Saturday, May 16, 2009

Candle Making Additives

As new candle makers consult various candle making resources for instructions and troubleshooting, it is highly likely that the use of additives will be mentioned at one point or another.

Most newcomers, and even a few experienced crafters, may find it helpful to review a few of the most common candle making additives - and when and why they should be considered for use.

Before getting into detail about each individual additive, there are a few things to keep in mind when working with these products. Use of any additives in your candles will almost always affect the way the dye works with your wax. Your dye recipes may need to be adjusted when using additives.

Also, additives will most likely have an effect on your wick size. Because additives are often used to increase the wax's melting point, you may need to adjust your wick size accordingly.

What are the most commonly used additives? Here are several you may likely have a need for at one time or another.

One additive you will hear frequently discussed is vybar. Vybar acts as a binding agent and is used to make wax more opaque. Vybar can also be used to reduce air bubbling and mottling effects in your candles.

Stearic acid is another popular additive. Stearic acid helps increase the scent throw of your candles by making it possible to add more fragrance oil to the wax. This additive also helps your candles achieve a smooth, even finish.

Several companies also produce what is referred to as a Universal Additive. This additive has several functions, some of which are to help in mold release, harden wax, bind oil to wax, increase opacity and lengthen candle burn time.

One additive that most candle makers will find extremely beneficial is UV Stabilizer. If you sell your candles outdoors or under fluorescent lights, you may want to seriously consider incorporating this additive into your finished product.

UV Stabilizer is added to candles to help prevent candle fading and to improve the stability of the color. When exposed to light, some candle dyes will fade severely. In other cases, dye and fragrance oil may not react well together and over time, the color may fade. The use of Universal Additive helps combat these pesky problems.

Other products that you may sometimes see advertised as additives are beeswax and petrolatum. Beeswax is often added to wax blends to increase the overall burn time of a candle. Petrolatum is commonly used to soften the wax and to increase the melt pool.

Every additive has one or more specific, intended uses. As you gain candle making experience, familiarize yourself with these additives and consider whether or not they may benefit your candle products.

Some candle makers choose to not incorporate additives at all. Some wax blends are pre-blended and sold with the additives already included. Check with your suppliers and consult various resources if you believe your candles may benefit from one of these many additive options.

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