Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘wax’

Interesting and fun facts about candles aren’t exactly the subject of Trivial Pursuit or the evening news, but there are some very intriguing pieces of knowledge associated with the commodity nonetheless.  Seriously.  Just the other day, I was browsing the National Candle Association (NCA) website (yes, there really is such a thing, and at Country Wickhouse Candles, it’s kind of our job to keep abreast of industry news) and I happened across a page full of facts and figures related to candles and the candle industry.  You wouldn’t believe, for instance, how much candles are intertwined with our very existence.  I know, that sounds extreme, but it’s true.  You can check it out for yourself on the very page I read, or you can read on.  For your convenience, which is most important to us, I’ve listed some of these facts below, taken directly from the NCA website (this statement and its corresponding link reflect my best attempt at a citation via a blog article).  Truly, you’ll be amazed.

Did you know…?

  • Candles are used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households.
  • Manufacturer surveys show that 90% of all candles are purchased by women.
  • Candle industry research indicates that the most important factors affecting candle sales are scent, color, cost, and shape.
  • Candles are principally sold in three types of retail outlets:  Specialty or gift shops; department and home décor stores; mass merchandisers (discount stores, drug store chains, grocery stores, etc.).
  • Approximately 35% of candle sales occur during the Christmas/Holiday season. Non-seasonal business accounts for approximately 65% of candle sales.
  • More than 1 billion pounds of wax are used in producing the candles sold each year in the U.S.
  • Consumers are increasingly purchasing candles as a focal point for their home décor, and for aromatherapy-like relaxation and stress reduction.
  • Fragrance is by far the most important characteristic impacting candle purchases today, with three-fourths of candle buyers saying it is “extremely important” or “very important” in their selection of a candle.
  • The majority of U.S. consumers use their candles within a week of purchase.
  • Nine out of ten candle users say they use candles to make a room feel comfortable or cozy.
  • Candle users say they most frequently burn candles in the living room (42%), followed by the kitchen (18%), and the bedroom (13%).
  • Approximately one in five women says they use candles to decorate the yard, patio, or other exterior areas, as well as the interior of their home.
  • Both men and women consider candles to be an always-acceptable and highly appreciated gift for a wide variety of occasions.
  • Candle purchasers say they view candles as an appropriate gift for the holidays (76%), as a house warming gift (74%), a hostess/dinner party gift (66%), a thank you (61%), and as adult birthday gifts (58%).

Interesting, huh?  Just when you thought you knew a lot about candles…If these facts and figures have piqued your interest or inspired your warmer side, stop by our candle shop and take a look around.  You can find us on the web here (click the link). 

Thanks for reading!  We hope to see you browsing our soy candle products!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

We often get questions at Country Wickhouse Candles about how properly to burn soy candles.  If a single, common issue exists, it’s with the challenge of getting an even burn with the soft wax.  This should never be a challenge, however, since any candle must be enjoyed under certain conditions.  Below you will find some helpful hints on how to burn soy candles more evenly, thus making your experience with them more enjoyable.

Soy Just Ain’t Paraffin:  I know, horrible grammar!  But you get the point.  One of the most important things to remember when dealing with soy candles is that they DO NOT burn the same way paraffin candles do.  Some (if not all) paraffin candles contain PETROLEUM, and I don’t know about you, but if I were made of petroleum, I’d burn hot and completely, too.  Unfortunately, so many people own petroleum-based candles that they have become the standard by which all candles are judged and used.  When considering the environmental impact of paraffin candle products (not to mention the smoke and soot their wicks produce), EVERYONE should be burning SOY candles instead.  With all this in mind, let’s talk about properly burning soy.

Wick Length:  NEVER follow the 1/8-inch wick rule with soy candles.  Instead, keep your wicks at 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long for an even burn.  Most wicks in soy candles already come in these lengths.

An example of an even burn in a soy candle tin.

Tins (and Other Containers):  Again, mind your wick length and keep it at 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long.  ALWAYS place any container on a LEVEL surface, and NEVER burn longer than 1.5 hours at a time.  And of course, never leave a candle unattended.  Another great idea for more evenly-burning candles is the use of a CANDLE TOPPER, which will more evenly distribute wick heat.

A votive holder.

Votives:  Follow the wick rule above and ALWAYS burn votives in VOTIVE HOLDERS.  These holders act like small containers, and as the container heats, it helps in the proper melting of the soy wax.

The metal wick tab at the bottom of a tealight cup.

Tealights:  This is a common concern among folks who’d like to see every ounce of soy wax melt and disappear.  The bad news is, this will never happen.  Use the same wick lengths as above, and as soon as the tealight extinguishes itself, the show’s over.  The metal wick tab at the bottom of the tealight container will never burn (unless you use a blowtorch), so for safety reasons, throw the tealight away when it burns down to this point and puts itself out.  It may be hard, but it’s time to say goodbye and move on when you can see the wick tab.

