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Kerven

Palm wax shrinkage

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Am I the only one who experiences this phenomenon?

 

I don't mean wet spots. It's the reverse - a labyrinth of caverns and air pockets inside the candle while the outside looks perfectly normal.

This time, everything went smoothly at first. The ingredients blended perfectly. It took the color and fragrance well. However, after pouring, it started to set up on the perimeter earlier than anywhere else. I figured I'd have to poke relief holes - not unexpected. Oddly enough, a portion of the surface didn't form a skin, film, or anything. I thought, "Alright, there's my relief hole. No need to bother." Guess what? The entire candle set up without that spot of wax on the top setting until the very end. You could sit there and watch that little hole with molten wax in it become more and more shallow as the rest of the candle set. Eventually, it turned into the entryway of a cavernous air pocket. Topping off wouldn't help since the tunneling is so extensive. If it hadn't been for that one spot on the surface refusing to setup, I'd have never known about the subsurface conditions until burning.

 

I'm at a loss on what to do now. This candle was part of a batch of wax blends I'm testing for educational purposes (trying to get an idea of how certain additives perform), but if palm wax is going to keep doing this I might have to give up on testing blends with palm in them. Maybe I'm using the wrong palm wax... I couldn't find palm 6910.

 

How are people making fantastic, flawless palm container candles....

 

Edited by Kerven

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Your palm wax is doing what it typically does and that's forming an air pocket near or around the wick. That is not what is known as 'shrinkage'. Its simply an air pocket which is characteristic of palm. Shrinkage is when the wax pulls away from the jar.

 

Every palm wax has their distinctive pattern of air pocket. Container palm wax typically forms a shallow crescent shaped air pocket around the top part of the candle near the wick area.

 

Just be sure you are using a container palm wax for jars and containers. If using a pillar palm wax like tortoiseshell or feather palm you will have definitely see 'shrinkage' in that the wax will pull away from the jar and cause the candle to rattle inside the jar. Also, the air pockets typically spiral down around the wick in layers.

 

If making jar candles you will need to learn to 'flip' the jar upside down at the right time to keep the air pocket confined to the bottom of the jar underneath the wick tab level. You also need to space your jars about an inch or more apart and place them on top of wire wracks so air can flow around, on top, and underneath the jars. Its important for palm wax to cool slowly and evenly around the jar to optimize that beautiful crystalization pattern.

 

If you are going to make palm pillars you need to learn to poke relief holes and do a second pour to fill the air pocket.

 

Just wanted to add that since you are blending waxes it would be hard to identify the problems without knowing what and what % the waxes are you blended. I can only comment on the experience I have working with palm waxes and making container palm candles for the past 8 years or so.

Edited by Candybee
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It's a container candle. The palm wax (a pillar palm) was blended with co92 and cetearyl alcohol. The fatty alcohol "should" have helped to slow down the rampant crystallization.

I'm guessing I used an incompatible palm wax for this formula and my cetearyl is the wrong ratio of cetyl and stearyl.

 

If air pockets are a natural trait of palm wax... I give up. That's too much trouble for me.

Edited by Kerven

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I agree with Candybee. Just the nature of Palm Wax. I dont' find a simple flip of the jars after the top has hardened to be a hardship. I flip and forget until it's time to label. The throw, clean burn, and look of the candle all make it worth it for me. 

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I love palm! Finally got the nerve up to try it and am no where near ready to actually sell it but I'm enjoying my testing 

candybee gave me excellent advice and tips and after 1 disaster of flipping I think I finally have that part down 😂

Still working on correct type jars for this wax and wicks 

you should make some votives with your pillar palm...it is a very cool wax and burns and throws fabulous 

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1 hour ago, Jcandleattic said:

I agree with Candybee. Just the nature of Palm Wax. I dont' find a simple flip of the jars after the top has hardened to be a hardship. I flip and forget until it's time to label. The throw, clean burn, and look of the candle all make it worth it for me. 

 That's the thing. The top didn't harden completely. There was a fairly decent sized pool/hole that refused to harden, which I've never seen before. Even the wax around the wick set up. As the rest of the candle hardened, that pool grew more shallow until it finally set. The bottom and sides set up first. I'm going to see if I can find a decent camera and grab a picture. It looks absolutely bizarre.

 

Maybe the status jar's base was too cool. I did forget to wrap the jars as I would for a longer cool down.

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13 hours ago, Kerven said:

 That's the thing. The top didn't harden completely. There was a fairly decent sized pool/hole that refused to harden, which I've never seen before. Even the wax around the wick set up. As the rest of the candle hardened, that pool grew more shallow until it finally set. The bottom and sides set up first. I'm going to see if I can find a decent camera and grab a picture. It looks absolutely bizarre.

 

Maybe the status jar's base was too cool. I did forget to wrap the jars as I would for a longer cool down.

 

You mentioned you were using a pillar palm and some additives. It wasn't the right palm wax for a container and I think one or more or the combination of your additives created the "pool" problem. I don't use any additives for my palm candles except UV inhibitor, fragrance oils, and dye chips. That's it. Palm waxes on the market are already blended so you don't need additives. If you do the only one I would suggest would be stearic acid or palm stearic. That is essentially what palm wax is made with but in its original form. I have had no need to add it myself but others had tried it or even made palm candles with it.

