Paraffin wax is a popular and widely used wax for candle making. It is derived from petroleum and is known for its affordability, versatility, and ability to hold fragrance well. Despite being a by-product of crude oil, paraffin wax has been used for candle making for many years and continues to be a preferred choice for many candle makers. However, there are also concerns about the environmental impact of paraffin wax and its potential health risks. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of using paraffin wax for candle-making and provide tips on how to make the most of this versatile wax while also being mindful of its impact on the environment and our health.
Factors to consider when choosing the best paraffin wax for candle-making
Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best paraffin wax for candle-making:
- Melting point: Paraffin wax has a range of melting points, typically between 120-160°F. Different paraffin wax types have different melting points, which can affect the scent throw, burn time, and appearance of the candle. Consider the ambient temperature and climate in your area when choosing a paraffin wax with the appropriate melting point for your candle-making needs.
- Scent throw: Paraffin wax has a natural ability to hold and release fragrance. However, some paraffin waxes may have a stronger scent throw than others. Look for a paraffin wax that has been specifically formulated for candle-making and has good scent throw performance.
- Appearance: Paraffin wax can have a range of appearances, from opaque to translucent. Some paraffin waxes may also have a glossy or mottled finish, which can affect the appearance of the candle. Consider the appearance you desire for your candles when choosing a paraffin wax.
- Additives: Some paraffin waxes may contain additives, such as stearic acid or vybar, which can affect the performance of the wax in candle-making. These additives can improve adhesion, opacity, and scent throw, but may also affect the natural properties of the wax.
- Safety: When using paraffin wax for candle-making, it’s important to follow safety guidelines and use caution. Paraffin wax is highly flammable and should be melted in a double boiler or wax melter. Never heat the wax directly over an open flame.
- Sustainability: While paraffin wax is a popular choice for candle-making, it is not an eco-friendly or sustainable option. Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. It also emits harmful chemicals, such as benzene and toluene, when burned.
Pros and cons of using paraffin wax for candle-making
Here are some pros and cons of using paraffin wax for candle making:
- Affordability – Paraffin wax is relatively inexpensive, making it a popular choice for candle makers on a budget.
- Easy to use – Paraffin wax is easy to work with and can be melted and poured easily.
- Versatility – Paraffin wax can be used to make a wide variety of candle types, from votives to pillars and container candles.
- Fragrance retention – Paraffin wax holds fragrance oils well and can produce strong, long-lasting scents.
- Smooth finish – Paraffin wax has a smooth, glossy finish that is visually appealing.
- Environmental concerns – Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. The production and use of paraffin wax also contribute to carbon emissions and can be harmful to the environment.
- Health risks – Burning paraffin wax candles can release potentially harmful chemicals, such as benzene and toluene, which can cause respiratory issues.
- Flammability – Paraffin wax is highly flammable and can pose a fire hazard if not used properly.
- Limited natural appeal – Paraffin wax is a synthetic material and lacks a natural appeal and eco-friendliness of other waxes, such as soy or beeswax.
- Soot – Paraffin wax can produce more soot than other waxes, which can be messy and difficult to clean up.
Popular paraffin wax for candle-making
Blended Waxes, Inc. is a family-owned company that has been in the wax business for over 45 years. They offer a variety of waxes, including paraffin wax, soy wax, and microcrystalline wax, as well as custom wax blends. Their products are used in a variety of industries, including candle-making, cosmetics, and food.
Making paraffin wax candle
Making a paraffin wax candle is a simple process that can be done at home with a few basic materials and tools. Here are the steps to make a paraffin wax candle:
- Paraffin wax
- Candle dye (optional)
- Candle fragrance oil (optional)
- Double boiler or a pot and a heat-proof container
- Candy thermometer
- Stirring spoon
- Clothespins or a wick-centering tool
- Candle molds or jars
- Melt the paraffin wax in a double boiler or in a heat-proof container placed in a pot of simmering water. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature and ensure that it does not exceed 180°F (82°C).
- While the wax is melting, prepare the candle molds or jars by attaching the wick to the center of the mold or jar using a clothespin or wick-centering tool.
- If you want to add color or fragrance to your candle, mix candle dye or fragrance oil with the melted wax according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Pour the melted wax into the prepared molds or jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top. Be careful not to pour the wax too quickly as it may cause air bubbles to form.
- Allow the candles to cool and solidify for several hours or overnight.
- Once the candles have hardened, trim the wick to about 1/4 inch above the wax surface, and enjoy your handmade paraffin wax candle!
Tips for Using Paraffin Wax for Candle-Making
When using paraffin wax for candle making, there are a few tips that you can follow to get the best results:
- Use a double boiler: When melting paraffin wax, it is important to use a double boiler to prevent the wax from overheating.
- Add fragrance oil and dye: Paraffin wax is a good choice for candles that require fragrance oil or dye. Simply add the desired amount of fragrance oil or dye to the melted wax and stir until it is evenly distributed.
- Trim the wicks: Once the candles have cooled, it is important to trim the wicks to about 1/4 inch above the surface of the wax. This will help prevent the wicks from smoking or getting too long.
- Store the candles in a cool, dry place: Paraffin wax candles should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent them from melting or becoming discolored.
In conclusion, paraffin wax is a versatile and widely-used material for making candles. It is readily available, relatively inexpensive, and easy to work with, making it a popular choice for both novice and experienced candle makers alike.
While paraffin wax has some drawbacks, such as its non-renewable source and potential health risks when burned, it remains a popular choice due to its reliable performance and ability to produce a wide range of candle shapes and sizes.
Whether you are making candles for personal use or to sell, paraffin wax can provide a great starting point for your candle-making journey. With proper safety precautions and attention to detail, you can create beautiful and long-lasting candles that are sure to delight your senses and bring warmth and ambiance to any space.