Candle making is a unique way to express creative ideas, and wax plays the most significant role. Over time, wax has also evolved from the traditional Beeswax to much lighter and more viscous gel wax, however, the magic of the golden glow of a candle continues to cast a spell even today when electricity has literally taken over the world.
Gel wax, the innovation that added a new dimension to candle making has gained immense popularity in the past few decades. Although, it acts like a wax by holding fragrance and color and it also melts and burns, gel is not a wax. It is a solid material similar to jelly which can be hard and soft both. The most defining characteristic for the wax is the transparency that allows a whole new range of candles, quite different from the ones made from the traditional wax. Produced from a combination of mineral oils or hydrocarbon and a special polymer, gel wax has been patented by the Penreco company. Because of this patent, the majority of gel wax is produced by Penreco. It has a longer burn life than any other vegetable wax or paraffin. The clean glow of this wax is also a unique characteristic which sets it apart from the rest of candle-wax family members.
On a downside, since the gel does not have a solid body, it can also melt at normal room temperature. There’s also a general perception that this particular wax is more dangerous than traditional wax, which is baseless and hold no truth as such. Although, it burns hotter than paraffin or any other types of wax, any candle can be hazardous if left unattended.
Primary uses in candle making:
Although, Gel wax is slightly different in appearance, it is as versatile as any other type of wax. Due to its rubbery texture, it is widely used for container candles but in the recent years the harder type of gel wax has also gained popularity in making pillar candles. Since it is transparent, it allows a lot of creative freedom to make unique candles. The gorgeous glow of this innovative wax makes for one-of-its-kind candles and spreads a bright and cheerful glow.
Different types and melting points:
The candle gel is distributed by the company under the name of VersaGel™ and VersaGel™C which has been categorized as the following ‘Grades’:
Low Density-CLP grade: Easy to melt and pour, low-density gel doesn’t support inserts or embeds as it lacks thickness. The fragrance throw is also comparatively weaker than other types of candle wax.
Medium Density-CMP grade: The most popular type of gel wax for candles, medium density can hold embeds such as beads or shells pretty well. Easy to manipulate, it is a great choice if you wish to make candles with great scent throw and want to adorn them with inserts.
High Density-HP grade: Thick in texture and tricky to manipulate, high-density gel is an ideal pick if you wish to suspend embeds or solid dyes. It also has an impressive fragrance load.
The melting point for gel as wax is higher and depending on the Grade of the wax it can vary from 180 degrees to 220 degrees. While most candles have a melting point of 180 degrees or below, gel wax also burns at a hotter temperature of 250 degrees to 280 degrees. Therefore, you must be vigilant while melting it or choosing containers.
Maximum recommended fragrance capacity:
This wax has almost the same capacity of holding fragrance as most traditional waxes. However, Grades can play a significant role in allowing the scent throw and the maximum load. CLP grade, or Low Density, holds up to 3% fragrance oil, whereas medium and high-density gel has a higher 5% to 6% fragrance load capacity for a great scent throw. But experiment with fragrances to get the desired result you are looking for.
Now that you know the good and not-so-good side of gel wax, it’s time to start molding your candle dreams by combining your knowledge and artistic streak.