My first candles. What's with the wick?

Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums

Help Support Soapmaking Forum - Soap & Candle Forums:

Catscankim

Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
1,474
Reaction score
3,189
Location
Florida
I poured my first candles today. I used Golden Wax 464 and HTP 93 Wicks.

I don't know how specific I need to get with my process, but here it goes

I heated the wax to 185F, added the dye flakes...made sure it was 185 and took the pot out of the double boiler and let cool to 150. Stirred in the fo and poured.

It was pretty uneventful except spilling a lot of the first pour LOL

Anyway, I didn't touch them after that for hours.. probably 8 or 12 hours before I even looked at them. The wicks were still held up by the wick holders and I had this even before I cut them. Like I said...my very first candles, so I don't know what would cause it. It looks like I tried to pull the wicks out while it was cooling, but I promise you I didn't lol.

I tried to pull this "plug" off of one of them, but that didn't go well. Maybe hit it with a heat gun? Is my other thought.

first candle.jpg
 

Tara_H

Mad scientist
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
1,035
Reaction score
3,096
Location
Ireland
It's a long time since I made candles, but my thought is that the wicks were held too tight. They only need to be held up enough to stop them falling in, not very taut. It looks like the wax shrank away as it cooled and the wick couldn't flex with it.
 

cerelife

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2010
Messages
792
Reaction score
854
Hit it with the heat gun and it should be fine! I agree with Tara H that the wicks were probably held too taut.
 

Catscankim

Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
1,474
Reaction score
3,189
Location
Florida
So. I hit one of them with a heat gun, but didnt really like the top anymore: although that little plug was smoothed out, it didnt have a nice satin smooth finish anymore.

Anyway, i burned one of the other candles (mind you-this is not the one i hit with the heat gun). And i got a lumpy bumpy ugly top after it cooled off...this picture doesnt even do it justice lol. It is really worse than it looks here.
941FB9BE-17BE-408C-A6BE-41390F17CA4A.jpeg
 

jcandleattic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
4,034
Reaction score
3,699
Location
Stuck in my head
Wax shrinks as it cools, that's what you are seeing, not anything caused by your technique or the wicks being too tight (you want them tight!! otherwise they will be crooked inside of the wax and be an uneven/unsafe burn). Since you are using a container soy wax, and the shrinkage isn't bad, no need to poke relief holes, or do a repour. Just zap with a heat gun.
So. I hit one of them with a heat gun, but didnt really like the top anymore: although that little plug was smoothed out, it didnt have a nice satin smooth finish anymore.
That's the nature of soy wax. (and one of the very many many reasons I won't use soy)
i got a lumpy bumpy ugly top after it cooled off...
Again, just the nature of soy. You can either live with it or use a different wax.
As annoying as it is for you now, be relieved, even industrial professionals have such issues:
It's the type of wax, not the maker. :)
 

Catscankim

Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
1,474
Reaction score
3,189
Location
Florida
Wax shrinks as it cools, that's what you are seeing, not anything caused by your technique or the wicks being too tight (you want them tight!! otherwise they will be crooked inside of the wax and be an uneven/unsafe burn). Since you are using a container soy wax, and the shrinkage isn't bad, no need to poke relief holes, or do a repour. Just zap with a heat gun.

That's the nature of soy wax. (and one of the very many many reasons I won't use soy)

Again, just the nature of soy. You can either live with it or use a different wax.

It's the type of wax, not the maker. :)
Thank you for that. I will try a different wax and see how they turn out. I really want nice smooth candle tops. I will have to do some more research on waxes.

