Candle making is not rocket science, however, like any other form of art you need to understand your tool and core ingredients to create a masterpiece. When it comes to candle-making, the very first lesson you need to learn is about different types of wax and the results they are capable of delivering. Today, most of the candles that are available in the commercial outlets and retail stores are made of Paraffin wax. One of the most versatile waxes with various melting points, paraffin is a white or colorless by-product of crude oil which remains in its solid form at room temperature but begins to melt above approximately 99 degrees F or 37 degrees C.
Why Paraffin Wax?
Consistent in performance, easy to blend, manipulate and use, this popular type of wax is suitable with or without additives to create different kinds of candles from votive to container to pillar candles. Despite being inert in nature, it has a great illuminating effect and it burns really well. Unlike natural wax, paraffin does not frost. Since, most of the candle scents and dyes are formulated and developed keeping paraffin in mind, the additives work very well when blended with it.
With a distinctive crystalline appearance, the wax is capable of delivering a smooth, glossy finish to a candle. Although, the eco-friendliness of paraffin is highly debatable due to its very origin from petroleum, it is a reigning superstar in the world of candle making in terms of popularity. However, in the United States, pre-blended paraffin is more prevalent than the pure form of it.
Straight vs Pre-blended Paraffin:
Paraffin as wax can be used in its straight or pre-blended form. As the very name suggests, the straight paraffin is the unaltered form of the wax without any additives such as Vybar or stearic acid added to it, whereas a pre-blended paraffin is defined by the additives used and the final purpose of the wax created for expected and predetermined fragrance throw and illumination along with specific applications such as votives, jars, tapers or pillars. The straight or pure Paraffin allows the candle-maker the freedom to experiment and shape one’s own creative ideas by combining additives to reach a blend they prefer.
Melting Points for Paraffin Wax:
- Less than 130 degrees F: Paraffin with a low melt point is widely used for container candles.
- Between 130 degrees F and 150 degrees F: Categorized as medium melt point paraffin, this type of wax is often used for molded candles such as pillars and votives that need to stand on their own.
- Higher than 150 degrees F: Known as paraffin with high melt point, this type of wax is used for special applications such as over dipping or hurricane candle shells.
Fragrance Load for Paraffin Wax:
Straight paraffin wax has a lower maximum fragrance load of around 3% without the use of additional additives such as Vybar as compared to the pre-blended paraffin that allows higher fragrance load of 6-12%. The fragrance load must be calculated by weight and not volume. A good rule of thumb is 1 – 1 ½ oz. of fragrance to 1 pound of paraffin wax.
Now that you know enough about Paraffin, it’s time to get onto the real business and start realizing you candle dreams.