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Material & Supplies


Right, now for the serious stuff, candle making is all about the materials, where you get them, and how you use them will determine the quality of the end product, there are endless number of sellers, out there, new ones spring up every year, many only last for a few weeks then vanish into the sunset, if you are careful from which company you buy from, you can not only make huge savings on your candle making materials, but receive support that ensures a road to successful candle making, but beware there are companies operating on the internet, whom portray themselves as expert or major suppliers, but have merely jumped on the popularity of candle making to make money, normally by undercutting the prices of other sellers. 

Many of these sellers, can also be found on Ebay and Amazon, one company, has lifted our new label design images and our website text descriptions, copied them, given them a fancy name and advocating this design as there own idea then undercutting our prices! This is a problem and will eventually give cause for many experienced sellers to give up selling candle making materials, it also reflects that most of new sellers, are themselves still learning the trade, unable to successfully guide you through the best candle making experience, from our view, we have always provided this website in order to promote candle making, therefore we take this copying as a form of flattery, that they have used our site for information on how to make candles and experience legitimacy, something many candle material supply companies do not do, a good material supplier will also make products, not just sell the materials.

We do not recommend any particular company for any particular product, but you will find as time goes on, that you will most likely buy the same products quite often from the same company, which is good for all of us, as it provides for future of the business for all within the trade.

Our web store offers a comprehensive range of quality products, we do not buy the cheapest wicks or waxes, we try to buy British as much as possible, If you buy the cheapest materials, particularly wick, your candle making results will most likely be more difficult to achieve good results.

To make a candle you need a wick and fuel, normally wax, but it does not have to be candle wax only, but this is a commonly available product sold by most candle making supply companies including ourselves, you can use any sort of fat , soft or hard and you can make a candle, you can even use old chip pan oil combined with stearin.

Where to buy it and what to buy, some companies sell pre coloured and even pre fragranced wax to make candles, this is mainly left over from candle factories, sold as surplus, its bought, because its very cheap, some even sell candle making kits with it, but we would strongly recommend not to buy this type of wax for a number of reasons, firstly candle dyes and fragrance oils deteriorate every time you melt wax , so you will find with this cheap wax, the colour and fragrance will fade very quickly , unless they include pigment dyes, which in turn will give burning issues.

With Pre Fragranced wax , the moment you re-melt it, the fragrance oil is evaporated off, and the subsequent candle has a much reduced scent throw, so our recommendation is always to buy new refined wax and add fresh fragrance oils.

NB; Fragrance oils are now influenced by legislation (CLP regulations) that came into effect in 2008 to ensure you are advising by some labelling method, instruction sheet and packaging to advise the consumer of any hazardous or allergen content in candles or wax melts containing fragrance oils, it encompasses three areas affecting candle makers 1) Mixtures which may contain allergens, 2) Safety measures for toxic materials to prevent inadvertent access by children 3) Safety measures for the Blind or Visually impaired, comprising tactile labels, which we are fitting to all our required fragrance oils as part of our CLP updates and changing to childproof caps on all bottles.

Tactile labels are required by law on all products classified toxic, very toxic, corrosive, harmful, extremely flammable including aerosols to alert the blind or partially sighted that they are handling a dangerous product. Labels must conform to BS EN ISO 11683;1997, also note in due course signage would need to be put on the external of parcels in transit, especially when transporting candle oils.

Many bona-fide sellers of fragrance oil are currently busily updating their websites with safety data sheets (SDS) and where required product labeling to incorporate the new legislation, which came into force in the UK in June 2015. Don't panic! you have until December 2017 to modify and prepare the additional product data or modify labels for your candles, and only if you are selling them to the public (direct or indirect), but it would be prudent to implement, if you are making lots of candles, which are subsequently given to friends or family.

