Candle Troubleshooting Guide (Updated March 2021)
From one DIYer to another, here are some of our notes in candle-making to help solve your candle troubles! This is a compilation of all the rookie mistakes we've made in this candle-making journey. We will update this continuously as we learn more through our trials.
It's also important to remember that we all have our own techniques in solving these problems! Please be sure to share your experience in candle-making below.
Possible reasons: Your wick may be too small. Your additives (e.g. candle dye, fragrance oil) can affect how your candle burns.
Things to try: Use a thicker wick (wick up!). Make sure you use an appropriate amount of dye or fragrance oil - not exceeding the recommended amount.
2. All the wax melted during burn test.
Possible reasons: Your wick is too big.
Things to try: Use a thinner wick (wick down!).
3. Flame is too big.
Possible reasons: Your wick is too long. Your wick is too big.
Things to try: You may need to trim your wick. You may need to choose a thinner wick (wick down!).
4. Flame is too small.
Possible reasons: Your wick may be too small. Your additives (e.g. candle dye, fragrance oil) can affect how your candle burns. You've over-trimmed your wick.
Things to try: Use a thicker wick (wick up!). Make sure you use an appropriate amount of dye or fragrance oil - not exceeding the recommended amount. Alternatively, be sure not to trim your wick to short - an ideal length is a quarter of an inch.
5. I don't smell the fragrance oil.
Possible reasons: Not enough fragrance oil. You mixed the oil in at a temperature higher than 188 degrees Fahrenheit and it burned out. Alternatively, you may have mixed the fragrance oil in at 170 degrees Fahrenheit and below - too cold for the oil to bind with the wax.
Things to try: Check the maximum fragrance load of your wax and adjust/increase accordingly. Mix the fragrance oil between ___ to ensure it binds with the wax.
6. Uneven surface after pouring. There's a sink hole.
Possible reasons: You may have poured the wax too hot. Wax shrinks as it cools down. You may have disturbed the surface if you've moved the container as it dries.
Things to try: Pour your wax around 135 - 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a heat gun!
7. Uneven surface after burn test.
Possible reasons: You are using pure soy wax. Your wax blend needs adjustment.
Things to try: Add another type of hard wax, such as beeswax in your next batch of candles. Keep trying different proportions of waxes.
8. Wick is not centered.
Things to try: Make sure to secure the wick using the wick holder - that it is tightly pulled and is straight as an arrow. You may want to use a marker to help you determine where to stick the wick.
9. The wax separated from the jar.
Possible reasons: Your container may be too cold. As the hot wax hits the container, it cools down abruptly causing it to shrink.
Things to try: Use a heat gun to preheat your jars.
10. Candle Sweating
Possible reasons (source: https://candlemakinghelp.com.au/index.php/easyblog/help-my-candle-is-sweating-1-1):
- Adding fragrance oil at too low a temperature [wax congeals, and fragrance oil does not disperse evenly];
- Not stirring the fragrance oil for sufficiently long enough into wax [same as above];
- Choosing fragrance oil that is not suited to the wax [chemical reaction]; or
- Exceeding the wax suppliers recommendation for fragrance load - ratio fragrance oil to wax weight [the fragrance oil does not fully bind into the wax].
Things to try (source: https://candlemakinghelp.com.au/index.php/easyblog/help-my-candle-is-sweating-1-1):
In votive and pillar candles (soy blends, palm and paraffin waxes) if there is an excess of oil, it will mix with the candle dye used and bleed out. A small amount of Stearic Acid (about 3%) blended into the melted wax before pouring will help retain the oils.
If sweating does occur mop up the excess oil with a paper towel and repeat as often as needed till the candle is dry. Note: dyes can stain so be careful not to get the oils onto your hands.
If this happens, please do not burn the candle - if the oil comes into direct contact with the naked candlewick flame, it can pose a severe fire risk.