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Liquid Dye Drops -- Wick Clogging?


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So, calling me a newbie is a bit of an understatement. Meaning, i just poured my very first test candle about 10 minutes ago and it's sitting, cooling as we speak.

Prior to starting, i did roughly 1.5-2 weeks of reading and research and took a bunch of notes. Before starting today, i went back through my notes remembering key parts -- one being that the max amount of liquid dye drops you should use is 30 drops, otherwise you have the high risk of clogging the wick. So i melted the wax, added the fragrance...let that incorporate; added the dye 2-3 drops at a time and tested it as i went while letting it incorporate (as i had also read the dye drops are rather strong so a little goes a long way). I couldn't seem to get the dark red that i was necessarily visualizing, but i stopped at 20 drops anyway to see how it turned out once fully hardened. I'm not worrying too much about it now -- they don't call it a test candle for nothing, after all. But i was wondering about your take on dye drops? Do you use them? What's your experience with them and how much do you usually add? At what point do you risk clogging the wick, in your opinion/experience? Do you think that color blocks or chips are better in comparison?

Thanks for any info you can offer!

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The amount of liquid dye used varies from brand to brand. There is no set amount for all liquid dye products. Highly concentrated dyes require less; less concentrated dyes require more. Different waxes accept different amounts of dye. You did not mention what wax you are using nor the source of your liquid dyes, so it's impossible to make any predictions on the outcome. The type wick used also makes a difference. Some wicks handle dyes better than do others because of their design.

There is a lot of previous discussion on the subject of dyes. If you search the forums for it, you'll find many opinions.

I use liquid EVO dyes from CandleWic in the veggie wax candles I make. I have almost no problem with wick clogging. The only exception is when using white liquid dye... this is a pigment in suspension and it clogs wicks rather easily. Fortunately, I have learned to work without using it.

You can judge the color of the final candle by dripping some of the dyed wax on a white or reflective surface. The end result in the candle will usually appear somewhat darker because of the greater volume. This is NOT applicable to palm wax, however, because of the effect that the crystals have on reflecting and refracting the light. It's a little harder to judge, but experienced palm wax users catch on pretty quickly to how much is needed for what depth of color they get in the finished product.

Give us some more information on the products you are using in your candles and how they come out when you test them. Photos are always helpful.

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So, calling me a newbie is a bit of an understatement. Meaning, i just poured my very first test candle about 10 minutes ago and it's sitting, cooling as we speak.

Prior to starting, i did roughly 1.5-2 weeks of reading and research and took a bunch of notes. Before starting today, i went back through my notes remembering key parts -- one being that the max amount of liquid dye drops you should use is 30 drops, otherwise you have the high risk of clogging the wick. So i melted the wax, added the fragrance...let that incorporate; added the dye 2-3 drops at a time and tested it as i went while letting it incorporate (as i had also read the dye drops are rather strong so a little goes a long way). I couldn't seem to get the dark red that i was necessarily visualizing, but i stopped at 20 drops anyway to see how it turned out once fully hardened. I'm not worrying too much about it now -- they don't call it a test candle for nothing, after all. But i was wondering about your take on dye drops? Do you use them? What's your experience with them and how much do you usually add? At what point do you risk clogging the wick, in your opinion/experience? Do you think that color blocks or chips are better in comparison?

Thanks for any info you can offer!

From one newbie to another..... forget the dye altogether & learn how to make a good candle first!:wink2:

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Actually color in a candle is a beginner's step and part of the learning. Why should this person not be able to learn about coloring and getting consistent shades while also learning to make a good candle? It's all part of the picture. No book I ever read or things I did ever broke it down and said make a plain candle, spend x-amount of time learning to wick it and then you can play with color and then what? Scent? It all adds up to the same picture so why should they take longer to get there? I am curious on the reasoning. Learn at the pace you are comfortable learning at. It is like me making my first soaps and getting blasted because I didn't follow someone else's idea of what a beginner should do ... not add color and use the wrong scent or not make a castille bar etc.

As for getting consistent color, yea, you count your drops. At some point, and it may be plus or minus or right at 30 there's a too-much-color factor, but I've had blacks where I've had to use 50 drops to get black and not dark gray. Chips, rule of thumb is one chip will color say 4 lbs. of wax. Yea it colors it, but not the color you might be going for.

The differences in the types of colorants -- each, to me have their pluses and minuses. Liquids typically always mix into the wax without leaving behind specks like say a red chip does or a block might do. However, it takes longer with the dyes I have to reach a certain color I might strive for where melting a portion of a block would get it just like that. So take notes on what you end up with in regards to the colors.

