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A Quick Guide to Candle Making Terms

by CandlePal
candle making terms glossary

As with any hobby or interest, there is a certain lingo associated with candle making. For those of you who are just getting into candles, or those of you who want to up your vocabulary a bit, we’ve created a quick guide to popular candle terms. Knowing these terms will save you money by purchasing the right amount of candle supplies, help you avoid buying the wrong materials, and allow you to find accurate solutions to problems. So without further ado, let’s jump into it!

After glow

This is the light given off by a candle after it has been blown out. It is usually a soft, orange light.

Burn Cycle

It is the act of testing candles in order to evaluate their performance. This typically involves burning the candle for four hours, blowing it out, letting it cool, and then repeating the process. This process helps to measure the candle's burn time, scent throw, and wick's performance.

Cold Throw

Cold throw is the scent of the candle while unlit. It is used as an indicator of the intensity of the scent the candle might put off when it is lit.

Container Candle

As the name implies, this type of candle is made in and meant to be burned in a container. The majority of candles on the market are container candles.

Cure Time

The amount of time that candles or wax melts are left to sit after being poured. The ideal cure time depends on the wax used.

Curing

Curing is the process in candle making that allows the fragrance oil and wax to binds together and reach its maximum scent potential.

Double wicking

Double wicking is the method of using two wicks in a container candle in order to achieve a full melt pool and usually offers a stronger hot throw. This is normally done when it becomes a challenge to achieve full melt pool with only a single wick.

Flash Point

The flash point is the temperature at which a fragrance oil ignites when exposed to a spark or open flames and can cause a fire. All fragrance oils have a flash point, and it is not an important factor when making candles unless you are making a gel candle.

Fragrance Load

Also known as Scent Load, it is the maximum amount of fragrance oil that can be safely added to a wax. Adding too much fragrance oil can result in poor candle performance, and even cause fires.

Fragrance Notes

The fragrance notes of a candle are the different scents that can be detected while smelling the candle. The three main fragrance notes are top, middle, and bottom. The top note is the first scent that is detected and is usually the lightest. The middle note, known as the heart note, is the main scent of the candle, and the bottom note or base note is the final scent that lingers in the air after you blow out your candle. It comes in right after the heart notes and lingers for a while.

Frosting

Frosting is the white, crystalline layer that is formed throughout vegetable waxes. It happens when the wax used tries to return to its natural state. It does not affect the quality of the candle and is normal.

Full Melt Pool

A full melt pool is the desired result of candle making. It is when the wax melts evenly across the entire surface of the candle, from edge to edge. This allows the fragrance oil to be evenly distributed and provides the best possible scent throw.

Gel Candle

Gel candles are a type of candle that uses a special type of wax and are transparent. They require a different type of wick and fragrance oil, and have a lower flash point.

Glass Adhesion:

This is the ability of a wax to stick to the glass when the candle is poured. When the wax does not stick to the glass, it can create what is known as a "wet spot". This is usually caused by a change in temperature or humidity and does not affect the performance of the candle.

Hang up

This is an excess of wax that remains along the edges of the container when the candle is burned. This happens when the melt pool does not extend to the edges of the jar by the third burn. If the wax hang-up does not get resolved by around the third burn, you may need a larger wick size to remedy the situation.

Hot Throw

Hot throw is the scent of the candle while it is lit. It is used as an indicator of how well the fragrance oil will perform in the wax.

Jump Lines

These are horizontal ridges that give the candle a rough appearance. They are caused by the wax cooling at different rates, and do not affect the performance of the candle.

Melt Point

The melt point is the temperature at which a wax turns from a solid to a liquid.

Melt Pool

The melt pool is the layer of liquid wax that forms around the wick as it burns. The size of the melt pool can affect how evenly a candle burns and how long it lasts.

Mix Temperature

Mix temperature is the temperature at which the wax and fragrance oil are combined. This is important because it can affect how well the two materials bind together.

Mushrooming

Mushrooming in candle making is the build up of carbon deposits on the end of a burning wick, which creates a ball looking like a mushroom. It is caused by incomplete combustion and usually happens by using the wrong wick size, or too much fragrance or other additives.

Pillar Candle

A pillar candle is a type of freestanding candle that is taller than it is wide. They are usually round or square and can be made from a variety of waxes.

Pour Temperature

The pour temperature is the temperature at which the wax is poured into the container.

Power Burn

It is a technique used by candle makers to test the performance of their candles. By burning a candle for more than 4 hours at a time, they mimicking customers who might burn the candles longer than the recommended time.

Sink Hole

A sink hole is a small pocket of empty space formed on the surface of the wax or within the candle after is it poured and hardened. Sink holes can negatively affect how the candle burns, so it's important to try to avoid them.

Sweating

Sweating is when the wax begins to form beads on the surface. This is usually caused by a change in temperature or humidity.

Taper Candle

A taper candle is a type of freestanding candle that is thinner at the base and thicker at the top. They are usually made from beeswax or paraffin wax.

Tunneling

Tunneling is when the candle burns down the center, leaving the wax around the sides of the container unmelted. This can be caused by using a wick that is too small, or by not allowing the candle to burn for long enough.

Votive Candle

A votive candle is a type of small, freestanding candle that is often used in religious ceremonies. They are usually made from beeswax or paraffin wax.

Wax Bloom

Wax bloom is when a white, powdery film forms on the surface of the wax. This is usually caused by a change in temperature or humidity.

Wax Melt

A wax melt is a small, scented piece of wax that is melted in order to release the fragrance. Wax melts are often used in place of candles, and can be made from a variety of waxes.

Wet Spots

Wet spots are small, thin pockets of air that form between the wall of the container and the wax. They give the appearance of 'wet spots', although there is no liquid present. Wet spots are caused by poor glass adhesion and can be unsightly. However, they do not affect the performance of the candle.

Wick

The wick is the part of the candle that burns. It is made of cotton or another natural fiber and is used to draw the liquid wax up, and as it burns, it vaporizes the liquid wax into a hot gas.

Wick Down

Wicking down means using a smaller wick than the one you have been using. This is necessary when the original wick was too hot or produced a flame that was too large.

Wick Tab

A wick tab is a small metal disk that is used to secure the wick to the bottom of the container. Wick tabs are important because they help keep the wick centered and prevent it from floating to the top of the wax.

Wick Up

Wicking up in candle making means using a larger wick than the one you have been using. This is necessary when the original wick doesn't produce a hot enough flame or when the flame is too small.

Wicking

The process of selecting the right wick for your candle based on a variety of factors such as the wax type, container size, and fragrance load among other things.

 

We hope this quick guide was helpful in understanding some popular terms associated with candle making! Understanding this lingo will help you purchase the right supplies, avoid costly mistakes, and find accurate solutions to problems. Sign up for our newsletter for more tips and tricks on Candle Making!

 

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