Candle Making Troubleshooting

This section covers all the issues you may face when making candles. We have included this guide so that you can troubleshoot issues while practicing basic candle making. 

Bubbles

Bubble formation is the result of aerating the wax while mixing. This can affect burn depending on how aerated the mixture is and is seen as aesthetically unpleasing.

  • Second pour carried out too late.
  1. Repour before the first pour has cooled entirely.
  • Pour temperature was too low.
  1. Increase pour temperature slightly to allow bubbles to escape before setting.
  • Aerating the mixture.
  1. Stir, don’t whip, when adding fragrance oil or dyes.

Cracking

Cracking is the result of uneven and/or rapid cooling. This can affect the first burn while the cracks fill in and is aesthetically unpleasing.

  • Candles are close together.
  1. Spread cooling candles at least 5cm (2”) apart.
  • Candle was placed in a cold area.
  1. Keep the work area warm (21C).
  2. Ensure there are no draughts.
  • Second pour carried out too late.
  1. Repour before the first pour has cooled entirely.
  2. Poke relief holes in the candle before repouring.
  • Pouring against the wall.
  1. Pour near the centre of the candle and allow wax to drift out.

Discolouration

Discolouration is the result of various factors; dyed candles can fade, and white candles can turn brown.

  • High vanillin content
  1. Acquire low vanillin fragrance oils
  2. Use a UV inhibitor
  3. Store out of direct sunlight
  • Overheated wax
  1. Ensure you do not maintain your liquid wax above 90C when melting
  • Candle dye fading
  1. Mix dye at 80C
  2. Store out of direct sunlight.

Doused Wick

A doused wick is the result of a wick drowning in the liquid wax. It affects burn.

  • Wick too small.
  1. Increase wick size.
  • Wick curling over.
  1. Use a more rigid wick.
  • Wick uneven.
  1. Ensure wicks are not slack when pouring.

Frosting

Frosting, also known as “bloom” is the result of soy wax recrystallising at too low of a temperature. This is a perfectly normal reaction and isn’t something to worry over. This does not affect burn but is sometimes aesthetically unpleasing.

  • Candle was placed in a cold area.
  1. Keep the work area warm (21C).
  2. Ensure there are no draughts.
  • Container was cold.
  1. Preheat your containers.
  • Pour temperature was too low.
  • Increase pour temperature slightly.

Glass Adhesion

Poor glass adhesion, also known as “wet spots” is the result of the wax shrinking and pulling away from the glass. This does not affect burn but is aesthetically unpleasing. It is difficult to eliminate this issue in pure soy.

  • Candles are close together.
  1. Spread cooling candles at least 5cm (2”) apart.
  • Candle was placed in a cold area.
  1. Keep the work area warm (21C).
  2. Ensure there are no draughts.
  • Container was dirty.
  1. Ensure containers are cleaned and dried.
  • Container was cold.
  • Preheat your containers.

Melt Pool

Melt pool issues are the result of incompatible wicks for the wax and oil combination. This affects burn and is seen as aesthetically unpleasing.

  • Melt pool too small.
  1. Increase wick size.
  • Melt pool too big.
  1. Decrease wick size.

Mushrooming and Excessive Smoking

Mushrooming is the result of carbon build up on the wick. It is the result of compounds not being completely combusted in the wick. This affects burn, increasing smoking and flickering and is aesthetically unpleasing. This directly increases the amount of smoking present.

  • Wick/melt pool is too big.
  1. Once a melt pool gets too deep a large wick can suck up too much wax, causing mushrooming. Wick down.
  • Fragrance or dye load too high.
  1. Lower fragrance or dye load; ideally aim for no more than 8% and 0.2% respectively.
  • Wick unable to handle loads.
  1. Look for a metallised or high yield cotton cored wick, these can handle increased loads
  2. Metal cored wicks will mushroom more due to their core.

Scent Throw

Scent throw issues have a variety of causes, these include poor quality oils, inadequate wax binding and incompatible wicks.

  • Insufficient binding.
  1. Most oils need to be mixed at 80C to allow enough wax binding
  2. Ensure you stir for at least 2 minutes once adding oils.
  • Incompatible wick.
  1. Change wick series.
  2. Ensure you have a full melt pool by the 2-hour mark.
  • Poor quality fragrance oils.
  1. Replace oils with those from a reputable supplier.
  2. Ensure oils are formulated for candles.
  • Olfactory fatigue.
  1. Train yourself in olfactory rejuvenation.
  2. Ask somebody else to sample candle scent throw.

Sink Holes

Sink holes, also known as “pitting” is the result of shrinking inside of the candle while the top layer has solidified. This can affect burn depending on the size of the sinkhole and is seen as aesthetically unpleasing. This is very difficult to eliminate in pure paraffin and soy, however, is less of an issue in blends. * Candle was placed in a cold area.

  1. Keep the work area warm (21C).
  2. Ensure there are no draughts.
  • Pour temperature was too low.
  1. Increase pour temperature slightly.
  • Pouring too quickly.
  1. Pour slower to ensure no voids forms.

Sweating

Sweating is the result of oil seeping out of the solid wax. This affects burn and is potentially very dangerous.

  • Added too much oil.
  1. Do not add more than stated maximum load.
  2. Avoid using miscellaneous oils (coconut, vegetable, etc)
  • Candle was placed in a cold area.
  1. Keep the work area warm (21C) to ensure oil isn’t forced out of solution.

Surfaces Uneven

Uneven surfaces are a result in soy from pouring too cold or pouring in a cold room. It can also be an incompatible fragrance oil ‘curdling’ the wax.

  • Candle was placed in a cold area.
  1. Keep the work area warm (21C).
  2. Ensure there are no draughts.
  • Pour temperature incorrect.
  1. Increase or decrease pour temperature slightly to manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. As your ambient temp increases, pour temp decreases.
  • Incompatible fragrance oil.
  1. Attempt to use another oil in the same conditions.
  • Not carrying out second pours.
  1. Some wax and oil combinations will require a repour to even out surfaces.