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Posts Tagged ‘candle burning tips’

Caramel Apple Candles by Auntie B’s Wax

I just unmolded a batch of beautiful candles with the scent of Buttermint Candies.  I love them!  As I was examining and sniffing them I got to thinking about candles and the misconceptions people have about them.  As someone who’s been making candles for over a decade let me share with you the things I’ve learned.

There is no such thing as a wickless candle.

By definition, a candle is “a long, usually slender piece of tallow or wax with an embedded wick that is burned to give light.”  So-called “wickless candles” are in fact not candles at all.  They are chunks of scented wax put into a melter and heated to release the fragrance oil they contain.  I take offense to giving this product the name “candle.”  They are not lit with fire nor do they produce fire, unless of course the wax is heated to a temperature exceeding the flash point of the wax or fragrance oil, in which case a very large fire will ensue.  They are more aptly named tarts.

There is no such thing as a smokeless candle.

All candles have smoke as a byproduct.  It’s the nature of fire.  However, there are several ways to reduce the smoke output of a candle.  A good candle maker will make the candle with a properly-sized wick which will reduce excess smoking.  Avoid “triple scented” candles as too much fragrance oil can cause smoking.  Keeping the wick trimmed to 1/4 inch while burning will also keep smoke to a minimum.

There is no such thing as a scent-free candle.

Certainly there are candles made without the use of fragrance oil, but every type of wax has its own aroma and that scent will emanate from the candle when it is burned.

There is such a thing as a cleaner-burning candle.

Of all the waxes I use beeswax is the cleanest-burning.  As a rule the natural waxes (beeswax, palm wax, soy wax) burn cleaner than paraffin wax.  However, a well-made paraffin candle burns cleaner than a poorly made candle of any type of wax.

There may or may not be such a thing as a dripless candle.

Dripping candles can be caused by several factors ~ drafts, inappropriately sized wick, lack of trimming wick, length of burning time, etc. It’s best to be prepared whether your candle is doomed to drip or not. Always place pillars on a plate or in a holder that will catch unexpected drips. When burning tapers use bobeches to save your candelabra and table from wax. Votive candles should always be burned in a cup. Put a small amount of water in the cup, enough to just cover the bottom, before placing the votive in it. This will keep the wax from sticking to the cup. Also, place container candles (including votives) on a plate or trivet. The wax won’t drip out of the container, but the container itself can become very hot and may damage some surfaces.

Candle season is coming up so be armed with the knowledge you need to provide a warm (and safe) ambiance.

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Wax Lace

I like making candles.  In fact, I have big plans to create a few this coming weekend.  I think the fragrances will be Sandalwood, Cinnamon, and some kind of floral or fruit aroma like Sweet Pea or Mandarin Plum. 

One of the perks of being a candle maker is I get to keep all of the shop-worn candles that aren’t suitable for sale anymore.  Don’t be sad for me getting “dregs.”  They burn perfectly fine and of course they smell divine.

A Gingerbread votive was burning in my powder room a few evenings ago.  Instead of putting it in a votive cup (which you should always do with votives to increase the burning longevity) I put it in a shallow bowl-like container.  The candle was made of palm wax.  That, along with the circumstances of my burning it in a less-confining holder resulted in this:

Because palm wax is a very hard wax it doesn’t soften when heated by the flame like paraffin, soy or beeswax would.  Palm wax is either solid or liquid, which accounts for the lacy prettiness created after this votive was burning for a few hours.

Don’t expect this effect with a palm wax pillar though.  Had this votive been in a cup (like it should have been) the melted wax would have been contained and would have continued to melt the small lace patterns where the candle wall blew out.  Pillars are made in a way which prevents candle wall blow-out.  However, anything is possible, and in the event a hole does form and the wax spills out, always put a plate or bowl or other such candle holder under pillars before you burn them.

For me, a super-duper expert pro at candle burning, this was a lovely occurance, but also a lesson in the importance of using votive cups with votive candles.  You can see at the base of the candle how much wax had poured out of the holes created by the heat of the flame.  Had this been in a cup the wax would have remained liquid, more fragrant, and the candle would have burned much longer than it actually did.

If you have any questions about candles, what goes into making them or how to burn them properly, please let me know in the comments.  I’d like to hear what your experiences have been with candles.  Do you hate them?  Do you love them?  Do you buy they by the dozen but never burn them?  Tell me your candle stories.

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