Basically it has been over a year since CLP came into law in the UK, so it would pay to ensure, when purchasing candle oils that the relevant SDS is already available. We would recommend only purchasing oils, if these documents are already available or where the seller has posted information on how to obtain. Unfortunately like most legislation it will eventually push prices up to pay for the additional handling costs and packaging


Getting back to Wax, this can be either paraffin, soy, rapeseed, beeswax or a combination of normal and specialist waxes such as micro waxes, over dipping waxes, carving waxes , hard waxes for sculptural style candle such as water candles or hurricane candles, soy wax is predominately used for container candles, and is available in blended versions, with additives, which can be used for pillar or moulded candles.

 
Pillar or moulded candle making Wax is mostly paraffin wax, with a melt range of 55 to 60 Centigrade, this is sold in either block or bead formats, for convenience and ease of use , we find bead format is better, but 100% paraffin wax in its normal state is soft and pliable, therefore candles made solely of paraffin are like jelly beans in appearance, to increase opaqueness , colour and the hardness of the candle, plus increase the burning time, Stearin (stearic acid) is added, normally at approximately 5 to 10% ratio.

Some candle makers specialise in making 100% Stearin candles, which also has the name of Palm wax as stearin is derived from palm oil or fish bones, it is considered a naturally available product, the industry relates stearin as a long chain product primarily used as a hardening agent, much used in making bars of soap, it also enhances the colour of candles and makes the wax more opaque. You should note however,  there are questions being raised about some stearin suppliers producing it (which is made from palm trees) of extensive de-forestation, particularly in Indonesia, so again it shows the importance of sourcing your materials from a reputable supplier, and not just the cheapest.

As you learn more and more about the craft of candle making, a number of specific facts will become clear, firstly as we have said to make a candle, we need wick and fuel. This fuel or wick is not limited to cotton wicks or wax fuels, if you look at the wax family , it is basically a fat, all fats comprise normally a combination of substances called Oleins of which there is hard and soft versions, stearin is a hard version , whereas lard would be considered soft, but both serve the purposes of being a fuel.

The softer the fat (fuel) the quicker a candle burns, to experiment if you took some cooking oil, any type and added say 30% of stearin to it, then microwaved the mixtures for say 3 minutes until the stearin dissolves into the cooking oil , to create a clear liquid which looks like hot cooking oil, add a wick to a container and pour in the molten contents, let is cool and set! You will find after a few hours you have a candle made of cooking oil and stearin, which has hardened similarly, to what candle wax would. Then burn it and you will find you have made a candle from ordinary cooking oil, which will last just as long as a wax candle.
 
The Burning time of a candle can be increased greatly by adding Stearin or other polymer based additives such as Vybar, which is a polymer plastic, but as this has a much higher melting point, during the candle making process, it must be added slowly to wax raised to approx 100 centigrade, which is much higher than needed to melt the wax, great care should be taken, when using Vybar or other additives requiring a much higher melt point. 

Effectively by adding these additives you are making your wax Harder and therefore raising the melt temperature needed to melt the wax and this process takes longer time and effects an extension of burning time. These additives in hardening the wax change its structure to be more dense and therefore this provides shrinkage, which can also aid mould release.

You can make your candle from 100% stearin if you desire ( see picture above), this gives a very hard, long burning candle with a lovely crystalized surface and structure, but also a more fragile candle which can break, stearin candles can be considered the most environmentally friendly candles as sustainable palm oil stearin and cotton wick are grown, with perhaps the least amount of processing required, less processing than the hydrogenation process required for soy wax. When making stearin candles , the crystalline appearance is greatly enhanced by allowing the candle to set slowly, the slower it sets, the better the crystalline appearance.
 
NB; when using Latex moulds do not use stearin as this will attack the latex and ruin your mould, use vybar instead. 
 
Wick is needed, these are available in various sizes, and are based on the proposed end diameter of the candle, normally made of braided cotton, most wick has been treated with chemicals such as potassium nitrate to assist the burning, to size wick, they are often referred to by sizes ranging from 1/2" in steps of 1/2" or 1" , so for a three inch diameter candle you need a 3" wick. NB This sizing is only an approximate guide, and normally based on wicking either a container or pillar candle with plain low melt paraffin wax.

