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Candle testing method...


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Alright, I've been 'dabbling' in candles for 3 years now, and after doing tons of research, I ordered a bunch of supplies and I want to get started seriously testing.

I've got 50 lbs of IGI 4627, 3 different sized jars (a case of each), An assortment of wicks (ECO's, RRD's and LX's), dyes and all that, and about 50 different fragrance oil samples.

I know that it's not wise to judge FO's strictly OOB and I want to get them into some wax. But I'm stuck as to what approach I should take to do this.

Would anyone be willing to share their testing method with me, or does anyone have suggestions? Ideally I'd like to have a few oz of each fragrance so I could pour 3 or 4 candles and test a few wicks at the same time, but I can't afford to order a bunch more fragrance oils right now so I'm stuck with the samples I have.

Help?

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I'm sort of in the same dilema and this is how I decided to approach it.

I know my test jars hold 10oz liquid. So I weigh the wax 10 to 12 ounces. Liquid and solid ounces do differ so I would probably weigh the wax a little more than 10 to first see what the jar will hold.

Since I don't want to burn an unscented candle I will add FO to the usage I want. Starting with 1oz FO per pound of wax. There is 16 ounces to a pound plus the ounce of fragrance so I'm looking about 5-6% usage. That's should make for a strong fragrance. I don't know ideally what your wax will hold. But calculate from what percent usage it recommends. So instead of pouring fragrance for a pound I just want ten ounce. Divide the jar amount (in my case 10) by a full pound (16). I get .625. I would need to add a little less than 2/3 (.667) of an ounce of FO. I have nifty little ounce measuing shot glass to help me size that up. And keep in mind candle making does not have to be an exact science.

Now if your FO usage should be less than 1oz say it's 3/4 ounce per pound. Then times that (.75) by .625. Then you have just under 1/2 ounce FO for your 10oz pour.

Basically what I want to accomplish is melting just enough wax and adding just enough FO for 1 jar candle. Letting it cool and cure and then test burning it for a few days. If you really want to take the scientific approach keep a note of your measurements so you can tweak them on the second test. If you want to test 2 candles with different wicks at the same time than just double your efforts in the 1st pour.

Two tips: 1. If you have wax left over after your 1st candle. Let it cool and weigh it so you can elimanate the excess in your second try. (Also if you have a wax that needs topping off remember to add extra weight for shrinkage) 2. If some of your FO won't absorb into the wax (you have a little oily pool at the bottom of your wax) you are using too much. Adjust your usage. If you don't and you don't think the candle throws strong enough add more scent next time. Keep in mind candles need time to cure for the best hot throw (you can wait 5 days but 2 weeks is best)

I've probably given way too info. If so I apologize. Using this approach I should be using less then 1 oz FO on each test candle therefore I can use a different scent for each. I am working with only 12 1oz samples.

Let me know how it goes.

Happy chandling,

Jacqui

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I just had a brainstorm. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this earlier. If you want to know exactly how much wax you need for one test jar. Weigh an empty jar. If your scale has a tare function great if not just jot it down. Then pour your first candle. Make sure to over estimate how much wax to use on your first pour so you don’t come up short. Once you have a complete and cooled jar candle weigh it. Subtract the weight of the empty jar to the candle and voila you know exactly how much wax to use on the rest of your test jars.

I looked up Belle Luna’s wax IGI 4627 (not a wax I have ever used). It has a 12% FO usage. Wow! That’s 2 ounces per pound. Bella Luna I hope you are working with at least 2oz samples. However if you just want a sense of how a FO will smell in the candle just pour what you have. Pretty much once it hits the melted wax you’ll get it. The key is testing for the right wick. Once that’s solved than you can test for FO usage and scent throw.

For all those mathematically challenged people out there:

To calculate FO usage per pound by percentage it’s easy

Time the percentage in decimal form (for example 12% = .12, 5%= .05) by 16 (that is the amount of ounces in a pound).

For example .12 X 16 = 1.92

Hence roughly 2 oz. weighed FO per pound.

Once you know the weight of the wax you need for example a 10oz jar (i.e liquid ounces) then divide that number by 16 and multiple that number by how much FO per pound you calculated above. Say my jar requires 12 weighed ounces of wax.

So for example:

12 ÷ 16 = .75

.75 X 2 = 1.5

There you have it – 1½ weighed ounce of FO per jar candle.

To be exact we are talking weighed ounces not liquid ounces that have been measured in a cup.

Solid ounces measure density

Liquid ounces measure volume

For example a solid ounce of lead will be significantly smaller than an ounce wax. But if you were to melt that lead and wax and measure a liquid ounce of each it would be the same.

Again I have to iterate candle making DOES NOT have to be an exact science. But this should help guide newbie candle and soap makers looking to test small batches. Keeping a written record of your measurements is key.

Good luck and Have fun.

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Thanks JacquiO, you gave awesome detailed explanations of the process you use :D

I probably should've been a little more specific with my question. I reread it and it was kind of confusing, so...

Does anyone pour small wickless candles or tarts just to get an idea of how the fragrance smells in wax? I thought maybe that would be easier and less time consuming than pouring a whole candle simply to test the fragrance... then, I could rule out the 'definitely no' fragrances and test the ones I liked for the proper wick size.

I do understand the math behind pouring sample sized candles, I guess I was just looking for a different approach?

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Bella Luna, I do exactly what you're suggesting quite often. I like pouring just a clamshell's worth to start out because I want to know how an FO smells in wax before I bother advancing it any further in testing. Plus, it gives me a good idea of a specific FO's curing needs and I know right off the bat about cold throw. The clamshell gets passed around to three testers and if it scores high enough then I think about wicking it. If it's a pain to wick it might still be used for tarts or in my wickless tins so it's not like the effort was wasted.

I know a lot of people don't do it this way but when I started out it seemed the most logical way of efficiently wading through the ocean of fragrances out there. A big plus is that not all the tester wax gets used up so I now have a "library" of clamshell samples I can refer back to when recommendations for fragrances come up. And they're great to have on hand when thinking about mixing fragrances. I just plop a little of this and a little of that into a tart melter.

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Thanks FarmerJill :) With so many samples to go through I thought it might be a good way to weed out the ones that were a 'definite no' before worrying about how I was going to wick them.

ChrisR - It's not really the scent throw I'm concerned about at this point... it's how the scent would smell in wax vs. out of the bottle. I'm thinking that if I can find some fragrances I like (I tend to be extremely picky, it seems) I could worry about the hot throw and wicking later. Thanks for your insight, though :)

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