Guest Author - Shanda Lynn Markham
Although there are many forms of pre-mixed wax available, many candle makers enjoy making their own “recipes”. Additives can create a softer or harder wax, increase how much fragrance oil a candle can hold, create or inhibit mottling and protect your candles from fading.
Stearic acid increases the opacity and hardness of a wax. It can brighten the color and is generally added to a low melting point wax. Using a low ratio of stearic acid can create a snowflake effect in your candles. It is not advised to be used with rubber or latex molds as over time it can eat into the mold.
UV Light Inhibitor
This additive is pretty self explanatory. It absorbs some of the UV light your candle is exposed to and helps prevent fading of the color.
Vybar 103 is often used in place of stearic acid. It is used in higher melting point waxes to enhance the color and scent throw of the candle. It hardens the wax and increases the opacity.
Vybar 260 is used in lower melting point waxes like container candles. It has the same benefits of Vybar 103.
Vybar 343 allows the mottled effect in your candles. Mottling can also be achieved by changing the pouring temperature of your candle. This can lead to uneven mottling though and Vybar 343 allows a more uniform effect.
Luster crystals increase the opacity of your candle and brighten the color. It adds a glossy sheer to the candle along with a longer burning life. A larger wick than normal is recommended for use when using these crystals. It hardens the wax and is best used for molded candles.
Using a high percentage ration of micro 180 will produce a smooth clean finish on your candles. This additive helps prevent oil migration and reduces brittleness in your candles. Using a lower percentage ratio in your wax will increase the opacity in votive and pillar waxes. Micro 180 increases the melting point of your wax. Hard Micro 180 will harden the wax, whereas Soft Micro 180 softens your wax and helps prevents wet spots and mottling.
EVA hardens and strengthens your wax and is not recommended for use in molded candles. This additive helps prevent mottling and is ideal for use in dipped tapers. It is important to note that this additive has a rubbery consistency and takes time to blend into your wax.
Universal Soy Additive
The additive is specifically for use in soy waxes. It increases the melting point of your wax and adds firmness to your soy candle. It also helps smooth the top of the candle and increases the scent throw of the candle.
Less Known Additives
Kenamide works as a release agent. Due to its transparent color it will not change the color of your candle.
Poly AC is another hardener and is similar to stearic acid
Chemosorb 81 will bring out the color of your color and allows less use of dyes
Paraflint hardens and clarifies the wax. It enhances a cleaner glow and is great for waxes used as a veneer.
Poly 400 is a UV inhibitor.
BHT Crystal gives your candle a nice luster and reduces the effects of oxygenation in your candle.
Mineral oil improves the adhesion of your wax and lowers its melting point.
Crisco reduces shrinkage of your wax is recommended for use in container candles.