Candle wax blends – Can you mix paraffin and soy wax?
You don’t have to use candle wax straight out of the box! Wax blends make better candles.
Mixing paraffin and soy candle wax produce a stable blend that is easier to work with. There are 6 primary types of waxes used in candle making. Each wax has a set of unique properties that when combined with another wax can create a candle wax blend that is smooth, creamy, and easy to work with.
Candlemakers often create their proprietary blends for the many uses of waxes. Most that make candles also make wax melts or tarts. It is chemistry, art, and imagination that make this craft so fun.
Before you can blend waxes it is important to have a general understanding of each wax. You need to know why you would want to blend waxes. It is also important to understand what the potential outcome will be or what your goal is.
Always consider candle recipes as a starting point for your experimentation. I keep a notebook and as you progress through candle making get to know the properties of each wax that is readily available to you.
First, understand the types of candles. The most popular are container, pillars, votive, tealight, taper, and then the specialty like carved, floating, or massage.
The type of candle you want to make dictates the attributes of the wax you need to use.
Second, understand the types of candle waxes. There are beeswax, paraffin, palm, bayberry, coconut, soy, and gel.
Third, understand the types of candle wax additives. There are stearine or stearic acid, vybar, plastics, and colorants.
Picking which candle wax to start with is determined by the type of candle you want to make.
Container candles are the most popular and are usually made with soy wax. This is the type of candle I make the most. When I first started making soy container candles, I did not know that soy wax could be so temperamental. That is when I learned to blend waxes.
Soy candle wax is a soft wax and used in containers. It does not always stick to the glass leaving wet spots or it frosts. It often gets craters and looks terrible on top.
I have done some troubleshooting in an article if you would like to stick to pure soy and read more on it here.
As long as you do not make the claim to “100% Soy”, adding around 10% paraffin wax to your soy wax relieves some of the issues. I have found that this blend can also give a little snap to wax melt bars if you are using soy tart wax.
Some candle makers add a tablespoon of coconut oil per pound to their soy wax and swear by it. I’ve never got it to work for me.
Pillar candles are made from harder waxes that can stand up on their own. The wax has a higher melting point.
Learn how to take care of candles so they last longer in this article ⇒ here
Some waxes like beeswax and bayberry are so hard that when making rolled candles they crack. This would be the only time I would add a softer wax for a tapered. Rolled pillars are made while the wax is still warm and pliable.
Pillar waxes are also poured at a hotter temperature, usually around 180 F. This is when the wax has expanded at its largest state. When it cools in its mold the wax shrinks collapsing in on itself. Pillar waxes need a second pour to fill in the void from shrinking.
Using paraffin candle wax and blending around 30% soy candle wax almost eliminates the need for a second pour and makes a beautiful pillar candle. This candle blend would be the closest to a pillar soy candle you can get.
With some experimentation with wick size and candle height, a paraffin soy blend could probably be taken further to get a higher ratio of soy.
Votive and Tealight candles can be made of any blend of candle wax. Votives are often meant to be burned inside a holder and tealights are min-container candles.
Carved candles need to be made from paraffin. The outside shell needs to be flexible so that the wax can be shaped. A pillar wax that has soy introduced is brittle. Carved candles often have cores. The candle core can be a blend.
Carved candles are works of art and are sometimes dipped in clear acrylic to preserve them. The colorant used is a pigment and not a dye. This blend helps stop the layers from bleeding into each other.
Blending candle wax is performed during the melting process. The candle wax should be heated to around 180 F and tempered for about 5 minutes.
There is no chemical reaction to the wax. The melting process allows the wax to mix and occupy the same space as a sponge that holds water. This is why some blends work better than others.
Candle wax blends within the same base are more stable. Candle waxes are either plant (vegetable) bases or petroleum bases.
Another type of wax blend we have not talked about is layering. Using different waxes within the same candle can create art pieces that are unique and fun. This is found often when making candles that look like food.
If you would like recipes for food-style candles, I have an article on getting started with the most popular ones here.
What is the best wax to start with? All about candle waxes
Beeswax – is a hard natural wax harvested and used in a candle line that would boast a natural product.
- It is a stable pillar wax.
- It is a deep yellow and does have a slight smokey scent naturally.
- It is often sold unscented or paired with fragrances like lavender.
- It can also be found as a refined product that has been deodorized and bleached.
- Beeswax has a glossy finish.
Paraffin is a hard petroleum-based candle wax and is most often used commercially for pillar candles.
- It has a glossy finish and is flexible when warm.
- There is a canning paraffin wax that is NOT meant for candles.
Palm wax is a hard palm oil pillar wax.
- It is very similar to paraffin but is the natural version of wax.
- It can also be used in container candles.
- It has a high melting point.
- This wax has a unique look to the finish.
- It has a crackle but glossy look.
Bayberry is a natural wax made from boiling bayberries and collecting the wax that rises to the top of the water.
- This is a traditional dipped candle from the colonial days.