Adding stearin, dyes , polymers or fragrance oils, immediately changes the characteristics of the wax melting properties, and therefore , quite commonly you need a larger wick to offset the additives, therefore as we have said many times you need to experiment and test burn your candle combination before you embark on buying hundreds of wicks.

You must also note, that the burning characteristics of wicks , change according to the application and even information provided by sellers and manufacturers can vary, for example when you review different websites a piece of flat LX8 wedo wick has different specifications and can perform completely differently and have different sizing recommendations depending whether used for container wicks or pillar candles, on some sites LX8 is quoted as a 50mm candle wick, but Wedo  themselves specify it as a 40mm wick, in any case the moment you put additives its performance changes, and normally reduces this size expectation. We have attached a WEDO sizing specification for their current wicking, which depicts to the change of use sizing, but the correct way to size is by making samples and testing.

Note; natural waxes and pure beeswax are even more viscous than paraffin wax , so chose a wick one size up from the proposed diameter.

An analogy to think of at this time is perhaps that of a water hosepipe, the bigger the hosepipe , the more water can flow, thus is the same with wicking, what you select as a wick will determine how the candle will perform, but care and experimentation needs to be done to select the right wick for the combination of fuel(wax) and additives (fragrance oils).

We have included some charts which at first glance seem fairly pointless, but these charts indicate wicking selection by yield figures, the higher the yield per kg of wick, the smaller the wick is and the smaller the flame will be, so this will give an approximation to start your testing.


Most customers usually think of a candle's shape, colour or fragrance as its most important element. Most experienced candle manufacturers, though, would definitely, say it's the wick that makes the candle.


The purpose of a wick is to deliver fuel (wax) to the flame. Acting like a fuel pump, the wick draws the liquefied wax up into the flame to burn. Different wick sizes allow for different amounts of fuel to be drawn into the flame. Too much fuel and the flame will flare and soot; too little fuel and the flame will sputter out. All wicks consist of a bundle of fibres that are twisted, braided or knitted together. These fibres adsorb the liquefied wax and carry it to the flame by capillary action.


There are literally hundreds of different styles and sizes of wicks. The type of wax used in a candle, as well as the candle's size, shape, color and fragrance materials all impact wick choice. Selecting the correct wick is critical to making a candle that burns cleanly and properly. Professional candle manufacturers take great care in selecting a wick of the proper size, shape and material to meet the burn requirements of a particular candle and its additives or burning requirements.


Types of Wicks

Most wicks are made from several braided, plaited or knitted cotton fibres , using multiple fibres encourages a slow and consistent burn. Twisted wicks are of lower quality than braided or knitted wicks. They burn much faster because their loose construction allows more fuel to quickly reach the flame. However, twisted wicks are useful for certain applications, such as birthday candles.

In general, wicks can be divided into four major types:

Flat Wicks. These flat-plaited or knitted wicks, usually made from three bundles of fibres, hence you will often see part nos beginning 3 or tri , these wicks are very consistent in their burning and because they are flat , they curl into the flame which ensures 100% burn for a self-trimming effect. They are probably the most commonly used wicks, and are often found in taper and pillar candles.

Square Wicks. These braided or knitted wicks also curl in the flame, but are more rounded and a bit more robust than flat wicks. They are preferred for beeswax applications and can help inhibit clogging of the wick, which can occur with certain types of waxes, especially if the waxes contain pigments or fragrances.

Cored Wicks. These braided or knitted wicks use a core material to help keep the wick straight or upright while burning. The wicks have a round cross section, and the use of different core materials provides a range of stiffness effects. The most common core materials for wicks are cotton, paper, zinc or tin. the cotton cored provide the hottest flame of all cores.

Cored wicks are the best to use for scented candles as they provide greater flame heat , which then provides a greater melt pool , which in turn gives off more fragrance aroma, these wicks can be found in jar candles, pillars, votive and grave lights.

Specialty Wicks. These wicks are specially designed to meet the burn characteristics of specific candle applications, such as oil lamps and insect-repelling candles.


