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  • FIRST POST
    • Kevie192
    • By Kevie192 20th Nov 11, 8:36 PM
    • 1,139Posts
    • 2,535Thanks
    Kevie192
    Wax Melts and Candles
    • #1
    • 20th Nov 11, 8:36 PM
    Wax Melts and Candles 20th Nov 11 at 8:36 PM
    Hi all,

    Last year, I wrote some articles for another website about my findings and advice when making candles and wax melts. I thought you might be interested so I've decided to post here for you

    PART 1 -INTRODUCTION TO WORKING WITH WAX

    Working with wax to make candles and wax melts is a very rewarding and satisfying experience. It gives you the absolute freedom to be in control of the way your house smells and offers an avenue for you to turn your hobby into a business, if you wish. This tutorial is designed to arm you with the basic knowledge required to understand the different types of wax, the ways they behave and the tools required to work with them effectively. In the tutorials following this one, I will teach you the techniques and methods used in creating wax melts and candles.

    I do not profess to be an expert on working with wax, but I have created this series of tutorials as a guide for a beginner to use. When I began my journey with wax, I was forced to spend hours pouring over the Internet to gain the knowledge to make my products. To save you spending this time, I!!!8217;m sharing the knowledge I gained and some of my experiences with you here.

    Types Of Wax

    Paraffin
    Paraffin wax is a by-product of the petrol industry and is the type of wax you will see most in candles and wax melts available on the high street. It is available to buy as a pre-blended pillar or container version as well as raw paraffin to which you are required to add your own additives such as stearin or microhard.

    Soy
    Soy wax is a natural product made from the soya bean. It is creamier and mostly softer than paraffin wax and usually much more opaque. It is also available as pillar or container varieties and there is generally no need to use any additives unless for specialist applications. An interesting feature of soy wax is it!!!8217;s ability for spillages to be removed with hot, soapy water which is not possible with other types of wax. In addition to this, soy wax is often thought of as a !!!8216;greener!!!8217; wax as it produces less carbon when burning that other kinds.

    There are a number of other different waxes available on the market for making candles, including beeswax and gel wax, but these will not be covered in these tutorials as I have no experience with these waxes yet!

    Wax Blends

    Pillar Blend

    This type of wax is used mainly for creating pillar candles and wax melts. It is designed to shrink when cooling to aid release from metal moulds and tends to be much harder than container wax. As a consequence of this, it tends to be fairly brittle. For ease of use and the many benefits mentioned previously, I recommend using soy pillar blend for tarts and pillar candles. For very intricate moulds, however, you may find that it is better to mix this with some container blend soy or paraffin to make the finished product less likely to snap at vulnerable points either when removing from the mould or during its lifetime.

    Container Blend
    This blend, as the name suggests, is used when making candles held within a container. It is usually much softer and creamier than pillar wax, as it is designed to melt easily and evenly and provide a good adhesion to the container. In order to facilitate this, it does not shrink when cooling. Some people use container blend wax for all of their wax melts, but I find it to be far too difficult to remove from moulds with little extra benefits over pillar blend melts. Both soy and paraffin wax are available in container blend but I find soy to be the trickier of the two to get right.

    As soy is a natural product, each batch made by the producers behaves in a slightly different way. This means testing every new batch of wax to ensure the wicks you are using are correct for the particular batch and fragrance and involves buying very large batches to eliminate unnecessary testing. For this reason, I prefer to use a high quality container paraffin for my containers and eliminate costly and time-consuming repeat tests.

    Equipment

    Most of the equipment needed to work with wax can already be found in the average kitchen. With just a small outlay for the additional items, you can be making your own wax creations in no time!

    Scales
    A good set of scales is essential. As you will see later on, using the correct amount of fragrance to wax is very important to ensure a safe and quality product. Digital scales are especially good as they tend to be most accurate and can be bought from most supermarkets for little over £10.00.

    Double Boiler
    Whatever type of wax you use, it is essential it is melted in a double boiler. This allows the wax to melt slowly and prevents it from burning easily. Burned wax smells and looks awful and is definitely something you want to avoid - don!!!8217;t ask me how I know! There are specialist metal jugs designed for this purpose but when starting out, a pyrex jug in a pan of boiling water is more than sufficient.

    Thermometer
    Getting the right temperatures with wax is extremely important. In order for your colours and fragrances to mix sufficiently, wax needs to be held at the correct temperature and this can only be achieved with a thermometer. A simple cook!!!8217;s thermometer is perfect and should cost no more than £3.00 at many high street stores.

    Moulds
    These are the one item that you probably won!!!8217;t have in your kitchen. Moulds are made from many different materials but most are either metal or silicone. Both types are suitable for use with soy wax, but paraffin wax may corrode silicone moulds over time. For wax melts, the traditional fluted round shape is the most popular, although I often make melts in a regular ice cude tray. There are also many makers of novelty silicone ice cube trays which are perfect for use with wax, although some colour bleeding may occur from the mould to the product (testing is essential here).

