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Tips for Candle Making with Fragrance Oils

Lit candles resting on burlap with shadows in background.

CANDLE MAKING 

Candle making is a true art and is a great way to express creativity with those around you. Although, when we first started out, creating candles tends to come with a little frustration until you find your ideal recipe. Thus, we wanted to share with you how to skip the frustration with a few tips we wish we knew when we first started DIY candles. Follow along below to find the answers to some big candle making questions!

WHAT WAX 

There are so many choices and blends when it comes to candle waxes. From paraffin to soy wax and more unique options like coconut, beeswax, and palm wax. The decisions are endless for picking the right wax for you! In short, here is a pros list for each type of wax:

Paraffin: 

  • Very easy to find and is most cost-effective when making large batches. 
  • Valued in the craft world due to its opacity and lack of odor which makes it easier to add fragrances and dye. 
  • Non-toxic and non-poisonous and goes through federal tests to market as candle wax.
  • Scent throw is stronger because it is not as dense as other waxes like soy or beeswax.
  • Using only paraffin wax, allows for more experimentation with additives and designs. 

Soy:

  • Wax is made from environmentally friendly, renewable resources; safe to burn.
  • Since soy wax takes on a more dense form, unlike paraffin, the burn time is longer.
  • Tends to hold fragrance oil more and gives off a better scent throw.
  • Candles made from soy wax burn cleaner and emit less black soot. 
  • Naturally opaque and can give off a light, pastel color if that is what you want.

Coconut: 

  • Excellent when creating container candles (ex. with a jar).
  • Easy to add colorant because of its white or cream aesthetic. 
  • All-natural, eco-friendly, vegan, and plant-based. 
  • Easy to pour wax and no need for re-pours. 
  • Does not have frosting or bloom.

Beeswax: 

  • Natural, renewable resource which means no air pollution. 
  • Beeswax candles burn stronger and brighter than other waxes.
  • Beeswax candles burn three times longer and drip less.
  • This type of candle burns clean with little smoke if properly trimmed.
  • Great wax for making votives, pillars, container candles. 

Palm:

  • A hard wax and does well in pillar and votive candles as well. 
  • Naturally creates feathering and crystallization patterns if you want this design. 
  • Holds fragrance oil and color well. 
  • All-natural, plant-based wax. 
  • Burns for a longer period of time unlike other waxes like paraffin.

With all of these pros of different waxes in mind, we still have our favorite: 100% soy wax. We find this type of wax easy to work with, reliable, and cost-effective. 

WHAT WICK

We have tried both cotton and wooden wicks in our DIY candles. After burning the candles, our P&J team decided we liked wooden wicks better. This may have to do with the slight crackle and coziness the wick brings to any room. Here are a few tips when using wooden wicks:

  • Make sure you are using the right size wick for your candle. For example, a thicker wax and larger candle jar in diameter will need a thicker wick. 
  • Always trim the wooden wick 3/16” height above the wax and continue to trim as you burn the candle. 
  • If the wick, regardless if it is cotton or wood, is not staying lit then the candle was not made well and you might have to tweak your recipe.

HOW MUCH FRAGRANCE

Ah yes, the question we get asked the most when it comes to making candles with P&J Fragrance. So here’s our answer: 

  • Our general recommendation is ½ to 1 full ounce (approximately 300 to 600 drops) of fragrance per pound of soy wax which equates to 1-2 Tablespoons. 
  • Our spiced aromas like Cinnamon and Harvest Spice require less oil usage (15ml per pound of soy wax); whereas aromas like Cupcake, or French Vanilla may require the full ounce.   
  • For smaller batches or test batches, you'll want to use a 1-2% ratio of fragrance to base materials again, depending on the fragrance oil and preference.   

WHY CURE

Letting your candle cure or rest for a certain amount of time will allow the fragrance and other additives to completely spread out. It will give your candle a better scent throw as well. We recommend waiting 1-2 weeks for natural waxes like soy or coconut before burning the candle. However, some crafters only wait three days instead, especially when working with thinner waxes like paraffin.

WHY WON’T IT SMELL

There might be a few factors relating to the faded scent in your candle. Sometimes it’s as simple as the size of the room and the temperature. 

  • Size of the Room - If the room you are burning the candle in is larger, the scent is typically weaker. Whereas, if you are burning in a smaller area like the bathroom, then the scent throw might increase. Also, a great tip to decrease nose blindness is to smell yourself before trying to breathe in the scent of the finished candle.
  • Temperature - There are various temperatures a wax should reach before pouring in additives like colorant and fragrance. The wax should reach a certain temperature before it is poured as well. For example, soy wax should reach 180 °F before adding the fragrance. Then, when pouring, the wax temperature should be around 140°F.

These are just a few tips and tricks we like to recommend to further your along on your candle making journey. Of course, we encourage continuous experimentation until you find the scent and candle you love! Please let us know if you have any further questions and we would be happy to help.

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