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Hi! I just got started with candles and was using mainly parafin wax that I could find in the local crafts stores. However, I don't like it. I was wondering if you could tell me where to find out about the different waxes, mainly soy wax. There are so many books out there, and they seem to have different ideas on which works best.

also, what are the numbers that are used to refer to wax?

Thanks for your time!:drool:

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Soy wax is an entirely different beast to work with than paraffin...it can be extremely tricky to master if you're used to working with the latter. However, there are many benefits to making soy candles:

*Supporting agriculture and farming communities that raise soybeans.

*Soy wax tends to burn longer than paraffin (although I do know some who disagree with this), and with less toxic omissions to the air...soy is a terrific choice for those with sensitivities to paraffin candles.

*Wonderful scent throw...although many paraffins do as well...this will depend on YOUR nose!

*Increasingly popular over paraffin...customers and chandlers alike appreciate the eco-friendly approach marketed by the soy wax industry, coupled with the aesthetic (less soot, less smoke, less residue in your home, cleaner burning), and health reasons (soy omits less toxins into the air, you're inhaling less smoke, etc.).

With all that being said, paraffin can be a bit more user-friendly from the chandler's point of view. With the correct additives, container, wick, FO, dye, etc., candles can be made from paraffin relatively easily, once the aforementioned components are mastered. Soy, on the other hand, is more finicky...here are some common issues we chandlers have faced in using soy:

*Frosting. Soy likes to frost, and some find this characteristic rather unsightly and unattractive.

*Craters, bumps, sinkholes, "brains", cauliflower, or roughness occurring on the tops of soy candles, either after completely cooling after pouring, or once the candle has been burned. Getting a nice smooth top on a soy candle can be challenging.

*Pouring temps. Some like to pour warmer, like 140-160, and others claim that soy needs to be heated to 175, then poured at the "slushy stage", or around 100 degrees...this depends on if you're using a 100% soy wax (slushy pouring), or a soy wax blend (can be poured slightly hotter)...

*Soy can be inconsistent...one case will perform one way, and the next time you order, it could vary from the last case.

*WICKING. You must wick up (use a larger wick) from the wicks you've used from paraffin...this can be tricky. Many people swear by ECO wicks, LX's, RRD's, HTP's...each to his/her own on this one...most of the time it translates into having to wick up AT LEAST one full wick size for soy, if you plan to use the same wick series/brand as you did with paraffin.

*Soy is softer than paraffin. This is usually fine if you're accustomed to making container candles. If you make pillars, tarts, votives, you have may either have to use stearic acid to harden the soy wax so that it won't fall apart after unmolding, or use a soy wax designed for pillars/votives/tarts. If you're into making rustic pillars, this effect is difficult to achieve with soy...paraffin is truly the better option for these nifty effects in pillars and other molded candles.

*Soy is finicky about FO. Not all FO's will throw in soy wax...what smelled wonderful in your paraffin candles may not smell AT ALL in soy...or at least not as strong.

Personally, I love to work with soy...I'm just telling you to read all that you can before you spend a lot of money...get samples of a few different pure soy waxes (such as EZ soy from Bittercreek, Kentucky Candle Supplies, Golden Brand, Greenleaf), and sample packs of ECO, LX, HTP, or RRD wicks...start with a simple smaller jar, such as an 8 oz. jelly jar...you may want to begin making tester candles with your samples that have no dye or color, but that's up to you. Buy a sample pack of fragrances from a company that tests their oils specifically in soy, so you will know which FO's will throw in soy...Millcreek has a great soy starter kit, that is relatively inexpensive. This would probably be the way to go for your first few candles.

Soy can be tricky, but once you get the hang of it, a lot of us choose to NOT go back to paraffin...it's a tricky thing, but entirely worth it if you have patience. :)

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