Candle Waxes and Wax Additives
Which wax to use is usually the first decision that needs to be made when selecting your supplies for candlemaking. Many people are surprised to learn that we carry over fifteen different types of waxes. Each wax is different and is designed for a certain purpose. In this section, you will learn about the many variables that go into deciding which wax is best for your application.
One major distinction between waxes is where they were derived (what they are made of). Traditionally, candle waxes have mostly been paraffin based. Although paraffin based waxes are still the most popular, soy based waxes have grown in popularity in recent years due to their improvements in quality, as compared to earlier soy waxes. Many customers also prefer using a natural product which is produced by American farmers. Click the following link to browse our selection of candle waxes.
The next thing to consider when selecting your wax is what type of candle you'll be producing.
This is, by far, the most popular style of candle and also is the easiest type of candle for a beginner to make. Because container candles are poured directly into the container from which they will be burned, there is no need for the wax to be hard and able to support itself while burning. There is also no requirement for mold release. Shrinkage is generally NOT desired in a container wax because it can cause the wax to partially pull away from the glass, leaving a less desirable appearance. Because of the need for little-to-no shrinkage, wax companies developed softer waxes commonly referred to as "single-pour" or "one-pour" waxes. This is very convenient and causes much shorter production times as compared to waxes which require more than one pour. The paraffin waxes we carry which are best suited for container candles are IGI 4630 (single pour), IGI 4627 (single pour), IGI 4786, IGI 2281, IGI 4636 (single pour), and IGI 4633 (single pour). For a soy container wax, use Naturewax C-3, EcoSoya CB-135, EcoSoya CB-Advanced Soy, EcoSoya CB-XceL, Golden Brands 402, Golden Brands 415, Golden Brands 444, or Golden Brands 464. We also offer IGI 6006, which is a blend of paraffin and soy. Currently, our most popular container waxes are IGI 4630 and IGI 4636.
Because they are placed into a holder for burning, votive candles do not need to be as hard as pillar candles. However, votive wax needs to be able to release from votive molds, so some shrinkage is still required. Some votive waxes require more than one pour and others require only a single pour. The paraffin waxes we carry which are best suited for votive candles are IGI 4794, IGI 4761 (single pour) and IGI 1274. For a soy votive wax, we recommend EcoSoya PB Soy Pillar/Votive wax. Currently, our most popular votive wax is the IGI 4794.
Because they do not go in a container and need to be able to stand on their own while burning, pillar candles need to be hard and therefore require a hard wax. Another requirement for a pillar wax is that it will release from the mold when the wax cools. By nature, wax shrinks as it cools and this shrinkage allows for the release from molds. This shrinkage will cause the need for a 2nd (and sometimes 3rd) pour when making the candle. More detailed information is available about this later on our instructions page. The paraffin waxes we carry which are best suited for pillar candles are IGI 4625, IGI 1274, and IGI 1343. For a soy pillar wax, use EcoSoya PB Soy Pillar/Votive. Currently, our most popular pillar wax is IGI 4625.
General Guidelines for Heating and Pouring Wax
To learn more about heating and pouring instructions for all of our wax types, read the Wax General Guidelines.
Most of our waxes are pre-blended waxes which essentially means that a base paraffin was enhanced by other ingredients by the manufacturer so that no additives should be necessary. Although many candlemakers will experiment with different formulas to achieve the results they are seeking, as a general rule we do not recommend using additives with any pre-blended waxes. Any wax described as a base paraffin is just that... a base product, generally at a lower price, with no performance enhancing additives blended in at the time of manufacture. Additives such as vybar will likely need to added in order to achieve the best results. Click the following link to browse our wax additives.
Vybar is the modern alternative to stearin (stearic acid). Vybar is a polymer which is used primarily to aid in fragrance oil retention, although it also benefits the candle by increasing opacity and enhancing dye colors. When using vybar, wax can hold more fragrance oil without the fragrance oil separating from the mixture. This enables the candlemaker to put twice or even three times as much fragrance oil into their mixture, causing the candles to have much better hot throw, which is a term used to descirbe the fragrance characteristics of a candle while it is burning. There are two types of vybar. Vybar 103 is used for harder, higher melt point waxes such as pillar and votive waxes. Vybar 260 is used for softer, lower melt point waxes such as container waxes. Recommended usage is 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp per pound of wax but will vary per application. Don't overdo it, though, because too much vybar can actually trap the fragrance in your candle, reducing your candle's hot throw.
Also known as UV Inhibitor, UV Protectant, and UV Absorbant. This additive is used to help protect candles from fading due to the exposure to UV light rays. Fragrance oils can also cause colors to fade/change. UV Stabilizer helps to prolong the fading process, but will not completely eliminate it. This additive is particularly useful if your candles will be displayed on store shelves for an extended period of time. This additive is not already present in a pre-blended wax and we highly recommend it's use for all wax types and candle types. Recommended usage is 1/4 tsp - 1/2 tsp per pound of wax but will vary per application.
Next Section - Candle Containers