Incorporating flame colorant into candles

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Jan 28, 2018
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I am trying to reverse engineer the process by which candles with colorfully burning flames (green, red, etc) are BEST made. What I mean specifically by best is that, having tested a few available products, I noted that quite often the result is underwhelming, with the colorful part of the flame being only a portion of the flame (just half of the flame, or sometimes even just the tip).

I have been trying a few things, including breaking down these products and finding where they incorporate the colorant salts, and have found that the easiest thing that is done is just getting some salt to stick onto the wick, but the better result is achieved by somehow incorporating the colorant into both the wick and the wax itself. I have been moderately successful in getting the colorant onto/into the wick, but this leads to the underwhelming result that only a small part of the flame is the target color.

The issue with adding the colorant salt to the wax is essentially one of solubility. Even if the salt is painstakingly suspended within the wax by carefully adding and mixing it as it sets, it does not travel to the flame with the rest of the wax in the melt pool, it just settles at the bottom of the melt pool.

I was almost ready to think it was impossible until I found a product (specifically the tealights produced by Joelson inc - that performed beautifully, and when I melted the wax, removed the wick, and let it set with a fresh zinc core wick, and burned both separately, I found that both burned with the target color, and noted that even though I melted the wax, no salt precipitated out of it, indicating that they had found a way to dissolve rather than just suspend the salt.

I assume this was done either by pre-treating the salt somehow, or using an additive that enhanced its solubility in the wax melt. Does anyone have any ideas on how I might reverse engineer the ingredients in the Joelson product, or just generally have any experience with solubilizing salts in candle wax?


Feb 22, 2018
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What a fun project! Years ago I had thought about doing candles with different burning wick colors. I didn't get much farther than thinking about it. Since I have not done it I don't know how the metal salts are dissolved. But I think that soaking your wicks in your metals salt wax solution may help. Also, would using a cotton cored or even just a flat braid with paper thread help with the results? More of the salt solution may be able to climb the wick.

Another thing I am thinking is that only the yellow part of the flame can change color. You will never be able to get a full color changing wick. The blue part of the flame is where full combustion occurs and will burn the metal salts. So the yellow part is where the color changes. If you are not getting much color could the salts be clogging the wick? Maybe slightly bigger wicks or a different wick family?

As for breaking down the salt in the wax to dissolve and suspend more. If you figure out the chemical compositions of each salt color you may be able to figure out what solvents would fully dissolve and suspend them best. And then if it is oil based you may be able to add that to your wax. Keeping in mind that wax only holds so much oil. So if you are also adding fragrance you would need to keep that in mind.

What about dissolving the metal salts in the scent and then adding to the wax? I would still soak the wick in a metal salt/wax solution to give it my oomph.

Good luck and keep us posted. Would love to see your results.