 

I once experimented with adding soy wax to palm. I found that adding more than 5% soy will soften the palm and cut down on the crystalization. Less than 5% and you keep the crystal patterns but enhance the burn times just a smidge. HTH

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I have a question about the flip method.  I notice the bottom of my jars get hard tgen the top. If i flip won't the air pockets be closer to the middle?

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18 hours ago, Ladymvb said:

I have a question about the flip method.  I notice the bottom of my jars get hard tgen the top. If i flip won't the air pockets be closer to the middle?

Mine aren't. The bottom only gets solid for about 1/4" on the bottom before the top is solid enough to flip. That puts the air pockets right around the neck of the wick tabs, which is exactly where I want them. 

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Trying to understand the "flip".  Do you tilt the container to the side for a second or do you turn it upside down and for how long?

 

Thanks!

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5 minutes ago, candlebug said:

Trying to understand the "flip".  Do you tilt the container to the side for a second or do you turn it upside down and for how long?

 

Thanks!

I turn it completely upside down until it is completely cooled. Usually overnight. You just need to make sure the top layer will hold the molten wax without melting through and leaking. I flip as soon as I'm able too, and can still see the liquid wax inside the candle. 

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I know the flip action makes sense in theory, but I guess my only concern is the air bubbles are still there.  Suppose the bottom sets before it's time to flip. How can you tell where the bubble is?

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I haven’t used palm much but it does seem to me as well the Pockets are still going to be there somewhere even though when I burn them I don’t see a problem 

would it make sense to poke relief holes and second pour this wax in jars like your supposed to with pillars? @Jcandleattic @Candybee

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I've done both, the flip and relief holes.  In my tiny status the relief holes worked very well, but in bigger jars for some reason the flip works best.  It is an art to know when to flip.  In my old workshop I had it down to a time frame.  Now that I've moved, I don't have a controlled temperature environment like before so temps change and it will be a struggle!

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41 minutes ago, moonshine said:

I haven’t used palm much but it does seem to me as well the Pockets are still going to be there somewhere even though when I burn them I don’t see a problem 

would it make sense to poke relief holes and second pour this wax in jars like your supposed to with pillars? @Jcandleattic @Candybee

I don't like how the tops look when I poke relief holes in jar candles - it disrupts the crystalization pattern, and gets bumpy. It works, yeah, but IMO it doesn't work any better than doing the flip. I've never had a problem with flipping the jars other than sometimes trying to flip too soon and getting a little leak. 

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3 hours ago, Ladymvb said:

I know the flip action makes sense in theory, but I guess my only concern is the air bubbles are still there.  Suppose the bottom sets before it's time to flip. How can you tell where the bubble is?

When I flip the middle is still molten wax and you can actually see the air pocket rise to the bottom of the container when you flip it. At least I can, as I use clear glass jars. 

Yes, the air bubbles are still there, but they are down at the bottom of the candle within the area where the neck of the wick tab is and the candle shouldn't be burned further down than that anyway, so this method works perfectly for me. 

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I've done both the relief holes and the flip. Like JC I don't like the way the tops looks after poking relief holes no matter how I fix them. I started flipping my palm wax jars years ago and have done it ever since. The tops always come out looking great and the air pockets end up on the bottom of the jar where they don't cause problems during the life of the candle. The trick is to learn when to flip so you get the air pockets at the bottom without spilling molten wax during the flip. Just takes a bit of practice but its no biggie. Anyone can do it.

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I can do it. It is the easiest method. Do both of you use dye.  I also use clear jars but i can never see that doggone air bubble even with a flash light

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20 hours ago, Ladymvb said:

I can do it. It is the easiest method. Do both of you use dye.  I also use clear jars but i can never see that doggone air bubble even with a flash light

I use dye, yes, but can always see the liquid slosh then when I turn it over, the air bubble float upwards which ends up being the bottom of the candle. 

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I did something wrong. The bottom got solid before the top.  Do you all wrap your jars &/or place them under something so the cool slow?

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On 11/1/2018 at 7:51 PM, Ladymvb said:

I did something wrong. The bottom got solid before the top.  Do you all wrap your jars &/or place them under something so the cool slow?

I don't. Not sure why that's happening to you. for me the bottoms do get solid a little quicker than the tops but not that much quicker that it would be a problem. By the time it's ready to flip, the bottom is only about 1/4 inch thick with the top being just solid enough not to leak. 

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On 12/6/2017 at 7:06 PM, Kerven said:

 That's the thing. The top didn't harden completely. There was a fairly decent sized pool/hole that refused to harden, which I've never seen before. Even the wax around the wick set up. As the rest of the candle hardened, that pool grew more shallow until it finally set. The bottom and sides set up first. I'm going to see if I can find a decent camera and grab a picture. It looks absolutely bizarre.

 

Maybe the status jar's base was too cool. I did forget to wrap the jars as I would for a longer cool down.

 

Here is how I just recently deal with the air pockets when doing palm candles.

 

I pour my candles but make sure I have 6-10oz extra which I leave in the crockpot. After 15-20 minutes when the top solidified, but some still has some holes which the wax can leak from which can make the flip impossible, I poke 4/5 relief holes on the tops.

 

Then I wait 5 minutes for it to solidify under that and flip for the big air bubble to go to the bottom.

 

Next day I reheat what I have in the crockpot and just top up a tiny bit over the line which is just a little per candle. Perfect tops and the air bubble will be at the bottom of the candle. It just takes 5-10 minutes for the candle tops to get ready and it's good to go.

 

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