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First post- some noob questions for you


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Hi all. This is my first post here, and I have a few questions. First some background. Prior to suffering a severe injury and being unable to work, I was a massage therapist/spa treatment specialist, energy worker (mostly Reiki), and used aromatherapy extensively in my practice. My goal is to start making candles first, and then experiment with soap making and bath/body products- as a hobby for now (maybe a business way down the road after I get a bunch of experience). Because of my expertise in aromatherapy and commercial spa and bodywork products, I want to emphasize all natural ‘home brewed’ alternatives. Sorry for the long intro, now some questions.

Since I am just starting out, I need a reputable supplier with great prices. Any help here is appreciated. My corporation is still registered from when I was working, so buying wholesale shouldn’t be an issue either.

I plan to make my products with real essential oils. As some of you may know, heat affects the chemical makeup of these oils, and due to their high volatility heat also affects dispersion rates. I used cold diffusion in my practice, but as I begin making products heat becomes an issue. My goal is to use waxes with the lowest melting/pouring points to minimize the effects of heat on the oils.

I have done a little research, and soy seems to be the ideal choice for container candles. Also want to experiment with bayberry due to its 118 degree melting point, but wasn’t sure about the smell of the wax- or it's 'pouring' temperature. Is it neutral or does it have a ‘berry’ smell? I plan to use mostly base note oils due to their longer lasting therapeutic benefits, but will also incorporate some middle notes and use the higher notes sparingly. I mention this because the emphasis on lower note oils means I will wind up with a flowery/musky product from oils such as rose, jasmine, neroli, sandalwood, etc. If bayberry has a ‘berry’ smell it won’t mix well with these oils unless there is a workaround.

Also considering experimenting with beeswax, but wasn’t sure about temperatures. I will consider other low temperature natural waxes as well if anyone has ideas. Do all the waxes I mentioned have the same pouring temperature, or are some lower than others? Also, if you pour at the lower end of the recommended temperature range is it harder to wind up with a nice end product? Is there a link to an article about the difference between 'melting' temperatures and 'pouring' temperatures and the importance of the two?

Some sites I have visited say you should use a wick the next higher size with the waxes I am considering- and some don’t. What is the best way to go here?

I have a heat gun, but not sure about a glue gun. If I don’t have a glue gun, is it better to go with the gun or with the tool I have seen on some of the sites that seems to be a glue machine of some sort (or doesn’t it matter)?

Since my focus is on a natural product, I wasn’t sure what additives I should consider- if any. Are there natural color additives available? If I make a candle with rose oil can I put petals in the candle or will they catch on fire? Are there 'must have' additives for a beginner that aren't a natural product? These are some of the noob questions I have been mulling over as well.

Sorry for the wall of text. I appreciate all of you that are willing to take the time to lend your expertise here on these boards.

Blessings :)

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Welcome! My best suggestion is for you to read, read, read on the vegetable wax board - there is much discussion about the waxes in which you are interested in the threads there. There is a board for fragrance discussion where you may find information about essential oils. You can search for specific topics to help answer common questions, for example about using essential oils, beeswax, bayberry, wicking, hot glue vs. silicon RTV and more! Good Luck! :)

PS Check out the sticky notes at the top of this page - lots of links to suppliers, abbreviations, and more!

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Hi, and welcome.

I don't work with soy or essential oils, so not much help there. I do agree that you should pour over the vegetable board. You will find more answers (and probably more questions) there.

As for wick sizes and petals catching fire...test, test, test. Wick sizes on sites are a starting point. What works for you in your altitude, humidy, moon phase will not work for me. That is the joy of wicks.

I would forget the glue gun and buy caulk or wick stick 'ems (not glue dots). for securing your wicks.

Good luck!

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Well.. I felt generous and slightly bored, lol, so I did a bit of research for you.

Things I learned...

  • Bayberry wax is about $15 for ONE POUND. (takes 8-15 lbs of berries to make that pound of wax)
  • It does have a definite smell but not an actual 'berry' smell. It's described as 'earthy'.
  • The wax is naturally green
  • Beeswax is often added to a bayberry wax candle to improve performance
  • Bayberry wax is a known skin irritant - it will require careful handling
  • I did see one site selling them in pillar style claiming to be %100 pure BBWax, but a supplier of the wax stated that they were not for anything else but tapers due to their burning characteristics. That could very well be a matter of the bbwax that IS in the candle is pure... but the rest is beeswax. Marketing gimmick kind of thing-if that makes sense? Percentages of 80 bbw/ 20 bw were spoken of on an 'about bbw candles' site.

I would recommend perfecting basic candle making and THEN if you really want to work with BBWax -it will be much more affordable once you have more knowledge under your belt in general.

Melt point is a specific character that just about anything has- it is the temperature in which your wax has to get heated up to in order to melt. Pour temp, is the recommended temperature to actually pour your wax into the mold depending on the desired affect. A candles surface will be different from another candle made of the same batch of wax if the POUR temp is decently different. If you look in the Candle Gallery you will see examples of this galore! So melt point or melting temp- is inherant to the wax... it's how hot it has to get to melt. Pour temp is the temperatue you have heated the wax to, or let it cool back down to in which you then pour into the mold.

It is the general consensus around here that just about ANYTHING put into the wax of a candle that will then have a flame added to it, is flamable and not a good idea AT ALL. If you really like this idea though you can look into forever candles/canes/orbs/ etc. This is where the outside of the candle is a harder higher melt point wax and is either wicked so that only the softer lower melt point wax inside actually melts, or it is hollowed out and not wicked at all- but instead you place a tea light or votive inside this shell. That is as close as a description I can give you since I don't make them.

You definitely have a good base of knowledge far as EO's and that's a great advantage. Hopefully you can work it all out -hobby or business. Good luck.:smiley2:

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