In the candlemaking world, there is a lot of debate on how much scent to add to paraffin candles. Some people measure the volume of their candles and compare to the volume of their scent.
Others use weight. Still others use percentage of wax volume. You will find everyone has their favorite way of doing it, but they are all wrong.
Anyone who uses any of the method is wrong; the correct way to add scent to paraffin candles is by mass. Paraffin votive and pillar waxes will usually hold a maximum of 1 ounce per pound, and single-pour paraffin container waxes can usually hold as much as 1.5 ounces of fragrance per pound. For soy candles, the amount will vary between 1 – 2 ounces of fragrance per pound of wax.
So, you have decided to scent your candles at 10% to reinforce your marketing messages about the strength and quality of your products.
This should ensure your candles deliver excellent hot and cold scent throw and leave your customers delighted.
Now comes time to fill your candles and you realise you have a small problem. 10% of what?
This article aims to demystify this question and help you make a decision on how to work out the correct amount of wax and oil for your candles.
Below, we define two different methods for describing oil content. Please note that these are not interchangeable; i.e. they mean different things.
We recommend you watch the video and play around with the calculators until you understand the differences. Then, choose one method and stick with it.
The ratio of oil to wax. A scent load of 10% means that you add 10% of the wax mass as oil.
So, to 100g of wax, you would add 10g of oil. Fragrance/Scent Load does not refer to the percentage of oil in the candle as a whole.
Fragrance/Scent Load is used in candle wax Technical Data Sheets (TDS) to describe the maximum amount of oil a wax can be ‘loaded’ with, before syneresis (fragrance bleed) occurs.
The proportion of oil in the candle mixture. A fragrance content of 10% would mean that a 100g candle contained 10g of oil.
How much drops of fragrance oil can be used in a candle?
In respect to this, what happens if you put too much fragrance oil in a candle?
Adding too much fragrance oil can lead to impaired burning characteristics. Temperature at Which the Fragrance Was Added – Adding fragrance oil add too high of a temperature may cause it to dissipate, or burn off, in the melted wax.
Too small of a wick will create a small burn pool, which will lead to poor scent throw.
Secondly, how much fragrance oil do you put in wax melts? A common amount to use is 6% or 1oz per pound of wax.
This can be adjusted up or down depending on the type of wax you’re using and personal preference. The maximum amount of fragrance oil recommended is listed in the Properties section of each type of wax.
Also question is, how much essential oil do you put in a candle?
Depending on how strong your oil is, you can use up to one ounce of essential oil (about 1.5 teaspoons) per pound of wax.
However, pure essential oils offer a stronger scent than synthetic fragrance oils, it’s best to start off with 1/4 to 1/2 ounce per pound of soy wax.
How much scent do you add to candles?
1 oz (by weight) fragrance oil to 1 pound (16 oz also by weight) is the most common rule of thumb for our fragrance oils in soy wax.
The wax, when brought to the proper temperature, will hold 10% fragrance load, but you will run into more wicking issues if you go over 7%.
Do’s And Don’ts in Candle-Making
- Add your fragrance at the right temp: Adding your fragrance oil when your wax is at the proper temperature will help it bind to the wax, which will help give you a stronger scent throw.
It is usually recommended to add your fragrance to the wax at 180-185F for soy and paraffin wax 200-205F for palm wax.
- Stir consistently for at least 3-5 minutes: This is also very important. Stirring for a short amount of time can keep your fragrance oil from binding to the wax.
This can cause the oil to settle to the bottom of the wax which can also result in a weak scent throw.
- Trim your wick: Not trimming your wick can result in smoke, soot, mushrooming, and can cause a large flame.
It’s important to keep your wick trimmed so your candle burns properly, and for your safety.
It is recommended to trim wicks for paraffin candles down to 1/4th of an inch, 1/8th for soy candles, and just above 1/4th for our wood wicks in any application.
- Preheat your containers: Preheating your containers will help slow down the cooling process & helps prevent the wax from shrinking and pulling away from the container, developing wet spots.
- Use a thermometer: You always want to monitor your temperature throughout the whole candle making process.
Doing so will prevent you from scorching the wax and it will ensure that you are adding fragrance and pouring the wax at the recommended temperatures.
- Use the right size and type of wick: Using a wick that is too small for your container can result in the wax not burning across the full diameter of your candle, and it can affect your scent throw.
You’ll also want to make sure you are using the right type of wick for your wax.
Zinc core wicks, for example, don’t always perform well in natural waxes like soy because they do not usually get hot enough to burn the wax properly.
- TEST, TEST, TEST!: A common mistake that many first-time candle makers make is mass producing their candles before they do a test burn.
There are many different variables that can affect the way your candle burns and it is always a good idea to test everything together to make sure it burns properly and gives
- Use crayons to dye your candles: Crayon wax is not meant to be burned like candle wax. Using crayons can clog your wick which can cause the candle to burn poorly.
Crayons can also affect your scent throw and possibly give off a bad smell. (ever smelled a crayon?) Always use dyes that are made for candles to ensure that you are creating a quality candle that will burn well.
Use candle dyes in either a liquid or block form which both work great in all different types of waxes!
- Melt your wax in the microwave: When melting your wax in the microwave, you will not be able to monitor the temperature of the wax. It may not melt evenly and you risk scorching your wax in certain areas (called hot spots). Scorched wax can result in a very unappealing odor similar to burned popcorn (yuck).
- Use perfume in place of fragrance oils: Just like crayons, perfume is NOT meant to burn. It will not throw well and it could clog your wick.
Always use fragrance oils that are designed for candle making. We have nearly 400 fragrances to choose from and we are adding more each year!
- Burn your candle for more than 3-4 hours: After burning your candle 3-4 hours, your wick will need to be trimmed.
Continuing to burn the candle after that amount of time can result in lots of smoke, soot, and mushrooming on the end of the wick.
This can cause your hot throw to be masked by that smoky smell and could be a fire hazard if your flame gets too big!
- Put your candle in the refrigerator: While you will be anxious for your candle to set up completely, putting your candle in the refrigerator will speed up the cooling process but can “hurt” your candle in a few different ways.
It can cause the glass to crack or shatter, make the wax shrink up and create wet spots or sink holes, and even weaken the scent throw.
Try to let your candle cool down as slowly as possible to avoid all of these potential problems.
(The only time we would recommend putting your candles in the fridge is if you are making a pillar or votive candle and need help getting it out of the mold. Even then, we only recommend leaving the candles in the fridge for about 5-10 minutes MAX.)
- Add too much fragrance: Using more fragrance oil does not always guarantee a stronger scent throw.
Each wax has a recommended fragrance oil load and going beyond that limit can cause the fragrance oil to separate from the wax which could be a potential fire hazard (not to mention the ugly “gooey” spots it can create).
Too much fragrance can also cause the wick to clog which will make your candle have a weak scent throw.
You can find the recommended fragrance oil load for the wax you are using by looking in the description box of each wax on their respective product pages.