- It is a hard sweet-smelling wax and used to make luxury candles.
- It is not readily available and gets skipped over.
- You can order it online and there are still some artisans that make this candle.
⇒ I have an affiliate link that does not cost you anything extra if you would like to try bayberry wax. Click here.
Coconut is a blend of coconut meat and other waxes.
- Most manufacturers will not tell you what that blend is but if they call it a para-coconut it most likely is paraffin.
- Not knowing the starting point of this blend when purchasing could create problems using this wax in a recipe between different manufactures.
Soy is a natural vegetable candle wax.
- This is the most popular and readily available.
- It is marketed in a pillar, tart, and container wax each having unique qualities and issues.
- Soy candle wax can be one of the most challenging to work with.
- If you are buying a pillar or tart soy wax, it is also a wax blend and the starting point of that blend is unknown.
- We are going to refer to soy candle wax in the 100% state to avoid confusion.
- The most popular is the Golden Wax 464.
- It is commonly used for container candles.
Soy wax can also be used for wax melts either from molds or plastic clamshell containers. Wax melts are made from soy tart wax.
Gel candle wax is not wax.
- It is a petroleum gel that is a resin. (95% mineral oil, 5% resin)
- It has a jelly-like consistency and is used because it is clear.
- It has a high melting point.
- This candle is usually decorative and made as a candle within a candle.
Understanding the properties of the different candle waxes helps us to understand the different types of candles and how the wax types relate.
Pillar waxes do not perform well in a container and container waxes do not hold up on their own. We can create mixes of these to get the best of the wax’s properties to resolve issues or to gain the benefits each has to offer.
Additionally, the ratio of blended waxes can be adjusted to capture a feature of a particular wax without losing the primary quality of the base wax.
The most common base candle waxes are paraffin and soy. It is also the most common wax sold as a mix and called parasoy. I buy this by the case pre-mixed.
You can mix paraffin with soy wax to make it harder, smoother, or to help retain the fragrance.
Make some test batches using a mix of 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, and so on.
Adding 10-20% paraffin candle wax to soy candle wax will make the wax harder and release better to make wax melt snap tarts. It also gives the wax a shinner finish. Testing is needed for this, so make sure to test your recipes.
Too much paraffin and the wax will be too hard to break apart for wax melts.
Adding paraffin to soy can also reduce the frosting and cratering or blooming associated. This can help to get a smoother top every time once you have found the perfect ratio to work with your soy blend.
You can mix beeswax with soy wax similar to blending paraffin. If you market your candles as an all-natural line, the beeswax will help you stabilize your soy wax without adding chemicals or petroleum products. Paraffin is not a natural product so this would be the route to go here.
You can add palm wax with soy wax similar to blending paraffin and beeswax. Palm wax is not as glossy and has crystalline properties as soy wax does but it is a harder wax.
This blend could produce a more matte creamier finish with the hardness you may be looking for. It is also a natural product and sustainable and that may be something to consider in your marketing.
Another benefit of adding a harder wax to soy wax is the wax’s ability to retain the fragrance load. In general, a harder wax cannot absorb as much fragrance oil so be careful to not overload your blend. However, a harder wax has a better hot throw because it has a slower rate at which it releases the fragrance load.
A soft wax holds more fragrance by weight but it also releases the fragrance load faster.
Some additives can change the properties of the candle wax to change the benefits without blending the wax types.
Additives can be introduced to candle waxes to manipulate their properties.
Stearic acid or vybar can be used to help with fragrance retention and to make the wax a little harder. Paraffin is flexible when it is warm. It is often added to paraffin to help release the candle from a mold.
I have never had an issue releasing from a mold but I have never rushed a process for production either. Commercially I could see rapid cooling and release from molds, but this is not for me. Alternatively, wipe the mold with vegetable oil using a paper towel and it releases fine.
However, if you are making hurricane candles this would be a great benefit. A hurricane candle is a paraffin candle on the outside and a soy candle on the inside. Adding the stearic acid to the paraffin would make it harder and help to hold up while the soy candle on the inside burns. This is a combination using both paraffin and soy wax without blending.
Now that you know how to make a candle wax harder, you can also make a candle wax softer.
Make a wax blend going the other way. Paraffin has a better hot throw but is a terrible container wax. It has to have a second pour and usually has a sinkhole.
We can mix 10-20% soy candle wax to our paraffin wax or beeswax to make it more suitable for a container but still have the hot throw of paraffin wax.
Again, testing is important here but you see where I am going with this? It is possible to create a container of candle wax that has the properties of a harder wax without the issues and vise versa.
One thing I have learned from harder waxes in a container candle is that they burn hotter and longer. The container should stay cooler than 175 F while burning and harder waxes can overheat in a container.
A container candle emits fragrance from the melted wax pool. A candle wax blend that expends the fragrance oil at a rate faster than the wax blend can evaporate leaves a candle that weakens over time as it is burned.
