onto scent better than natural waxes.
What is the Best Wax to Sell?
Since you’re looking to get into the candle making business, you are likely interested in what the best wax is when it comes to marketing and selling the candles. People tend to lean more towards a few things – they like the strong scent of paraffin but the chemical-free nature of soy or coconut. So, what type of wax should you use when you’re looking to sell candles?
Even with the push for natural and what people say about toxic chemicals, paraffin is still one of the best waxes to use. It is cheaper, so you do not need to worry about raising costs to keep up with the cost of the wax. You can price competitively. It’s also a softer wax that holds more scent better than most other waxes, so you will get a strong throw using this wax.
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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.