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CANDLE ISSUES

CANDLE TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE
CANDLE MAKING ISSUES GUIDE

Troubleshooting candle problems can be frustrating, since what appears to be a simple problem may have many causes. The following list, while not all-inclusive, is being provided as a guide to assist candlemakers resolve their candle problems. No guarantees can be made from recommendations on this list, but it's a solid place to start troubleshooting. 
 

Problem  

Possible Causes  

What To Do

Candle is smoking

High oil content, your wick is too large, your candle may have air pockets

Decrease your amount of fragrance oil, try a smaller wick size, pour your candles at a hotter temp

Candle is dripping excessively  

Wick is too small and cannot absorb the amount of wax melted, therefore melted wax overflows; Candle in draft and melted wax is “blown” over edge;

Wax is soft (or has a low melting point) will melt too rapidly for the wick to absorb it and will overflow  

 

Enlarge size of wick;  Keep away from drafts; Add stearic acid to wax  

Candle is splattering  

Air in cavities left in candle expands due to heat of flame.  It is causing the flame to burst forth bring bits of molten wax with it.  

Pierce all around the wick.  Fill cavity more than once if necessary.  

Candle is burning rapidly  

Excess air in the fuel.  Candle is cooled too rapidly will cause the wick flame to burn higher and faster.  

Slow down cooling process; use higher melting point wax; add stearic acid; pour more slowly  

Candle is not Throwing enough scent  

You have not used enough fragrance, you have added too much vybar, you left your wax on your heat source for too long allowing the fragrance to evaporate, you are using a wax that is not porous enough  

Use 1 oz. of fragrance per lb. of wax, only add 1/2 tsp. of vybar per lb. of wax, pour your candles right away after you add your fragrance, use a more porous wax

Fragrance oil is settling to the bottom of the candle  

You used too much fragrance, you are using a wax that is not porous enough  

Use 1oz. of fragrance per lb. of wax, use a more porous wax.  

Second pour is not blending well with your first pour  

You have poured your second pour too cool  

Try to do your second pour when your candle is still a little warm.  Be careful though, if you pour your second pour too soon, that re-pour will sink just like your first pour did!  

Candle wax is not burning evenly all of the way down  

Your wax may be too hard (too high of a melt point), your wick may be too small  

You may want to use a softer, lower melt point wax or try using a larger wick diameter.  Zinc core wicks tend to burn hotter...try these!  

Candle wick is drowning out  

Your wick size is probably too small for your candle diameter  

Try using a larger wick size  

Candle will not come out of your molds  

You may have poured your candles too hot, you may have poured your second pour over your fill line, your wax is too soft  

Try using a harder wax, use mold release, pour your candles at a lower temp, do not pour above the first pour line, try putting your candle in the refrigerator to help it pop out.  Freezer will make them crack!  

Candles getting jump lines (visible lines on the outside of the candle or container candle)  

Added too much stearic acid, your container or mold was too cool when you poured your candle, you poured at too cool of a temperature.  

Try to warm your molds or containers prior to pouring, pour at a hotter temperature, use less additives  

Candles are getting small air bubbles which lead to small holes  

Got water in the wax when you were pouring, on your second pour you poured above the first pour fill line, your candles cooled too fast, you poured your candles at too cool of temp  

Make sure you never get water into your wax when pouring!  Water is wax's worst enemy!  Pour at a hotter temp, do not pour past the first pour fill line...air will get trapped and will not release before the candle has already set up.  Make sure your molds and containers are warm and your working environment is not too cool  

Candle bulges at sides  

Usually when cardboard carton is used as mold  

Support sides of container with stiff cardboard, masonite, or wood and attach with string (rubber bands my buckle carton); scrape away excess and decorate/redip  

Cave-in on sides  

Candle well was not pierced early enough; cavity in center of candle caused walls to contract inward  

Poke a hole in the well before wax begins to harden; use candle as base for thick types of decorations  

Glass molds will not break  

Glass too thick; no mold release used in mold; wax that is too soft tends to stick to the glass  

Refrigerate candle for 8 hours and then immediately submerge it in boiling water, remove with care immediately  

Wax chips at base  

When candle is turned so that well becomes base, the well may have been filled too high and is not hot enough to adhere to the “old” wax on the surface; wax was too hard; mold refrigerated too long results in thermal shock and chipping  

Don’t fill well to overflowing; reduce amount of hardener used such as stearic acid; cut down cooling time  

Candle surface soiled  

Exposed to environment too long; excessively handled  

Rub candle with soft rag saturated with cooking oil or baby oil; let stand about 15 minutes, then gently buff; scrape candle with dull knife and then re-dip at 220 degrees F.  

Fractures and cracks  

Candle contact with cold too soon or for too long caused thermal stresses  

Even when rushed, reduce amount of time candle spends in cold water, refrigerator, or freezer

Frost marks  

Excessive adhesion to sides of mold  

Try using hotter wax (over 180 degrees F); try warming mold before casting  

Dull surface  

Mold has dull surface; or a wax carton coated with a low melting point wax was used 

Polish candle with a nylon stocking; polish with cooking or baby oil; spray with p.v.a.; coat with mod-podge; re-dip in wax at 220 degrees F  

Blisters and pimples  

Storage in too warm a place causes air in candle to expand and combine into bubbles  

Store candles in cooler location; scrape candle with dull knife and re-dip in wax at 220 degrees F  

Spots under surface  

Wax has been reheated too often and has broken down  

Use fresh wax; re-dip candle at 220 degrees F or decorate to mask imperfections  

Pit marks  

Filling mold too fast causes turbulence that traps air bubbles along mold wall; dust in mold  

Slow down filling; clean mold before filling  

Soft white mottling  

Too much oil on surface of mold (can deliberately create this effect wit 3% mineral oil mixed into molten wax); wax cools too slowly allowing large crystals to form near walls of mold  

Reduce amount of oil used as mod release; speed up cooling of mold; cut down on the amount of scent used  

Lines of tiny bubbles ring the candle  

Hot water bath too turbulent; water for water bath added after candle was placed in mold  

Slow down insertion and withdrawal of candle from water bath; eliminate this technique and use wax dipping method

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