Gel wax is a mineral oil and a resin polymer that creates a jelly like clear wax.
What are the types of gel wax from Penreco?
Penreco gel wax comes in 3 forms
Versagel® C LP: Lowest density- most commonly used for plain gel candles. Not the best gel wax for suspending objects.
Versagel® C MP: Medium density-used in plain gel candle but can also suspend lite to medium weight objects.
Versagel® C HP:Heavy density- used mainly to suspend heavier objects.
What temperature should I mix my fragrance oils?
What kind of fragrances can be used in gel wax?
You should use a non polar fragrance with a flash point of 170 degrees or higher.
Why do I have to use non polar Fragrances?
Polar fragrance oils will separate from the gel wax leaving what is called a fragrance oil pocket. When the flame comes in contact with it you will have a flare up that could cause your glassware to get too hot and shatter. The resulting flare up could cause a fire if the flame comes into contact with anything above or around the candle.
Testing for polarity:
Here is a link to instruction on how to test for polarity.
How much fragrance can I use in gel wax?
You should never go over the recommend fragrance load in gel wax.
LP: 0 to 3%
MP and HP 0 to 5%
Can I use essential oils in gel candles?
No unfortunately essential oils are not only not available in a non polar, but the flash points of the oils are way to low for use in gels.
Can I use any fragrance oil if I mix another wax with the gel wax?
No you still need to use non polar fragrance oils.
What is the flash point of gel wax?
What is the melt point of gel wax?
160 to 200 F
How do I melt my gel wax?
Gel wax needs direct heat to melt. The double boiler method just won’t get the job done. A Presto pot set about 200 to 250F is one way. Or in the oven set on warm in a metal pot, or Pyrex glass measuring cup. Last and possibly the worst way is directly on a burner set on the lowest setting but if you do it this way please never leave it unattended, not even for a second.
At what temperature should I pour gel wax?
What wicks should I use?
Most prefer zinc cored wicks but other wicks such as HTP and LX can be used. Just make sure your wick stands straight while burning.
What wick tab should I use?
If you are making your gel candle in a glass container you should use a wick tab with at least a 9mm neck.
How do I secure my wicks?
You can secure it with a wick stick-um or a glue dot
What is crimping?
It is using certain items to stop the flame at the level you chose.
Why do you need to crimp your wicks?
You don’t need to do it to all your candles. If you use sand or other porous materials in your candles you want to stop the flame before it reaches them. Sand and other porous material will absorb the fragrance oil from your gel and become highly flammable.
How do you crimp your wicks?
Crimping is done by the use of certain items that will stop the flame at any given point. There are different methods and types of crimps used to achieve this. Some use a metal jewelry crimp which is squeezed tight with needle nosed pliers around the wick at the point we wish the flame to stop.
Others use glass beads but they can shatter with the heat. It is difficult to find a glass bead that fits tight enough for the wicks we use.
A cheaper alternative is cutting strips of tin from say your aluminum tea light cups and pinching it tight where needed. Just make sure you get it tight enough - any space will allow the flame to pass through.
Embeds and Glassware.
What are safe items to embed?
Safe embeds are wax, glass, and stone. Porcelain too, if it is well sealed. Never place porcelain, glass or stone embeds too close to the wick as they can get hot and shatter.
Other item such as plastics, resin, sea horse and starfish should only be used if you are double glassing to make a forever candle.
What are safe containers for gel candles?
When you select glassware to use in your gel candles you need to make sure it is thick and suitable for hot liquids. Anything too thin can possibly cause strain on the glassware and result in it breaking. Glassware like votive glasses, tumblers, ivy bowls, champagne flutes, mugs, brandy snifters, and candy dishes are generally suitable for gel candles. Make sure the opening is no less than 2" in diameter.
Things like wood, pottery and clay are too porous and will absorb the fragrance oil and can become flammable. Plastic should never be used.
Stay away from cut glassware or pre-painted glassware as both have already been stressed and is weakened.
What kind of dyes can be used in gel wax?
You can use liquid or block dyes. But using too much block dyes can cloud your candle.
Can you mix gel and other waxes?
Yes you can. Adding other waxes can give you candles real life appearances.
What is a forever candle?
A forever candle is a candle using the double glass method.
What is double glassing?
It a method that enables you to use almost any item in your candle, they are also called forever or eternity candles. Double glassing is done by having a glass container inside another glass container the outer glass is fill with gel wax and any items you want placed. The inter container is where the candle really and it separates your flame from all the items in you outer container.
Double glassing is a safe way to have items like starfish, seahorses, silk roses and other flammable items in your candles.
Can you use molds with gel wax?
Yes but only flexible type molds.
Can I use glitter in gel wax?
Yes, but it needs to be cosmetic grade glitter.
How do I get rid off all these bubbles?
If you already have the bubble there are a few things you can try to get rid of them.
You can try putting your candle in the oven on warm for about and hour. Or you can place your candle in a window that faces the sun. Be careful, though, with colored gel candles when doing this as you might have a fading. You can also place your candles under a heat lamp. But make sure your heat lamp is at least 12” from the top of the candle.
For surface bubbles you can use a heat gun, and can also do this for bubbles close to the glass. Make sure you keep your heat gun moving, you don’t want the glassware to get to hot in any one spot.
How to prevent bubbles?
There are several methods to decreasing/preventing the incident of bubbles.
The best way is to stir as little as possible with a metal spoon before adding fragrance and then mix your fragrance slowly but thoroughly. Also let you gel wax rest after mixing so the bubbles will rise to the top. You can pour over the back of a warm spoon. It will help stop the bubbles. Pouring one layer at a time will help you get rid of the bubbles so pour layer by layer. This is also a good technique if you are suspending items.
If you are using sand pour a thin layer over the sand and let set up. Then pour another thin layer let it set up this will keep the air trapped in the sand. Another option is to pour a layer over the sand put in the oven on warm and let the gel saturate the gel.
Finally, make sure all you embeds are clean and dry. You can soak items such as sea shells and glass in mineral oil the will help prevent bubbles.
Why is my gel candle cloudy?
There can be several reasons why your gel is cloudy.
- Using polar fragrances
- Glassware and embeds may not have been clean
- Too much fragrance oil
- Too much wax on your wicks
I have heard gel candles explode is it true?
Yes and no. A properly made gel candle is just as safe as any other candle to burn. But if you will look at some gel candle books, the techniques suggested are not always safe. Improper or unsecured wicking using polar fragrances, adding flammable items to the gel candle, all of these go in to making a candle that can flare up and cause the glass container to break. Research, test and experiment your craft.