Types of candle wax
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Paraffin Wax

When we say ‘wax’, most people think only of paraffin wax. But it is no one’s fault. Paraffin wax is used in over 90% of candle making projects and only those who are really into candle making would know there are other types. Just like its name, it is gotten from a by-product of crude oil (petroleum), is odourless and somewhat white. You would find it sold in pellet forms and small slabs. It is a cheap, versatile type of wax that can be used to make almost any type of candle.

There are two main types of paraffin wax, divided according to their melting point. Low melt point paraffin wax has a melting point of less than 130°F and is used for making small container and tealight candles. The high melt point wax has a melting point between 130 and 150°F, is harder and is used for standalone candles.

Advantages

It is popular, readily available and very cheap. You can easily make paraffin candles without having to spend much.

It is easy to find learning resources and additives which are specific for working with paraffin wax.

It is versatile and easy to work with. It is the perfect wax for candle making beginners.

It holds candle dyes and throws off fragrance well.

Disadvantages

Many people are concerned that paraffin wax, is a product of petroleum contains toxins which pollute the home and would prefer natural alternatives.

It leaves black soot (residue) when burned and this does not look beautiful.

People with respiratory problems and allergies need to stay away from paraffin candles.

 

Beeswax

This is the oldest known type of wax. It is a natural type of wax gotten from bees. Unlike most other types of wax, it has a kind of natural golden (yellow-brown) colour and needs no candle dyes. There is bleached beeswax though, which are white. It also has a natural nice honey-like scent. Beeswax is not just safe because it releases no harmful toxins, it also purifies the air when burned by producing negative ions which attract pollutants. It has a high melting point of around 145°.

Advantages

It is a natural wax that purifies the air instead of polluting it.

It has a high melting point and burns longer.

With its natural colour and scent, there is little need for a fragrance and dye.

It produces little smoke and soot and burns brighter than other types.

It needs no special preservation methods because it never goes bad.

Disadvantages

Beeswax is not readily available. Bees need a lot of honey to be able to make just a pound of wax.

It is the most expensive type of wax because of its scarcity.

Though candle waxes are flammable, beeswax is even more highly flammable. It takes special care to work with it.

 

Soy Wax

This is a type of vegetable wax and is gotten from soybean oil. It is still new (invented only in the 90s) but has enjoyed widespread popularity. Being natural, it has rivalled paraffin wax, which more people are turning away from now because of toxicity. It is a soft type of wax and is mostly used for making container candles. It is usually blended with paraffin wax to make standalone candles. Its melting point is about 120 to 180°F.

Advantages

When not blended, it is a completely natural type of wax.

It is readily available and cheap.

It burns well and produces less soot than paraffin wax.

Soy wax makes little of a mess because, when spilt, it can be easily removed.

Disadvantages

It has a low melting point and soy wax candles melt easily in hot weather.

Its fragrance throw is not as effective as that of paraffin wax.

Unlike beeswax, it has to be preserved else it will spoil.

 

Palm Wax

This is another type of vegetable wax, gotten from oil palm trees. It is the hardest of all-natural waxes and can be used to make almost any type of candle. It also has a higher melting point, around 140°F. It has a natural yellow-brown colour, similar to that of beeswax. It is sold in flakes and not too expensive. It can also be blended with other types of wax. Pillar candles made with a palm wax-beeswax blend look glossy when finished.

Advantages

It is natural, non-toxic and eco-friendly.

It has a high melt point which makes it very versatile, suitable for any type of candle.

It is easy to work with it and decorate.

Disadvantages

There is a danger of deforestation to Oil Palm trees to make different things, including wax.

 

Gel Wax

Gel wax and Paraffin wax are known as mineral waxes. But Gel wax is not really a wax. It is only a mixture of mineral oil (from paraffin) and poly resins. It is a really soft wax that can only be used to make container candles. However, combining its softness with its transparent looks, it is the best wax for decoration, especially if you want to embed objects in your candles. Even when you add colour, its transparency is maintained, plus it throws off fragrance well. There are different types based on density: low, medium, high. The higher the density, the bigger the objects that can be embedded and the more fragrance it holds. Gel wax also burns well.

Advantages

Gel wax is the best wax for decoration and gel candles are the most beautiful.

It burns really long.

It is not at all costly.

Disadvantages

Gel wax is also composed of mineral oil from paraffin and also contains toxins.

Unlike paraffin wax, gel wax takes some time to master.

It burns at a really high temperature, higher than other wax types. It has been known to burn so high that glass containers explode.

Its softness means it is limited to making container candles.

 

Bayberry Wax

Bayberry wax is made by burning berries from bayberry bushes. It is a natural (vegetable) wax too with natural colour (green) and scent. Its melting point is between 115 and 120°F. It is also a hard type of wax, like palm wax, and it is versatile, useful for making either container or pillar candles.

Advantages

It has a natural scent and colour like beeswax and you may not need additives

It is versatile and useful for any type of candle.

It is hard but with its brittle surface, can break easily.

It is expensive because it is not very easy to get.

 

Coconut Wax

The last type of wax to be discussed here is coconut wax, and it is gotten from coconut oil. Coconut wax is another natural type of wax and is gotten from coconut oil. Mostly, what is called coconut wax is a blend of coconut oil with other natural waxes. Its melting point is between 75 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This low melting point means it will likely melt on its own in hot weather. It burns evenly and slowly. It is also known to throw scent well. It is also a very eco-friendly type of wax. However, it is only suitable for use in making container candles as it is very soft.

Advantages

It lasts longer because it burns slowly.

Just like other vegetable waxes, it is natural and contains no toxins

Its scent throw is really good.

Disadvantages

It is very expensive.

Coconut wax candles melt in hot weather because of the low melting point of the wax.

It is not very versatile as it can only be used to make container candles.

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