There are less wick manufacturers today than there were in centuries past and today the wicking market is dominated by just half a dozen manufacturers such as UK (Hayes & Finch), Germany (WEDO) USA (Atkins & Pearce), Europe is dominated by WEDO and can be found in most candle making suppliers shops, and because of this domination , we have attached a WEDO wick selection PDF, which shows the whys and wherefores in selecting their wicks against candle and wax types.


To give an idea of the complexity of wicking ,we have produced some charts below , Glossary of terms for Wick Charts :

Yield
Measured in yards /per pound ( USA) or Metres/Kg (Europe) in weight. The higher the yield, the smaller the wick and the flame / resulting heat generated.
ROC
The rate of wax consumption in grams by the wick in one hour. The higher the burn rate the more wax which is being consumed. Used to determine how well a wick and wax combination is performing.

Flame Ht 
An approximation of total flame height for that size wick.

Pool Dia
An approximation of Melt pool diameter in plain wax

Following Chart statistics are attributed to Wedo. These statistics should be viewed as reasonable estimates for comparison purposes only. Actual results should be determined on an application by application basis and results may vary depending upon blend, colour, fragrance, wax and shape/size of container/candle


Wick Guide 

There a number of wicks available on the UK market, offered from wick suppliers to candle making material supply organisations , from E bay to Amazon and specialist websites, the following gives an outline of some of the most common wicks you may encounter, including our own designed container wicks made by the last wick maker of the UK.

LX ; This is one of the most commonly found and cheapest wicks on the market place, sold as lengths of wicking,  but also sold pre-tabbed for container candle use. This is low cost, very thin flat wick that curls to produce a self trimming effect. 

It is more Effective in low temperature paraffin waxes, or you can use larger sizes for higher temperature paraffin wax, they can work in natural waxes but again, a lot larger size is needed than you would in paraffin wax., and where an alternative selection could be made.

Large amounts of Fragrance oils in a candle can affect the performance of LX wick, so it is not the best one for Scented candles and is best suited to plain wax candles 

 
Wick Designation
Yield
(yds/lb)
ROC
(oz/hr)
Flame Height
(mm)
Pool Diameter
(mm)
LX 88530.132851
LX 107740.152851
LX 126460.1830.553.5
LX 145480.193353.5
LX 164810.2035.556
LX 184410.203856
LX 204020.223858.5
LX 213520.254366
LX 223250.2745.7571
LX 24 NST 22960.305178.75
LX 26 NST 22760.325184
LX 28 NST 22530.346189
LX 30 NST 22380.3663.594

ECO; The ECO wick is a flat, core less, cotton wick with thin paper filaments interwoven for burn stability. The specially treated paper threads provide a controlled curling of the wick making the ECO series self-trimming, which results in minimized mushrooming, soot and smoke.

ECO wicks are particularly successful in lower melt-point vegetable and paraffin waxes.


Wick
Code
Yield
(m/kg.)
ROC
(g/hr.)
Flame Ht.
(mm)
Pool Dia.
(mm)
ECO 0.215102.842346
ECO 0.512803.122851
ECO 0.7511593.422553
ECO 110403.973356
ECO 1.59274.254058
ECO 28235.14061
ECO 47505.674363
ECO 66606.804666
ECO 85907.375371
ECO 10
5807.655571
ECO 125287.945574
ECO 144609.355576

 
TL ;

The TL wick is flat braided with a non-cored construction which allows for optimum wick movement into the flame during combustion. The TL line is designed to be used in tea lights and votives due to the low heat precision burning it offers in paraffin, vegetable and gel waxes.


Wick
Code
Yield
(m/kg)
ROC
(g/hr.)
Flame Ht.
(mm)
Pool Dia.
(mm)
TL 10/S.32 NST 232701.991333
TL 13/S.32 NST 222762.271536
TL 15/S.30 NST 220302.271543
TL 18/S.30 NST 2 
16353.122046
TL 21/S.30 NST 2 
13603.402348
TL 25/S.30 C11794.252848
TL 28/S.28 C10304.542851
TL 31/S.28 C8894.823351
 

CSN; This is a substantial candle wick originally designed by Wedo for use in natural waxes for the USA company Candle Science, therefore Candle Science Natural (CSN), natural waxes are notorious for difficult burning properties, especially if dye or fragrance is added , but this wicking works well in this environment and can also be used in pillar and container candles, Ideal for wicking melted old candle bits/ natural waxes with unknown fragrance oils. This wick code is now known as VRL


PCW; This is our own brand high quality Cotton cored wick , which was designed to work the same as CSN/VRL wick, but to provide more heat and hence a bigger melt pool for our range of scented candles, these wicks work in all paraffin waxes and applications, especially scented candles. 