I also had a mason jar that i stuck a wick in and used for my over pour. That wick actually broke off the tab as i was putting it in the wick holder. I didnt know what else to do, so i left it in suspended animation as straight as i could lol. Point is, that wick was definitely not taut, and i still have the plug.
 

jcandleattic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
4,034
Reaction score
3,699
Location
Stuck in my head
I really want nice smooth candle tops. I will have to do some more research on waxes.
For that you will need either a 100% paraffin blend, or a parasoy blend. Palm wax gives flat tops, but not smooth tops due to it's texture. 100% soy won't give you that, or if it does, it won't last.
I also had a mason jar that i stuck a wick in and used for my over pour. That wick actually broke off the tab as i was putting it in the wick holder. I didnt know what else to do, so i left it in suspended animation as straight as i could lol.
This will not be safe to burn. I would melt it down, take that wick out, and rewick it. What happens is when the wax liquifies, the wick ends up floating, and then you have a floating flame that could float to the side of the jar, get one area too hot, and then that jar shatters, with the flame floating down and if it's on/near something flammable? OOFTA not good.
When I get wicks that pull out of the wick tab like that it's because the wick tab isn't clamped tight
Point is, that wick was definitely not taut, and i still have the plug.
You will always have that "plug" even if the wick is tight, not tight, whatever. It's the wax, not the wick or wick placement. Wax shrinks as it cools, and that is what is causing that plug. It's shrinking around the wick, and that little bit is solidifying before the rest of the wax, so when the rest shrinks down that "plug" stays above it.
Some candles don't have that, but do get huge dips -
Here are some examples of the different types of shrinkage you can see in candles.
poking-candle-relief-holes.jpgsink hole.jpgsinkhole.jpgcandles_09.jpg
(none of these are my images, they were pulled off Google)

When you get candles like this, you either need to poke relief holes (those are the ones that are sunken) because if you don't when your flame hits that air pocket, it's either going to go out, or it's going to flare and become a hazard.
If it's not sunken, (like what you have) then a quick pass with the heat gun will get rid of it.

Hope this helps.
 

ResolvableOwl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2021
Messages
1,006
Reaction score
2,462
Location
Germany
Semi-OT question from a curious outsider: How popular is it among DIY candle makers to cast the wax without wick, and afterwards drill a hole for the wick? Like in the cheapo paraffin tealights
 

jcandleattic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Messages
4,034
Reaction score
3,699
Location
Stuck in my head
Semi-OT question from a curious outsider: How popular is it among DIY candle makers to cast the wax without wick, and afterwards drill a hole for the wick? Like in the cheapo paraffin tealights
For resale, or to burn all the way to the bottom? Not very popular - unless they dont' know any better. By doing it that way, there is nothing to anchor the wick and then the candle becomes VERY dangerous to burn.

However, for testing purposes this is done quite often because doing it that way makes changing out a wick that isn't working very easy. Once they get a wick they think that will work, they then make a candle the correct way, with something to anchor the wick, test burn that several ways, (power burn, short burns, proper burns, etc.,) and if all goes well with those tests, then it's on to production, with periodic testing.

Candle making is not for the light at heart. To get a good, safe burning candle that has a good scent throw and will consistently burn correctly takes weeks/months worth of testing.
And then on top of that, if something changes in your formula - especially if using a natural wax, such as a different crop, or batch, etc., - then your testing has to start all over.

IMO learning to make soap and B&B, and having a consistent end result was about 1000 times easier than learning how to make candles. I've been making candles for 25 years now and I still need to conduct tests and re-wick, etc., It's never ending.
 

Quanta

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2020
Messages
433
Reaction score
698
Location
USA
Semi-OT question from a curious outsider: How popular is it among DIY candle makers to cast the wax without wick, and afterwards drill a hole for the wick? Like in the cheapo paraffin tealights
Those are typically made in a mold with a pin where the wick goes. The hole isn't drilled in afterwards. Once the wax cools, the pin is pulled out and a tabbed wick is inserted and the candle is placed in a cup. Votives are sometimes made that way, too, but they always have a wick with a tab. If you tried to make a container candle that way, you wouldn't be able to use a tabbed wick unless you could somehow remove the wax in one piece, which isn't going to happen with container wax since it is meant to adhere to the container. Using a wick without a tab is ill advised for the reasons given by jcandleattic.
 
Top