Candlemaking 101 - Candle Supplies/Equipment...
- Candlemaking Terms
- Candle Supplies/Equipment
- Safety Precautions
- Color Mixing
- Take Notes
- Create A Candle
- Testing Intro
- Test Burn
I would always suggest purchasing sample sizes of wax, fragrance oil, and wicks if possible so you don't have to invest a lot of money in a product you might not want to work with. This way you can test a few different waxes or wicks and compare the performance of each. If the supplier offers a candle kit that's another great way to "get your feet wet".
Every candle supplier should provide instructions for creating candles with each wax purchase so make sure you follow those instructions to a "T".
Some candle supplies you will need to shop for can include:
- Wax - There are many different types for various applications as stated above. Some common types of wax are paraffin (straight - no additives), paraffin blends (includes some additives), soy wax, soy/vegetable blends, palm, and gel. Many of these waxes can be used in a wide range of candle types such as containers, votives, and pillars. You'll need to make sure you purchase one of the many available waxes that will be correct for your application.
- Fragrance or Essential Oils - Fragrance oils (FO's) can be found in almost every scent imaginable. It's a good idea to purchase FO's from suppliers who actually test them in whatever end product you are creating.
FO's will vary in strength from supplier to supplier, although price won't necessarily be an indication of whether the FO is strong or not. Also, some scents are simply meant to be light even though they will throw good. I really recommend always purchasing sample sizes so you can test them to see if they perform up to your expectations. (You should never judge the oils out of the bottle (OOB) but instead when you have gotten them into your wax because all the notes of the FO can come alive or really change.)
Also, make sure you always weigh your fragrance oils rather than using teaspoons because the oils can really vary in weight, and you want to make sure you are using the correct ratio per pound of wax. Your supplier will provide information on how much fragrance oil you should start your testing with and also how much your wax can hold. (Wax is like a sponge and will only hold a certain amount of FO.)
Essential oils are considered all natural and are generally more expensive, but they are great to work with if you want to create an all natural product (provided you keep additives and dye out of your candle and use all natural wax and wicks.)
- Dye - Candle dyes can come in many forms such as liquid, block, flakes, and powders. Some work better than others in your own wax so you'll probably want to test a variety to see which results you prefer working with. You can get away with purchasing only the primary colors, and black which can be mixed for a variety of other colors as shown on our Color Mixing Page.
- Wicks - There are two common types of wicks: cored or coreless. Some wicks will have a metal (zinc, not lead), cotton, or paper core while other wicks are made out of tightly braided cotton or other materials without a core. The coreless wicks are less rigid than the cored ones, but you will find pros and cons of each type.
Finding the right wick can be tricky, which is why it's so important to test every single FO in your finished candle since each FO's/dye/additive combination can affect the way the candle burns. You'll want to purchase a variety of types and sizes (preferably sample packs) to see which wicks perform the way you want them to. Many suppliers will also provide information on their website as to what size wick you should start testing in your application.
- Container/Molds - You will need to purchase containers if you are making container candles or molds if you are making votives, pillars, or tea lights.
- Pour Pot You'll need this to heat your wax in (if using the double boiler method) and also to mix your candle ingredients together before pouring either into your container or mold. I recommend purchasing the 4 pound pour pot. If you don't want to purchase a pour pot you can also use a coffee can or a large glass measuring cup (make sure it can withstand high temperatures).
- Wax Melter/Double Boiler System Since you probably don't want to invest money in a commercial candle melter some other alternatives would include using the double boiler method, or you can purchase a Presto Pot/Kitchen Kettle, but make sure you buy the one with the temperature control.
- Scale - Since wax and fragrance oil need to be weighed for accuracy it's wise to invest in a good scale, preferably one with the "Tare" feature.
- Gloves - Latex gloves or gardening gloves will protect your skin from fragrance oils, which should never be applied directly to the skin.
- Thermometer - This is a must have so you can monitor the temperature of your wax.
- UV Inhibitor - If you are using candle dye this additive will help protect your color from fading due to sunlight or fluorescent lights.
- Additives - There are a wide range of additives you can use in your candles, but they aren't necessary for every type of wax. Most candle suppliers will describe what each additive can be used for. I personally don't use additives other than the UV Inhibitor since I have been happy with the results of the wax I use.
- Wick Stickers/Hot Glue You can either use wick stickers or high temperature glue to adhere your wicks to the bottom of your container. You must use something to make sure the wicks stay in place while the candle is burning all the way down.
- Popsicle Sticks - These are a wonderful and cheap way to keep your wicks in place while your candles are setting up. Simply predrill one hole or two (if double-wicking) in each popsicle stick, lay it across the jar, and pull your wicks up through the holes.