Candle-making 101: The terms you should know
Like every beginner candle-maker, when I began my research on how to create candles, I came across many funky terms. "Mushrooming" like what is this a trip? "Tunneling" it's a pandemic - I ain't traveling. Of course, over time, it made more sense but here are some essential terms to know when you're first starting. I'm always big on knowledge sharing and collaborating, so reach out if you have any questions on www.vibesbylo.com.
- Burn Cycle: Burning a candle for 4 hours and blowing it out to let it cool. This process is used for evaluating wick performance and calculating burn time.
- Cold Throw: The term is used to describe the strength of fragrance before a candle has been burned for the first time. This evaluation is typically done within 24-48 hours of making the candle.
- Fragrance Load: The amount of fragrance by weight is used as a base percentage. For example, one oz. of fragrance added to 1 lb of wax is a 6% fragrance load.
- Frosting: The white crystalline structure forms on the surface of natural waxes such as soy. It is also referred to as bloom. This commonly occurs with soy wax candles. You can reduce frosting by pouring your candles between 100-115 degrees.
- Glass Adhesion: This is when the wax pulls away from the glass. Very common with container candles. This is also known as Wet Spots or Delamination.
- Gutter: The excess melted wax running down the outside of a self-supporting candle.
- Hang-Up: The unburned wax remains on the wall of jar candles when the candle has expired.
- Hot Throw: The term is used to describe the strength of fragrance while a candle is burning. This evaluation is typically done after the candle has been burning for at least 2 hours but no more than 4.
- Jump Lines: The unintended visible lines on the sides of a container or pillar candle. These are often caused by pouring the wax too low of a temperature or pouring it into a cold container. When this occurs, the wax congeals immediately and starts to set as more wax is being poured on top of it.
- Melt Point: The temperature at which melting wax gets hot enough to turn from a solid into a liquid.
- Melt Pool: This is the liquid layer of wax that forms as the candle burns.
- Mix Temperature: The temperature adds color and fragrance to the melted wax. Ideally, this will be 185ºF regardless of wax being used.
- Mushrooming: This is seen at the top of a candle wick; a small amount of carbon is caused by incomplete combustion. The wrong wick size, wax additives, or fragrance often contribute to this problem.
- Out of Bottle: The first evaluation of a fragrance happens as soon as you open the bottle. This is also known as out of bottle or OOB evaluation.
- Pour Temperature: The temperature used to pour the fragranced/colored wax into the container or mold.
- Power Burn: The act of burning a candle for longer than 4 hours, often 8+ hours. This can be dangerous, and it is not recommended.
- Sink Holes: When large holes or craters are left on the surface of a soy candle after it has cooled completely. This is caused by air pockets trapped in the wax while it is cooling.
- Transition Temperature: The temperature or temperature range at which wax is cooling from the liquid to the solid-state converts from a non-crystalline form to a crystalline one.
- Tunneling: When the wick burns straight down the center of a candle without creating a complete melt pool, this is most often caused by the wick being too small for the container.
- Viscosity: The fluid's ability to resist flow. For example, ketchup or honey has a high viscosity, while milk or juice has a low viscosity.
- Wick Down: To use a wick one size smaller but within the same series. For example, going from a CD20 to a CD22.
- Wick Up: To use a wick one size larger within the same series. For example, going from a CD16 to a CD14.