So we’ve detailed all of the candle making supplies available, but let’s take a moment to break down the four different types of candle making wax. I’m going to briefly discuss each wax for candle making and explore how to use them in this post today.
Paraffin and Soy Wax are the most popular but I thought I’d mention Beeswax and Gel Wax here as well just in case you wanted to explore your candle making options.
Trying different types of candle wax than you are used to using can really change your candle making experience. Different types of candle making wax, wicks and dyes can change the finished appearance and burning times of your candles and each one is a little different to work with.
Some people have a preference for one or two, but you won’t know which waxes you like if you don’t try working with them at some point. The best wax for candles is also not that hard to find, I did a quick search at Amazon and found all kinds of candle making wax.
Paraffin Wax For Candle Making
Undeniably the most common type of wax used in to make homemade candles today, paraffin wax is a synthetic product that revolutionised the candle making industry. It’s extremely versatile, relatively inexpensive and widely available. If you walk into any department or grocery store, the candles you find on sale are most likely made from paraffin.
However, with more natural alternatives becoming readily available, paraffin has started to become thought of as the ‘bad wax’ by many. It’s largely produced from the by-products of refining crude oil, which unless you’re a cave hermit you’ll know is bad for the environment.
If you are just starting out with candle making, paraffin candle making wax is a good choice because if you mess up it is easy to get more.
Where To Buy:
- Candles made with paraffin wax without added Stearin burn slightly quicker and have a translucent appearance.
- Always use paraffin wax with added Stearin if you are using a ridged mold or container, or it will be impossible to remove it from the mold.
- Never use paraffin wax with added Stearin in a rubber mold, the Stearin will just rot the rubber.
Soy Wax Flakes For Making Candles
The popularity of soy wax flakes for candle making has exploded in the last decade, despite it being first manufactured during the early 90s. Brands that are synonymous with soy wax are the amazingly popular Yankee Candles or the Bath and Body Work exclusives The White Barn Candle Co.
The biggest drive for making soy wax candles is that it’s a much more natural product than paraffin, but is still significantly cheaper than its natural cousin, the beeswax. If living green is a big issue for you, make sure you buy a pure soy wax, as anything with ‘blend’ means that as much as half of your wax isn’t soy at all.
Although soy wax is becoming exceptionally popular, there is one big draw back. Soy isn’t particularly very versatile. It’s very soft and pliable, even after it has set. Just brushing your finger across the top of an unlit soy based candle will tell you everything you need to know, as it will likely leave a waxy residue on your finger.
Thus, soy candles should really be poured into containers; pillars or molds are out of the question unless you’ve bought a paraffin/soy blend.
Soy wax also holds fragrances really well, so you can make some wonderful smelling scented candles with this wax.
Coloring soy wax is also a little different to paraffin or beeswax, as pigments won’t dissolve in soy and will create more pastel color.
Where To Buy Soy Wax Flakes:
Beeswax For Candle Making
Beeswax is one of the more luxurious candle waxes, and its use for candle making goes back to ancient times. Bees naturally make this wax during their honey making process, which is then used to incubate their hives.
Its natural infusion with honey gives this wax a lovely, naturally sweet aroma. This can vary depending on where your wax comes from, but just keep this in mind when you come to scenting and making a beeswax candle.
Beeswax for candle making can come in a variety of forms, including in blocks or slabs, pellets for easy melting or even pre-rolled. The pre-rolled beeswax can actually be rolled with a wick for an easy, heat free candle making craft. This is a lovely craft that you can get your kids involved with, and you can find step by step instructions here.
The only downside to beeswax is that out of all other waxes, it’s particularly expensive. Nevertheless, it is one of the most natural of them all, and it has a variety of uses that you use for your left over wax. Uses include homemade hair products and diy skin care recipes. It’s really lovely stuff!
Where To Buy Beeswax:
Gel Candle Wax
First, let’s address the fact that this ‘gel’ isn’t a wax at all, but rather a mix of oils and resins. Nevertheless, it holds wicks, color and fragrances just as well as your standard paraffin wax. However, it suffers from similar issues as soy such as its inability to be used for pillar candles. But pillars are not why gel wax is so cool!
Even after being colored, gel wax retains its translucent properties. This makes for some really interesting and quite pretty gel candles. More importantly, they can be used to emulate the look of ice, water and other liquids for construction purposes.
You may want to make a candle that looks like a bottle of Champaign for your New Year ’s Eve party. Gel candle wax would be perfect for this. And as you can see right through it, it’s the perfect for suspending objects in the wax. Although you can do this with almost any wax, it’s particularly effective with gel in building scenes. I’ve seen some amazing ‘underwater’ candles, with little sculpted fish, real coral, shells, natural sponge and colorful seaweed!
It’s not really very expensive, but it does take a bit of practice to get right as gel isn’t the easiest to work with. I have a post from a few years ago where I discuss the basics of using gel wax, but you should have a look on pinterest and elsewhere on the web for inspiration!
While gel candle wax is a fun wax to work with, one of the biggest complaints people have is that it is easy to get a lot of air bubbles in the candles. Also, every step of this process has to be done quickly and while the wax is very hot. Working with gel wax might not be the best option for beginners or those doing candle making projects with small children.
Where To Buy Gel Candle Wax:
As you can see, there are many types of candle making wax that you can use, and they all have their pros and cons. Experiment with different types of wax and other candle making supplies to give you creative end-results.