Hopefully, by now you’ve had some luck with researching waxes. At this point, I will tell you I settled on IGI 4627. This wax holds the most fragrance load, is easily colored, and contains additives needed for the best burn and glass adhesion.

Years ago when I ordered a kit to make candles for gifts, Cierra Candle Supply had the best option. The kit came with wax, wicks, containers, additives, color chips, wick stickers, and info sheet. So when it was time for me to come back to candles after all those years, that is the first place I looked. I bought a soy kit because I figured a supply company would already what combinations worked well together, which is sort of true. There are things like ambient temperatures and humidity that can’t be added to a kit or even explained. You just have to learn those for yourself. Remember I told you this was hard?

My soy kit came fairly quickly and I got started right away. I followed directions and had beautiful looking, great smelling candles once again. Yahoo!!!!!

BUT…

Soy needs to cure for about 2 weeks before burning. Yes, you still have to test burn. I didn’t know this. Now back to the company knowing what it was doing. Yes, they knew a starting point. The best place to be is the starting point. Don’t think you can just order a kit and start selling. Hold your horses, Buck-o. Plenty of work to do before there’s money to be made. (And way more money to spend before making any.)

So when my 2 weeks were up, I burned one. Not to test, because I didn’t realize you had to, but because that cherry one had an amazing cold throw. (Next week I’ll go into acronyms and lingo.) I lit that puppy up and waited for the scent to wash over the room. Which, kind of happened.

The hot throw was fine. Just…fine. Not amazing, but it would do in say, a bathroom. I burned the candle all day and didn’t bother to check on it at all. I could see it so I knew it wasn’t causing a fire. I could kinda smell it, so I knew it was still burning. It was fine.

When I went to bed that night, I blew it out only to find the damn thing only burned right down the middle. There was a tunnel right through the center and a LOT of wax around the edge. What? How? Ok, Beth, back to do some research.  By this time, Google was the most popular search engine, so I headed there to get answers.

I discovered my wick was way too small for this jar. Yep, the jar and wick both came with the kit but did not work together at all. I looked up reviews for the kit in case I’d missed something, but no. All good reviews. I did some more research and found out elevation, room, and outdoor temperatures, and humidity all play a role in what works and what doesn’t. Nobody tells you that. It’s like some big secret. You know how Aunt Bea gave you her recipe for cherry pie but yours tastes a bit different? Ya, same thing. People tend to leave a little info out so yours doesn’t turn out exactly the same. I’m here to tell you the truth.

I got a little carried away there. I’ll get back to wicks after we cover containers. Color is the next stopping point on your candle-making journey. Since you’ve researched wax, you know whether or not you want to add color to your candles. You do not have to, but many people like color.

Color is another step into research. The wax you choose determines how well the color dye actually colors your candles. Soy holds less color, so you get a more opaque wax. Paraffin holds the best color and is easier to achieve vibrancy.

There are color dye chips that you cut pieces off and melt into the wax before adding fragrance. There are liquid dye drops that are more concentrated (and more expensive) but are easier to use the same amount from batch to batch for color matching. Again, this is a personal preference. No dye is needed to have beautiful candles.

You CANNOT use food coloring. Food coloring is water-based. Remember back from 6th science class that oil and water don’t mix? Ya, still true. Food coloring is a big NO-NO. Also, glitter is very pretty, but flammable. Do not use regular old glitter unless you want to burn down the house, after all, we are playing with fire here. There are cosmetic grade glitter and mica powder you can add, but very scantily. Too much will clog your wick and your candle will just be a decoration and will not burn properly. Why would you go to all this work just to fail? Start out with dye from a reputable candle supply company first. I’ve heard the dye’s from Hobby Lobby will work, but I’d recommend using those only in a pinch.

If you choose to color your wax, obviously you want a clear container. What good would it do to put pretty colored wax in something you can’t see through?  Also, if you want to use a clear container, you may need to do some more research on your wax and make sure it’s good at adhering to the glass. Otherwise, you’ll have big wet spots that look unsightly. See the bubbles? That’s wet spots where the wax didn’t adhere to the glass. Fixable, but unsightly and definitely unprofessional. Although all the big guys end up with wet spots, too.

wet spots

So after you decide to color or not to color, it’s on to vessels. I always wanted clear, but it’s a personal preference. You will need to know the diameter for future reference, so keep that in mind as well. A good starting point is an 8 oz container. It’s big enough to test and sell, but small enough you won’t waste 25 lbs of wax testing. There are multiple types of jars, tins, ceramics, concrete, with lids, without lids, dust covers, etc. I chose to have a vessel that had a lid. This is because I live on a gravel road with more dust than the Sahara, and candle wax attracts dust you didn’t even know you had. (If you do choose no lid, I will go over curing in a later post to help with dust.)

You need a vessel that is dedicated to candles. That’s your only guarantee it is safe for a flame. Let’s say you are at a tag sale and find some gorgeous glass that would be perfect for your brand. Is it thick glass? Does it say microwave or dishwasher safe? Those are clues that a vessel may work, but you must test them thoroughly before attempting to sell. Otherwise, you may burn someone else’s house down. We don’t want that.

If you do find a vessel that you’re unsure about, test it. Put it in your dishwasher. Put it in the oven at 300* for 25 minutes. The goal is to keep the flame away from direct contact of the glass vessel but make sure the vessel will take the heat without bursting or cracking.

So, on to some more research. Vessels are fun to search for. Keep in mind what type of branding you’re going for Luxury? Fun? Affordable? It all leads to something great. Wait and see.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

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