One of the most common mistakes made by students when they are attending our class is that they are so excited about making their candles that they don’t always listen to instructions. For example:
- Overheating the wax
- Adding the fragrance at too high a temperature
- Not mixing it in well
- Pouring too soon
- Wick off centre
The most important consideration apart from the wick and wax is the temperatures used in making your candles. The temperature that you melt and pour your wax at will influence how your finished candle will look, so it is important to follow the suppliers’ guidelines.
Remember, soy has a lower melt temperature than other waxes and it is easy to overheat and when overheated it is just like any other oil and is flammable. Take care!
Temperature Consideration 1 – Room Temperature
One of the reasons we don’t run summer classes at one of our venues is that the room is part of a Arts Precinct which is not air conditioned. Even a 30 C day can heat the room to 35 C or hotter. Not conducive to candle making. Not only do the candles melt, so do we. Your work temperature whether too hot or too cold will affect your candles. The ideal temperature to work in for me is around 23 – 24 C.
At the other end of the spectrum, cold room conditions can also affect your candles.I can honestly say that most hobbyists would make their candles in the kitchen and with so many having granite work benches the bottom of candle jars will be quite cold. I always suggest that even in mild weather conditions that all jars are warmed in the oven before use.The reason I recommend this, is that if your jar is really cold, the wax will start setting as soon as it hits the glass. You will pour a better candle if you slow down the cooling process.ie the jar and the wax should have as similar a temperature as possible, so they cool down together, slowly.
You need to consider that every step in the candle making process will affect how your candle looks so consider:
Jar temperature – warm up jars in a warm oven rather than sitting in hot water ( as this will warm only part of the jar) Take the chill off the glass if you can.
Wax Temperature for fragrance addition – I always recommend that fragrance is added below to the flash point of the fragrance, so the cooler the better. I add fragrance between 50 – 55 C
Wax Pour Temperature – Can be slightly different from wax to wax but I prefer to allow the wax to cool so that the temperature of the wax and the temperature of the jar are minimised. Warming up the jar and cooling the wax works for me. I pour when the wax starts losing it’s clarity.
Taking care with temperatures can minimise wet spots (area of the candle that looks like it has an air bubble between jar and wax), cracking, air bubbles and shrinkage and giving you a candle that looks fabulous and if it doesn’t keep practicing.