In candle making we are all striving to make “perfect” candles, but when you work with Natural products, mother nature likes to meddle from time to time.
Here are some common problems you may experience if you are a chandler or home crafter and also some burning experiences you might see if you are a candle loving purchaser.
Try to remember ALL Natural Soy Candles have their own personality and most of these issues do not affect the scent throw, they might just not look as perfect as unnatural products like Paraffin wax candles.
Looks like a white chalky coating!
Frosting is a byproduct of a natural wax, and is caused by the growth of tiny crystals on the surfaces of the wax. All soy wax will frost over time, but luckily frosting is solely an aesthetic issue and does not affect the way your candle burns or smells.
Crafters can minimise this by pouring at lower temperatures, Letting their wax cool at a normal room temperature and even slightly heating their glass container prior to pouring.
Appears as wet spots or not sealing to the glass
These are not really wet spots, but rather places the wax has pulled away from the container as it cools. It is caused by the wax cooling faster in some areas than others. Part of the wax pulls away from the glass while the remainder adheres to the sides of the container. This is the most common glass adhesion issue for container candles. It does not affect the way your candle performs, and can be easily hidden by a label.
Crafters, can thoroughly wash their containers before using, to remove dust and debris from shipping and storage. Also try not to cool your containers right next to each other. Give them space so the heat from other jars don't affect each other.
Rough Top - Prior to Buring
It can be frustrating to see a rough, unattractive surface on your cooled candles. The good news is: you aren't alone! Rough and uneven tops are an incredibly common occurrence when working with soy wax. As your poured candles cool, the wax naturally begins forming solid crystals. Ideally, these crystals are nice and uniform, giving the wax that smooth, creamy appearance soy is known for. But if the wax cools too quickly, too slowly, or contains small air bubbles, the surface of the wax will have a very mottled or pitted finish.
Crafters, should avoid vigorous stirring when mixing their fragrance as this causes an abundance of air bubbles that float to the surface on cooling. A trick here is to simply remelt the top with a heat gun on low setting to smooth back out the top of your candle.
Rough Top - After Burning
These can look pitted, curdled, rough and bumpy. I've seen some shockers!
This is caused when the hot wax in the melt pool cools and solidifies at an inconsistent rate. This is a feature of soy wax, and not a sign the crafter did anything incorrectly when making your candle.
In fact, you should use this feature as a way to show the candle is made with an all-natural soy wax. It does not affect the performance of the candle. If you find you simply do not like the look of a soy candle post-burn, you can try not to burn your candle as long (so the glass doesn't get as hot). Or turn off air conditioning which will make the wax cool too fast and unevenly.
Oil Seep & Discolouration
These can look like oily spots on the surface of your candle or dark at the bottom.
In the days after your candle has cooled, crafters may sometimes notice that there is a significant amount of liquid on the surface of their candle, as well as a very strong fragrance. This is what is referred to as fragrance leaching, seeping, or bleeding. Typically, seeping is caused by adding too much fragrance oil or by adding the fragrance at a temperature that is too cool. Appropriate temperatures and fragrance loads ensure the fragrance binds completely with the wax. If the fragrance does not bind properly, the fragrance will start to separate from the wax and rise to the surface of the candle or in some cases, settle to the bottom of the candle.
Crafters should always read the guide on their specific wax packaging, however it seems that best results are seen when wax is heated to 85 Celsius (185 F). Fragrance needs to blend with the wax so it doesn't separate off. Crafters should also take care with fragrance loads 6-10% is the most common loads depending on your wax type.
Tunneling & Melt Pools
Tunneling occurs when a candle wick consumes too much fuel (wax+fragrance) too quickly. Instead of a slowly forming, wide melt pool that extends to the edges of a container, a narrow melt pool forms in the center and burns down quickly, leaving a large amount of wax on the sides of the container.
It takes a bit of time to establish a full melt pool, approximately 1 hour per inch of container diameter. This is why instructions on the bottom of your candle should tell you to initially burn until candle reaches the edge of your container. This is to establish your melt pool.
If your candle has been burning for the appropriate time for your container size and the melted wax has not reached the edge of the container, your candle is not generating the heat needed for a full melt pool.
There can be a couple of problems here.
1. Allow enough time for your candle to establish its melt pool. A full melt pool can take some time. Burn your candle an hour per inch of your container diameter to allow the candle to have adequate time. If you have a 4 inch diameter container, this would be 4 hours of burning.
2. The wick is too small. The crafter should increase the wick size for this diameter so that the heat reaches all the way to the edge. Usually seen by the melt pool almost reaching the sides.
3. The wick is too big. The crafter should use a smaller wick to slow the heat dispersion as it may be burning off too fast. Usually seen by the melt pool tunneling down, not very close to the diameter of the jar.
Hopefully this helps a few of you out there understand your candles and their properties much better. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions firstname.lastname@example.org