If the ECO or LX are not giving you the results you require,  you should find that the PCW will meet most applications. At present this wick is only available from ourselves, but we may supply other traders in due course.






Wick
Code
Yield
(m/kg.)
ROC
(g/hr.)
Flame Ht.
(mm.)
Pool Dia.
(mm)
CSN/VRL/PCW 51628

35
CSN/VRL/PCW71183

40
CSN/VRL/PCW9890

45
CSN/VRL/PCW11690

50
CSN/VRL/PCW12636

55
CSN/VRL/PCW14597

60
CSN/VRL/PCW16535

65
CSN/VRL/PCW18492

70
CSN/VRL/PCW22452

75
CSN/VRL/PCW26407

85










Guide to Wicking Containers;

It is particularly important that once you have purchased your candle wick, that you install and handle it correctly, we get many buyers whom complain that their container wick is broken! Split! or the sustainer have come off! This is normally because they have not handled it correctly or secured the wick correctly.

Firstly it is very important that your wick is attached to the container bottom, and that you have centralised the wick base, we provide sticky foam pads with all our tabbed wicks, to make this an easy job, although you must be pretty accurate as they are incredibly sticky and will not move once placed.

Next you must gently make the wick upright and reasonably taut, so that when it burns it melts vertically only , at this point, you need to secure the top of the wick to prevent it moving or collapsing when the hot wax is poured, using a wick holder.

Wick holders come in many shapes and sizes, perhaps the simplest is two round lolly sticks, or pencils, side by side , with elastic bands holding them together, by opening up and threading top of wick through and releasing, the top of the wick is secured and then you can pour hot wax without fear of the wick collapsing or moving.

Things you must not do at this point are 1, Hold the wick top until set! 2, Pull or tug at the wick so that it pulls out of the sustainer, you must remember when the sustainer is fitted, it not only clamps the cotton core, it also is clamping a layer of wax, enabling it to quite easily be pulled from the sustainer, more so when hot wax has been added.

It is not important if the residual wax on the wick has cracked, as residual wax will melt during the hot pour and the excess layer serves no purpose, once the cotton threads are soaked in wax. This pre waxing of the cotton wicks is called Priming, wicking without wax priming quite often is incorrectly referred to dry wick, but primed wick is not wet.



Image shows correct wicking of container before pouring hot wax, which essentially must be supported top and bottom in the container or if even using a pillar mould, you cannot make a successful wicked candle by holding one end until it sets.



Fragrance Oils & Colouring
 
Colours and Perfumes, it goes without saying candles today are used for their beauty and relaxation powers, so the wax benefits from addition of colour to suit your taste and the addition of a perfume when burning. When adding dye to wax , if you also add up to 10% stearin to the wax, you will find the colours are greatly enhanced and richer. Unfortunately when colouring Soy wax, the natural colour (ivory/cream) is difficult to overcome and you end up with a pastel shade, rather than the deep colours with stearin. 
 
Colouring is available in a variety of formats, you can even use crayons or poster paints, but most candle makers select either from pre coloured chips, pigment dyes or ready made concentrated colour wax tablets. Diamond chips work best with Soy waxes. 
 
Perfumes can be added to molten wax by either proprietary special wax perfumes or essential oils, although care should be taken with essential oils as some do not burn clean and can produce a bitter scent.
 
Care should also be taken when using essential oils that they have a low content of alcohol or other carrier/diluting additives, particularly when using rubber moulds, as these could attack the mould material.
 