I have had some candles that burn for a long time but the fragrance fades. These are the candles that start out smelling good and then we wonder what happened after we burned them once or twice. This is a negative to adding too much hard wax to a container of candle wax for a blend.
Coconut wax and Apricot wax (new to the market) are good examples of a candle wax blend. If you take the time to research and develop your candle in the beginning (do not stop learning and testing) you will save a ton of time fixing candles that have issues. Make some candle recipes for yourself. You can mix soy wax with coconut wax.
Adding one tablespoon of coconut oil or vegetable oil per pound of soy wax helps to get smoother tops after you have poured.
Increasing this ratio of liquid oil to wax makes the candle wax extremely soft. This is how wickless candles, scoopable melts, and squeezable melts are made. These are not burned. The candle wax is blended with other oils and becomes a carrier oil for the fragrance oil. When heated they release the scent like a wax melt.
Massage candles are a balance of this. They still burn like a candle but the wax liquefies at a low temperature allowing the warm pool to be skin safe. Testing of course! They are often wax blends with hard kinds of butter like shea and cocoa.
Here is my candle recipe for massage candles that is a blend of waxes and additives if you would like to explore more on this type of candle ⇒ Click here
Beeswax is used in many formulas for chapsticks and lip balms but this wax blend is much softer than the candle.
Some additives are worth mentioning because trying to achieve something you see commercially is not always feasible as an artisan. Let me explain. I mentioned additives like plastic. That is the simplest name I can give you for the chemicals added to common soy waxes.
Some are marketed as soy wax but have chemicals added to make them suitable for tarts or clamshells. While there is nothing wrong with them, they are not pure soy.
You can buy “glossing crystals” and melt them down to be added to your candle wax. They have to be in a melted state and the cleanup is outside of what I normally do.
Candle wax blends introduce changes to your formulations for colorants as well. Liquid candle dyes work well with soy wax but not paraffin. The liquid will work but stir in while hot. When using paraffin, candle colorant chips work better.
Candle pigment or mica does not blend with either but is suspended. The pigment is used to dip different colored candles. Candle dye will bleed into another color over time. Using pigment (mica) in the core of a candle will clog the wick and will not burn properly.
Gel candle wax blends more easily with paraffin wax than it does with soy waxes. Gel wax has a high melting point at around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Paraffin melts at around 140 and soy at around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Paraffin does okay at temperatures this high but do be careful to not scorch soy. Because paraffin and gel are both petroleum bases I think they are a better match. These can be blended to make special effects such as opaque waxes you would see in food-style candles.
Creating Candle Recipes
A candle recipe always starts with the type of candle you wish to make. This is the base candle wax to use and should consist of at least 50% – 70% of your formula.
Almost any candle can be a container candle but a pillar candle needs to be at least 70% hard wax. The softer the wax the less it will hold its shape. A wax that does not come out of mold well is usually too soft, including wax melts. Wax melts or molded wax figures can be used to decorate candle cores.
You can blend multiple waxes. You can make soy container candles using 90% GB464, 10% paraffin, and add 1 tablespoon coconut oil per pound to make a candle. You can substitute beeswax for paraffin and it is an all-natural candle.
Blend a 50% paraffin with 50% soy to get a better hot throw and a more consistent texture when pouring. Try a 60 / 40 blend and maybe add coconut wax to reduce sinkholes.
All of these recipes will require testing with different wicks and fragrances. Image developing a method that no longer required reworking your candle tops with heat. How much time would you save? Can you make a better candle? Give it a try!
The best part is at this level of candle making, you are no longer a stock candle maker. You can be a higher-end candle business. A luxury blend candle is worth more and is fun.
How to make candle wax transparent for a hurricane candle
Some candle supply stores carry pure paraffin wax which is naturally opaque. It may be better known as IGA 1218 which is a little more opaque than IGI 1343. You will need to add what is called a paraflint or translucent crystals to the wax.
These clear crystals are sold at candlechem.com. Be sure to follow their instructions. Lone Star Candle Supply actually carries a hurricane wax blend that is made for you.
This type of wax blend will allow you to create a shell that allows light to pass through with some visibility of embeds as a shadow from the flame. The hurricane candle wall can be as thick as a half inch and still pass light.
This effect can also be used to make special embeds that need depth such as wax crystals or when making geode candles. The effect can appear glassy with color added and mimic gemstones well.
Gel wax can also be mixed with soy wax to change the opacity. Gel wax can also be mixed with paraffin wax.
These wax blends change the appearance to create different tones and color saturation that can’t be achieved with candle die alone.
Transparent wax such as gel wax can be layered within a candle to display embeds or create artistic effects you would see in natural objects such as stone.
Gel wax can be used as the outer shell of a candle with a candle vessel inside as a hurricane candle. Gel wax can be completely transparent or colored or mixed with other waxes.
Using a high-density gel wax is equivalent to a pillar wax and does not need to be made in a container. It does have limits for detailed shapes and is better suited for simple shapes. It can be a little jiggly.