    Colours
    There are two main types of colours available for use with wax - dye chips and liquid colours. Dye chips are usually supplied in a small, hard chip which you can then break up into smaller pieces to use with your projects. These are the weaker of the two types of colourant but are very easy to use and to store.

    Liquid colours, whilst much stronger, can be a bit of a nightmare when it comes to cleaning up; they will stain anything they touch including your skin so you will need to be extremely careful or you will have rainbow hands in no time! However, with liquid colours it is possible to achieve a darker and deeper colour than is possible with dye chips.

    Different waxes will react differently to colours. Soy wax usually achieves mostly pastel colours, even from the darkest dye chips. The only way to achieve a darker colour with soy is to use liquid colours. Paraffin, however, takes colour much more readily and will reach a darker colour with dye chips.

    Wicks
    There are a plethora of types of wicks available on the market right now and the best way to find what works for you is to test them. I tend to use LX wicks, as I find these to be most reliable and consistent for me but every candle maker has a different preference. There are many factors to consider when deciding on the size of your wicks - type of wax, colours, fragrances and size of the candle will all need to be considered. It is essential to keep a log of your trial burns for wicks to ensure you remember which ones to use for next time.

    As a rough guide, you should expect that soy candles will require a larger wick than the equivalent sized candle in paraffin. I tend to use LX 16s and 18s for most of my containers with container paraffin.

    Wicks can be bought either as a continuous length wound on a spindle or in shorter lengths, pre-waxed and with metal sustainers attached - sufficient for one candle each. I tend to buy waxed wicks as I find them to be easier and quicker to use.

    Fragrance
    You may use any of the fragrance oils or essential oils on the market in your candles !!!8211; most are suitable. The only kinds that should not be used are water-based fragrances which can causes the wax to seize and become unusable (much like adding water to melting chocolate).

    As a general guide for fragrance oils, you can work with up to 10% fragrance in soy wax and 6% in paraffin wax. However, I tend to limit the fragrance in my soy items to 8% as I find 10% too strong. You may wish to vary the amount used for different fragrances, dependent on the strength of that particular fragrance.

    Essential oils should be used much more sparingly with a maximum concentration of 2%. In reality, you may not even want or need to use this much !!!8211; again, testing is essential.

    Containers
    When making container candles, having the correct containers to hand is essential. These do not have to cost a great deal but they do have to be suitable. You must ensure that the containers you use are non-porous and will stand up to the heat of a the hot wax during manufacture and the burning candle during use. Most glasses designed for use with votive candles or tealights are suitable, as is glazed pottery such as teacups and trinket boxes.
    Last edited by Kevie192; 20-11-2011 at 8:43 PM.
Page 1
    • Kevie192
    • By Kevie192 20th Nov 11, 8:39 PM
    • 1,139 Posts
    • 2,535 Thanks
    Kevie192
    • #2
    • 20th Nov 11, 8:39 PM
    • #2
    • 20th Nov 11, 8:39 PM
    PART 2 -MAKING WAX MELTS

    If you haven’t already done so, I recommend you read the first part of my tutorial series to gain a basic understanding of working with wax and the equipment needed to do so. Once you’ve done that you’re ready to make your first wax melts! As with all of my tutorials, I can only speak from my own experience. I do not profess to know everything about working with wax but what I do know from my own experiments I am more than willing to share.

    The Tutorial

    For this tutorial, you will need:
    ·Wax – I recommend pillar blend soy, but my first tutorial will help you to decide
    ·Colourant
    ·Fragrance
    ·Double Boiler (or a jug in a saucepan of water)
    ·Thermometer
    ·Stirrer
    ·Melt moulds – either ice cube trays or those specifically designed for melts
    ·Scales

    1.Weigh out both your wax and your fragrance into separate containers – everything is weighed in grams to ensure the proportions are correct. For soy pillar wax, I tend to use 8% of the weight of the wax in fragrance oils. I make in small batches so I use 250g of wax and 20g of fragrance oil. If you are using paraffin wax, you can adjust your fragrance level and add your additives now.

    NOTE: If you are using metal moulds for your melts, they should be warmed before pouring to get the best finish possible to the outside of the melt. To do this, simply place them in a very low oven (about 150ºF) until you’re ready to use them.

    2.Place boiling water in your saucepan (either bring to the boil in there or use the kettle if you’re lazy like me!) and sit the jug containing the wax in the water to begin melting.

    3.Put your thermometer in the jug – most have a clip, so I just clip mine in my jug and leave it there to monitor the temperature. You’re looking to get to around 170ºF before you add your fragrance; too hot and some of the fragrance will burn off, too cool and it won’t mix correctly.

    4.Once the wax has reached the desired temperature, take the jug out of the water, remove the thermometer and add your colour to the jug. If you use liquid colours they should mix in right away, but if using dye chips you will need to stir for about a minute or so to allow it to dissolve.