What type of wax is going to make a difference. What type of colorant is going to make a difference too. Some will tell you that you can add black to red and get a darker red. I've found you can come close to blood red by adding a drop or two of brown, but that's dependent on how many drops of red you use or chips or blocks.

Edited by Scented
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getting blasted because I didn't follow someone else's idea of what a beginner should do

No one's "blasting" anyone... People DO learn in different ways. Some people learn better step by step rather than juggling several aspects at once. What worked best for you or me might not work as readily for someone else. Beth simply made a suggestion from her POV. Nothing wrong with that, IMHO.

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No one's "blasting" anyone... People DO learn in different ways. Some people learn better step by step rather than juggling several aspects at once. What worked best for you or me might not work as readily for someone else. Beth simply made a suggestion from her POV. Nothing wrong with that, IMHO.

Quote it right. I said it was like me getting blasted for ... (which is what happened when I started soaping.) I'm not "blasting" Beth. I ASKED because I wanted to know. I'm not being snide, snippy or anything otherwise.

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I have never used more than 3 drops per lb. for any dark color in my parasoy blend wax. Red is always tricky because it tends to end up a shade of pink. To get the 'pink' out of a red color, add a touch of yellow, then if you need a darker red, add a touch of black. Dipping a toothpick in the dye, instead of a full drop. Works for me every time. I also only buy my liquid colors from Aroma Haven and Lonestar, as they are very concentrated and usually 1 to 2 drops will color a lb. of wax to a dark color.

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I have never used more than 3 drops per lb. for any dark color in my parasoy blend wax. Red is always tricky because it tends to end up a shade of pink. To get the 'pink' out of a red color, add a touch of yellow, then if you need a darker red, add a touch of black. Dipping a toothpick in the dye, instead of a full drop. Works for me every time. I also only buy my liquid colors from Aroma Haven and Lonestar, as they are very concentrated and usually 1 to 2 drops will color a lb. of wax to a dark color.

That's why I was asking how much wax? For a pound I've not had to use more than 5 drops...

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Quote it right. I said it was like me getting blasted for ... (which is what happened when I started soaping.) I'm not "blasting" Beth. I ASKED because I wanted to know. I'm not being snide, snippy or anything otherwise.

Well, now I clearly know why some posters come on here & say they are normally just lurkers, and not posters....

I explained the reasoning for my answer IN my answer. - from one newbie to another. From my perspective (someone who hasn't made candles for years & years like most of you), learning the coloring aspect should rank right at the bottom of the list.

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Back to the regularly scheduled program... Court21, what brand of dye did you use and what kind/brand and quantity of wax? I can't speak about paraffin, 'cause I don't use it, but sometimes, I have had to use 10-15 drops of dye PP in soy wax. Soy wax is white and opaque, so sometimes I have had to stomp on the accelerator a little to get a certain shade... Palm wax is more elusive because of its crystals. A lot of dye will appear lighter because of all the frosties; but if the same wax is poured at a lower temp and there are no frosties, it will be quite dark. So ya see, it all depends. When you test these, please fill in the details for us so we don't have to guess. Good luck! :)

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Sorry for not getting back sooner...

I used a basic soy wax. The wax, colorant and fragrance were all from Hobby Lobby. There aren't any other candle suppliers near by...and Hobby Lobby is still an hour away so i chose to use their supplies for my first go.

I melted 11 ounces of wax...which made 2 4 ounce container candles as well as a 2 ounce container candle. I used .5 ounces of Apple Spice fragrance (which was far too little -- both the cold throw and hot throw are very underwhelming). I let all of the candles sit for 3 days after making them before i lit one. The wick hasn't clogged as of yet; but the color is just a slightly deeper pink; no where near where i wanted it to be.

But i will keep trying. Thanks for all of your help!

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Oh! And if anybody knows this...

I was at a store in town and they have fragrance oils, but on the bottle that say for oil warmer use. I'm not totally sure if i would be able to use these for candle making? Like i said in the above, the nearest store that has candle supplies is Hobby Lobby, an hour away. Not to mention, these are significantly cheaper than Hobby Lobby. So if i could use them that would be great. Just wanted to check.

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Hobby Lobby does not carry candlemaking products that are much worth using to make decent candles. READ, READ, READ here and you'll find plenty of bonafide candlemaking suppliers from whom you can purchase high quality materials and not waste your money on junk materials. Oils for warmers are not generally suitable for candlemaking because they have been diluted.

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