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Hello Everyone, 

   I'm very new to candle making but so far its been fun and exciting.  Can someone give me some tips on the many things I should be testing for?  I've found the basic process to be fairly simple but in order to get the best performance, look, burn time, etc there seems to be many more things I need to learn.  Any tips on this?  Thanks so much!

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Gosh, this is a huge question. 
A number of presentations to the candle industry have been shared. Here’s one of several:

http://www.eca-candles.com/pdf/WorldCandleCongress/ASTM Standards and the Candle Industry - Becker Moss.pdf

 

safety first, deferring to ASTM’s most recent published standard 2417-17. 
 

flame height proportional to the size of the candle. ASTM guidelines limit overall flame height for candles to be burned indoors at 3”.  Obviously a flame of that height on a tea light or small jar, or multi wicked candle would be downright dangerous regardless of the limit.

 

no materials that would cause secondary ignition, such as combustible container, dried botanicals, glitters, etc inside (or out that could possibly be if it by a spark from the lit candle)

 

absolutely no chance for secondary ignition of the candle itself, such as flashing over from candle exceeding safe working temps, and/or from fragrance flashing over. 

 

absolutely no cracking of glass container that could cut or eject shards. 

 

containers that can withstand direct flame. Example polycarbonate tea light cups must withstand direct flame for a specific period of time for a minimum number of cycles.  Non-traditional containers (ie potentially combustible like wooden dough bowls, drilled out wood planks, etc.) should not be used as they will not withstand direct flame Contact.

 

Minimal carbon ball formation. ASTM limits carbon ball size to 7mm.

 

minimal afterglow when extinguished. The figure I recall was fewer than 15 seconds, but will confirm.
 

minimal soot release while burning. Visual treats of occasional soot when first lit can be acceptable, but frequent, steady streams through a burn are considered a fail.

 

minimal smoke following extinguishing. <15 seconds stands out, but will confirm.

 

Annealed glass containers tested to safely withstand thermal shock. A minimum 90*F temp differential is the standard.

 

safely able to withstand burning on an unlevel surface. Often I see 10 degree slopes used. This makes adequately securing the wick very important as it could  slide by the end of the burn on an unlevel surface causing the jar to crack if the flame rests too close to the jar walls.

 

Then there are UL standards to consider, such as maximum surface temperature of a glass container not to exceed 140 (or 145*F) depending on the release version referenced. Metal containers usually are limited to 125* F in most trade documents published by store chains.


perusing safety requirements for stores can give a decent idea of what to work toward to prevent accidents and mandatory recalls for safety failures.

kohls for instance: https://www.kohls.com/media/digital/k-link/downloads/pdf/100_T-CANDLE_INCLUDING_FREESTANDING_TAPER_TEALIGHT_VOTIVE_ FILLED_ NOVELTY_CANDLES.pdf

 

Reports provided by testing services also are illuminating about what we need to consider. This one summarizes all relevant agencies pretty well.

https://www.regentproducts.com/images/pdf/Lead/G24717CS (2).pdf


EPA has testing and labeling regulations for some candles with claims, such as bug repellant.
 

and, finally, labeling requirements for your particular country/area. Here is a link to the National Candle Association (US) to get you started. https://candles.org/fire-safety-candles/read-the-label/

 

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Wow thank you so much for your detailed answer.  I'll also save the links you shared for quick reference.  Its funny, I was thinking mostly about candle performance testing but this information is so important.  

One of the things that makes me interested to learn more about candle making is how easy it seems until you start to take it seriously.  Anyone can pour some wax in a container but I want to learn as much as possible so I start out with a firm foundation.  How long have you been making candles? 

 

Thanks again!

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26 minutes ago, Camavery22 said:

Wow thank you so much for your detailed answer.  I'll also save the links you shared for quick reference.  Its funny, I was thinking mostly about candle performance testing but this information is so important.  

One of the things that makes me interested to learn more about candle making is how easy it seems until you start to take it seriously.  Anyone can pour some wax in a container but I want to learn as much as possible so I start out with a firm foundation.  How long have you been making candles? 

 

Thanks again!

It is a pretty complex craft, isn’t it? I’ve been at it for a couple of decades and still learn and face new challenges every time I make something. 

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