How to Properly Color Candle Wax for Best Results
A candle that does not burn correctly is a lot of work to be disappointed in the end. For personal use, you may find things that work, but for selling candles, stick with the best manufacturing processes.
Only use approved candle colorant or candle dye. Some have had luck using crayons to color candle wax and it may be ok for making candles for yourself. Do not use unapproved colorants for candle wax if you plan to sell them. Some product lines of candles are left in their natural off-white color. You do not have to color candles.
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I will never intentionally give you bad advice and it would be wrong for me to instruct you to do anything that was wrong. I feel strongly about this because of the potential consequences of making candles improperly.
The wick for a candle needs to absorb the candle wax to stay burning. Anything added to the wax that clogs the wick will ruin your candle. Also, adding colorants like glitter can make the candle extremely flammable and will ruin your candle. DO NOT create a hazardous or toxic candle by adding something that does not belong.
Candle supply stores will only sell you candle wax dye or colorant that is approved. If it is not in your budget, leave them natural. You can successfully sell them without color. If you are using candle tins or decorative containers you do not need colorant. It is a personal choice.
I use liquid candle dye for soy wax such as GB464 or GB 416 and wax colorant chips for parasoy (pillar) and paraffin wax.
Liquid candle dye takes a little to go a long way and is easier to mix for custom colors. It is also cheaper. I pay about $5 for a 2-ounce bottle. The dye is used one drop at a time. Wax colorant chips are about $1 an ounce and are messy to use. It also takes more to color candle wax.
Liquid colorant for candles does not mix well (sometimes not at all) with pillar wax or paraffin. I buy the primary colors and mix my own. I also buy black and white.
Candle colorant wax chips mix well with all types of wax. I have had issues in the past with darker colors like brown interfering with the performance of the candle. It also takes more work to cut up the chunks. The wax chips need to be dissolved completely while the candle wax is still hot. I add the colorant and dissolve it before I add the fragrance. The smaller the wax chip, the faster it will dissolve. I grate mine with a paring knife.
If your artistic self is bursting to get out, this may be a workaround. Wax melts are meant to be used in a warmer illuminating the need for an open flame. Some warmers use a tealight under the wax pool so use caution here as well.
Because warmers do not use a wick, adding more decorative colorants can be a great way to be more creative. I still would not use crayons for wax melts because they can ruin the melting pot leaving a stain or residue. The same is true for food coloring or acrylic paint. What you can do is make your wax melts in small jars or tins and market them as wickless candles. I do not like the smell of crayons and would not want that order to compete with the fragrance oil.
As a candle maker, you should understand the fire risk and may choose to use wax melts that are a little risky. You must assume that a customer will use a wax warmer with a tea light (open flame). Always include a warning label with care instructions.
Some things can be used in wax melts that you would NEVER use in a candle. Something like dried flowers will not clog the wick, but they could be a fire hazard. Use your own judgment here. It is a pretty accent to what would be a plain look so use sparingly in a wax melt.
Using colorants like shimmering mica or fine glitter can give your wax melts a special touch. Personally, I have never had an issue with this type of colorant staining or bursting into flames.
If an additive for a candle or wax melt is flammable when it is on its own, it is flammable when added. That does not change. Embellishments do not increase the aroma of a candle or wax melt. “Burnt” smell is not what I want in my products.
Also, customers get annoyed when they have a mess to clean up. You want them to have a good experience.
In my experience owning a candle store, the plain wax melts that I sell as a small half-ounce puck sell the best.
Here is a quick chart of colorants to reference for candles and wax melts
|Liquid Candle Dye||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Candle Dye Wax Chips||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Crayons||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Food Coloring||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Food Gel Coloring||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Cosmetic Mica||Wax Melt Only|
|Spices||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Glitter||Wax Melt Only|
|Cake Decorations||Wax Melt Only|
|Sugar||Wax Melt Only|
|Vanilla Extract||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Acrylic Paint||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Water-Color Paint||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Titanium Dioxide||Wax Melt Only|
|Dried Flowers or Herbs||Wax Melt Only|
|Rocks or Crystals||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Food or Candy||Candle, Wax Melt|
|Sea Glass||Candle, Wax Melt|
Wax Melt Only
*For reference only
Another way to add color to candles or wax melts is marbling. Try adding a drop of candle dye to the top of a candle and let it naturally disperse through the wax. This is easiest to see when it is close to the edge of a glass jar (vessel). Try mixing 2 different colors and pouring them together in your candle or wax melt mold.
Candles can also be made with different layers of color. Turn the vessel on an angle to get different layering effects.
Soy wax has a natural off-white color and that creates the base of your candle color. Some fragrances have an amber tint changing the soy wax color when added. Paraffin wax has a brighter whiter color. The gel is clear and the colorant often looks transparent when added. Gel wax is harder to get a solid color because you are starting with clear.
Black candle dye added to any color changes to hue to a muted tone. I do this to get “farmhouse” colors. On its own, adding black colorant to a soy candle often results in a grey color. The liquid candle dye I buy from greatcandle.com results in black color.
White candle dye added to any color changes the hue to a pastel color. I use 1 drop of red in a 2-pound batch to get pink. I have not found a white candle dye that works well. Soy wax naturally lightens the color because it’s white to start with.
Gel wax is great to create candle scenes because it is clear and with just a drop of blue liquid candle dye looks like water.
Mix colors together. Red and blue make purple. Change it to burgundy by adding 3 drops of red to 1 drop of blue.
I test the color of my candle wax by putting a drop on white paper letting it cool quickly. Take the time to write down how much you use in drops or grams for the candle wax dye chip.
I keep records of what color I use and how much for each candle fragrance. People complained when my Dragon’s Blood Candles were not red enough. I made a batch of rose candles in several colors including green. The green candles never sold.
One thing I did forget to mention is that if you are making candles for yourself, you can use other candles to color other candles. This just is not cost-effective to make candles this way to sell.