Generally, care should be taken when using fragrances or essential oils, as the strong scents can effect your senses, particularly if they have known aromatherapy properties, generally fragrance is added to molten wax whilst cooling to prevent boiling away the oil, it also aids trapping in the perfume if the candle starts to set soon after addition.
 
Volume of fragrance to add varies immensely on the oil or fragrance make up, but the addition of 8% by weight will probably satisfy most of your requirements, however all fragranced oils vary and scented candles are a bit hit and miss, we constantly experiment with different oils and different suppliers and the end result varies dramatically.
 
With CB135 soy wax for instance, the manufacturer states a 7.5% maximum volume of fragranced oil, but this depends on the particular oil, some fragrances are strong and some are subtle, some work well with soy wax and some work better with paraffin wax, unfortunately its a bit hit and miss and sometimes an unscientific process.
 
Finally we need to add that the CLP regulations came into force on June 1st 2015 , this requires you to make available material data sheets on fragrance oils and essential oils contained within candle products, and if you are selling your products , to label them accordingly with chemical hazard identifications, to promote awareness to the user of any potential hazards, which may be caused by the use of the products.

Phthalates 

Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are esters of Phthalic acid. They are used to dissolve fragrance raw materials when making fragrance oils. They have been used for many decades in a myriad of pharmaceuticals, household and industrial products. Recently, there have been concerns that high levels of Phthalates can cause a host of health issues. It is not clear that the levels that people encounter cause adverse effects, but it is clear to us that products would be better if they didn’t pose any such risks.

While both the U.S. and Europe have imposed laws against Phthalates in children’s toys (since they are put in the mouth) there are no rules against Phthalates in candles., but if MSDS is available it is worth checking fragrance oil content.

We are currently working with ways to increase the scent throw, but this means the addition sometimes of additives, this detracts from the green qualifications of soy wax, but if you study the growing methods and refining process of Soy wax, it is apparent they really only have one green credential and that is it comes from a plant that is grown , not extracted from the earths mineral reserves.

So it quite often comes down to choice, 100% natural or give them some help. We are now selling Bipol X which is similar to Vybar and is a long chain product which provides moisture retention by changing the cell structure of the wax, if added in small quantities changes the structure of the wax to allow up to 3 times fragrance oil content, this prevents things like cracking in the wax which you can get with to much added fragrance oil it also prevents bleeding of oil out of the wax when to much fragrance is used. 

NOTE; Bipol X is a polymer which holds onto the fragrance oil molecules, so do not add to much as it will hold onto all of the oil molecules and prevent the fragrance venting.

We also have under test a new product from Bekro called BE50 , which again is designed to reduce oil pockets in the wax to enable better dispersal and prevents oil sweating, thus allowing addition of extra fragrance oil, at present we are testing to see how much FO can be increased by using this additive, and then it will become available in our web store as an alternative.

Unfortunately it boils down to, what do want to achieve, those expensive candles from Jo Malone  or similar are expensive to produce, they sometimes spend thousands creating a scented candle of the right specification as its expensive to conduct all the trials needed and if you want to emulate it there is no cheap alternative.

You will find essential oils are normally stronger in fragrance than synthetic candle oils, but the balance is harder to achieve in getting a good flame with a good scent throw, some essential oils are bitter when burnt, some are not, some affect the flame others do not, whatever you use keep notes and when you achieve that wonderful balance , you can repeat it time and time again.

 
A number of PDF Downloads are attached for more details of some of the materials listed on this page, as there are lots of online sellers, selling a few items of candle making supplies, along with many other products, some of which are not readily traceable or in continuous supply, we have included below a number of recommended candle making material suppliers whom, along with ourselves, you can confidently purchase from as companies solely dealing in the craft of candle making , with experience and knowledge to support you.
 
 IF YOU WANT TO BUY CANDLEMAKING MATERIALS FROM OUR STORE CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW 




Recommended Supplier List;

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Subpages (1): Equipment Needed
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CB135.pdf
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judith scales,
1 Mar 2011, 09:31
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judith scales,
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judith scales,
1 Mar 2011, 09:31
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