Calculating How Much Wax and Oil You Need for Candles
Calculating how much wax fits into a container is not straight forward. I will show you how to master this without having leftover wax or a jar that does not get filled. This is probably the hardest or most frustrating math you will need to do.
When calculating how much wax and oil you need for candles it is important to know that candle making measuring is done by weight. However, containers are often sold by volume. The confusion is 1 fluid ounce does not weigh 1 ounce. For small batch candle making, wax weighs .9 ounces per 1 fluid ounce. An 8-ounce candle needs 8 x .9 = 7.2 ounces by weight after the candle has been mixed. I have a candle wax calculator on my resource page.
The density (how thick something is) of fragrances vary so it is important to measure and weight this first. Imagine wax like a sponge. When it is heated to the manufacture’s recommended temperature it expands as much as it can. While it is in this state it can absorb and bond with the fragrance oil and stabilizes as it cools down. Like a sponge, it can only hold so much. This is the fragrance load. Before determining how much candle wax mixture you need, first, determine the wax to oil ratio. The formula for this is the desired candle size divided by the fragrance load.
As an example, we want to calculate making an 8-ounce jelly jar candle using GB 464 wax and lavender fragrance oil.
- Fill the jar with water to determine the height of the candle we want. I leave space at the top for the wick to be at least ¼” high when trimmed.
- Pour the water out into a measuring cup that has ounces marked on the side. Mine shows our water measures about 7 fluid ounces. This does not have to be super accurate.
- To end up with 7 fluid ounces multiply it by .9, we need a 6.3-ounce mixture by weight.
- For this candle, we need about 6.3 ounces after it is mixed. GB 464 has a 10% fragrance load. I divide 6.3 by 1.10,
This gives us 5.73 wax. Take the 6.3 ounces and subtract the 5.73 to .57 ounces of fragrance. This is our mixture.
To make multiple candles, multiply the calculation by the number of candles. Takes notes while you are testing.
This was probably the hardest part for me to get and I ended up with extra wax ALL the time! It was also difficult for me to make just 1 candle at a time. My small batches, in the beginning, consisted of 4, 6, or 12. The bigger the batches the more accurate you need to be.
One thing I did was pour the extra into a deli container that I could re-heat and use on the next batch especially if I had a significant amount. This was also what I used for pillar candles when I needed to make my second pour.
Pillar wax expands more than container wax and shrinks significantly more than container wax. This type requires a second pour. If you use the entire batch on your first pour, you have a problem. Pillar wax usually holds about 6% fragrance, so I multiply by 1.06. It can hold more.
If you are just starting out, I would start out using GB 464 or a softer 464 container wax. Generally, the softer the wax, the more fragrance it will absorb and the more forgiving it is. If you add too much fragrance, your candle could have a pool of fragrance around the top of the candle and possibly catch fire. It may also smother the wick and just not burn.
Not everyone wants to mix their candle at 10%. Divide the weight by 1.xx using your desired percentage.
- 6% would be 1.06
- 7% would be 1.07
- 8% would be 1.08
- 9% would be 1.09
- 10% would be 1.10
- 11% would be 1.11
- 12% would be 1.12
We will do another example calculating how much candle wax and fragrance you need for a 16-ounce mason jar
- Fill the jar with water to just below the threaded rim. Leave room at the top for the wick trimmed at ¼ inches.
- Pour the water into your measuring cup. Mine is measuring 14 fluid ounces.
- To end up with 14 fluid ounces multiply by .9, we need a 12.6-ounce mixture by weight.
- For this candle, we need about 12.6 ounces after it is mixed. GB 464 has a 10% fragrance load. I divide 12.6 by 1.10. This gives us 11.45 ounces of wax. Take the 12.6 ounces and subtract the 11.45 to 1.45 ounces of fragrance. This is our mixture.
Now that you are armed with this information you can easily calculate how many candles you will get from a 5-pound bag of wax. If we look at the chart above, we need 11.45 ounces per 16-ounce mason jar to make 1 candle. There are 16 ounces in a pound. So, 5 x 16 is 80 ounces total. 80 divided by is 6.9869 or rounded off to 7. Now you know that you can make (7) 16-ounce candles from a 5-pound bag of wax.
We also can now calculate how much fragrance we need to make those seven candles. 7 x 1.15 = 8.05 or we will need an 8- ounce bottle.
Here is your first standard batch that you have created! You can now take a 5- pound bag of GB 464 wax and heat to 185 in a presto pot. Turn it off. Add an entire 8-ounce bottle of fragrance oil and stir for a couple of minutes. Let cool to about 135 and pour into 7 mason jar candles with attached wicks.
Learning how to batch process speeds up your candle making and helps you to earn more money. This also creates a more consistent product.
There will be some variation as you develop your process, but you get the idea. Making candles one at a time creates more waste and more clean-up. Not knowing how much ingredients to add is a bigger waste and very frustrating. An inconsistent batch will also lead to inconsistent results. Sometimes issues pop up that never happened before if your measurements were off.
To make you candle catching go even more smoothly, set up a scale to weigh each candle as you pour. Hand pouring can also result in errors and unequal candles when you are done. When making larger batches this error can be huge at the end. If you have an order for 200 candles and come up short or overbuy it can be very stressful. To buy additional material to make a single candle to fill an order may not be within the budget. It will also cut into your profit as it becomes material you do not need.
How many candles can I make from a 45-pound case of wax? See if you can calculate how much candle wax and oil you need to make candles
6-ounce candle = my 6 oz tins hold about 5 fluid ounces. 4.09 wax by weight or about 176 candles
8-ounce candle = my jelly jars hold about 7 fluid ounces. 5.73 wax by weight or about 125 candles