Candle making has been around for many year. These are some of the waxes used over that time.
Palm wax comes from the fruit found on palm trees. The fruit looks like a large bunch of grapes clustered together. The oil from the fruit is used to make a large range of products. This is becoming a problem for the forests and the animals that live in them.
These days’ companies are becoming more aware of the problem and choosing sustainable palm oil from established and RSPO (Round table of sustainable palm oil)
approved farms. Candles manufactured using palm wax make up 1% of all palm oil cultivated and a large amount is used in food and cosmetics industries.
Palm wax is a harder wax and can sustain high temperatures. This makes it great through the hotter months allowing it to keep its form and not collapse. Palm wax is a biodegradable wax and has the ability to hold large amounts of fragrance.
Besides it’s benefits palm wax candles look beautiful with their natural textures.
Around the early 1990’s Soy wax hit the market and took off very strong with keen candle makers looking for something new.
This was due to the benefits soy wax has to offer. Soy wax is a vegetable wax, which comes from harvested soybean crops, is biodegradable and eco friendly.
Traditionally candles would be made from more common waxes like paraffin and beeswax.
Although soy wax has great benefits, it is a wax that is soft and can only be used in containers. If you see a soy wax pillar the chances are it is blended with some other wax to give it strength.
Beeswax comes from the nectar of flowers. The Honeybees collect the nectar and produce beeswax from wax glands on the side of their bodies.
The colour of the beeswax is determined by the flowers pollen source. It can range from white to yellow.
Beeswax has it’s own sweet aroma and is said to burn quite slowly and produce a very bright light.
Beeswax is one of the oldest wax used in candle making, in fact it is said that beeswax candles where found in the pyramids.
The Catholic churches required that all candles had to be made with 100% virgin wax. This was to symbolize the birth of Jesus Christ being born from a virgin Mother.
Today Beeswax is used in cosmetics, soap, and all kinds of polishes and many more products.
Paraffin is a petroleum base product which was discovered in the 1830.
In 1850 a chemist discovered how to separate and refine the waxy substance from the petroleum, which we know today to be Paraffin wax. Its one of the cheapest waxes available on the market and is still the most used wax for candle making in the world.
Paraffin wax is white in colour and has no odour or taste. Today Paraffin wax has many different levels of refine and is always being improved. Paraffin wax is known for the smoke and soot it produces. The better paraffin is refined the less smoke and soot it will produce.
Paraffin is used in many different thing like beauty treatments, medicines and packaging.
Bayberry wax is known as bayberry tallow, candleberry and wax myrtle. It is found growing on small bayberry trees and scrubs. There are between 35-50 different species. Bayberry wax is primarily used in the manufacturing of candles. This natural vegetable wax is green in colour and has its own sweet aroma so no colour or fragrance is needed. Bayberry wax is quite expensive due to the amount of berries that have to be boiled just to make a small amount.
Bayberry is dated back to the colonial days. The berries would be collected put in a pot to be boiled and then simmer. The wax, which is found naturally on the outside of the berries, would rise to the top separating from the water. It is this wax which they use to make the candles. They would use the dipping method, which created a beautiful taper candle. Although it is known to be a bit brittle and burn quite fast, some candle makers using Bayberry wax add beeswax to give it more clarity, strength and an extended burn time.
Traditionally burning the bayberry candle all the way to the bottom on Christmas Eve is said to bring good luck for the upcoming year.
Gel wax is a clear polymer resin made from a combination of processed mineral oil and jelly agents. It looks like its firm but it quite soft and easily scraped out. It’s the type of wax that needs to be in some form of container.
This wax has small bubbles and usually candle makers will embed all types of items into the gel candle like shells, flowers and pretty much anything. Due to its clear colour this is quite a unique look.
Gel wax is one of the new waxes available on the market. In fact it’s not really a traditional wax at all.
ESSENTIAL OILS AND FRAGRANCE OILS
This information is based around the differences between essential oils and fragrant oils used in candle making.
The first things you need to know is not all essential oils are safe and education when using them is very important.
Essential oils are extracted from leaves, flowers, stems, roots and the bark of trees.
When using essential oils in candle making the fragrance does not last as long as fragrant oils and you are very limited in the variety of fragrances.
Although essential oils have therapeutic benefits, in candle making once the candle is lit it alters the balance of the oil. This may affect the benefits of the essential oil doing its job.
To make a small amount of oil a large amount of plant is needed, this pushes the price up. To make a candle from some of the essential oil available would make the candle very unaffordable.
Fragrant oil seems to be the most popular with candle making. This is because of the variety that is available. If you would like your candle to smell like a roast dinner it is possible.
Fragrant oils are designed in a laboratory made with chemicals and in some cases blended with essential oil. All fragrant oils are safe in candle making and will make a candle smell beautiful for a long time.
Although fragrant oils have no therapeutic benefits, I believe a fragrance that you love can change the mood you are in. The sense of smell is one of our strongest senses and when we smell something, it can jolt memories and create new ones.
Not that many years ago candles were made with coil or lead wicks. These wicks have been known to be harmful to our health. In Australia these wicks are banned.
Today most candle makers would be using cotton wicks.
Cotton wicks are made with a paper fill covered with woven cotton, dipped in wax and are often self trimming.