Candle Making Terms

If you’re going to make candles, it’s essential to know candle making vocabulary!

Candle making terminology will assist you when you need to reach out for troubleshooting advice from other candle makers, or from customer service.

Understanding this unique terminology will encourage you to appreciate what you’re seeing and to engage with the technical process.

We’ve compiled an extensive list below of terms, which will rapidly become second nature to you.

 

A

 

Additive:

A substance, designed to be synthesized with wax, used to upgrade a candle’s burning qualities. For example, vybar, stearic acid and UV inhibitor are all additives.

 

B

Burn Cycle: 

When you burn a candle for 4 hours nonstop, blow it out, then let it cool. Useful for evaluating wick performance and calculating burn time. 

Burn Rate:

The amount of wax that is consumed per hour, measured in grams. Burn rates will vary according to your vessel size, chosen wax type, and the heat being emitted from your wick.

Burn Time: 

The time it takes for the wax in a candle to be wholly consumed. Different variables will influence burn time, including chosen wax type, wick size, and vessel size.

 

C

 

Container Candle:

A candle that is created by pouring wax directly into a container, from which it will then be burned.

Cold Throw: 

The strength of fragrance emitted from a candle that is not burning. The cold throw is evaluated before it has been burned for the very first time (usually 24-48 hours of the candle being made.) Some waxes have a stronger cold throw than others.

Cure:

This is the process by which a candle sets after being made. During this time, fragrance infuses with the wax, enhancing the fragrance. A candle burned one day after being made will differ from a candle made three weeks prior in this respect. 

 

D

 

Double Boiler:

Two pots with water in one, which provides even heating. Commonly used to melt candle wax.

Dye:

Candle colourants used to colour the wax.

 

E

 

Essential Oil: 

Oil extracted from a natural substance. For example, plants, flowers, leaves, wood.

 

F

 

Flashpoint: 

The lowest temperature at which a substance can ignite if it comes in contact with an open flame. This information is commonly found on an SDS (Safety Data Sheet).

Fragrance Load: 

The percentage of fragrance concentration. The quantity of fragrance added (by weight) and used as a percentage of the base. eg: 5 grams of fragrance added to 300 grams of wax is an x% fragrance load. We recommend using approximately 8% fragrance per batch of candles.

Fragrance Oil: 

A blend of synthetic and/or natural components utilized to produce scented oil.

Frosting:

 Also known as bloom. A white, dusty, crystal-like substance that blooms in soy wax candles. It is not harmful and won’t influence the burn or scent throw of your candles. However, some candle makers do not like the aesthetic look of frosting. It can be caused by cooling at a different rate. To eliminate frosting, heat your vessels before pouring, work in a warm room, and adjust pour temperatures. 

 

G

 

Glass Adhesion: 

Also known as Wet Spots - see below. This is when the wax pulls away from the glass in container candles in areas. This can be caused by inaccurate pouring temperatures or rapid cooling. 

 

H

Hot Throw:

The strength of the fragrance emitted from a candle while it is burning.

 

J

Jump Lines:  

(also referred to as Chatter lines and Stuttering). These horizontal lines are rings around the sides of a container candle or pillar candle.

 

M

Melt Point:

The temperature at which wax will start to liquefy. You should generally expect a full melt pool within 2-3 hours of burning your candle. 

Melt Pool: 

The liquid layer of wax that forms as the candle burns.

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet): 

Product safety information sheets developed by manufacturers and marketers of products.

Mushrooming: 

There is a carbon build up on the tip of a wick while burning. This issue is caused by the incomplete combustion of cotton wicks. Trimming the wick will assist with clearing carbon buildup between burns. Lowering the fragrance load may also help, and decreasing wick size, as the wick could be too large.

 

P

Palm Wax: 

Wax made from palm. 

Paraffin Wax: 

Wax obtained from refined petroleum.

Pillar Candle: 

A candle made in a mould and designed to be free standing.

Pour Temperature: 

Required temperature at which to pour the fragranced candle wax into a container or mould. This will differ for every wax type, so refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for your chosen wax.

 

S

 

Scent Load: 

Amount of fragrance a specific wax will hold; usually stated in a percentage.

Scent Throw: 

The fragrance emitted by a candle.

Single Pour Wax: 

A wax that does not shrink enough to require a second pour.

Sinkhole:

Cavity or hole that is formed when a wax hardens and contracts. Craters are left on the surface of a candle after has cooled because of trapped air pockets. These can be avoided by following the manufacturer’s instructions for melting and pouring temperatures. Also ensure that candles are setting on a flat, undisturbed surface. You can fix sinkholes using relief holes, then finishing with a heat gun. 

Soy Wax:

A natural wax made from soybeans. A clean burning wax that is a natural alternative to paraffin.

Stearic Acid:

Used to increase opaqueness, slow-burning, and harden wax.

Sweating:  

This appears when fragrance separates from wax. You might see fragrance beads collecting on the top of a container candle. This can be caused by moving a candle from one temperature to another. 

 

T

 

Tealight:

A small, self-contained candle usually poured in a tin cup.

Top Pour: 

Also referred to as a re-pour or a second pour: This additional pour after the candle has set, is intended to fill in sinkholes or smooth out the top.

Tunnelling:

When the wick is too small for the diameter of the candle vessel, a full melt pool cannot be reached, and therefore, a tunnel forms. When a wick does not generate a complete melt pool in a candle it will leave a ring of unmelted wax on the sides. The wick usually burns straight down the centre because the chosen wick is too small for the container. 

 

U

 

UV stabilizer:

An additive used to avoid fading when a candle is exposed to UV rays or fluorescent lighting.

 

W

 

Wet Spots:

An area where the wax has pulled away from parts of a container leaving spots; a routine issue with container candles. 

Wick Tab:

A flat metal disc with a small hole in the centre to insert a wick into. It holds the wick at the bottom of a candle.

Wick Up: 

During the testing stage, you may need need to try one wick size larger for better results. 

Wick Down: 

During the testing phase, you may need need to try one wick size smaller for better results.