Many people are familiar with beeswax candles. They’re my favorite. There are many waxes available to make candles at home.
Honeycombs are the source of beeswax, which has a faintly sweet signature smell. (Fun fact: The scent can vary depending upon the flowers and plants that provide food for the bees in a given area.
Beeswax, a wax that is more expensive than others, is still a favorite among candle-makers due to its soft texture and clean burn.
The pros: nonhazardous, non-carcinogenic; odorless; no solvents; bright flame; last longer; no drips.
Con: is expensive and often mixed with cheaper waxes. This makes it difficult to add additional scents.
Soy wax is the most widely-sourced and popular wax for candle making. It was made from hydrogenated soybeans in the mid-90s as an alternative to paraffin.
Because of its versatility in adding color and fragrance, soy wax is an excellent choice for beginners in candle making.
The pros: is inexpensive and can be used for fragrance. It produces a clean flame that emits no soot; it can also be used to make many types of candles. Spilled wax can easily be cleaned up using soapy water.
Cons: Softer wax, so it is usually only used for container candles. It melts easily at elevated temperatures and can turn rancid without any preservatives.
Paraffin wax is a byproduct of the crude oil industry. Some people opt to not use paraffin wax in candle making.
The pros: cheapest wax; great for color and fragrance; widely available; different types are available (with differing melting points).
Cons: a byproduct from petroleum; produces smoke and soot while it burns; spilled or melted wax is difficult to clean up.
Tallow, unlike the other options, is not a wax. It is a rendered fat from beef, mutton, or deer. Tallow candles are more of a novelty than ever. The candles will not be suitable for regular burning, but you can find instructions.
While they were important historically for their role as light sources on the frontier and in low-income houses during the middle ages, there are many more appealing options
Pros: burns slowly.
Con: may have an unpleasant odor; a burning candle could produce smoke and soot.
This soft wax is made from hydrogenated coconuts and is a relative newcomer in the candle-making industry. It has a lower melting point, making it ideal for making container candles as well as scented candles.
The pros: is eco-friendly, great for adding fragrance, slow-burning, clean, and soot-free; easy to clean up any wax spilled.
Con: Most expensive wax. It can be difficult to find.
Safety Precautions While Handling Candle Wax
When melting candle wax, always use a double boiler. Heat the wax on low heat and stir it frequently as it melts. The surrounding water in the double boiler will ensure that the wax melts evenly and slowly. Paraffin wax is more likely to ignite when placed directly on a dry heat source.
When handling hot wax, wear protective clothing. Wear long pants, shoes, and an apron to protect your skin against molten wax.
Use wax for candles only, not crayons.
You shouldn’t melt candle wax in a microwave because you won’t have the ability to measure the temperature as well as if it were melting in a double boiler.
Before pouring hot wax into containers, heat them first. This will prevent thermal shock and keep the wax from shrinking as it cools.
You should have a place that is free from clutter to allow the candles to cool to room temperature.
Candle wax can explode if heated too fast. The flashpoint for your wax is important. The flashpoint of most wax melts at a low temperature. You would have to leave it on the stove for it to reach that point. However, it is still good to know.