    5.With your colour and wax combined, it’s time to add the fragrance. Tip this in all at once and stir, stir, stir. Some fragrances take longer than others to combine with the wax but you should aim for about 2 minutes of stirring to fully incorporate it.

    6.Pour the hot wax into your moulds. These may get hot so make sure they’re on a heatproof surface before you pour and do this somewhere the melts can stand whilst solidifying.

    7.Once the melts have started to solidify, you can move them into the fridge to speed up the setting if you’re a little impatient – I have a small fridge I use just for this purpose!

    8.Leave the melts for an hour or so or until they are completely solid and are totally cool to the touch.

    9.Turn the moulds over and give them a tap on a hard surface. This should remove the melts with a minimum of fuss – if they do not fall out when tapped, you may need to leave them to solidify longer or pop them in the fridge.

    10.Wrap the melts in suitable packaging if you won’t be using them right away. Polythene bags are not a good idea as these can ‘suck’ the fragrance from your melts. A much better idea is either to use shrink wrap or polypropylene bags to wrap them as these will preserve their quality and fragrance.

    11.ENJOY your melts whenever you like! Pop them into an oil burner with a lit tealight underneath, sit back and relax as your whole home is filled with the beautiful fragrance of your choice.

    Further Notes

    ·It is VERY important that you don’t get any water into your wax mixture during ANY part of this process. Water in your melts will make them crumble when solid and spit when burned; put simply, they will not be safe to use.

    ·You do not need to use anything fancy to stir your wax, I usually use large lollipop sticks. If you use anything wooden, the only consideration to be made is that the wood must be completely DRY. If you are making several lots of different melts in one go, it is best to not wash and reuse your lolly sticks but leave them to dry for a few days to ensure they are completely free from moisture.

    ·Soy wax washes out with soapy water, so a squirt of washing up liquid and some hot tap water will make your jug and utensils completely clean again.

    ·Some people add their colour at the start of the process when melting the wax. This is perfectly fine to do, but I prefer to add it AFTER I remove the thermometer so that I don’t have to wash it up every time if I’m making several batches.

    So that’s all there is to it! With this knowledge and a bit of practice you’ll soon be making wax melts for all your friends. In my next instalment, I’ll teach you how to make container candles.
    Last edited by Kevie192; 20-11-2011 at 8:42 PM.
    • Kevie192
    • By Kevie192 21st Nov 11, 7:43 PM
    • 1,139 Posts
    • 2,535 Thanks
    Kevie192
    • #3
    • 21st Nov 11, 7:43 PM
    • #3
    • 21st Nov 11, 7:43 PM
    Hmm, thought I would have had a comment or a thanks by now... :-/
    • meer53
    • By meer53 21st Nov 11, 7:53 PM
    • 9,153 Posts
    • 13,289 Thanks
    meer53
    • #4
    • 21st Nov 11, 7:53 PM
    • #4
    • 21st Nov 11, 7:53 PM
    I buy mine. No time for making things like this, i have children and a job. Glad you enjoy it.
    • Mrs Huggett
    • By Mrs Huggett 21st Nov 11, 8:40 PM
    • 355 Posts
    • 475 Thanks
    Mrs Huggett
    • #5
    • 21st Nov 11, 8:40 PM
    • #5
    • 21st Nov 11, 8:40 PM
    I will be very interested in the next tutorial as I would love to make some candles instead of having to buy those expensive ones because that's what people in my family are used to, that'l show em!!
  • Ceirdwyn
    • #6
    • 25th Nov 11, 7:52 PM
    • #6
    • 25th Nov 11, 7:52 PM
    Hi, this is great, Thanks. I just found this thread when I searched for candle making, as my daughter wants a kit for Christmas. Can I ask what you think of this kit?
    Thanks
    Last edited by Ceirdwyn; 25-11-2011 at 7:58 PM.
    +++ Divide By Cucumber Error. Please Reinstall Universe And Reboot +++

    Hex -- (Terry Pratchett, Hogfather)
    • lucystephens
    • By lucystephens 13th Jul 17, 2:49 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    lucystephens
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 17, 2:49 PM
    Lucy
    • #7
    • 13th Jul 17, 2:49 PM
    Hi Guys


    I am struggling with CLP and what I need to do I am making soy wax melts with designer PO, Do my lables need to have full ingredients of the perfume on them or can I use a standard warning label? any help would be good:-)


    Thanks
    • matthewcford
    • By matthewcford 11th Mar 18, 8:30 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    matthewcford
    • #8
    • 11th Mar 18, 8:30 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Mar 18, 8:30 PM
    If anyone is looking out for a list of candle making equipment with where you can buy the stuff in the UK, I posted on my blog the equipment I used to make candles at home.

    However, as a new user I can't post links

    Link's in the bio.
    Last edited by matthewcford; 11-03-2018 at 8:32 PM.
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