Unburned (Unused) Soy Wax:  But wait!  Just because ALL the soy wax in your container hasn’t melted doesn’t mean that it’s been wasted.  Remember that soy wax is all-natural and biodegradable.  It is also one of the best NATURAL SKIN MOISTURIZERS on the planet.  Claw it out of your containers and rub it into dry skin.  It even replenishes cuticles.  And it smells good, too!  Go ahead, it won’t hurt you…it will only help!

Hopefully these tips will aid you in burning soy candles more successfully.  The most important thing to remember is that soy is VERY SOFT, and hence we must take some unique (albeit subtle) approaches to using them.  Follow the tips above and you’ll have no problems with any soy candle product you ever own…and if you do, let us know.  We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Burn on, wise soy candle-burning person!  You care about yourself and your environment…Thank you!

Read Full Post »

…You get the idea, and maybe even a vague recollection of the famed (or not so famous) rhyme.  So, my wife makes candles―SOY candles―and good ones, too.  They smell great, are all natural, environmentally friendly, hand-poured, handmade…but we once had a heck of a time trying to figure out the wick-to-wax mystery as we tried to solve what we called the “posthole” or “well-digging” effect.  In other words, some of our candles (mostly the larger tins) were burning straight down the center, leaving about a pound of wax untouched, as if the wick were digging a well or preparing a hole to set a post into the middle of the wax.  Not only was this frustrating us, but also we learned that many folks making soy candles were experiencing the same disappointment.

Back to the drawing board again, and again, and again until at last the code was cracked, which we did over the course of a few months and hundreds of trials.  Why so many attempts?  Because we reevaluated everything, trying not only different types and sizes of wicks, but also various blends and types of soy wax, all the while praying to remember from experiment to experiment what combinations we’d already tried so as NOT to repeat the failure.  (Taking notes throughout each experiment might have been helpful, I know.)  In the end, we solved the problem, and that very solution some might think painfully obvious.  But there is as much science to candle making as there is art, and the process by which one creates a truly fragrant, even-burning soy candle in a tin is not quite as simple as it sounds.  Nevertheless, to make your craft more enjoyable and less frustrating, I’m about to pass on what my wife and I learned while pursuing the aforementioned mystery.

Our first assumed culprit in the “posthole” conspiracy was the wick.  Why not?  Always blame the wick!  Anyway, the more our candles burned straight down the center, the more we figured that the wick was not big enough.  Beginner’s error.  At one point, my wife would have no doubt been willing to stick a piece of towrope into the tins in order to get the wax to melt more evenly.  However…point to consider:  A larger wick does not mean a more even burn, especially when working exclusively with soy.  Soy is a very SOFT wax, and the hotter and stronger a wick burns, the less time the soy wax has to melt.  It’s literally like passing a red-hot knife through butter.  Because of the extreme heat and the added element of a very soft medium, only the immediate point of contact is affected.  There is simply no time for the outer wax to burn.  What we needed instead, was a smaller wick that burned longer at a lower temperature, thus giving the surrounding soy wax a chance to melt.

If you can’t blame the wick (which we kind of did, anyway), blame the wax.  Mostly logical, right?  Well, in this case the wax had a hand in the scandal, too.  We soon discovered that soft wax subjected to high heat burns very fast, a point established already with the wick problem.  SOFT WAX + HOT WICK = WELL-DIGGING CANDLE!  Unacceptable.  And so we realized that we had to “meet in the middle” and more appropriately mate wick to wax.  Luckily for us, soy wax is available with a few different melting points.  Soy wax labeled “125,” for example, melts at about 125° F.  This is very soft soy wax, and unfortunately the only type we thought was available.  Wrong!  Darned beginners!  Looking back now, I’m amazed at how far we’ve come…Second point to consider:  Wax products with low melting points burn very easily, and when matched with a large, hot wick, hardly have a chance to exist.  And now to our happy medium.

Many of you (especially the seasoned candle makers) might be shaking your heads by now, wondering how we ever survived in this business.  But soy is a tricky thing…really.  Our conclusion came slowly, yet it came, and we discovered that the secret to an evenly-burning soy candle in a tin is a matter of a smaller wick and a soy wax with a higher melting point, say 135 – 145° F.  By manipulating the melting point of our wax, and maintaining a medium wick, we could control the size of the wax pool during burning.  We could even get the wax to burn right to the sides of the tin.

In all seriousness, candle making becomes much more of a challenge (especially in the nuances of the craft) when working exclusively with soy.  Many blends are available from pure soy to natural botanical blends.  And each kind may have various melting points.  The trick is patience and the endurance to try and try again.  In the end, you won’t just have a good candle, but a perfect one.

Read Full Post »