One of the most common misconceptions propagated throughout the candle making industry is that pouring an effective soy candle requires heating the wax to 185 degrees, adding the fragrance, and then letting it cool to the desired pour temperature.
If you are just heating up a small batch of wax to transfer to a pitcher to cool before hand-pouring it into some jars, it will cool very fast. This means that when you pour a soy candle you only have to heat it up 10-15 degrees hotter than desired pour temperature.
The biggest concern here is one of scale. That may be a fine procedure for a few candles, but what happens when you want to work in batches of 100 pounds or more? How can you maintain a high level of consistency over an extended period of time?
The real concern is that the longer you have to wait, the more you risk flashing the fragrance. The longer your fragrance sits in the wax, the more it will evaporate. When a batch sits for just a couple of hours there is a slight change in the cold throw. Should that batch have to sit for 4 hours, you could be losing 1-2% of the fragrance; and if it has to sit any longer than that, those losses are going to keep piling up.
There is a better way to pour soy wax for your candles.
The 8% Rule
When many small companies begin making candles, they end up using far more fragrance than they actually need.
This is often because they’re following the advice above and heating their wax to 185 degrees.
You will also have to remember that heat can fundamentally change the fragrance. The top notes in a fragrance are generally the most volatile within the fragrance. They vaporize at the lowest of the temperature spectrum and are the quickest to burn off. Top note degradation can start at temperatures as low as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time the wax gets to 165 degrees the top notes are all but gone, leaving mostly the middle and base notes. This affects not only the cold throw but also the overall fragrance experience, making it smell very different to the liquid fragrance. This is particularly relevant to vegetable waxes which are prone to fragrance lock even without overheating the wax.
At these high temperatures, they’re actually flashing the fragrance off.
And, it’s important to note, that we always say that there are three things that sell your candles:
- The packaging – In order to get a customer to take a candle off the shelf, the packaging has to catch the eye.
- The cold throw – You’ve caught their eye, now you have to appeal to their sense of smell. The cold throw has to pass a test smell in the store if they’re going to purchase it.
- The hot throw – The last element is when the customer burns it at home. If the hot throw is good, you’ve got a repeat customer.
In other words, two out of three selling points rely on the fragrance, so this is something you need to get right.
Most fragrance houses say not to go over 8% with any given fragrance because the added oils and other chemicals carried within the fragrance can affect how the candle cures.
More than that, though, overusing fragrance just means you are paying a lot of money for a lot of fragrance that never makes it into the final candle.
The Coogar Products Difference
At Coogar Products, we go a different direction; our process is very different from what most others have done before.
What this means is that you don’t need to run the pour too hot. You can establish an effective pour temperature and then pour at that temperature to ensure ongoing consistency and quality. Every time you pull the trigger you’ll know exactly how much wax and fragrance goes into each jar.
It’s hard to say exactly what temperature that will be, since experience has shown us that there’s a wide range of variables that could impact this number.
The Perfect Pour
No one gets it right on the first try. There are simply too many variables that affect the pour.
That doesn’t mean you can’t eventually get a perfect pour, though. It just takes a careful and measured approach.
This starts by tracking everything you do to establish the best pour temperature and process, including:
- Pour temperature
- Ambient temperature
When you start to hit the marks and the wax where you want it, you need to know why it worked so you can replicate the results. Then, it’s all just a matter of maintaining that sweet spot throughout production.
When you first get your Mixing Pumper, you can begin by pouring in increments to start zeroing in on the right temperature.
If you’re hand pouring, try to keep the temperature for each candle as close as you can, but understand that some loss in temperature is inevitable. And while the loss of a degree or two may not make much of a difference, if you get distracted for a couple minutes along the way, the change could be enough to make those last few candles really different from the first few.
If you’re batching with our melters, you need to be aware that they were designed to hold heat, not lose it. This is why you don’t need to heat the wax to 185 degrees just to start pouring. Instead, you can keep the temperature around 10-15 degrees above your pour temperature.
It’s going to take some practice and experimentation to get that perfect pour, but there are some guidelines you can follow to make the process easier.
Work in grams – You may not be accustomed to the metric system, but it can provide a lot more accuracy in your measurements. This will lead to more efficiency over time. It may not seem like a big deal to be a half a gram off from one fragrance to the next because of the viscosity change, but that can add up a lot over time.
If you’re pouring a few candles a day, it may not matter. However, that half a gram over thousands of pours means a lot of wasted materials.
We want to get you to where you’re never more than a couple tenths of a gram above or below the correct amount, because even a half gram off the target means every 56 candles just used an extra ounce of fragrance. When you pour thousands of candles, this will add up quickly.
Keep an eye on room temperature – If you pour one candle and get a perfect result at a certain temperature, say 72 degrees, that’s great. Remember that, because you need to maintain the elements that made the perfect candle throughout your whole production.
This temperature, however, will change the more you pour hot wax. If you put out and fill a thousand jars, suddenly your room temp is going to skyrocket from 72 to 80-something in a hurry. If a perfect result is 72 then the room must maintain 72 through the whole cool down process.
Understand the wax’s properties – Soy wax, in particular, can be affected by the climate, so you must take that into account when you pour. Some people may heat it up to a higher pour temperature (160 or so) because it can lose 10 or 15 degrees when it is moved to the pitcher.
Cooling is as important as melting – One of the most vital parts of pouring candles is how it cools. You need the core and the exterior to cool at the same rate, because if the outside cools too fast, it can create a “cottage cheese” effect.
How you stack your jars on the table can affect this. If they are too close to each other, you may start seeing wet spots on the exterior. This is because the heat from the other candles kept it warm while the rest of the candle was cooling off.
So always pay attention to the cooling process and keep your jars a couple inches apart.
Perfecting the Pour
Your technique, equipment, materials, and several environmental factors can impact the results you achieve with each pour.
Keep evolving your processes and keep testing new processes and you can consistently improve your entire range of products.