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What Came First, the Container or the Wax?


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First off, I want to say, I did some serious searching around the forums, but doing a search on "testing" is about as useful as searching for "candle" :wink2:

Here is what I know:

  • I want to test between 4-5 different waxes (2-3 pure soy and 2 soy blends)
  • My first creation will be a container
  • I am shooting for a fall/winter timeframe to give as gifts to friends/family - not selling
  • I have 2-3 FOs in mind - fall and a couple holiday scents.
  • I have not decided on a container, but I am thinking something simple in the 8-10 oz range.

Here is my question: Can I decide on a wax by testing in a smaller 4 oz cheapo jar, or do I have to start in the container I want to use? I understanding wicking is a whole other beast, but I want to know if I can make an informed decision on throw, pour, etc. with a smaller, cheaper container. Finally, if I find a great combination of wax, FO and color in a 4 oz size, can I extrapolate that to a 8oz size by simply doubling all my ingredients? Then I could find the right wick for the 8 oz size or are the variables just too different? Many thanks in advance.

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In general, the answer is yes. You can use a cheapo container to test throw, etc. but the drawback is that you're still going to have to figure out wicking in order to determine those factors. If your cheap container is wicked incorrectly, you won't get a good determination about the wax. So, just something to think about - if you have to go through the wicking testing with a cheapo anyway, why not spend a little more upfront, and use the more expensive containers and only have to do wicking once with it?

For testing purposes, you can reuse the containers, so it's not like you have to go out an invest in a pallet of glass, KWIM?

As for the 2x 4 = 8 oz, yes, again, in general, it will be about the same. There are small variables like, depending on the neck of the jar, you may only be able to full your 8 oz jar to 7.8 oz, or maybe it will hold 8.2 oz, or whatever. However, if you find that your wax performs best with a 6% FO load, then obviously, the percentage won't change, that's the beauty of working with percentages. And your color, if 4 drops works great in 4 oz of wax, then you should be happy with 8 drops in 8 oz. Again, small factors vary, but in general, you are correct.

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I tried a wax that had an awesome throw, but was a pain to wick. I finally gave up because I didn't want to invest the time into figuring it out. So, you can start with a cheapo jar, but realize that you may have problems down the road. It wouldn't be a bad idea to start testing with the jars you eventually want to give as gifts. Just buy one case and reuse the testing jars over and over. Most of us here do that. I never use a new jar for testing unless an old one happens to break. Just remember not to give away used jars ;)

Also, start with no more than 3 waxes. After testing, eliminate one and then you can add in another new wax to test against the two you keep. Do this until you're down to one. Testing is expensive, time consuming and can get confusing if you start with too many waxes or FOs.

Remember too that when testing waxes, you may not want to use the same wick for each wax - even though you are using the same jar. You want to use the proper wick in order to figure out which wax has the best throw, overall look, etc . . . Same goes with pouring temps too. Different waxes needs to be poured at different temps.

Just keep good notes and you'll be all set. If you need a note-taking template, www.candlecauldron.com has a great testing sheet you can print out and take notes on. :)

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In regards to cheap jar, you can just fill the desired 8-10oz. jar halfway with the wax (for testing). Or, one-third. During wick testing, this would also show how the wick burns closer to the bottom of the jar (too hot, tunneling, etc.).

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Your question about testing in one jar, then switching to another? In general you can get a good idea how your wick/wax/dye/fo combo will work in a different jar IF they are the same diameter and don't have a big variation in jar width.

By big variation in jar width, I'm talking about jars that are tapered -- they might be 2 in. in diameter in one spot, then 3 in. in diameter in another. I don't recommend those types of jars for beginners. Get a straight-sided jar that doesn't vary much in the diameter. Much easier to wick.

The caveat? If 2 jars are the same diameter but one is taller, you'll sometimes get a bit of a different burn when you get down toward the bottom of the taller jar because more heat is retained.

HTH and didn't confuse! :)

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I found a nice 8 oz straight side jar for around $9 for 12. Not too bad. I will do as AngelaVA suggests and only go with three wax test samples.

I am fortunate to have 2 different suppliers right here in town to test from. Hopefully, I will be able to get most of my supplies from either of them and save on shipping.

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Thanks for all the suggestions. I found a nice 8 oz straight side jar for around $9 for 12. Not too bad. I will do as AngelaVA suggests and only go with three wax test samples.

I am fortunate to have 2 different suppliers right here in town to test from. Hopefully, I will be able to get most of my supplies from either of them and save on shipping.

I'm jealous, lol. I don't have any suppliers in my state, let alone my town.

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I seem to be lucky being in OH. I have At Wix End just a couple miles from my house. And Candle Makers Store a couple miles in the other direction. I hope I can find a wax I like from either of them. I am starting to lean more towards the 100% soy. I know it's harder to deal with, but I figure I have several months to figure it out. I am starting this out only as a hobby. I will maybe see about selling next year.

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