Blending and Creating Unique Candle Fragrances

Blending and creating unique candle fragrances defines your brand more than anything you will do. This is the foundation of your marketing strategy. Fragrances can be renamed but are easily spotted with an experienced nose. A beginner candlemaker creates candles with stock ingredients. An advanced candlemaker develops its product line to include fragrances that cannot be purchased anywhere else.

There is a reason that people go crazy when Bath and Body Works has their candle sale. On the first Saturday in December, their candles go on sale and it has become known as Candle Day! Why? They have created quality candles with fragrances that are exclusive to their brand. Even a candle maker such as myself buys them!

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Essential oils can be blended with fragrance oils. Most essential oils are not diluted or mixed with the carrier oil and are much stronger. I prefer to mix fragrance oils with fragrance oils and typically do not use essential oils in candles.

All fragrances have top notes, middle notes, and base notes. This is true in candles. Pairing fragrances can be a fun and complex art. Starting with families of scents is best. I would not start mixing florals with something sweet. However, some combinations have been known to work.

Start by keeping a notebook of fragrances and take notes about them.

You will need a jar and some cotton ball tips or blotter strips. You can also use a simple small eyedropper. The goal is to place a measurable drop of fragrance into the jar, put the lid on, let it sit for a while, and then open it to see if the mingled fragrances smell good with each other.

Controlling the ration can be done by adding additional portions for a fragrance.

For example, if you want to make a French vanilla coffee, a coffee fragrance is very strong. Dip a cotton ball tip into the coffee fragrance and place it into the jar. To help balance the vanilla, which is not as strong, dip 2 cotton tips into the french vanilla fragrance oil and place it into the jar. Let this sit for about 20 minutes and open the lid to smell.

If the vanilla is overpowered, add another vanilla-dipped cotton ball tip. Let sit for another 20 minutes. If this smells good, then the ratio is 1 part coffee fragrance and 3 parts french vanilla fragrance. Add a pumpkin spice fragrance and now you have a pumpkin spice latte.

Once you have selected a potential fragrance you will need to test it with a candle. To save on supplies I make a 4 or 8-ounce candle.

Using multiple fragrances makes the fragrance load calculation a little more complex. For this, I keep my fragrance load of around 10%.

I take 100 and divide it by the number of drops or cotton ball tips I have in my jar.

For example, say we have 1 coffee, 3 vanilla, and 1 pumpkin spice. The formula is 100 divided by 5 which equals 20. I take that number, which is my percentage, and multiply it by the number of cotton ball tips. So for this, I would have 20% coffee, 60%  vanilla, and 20% pumpkin spice.

Example of Candle Wax and Fragrance Oil Calculation

Calculating how much mixture of wax and fragrance oil we need for our 8-ounce candle. The jar holds 7 fluid ounces.

7 x .9 = 6.3 ( We will need wax/fragrance oil mix weighing 6.3 ounces)

6.3 divided by 1.10 = 5.72 (We will need 5.72 ounces wax by weight)

6.3 – 5.72 = .57 (We will need .57 ounces fragrance oil by weight)

.57 x .2 = .114 (We will need .114 ounces coffee fragrance oil by weight)

.57 x .6 = .342 (We will need .342 ounces vanilla fragrance oil by weight)

.57 x .2 = 114 (We will need .114 ounces pumpkin spice fragrance oil by weight)

You would make the candle as you normally would adding the fragrance oil at the lowest flashpoint temperature. The wick you use would be the normal wick you would use for that diameter of the jar. You need to let this candle cure as you are testing for the scent, not the wick.

If you like the hot throw, you can do more testing. Sometimes the fragrance will need to be adjusted once it is made into a candle.

You will find that some fragrances that seemed strong at first may not turn out that way in the end.

The more complex the original fragrance is, the more different the result may be. This is because of the fragrance notes.

Our example used simple fragrances, but a designer fragrance like a flannel mixed with vanilla could end up smelling like dirty laundry in the end. Who knows? I hope not.

Candle Science has devoted a complete section to blending fragrances and is a great resource for a fragrance finder. Check them out.