Do you love dining in candlelight? Or is candlemaking a hobby that you simply can’t get enough off? Whatever may be the case, there is so much more to candles than meets the eye.
Did you know, for example, that depending on the type of candle you have it may have a different melting point and thus might burn differently than others? Yes! Unlike popular belief, all candles are not made equal.
Gel candles do melt. Much like any other candle. However, gel candles have a much higher melting point – 82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit) as compared to traditional paraffin wax candles. This allows them to burn at least twice as long. They also ‘melt’ differently than other typical waxes. While other waxes liquefy, gel simply ‘thins’.
Are you still unsatisfied and yearning to learn more? Well, you have come to the right place. Gel candles have in many ways revolutionized traditional candle making.
They are easy to make, last longer, and can be customized in many ways. But before we dive into that let’s first take a look at the melting points of different types of candle waxes.
Melting Points Of Candle Wax
What temperature does candle wax melt? Well, that depends on the type of wax your candle is made of. To make life easier for everyone, we have compiled a table that highlights the melting points of the most common candle waxes. This table will certainly come in handy if you are planning on making candles at home.
|Type Of Wax||Melting Point (Celcius)||Melting Point (Fahrenheit)||Add Fragrance Oil At||Pouring Temperature||Cure Period|
|Paraffin Wax||46 – 61 ℃||115 – 142 ℉||180-185 ℉||170-180 ℉||1-2 days|
|Gel Wax||82 ℃||180 ℉||220-225 ℉||185-200 ℉||1-2 days|
|Beeswax||62 – 65 ℃||144 – 149 ℉||160-165 ℉||140-150 ℉||2 days|
|Soy Wax||45 – 53 ℃||113-127 ℉||180-185 ℉||120-140 ℉||3-14 days|
|Parasoy||56 ℃||133 ℉||180-185 ℉||160-180 ℉||3-5 days|
|Coconut Blend Wax||51- 53 ℃||124-127℉||130 ℉||110-130 ℉||1-2 days|
|Palm Wax||82 ℃||180 ℉||190-210 ℉||185-195+ ℉||1-2 days|
Looking at the table we can clearly see that gel wax and palm wax have the highest melting points at 82 ℃ (180 ℉). Whereas, paraffin and soy wax has the lowest melting points.
Gel wax may require the highest temperatures in the candle-making process but it is one of the most gratifying materials to create and build with.
One can add liquid dye, high flash point fragrances, embedded flame-resistant items, and even wax-made displays using gel wax to make epic one-of-a-kind candles. The possibilities are endless!
What Happens To The Gel In A Gel Candle After Burning?
Ever wondered about where a candle goes when it’s burnt? Well, most of it goes up in the air. When you light the wick of a candle the flame causes the gel or wax to start melting. As the gel burns, it produces the majority of the heat and light by flowing up the wick and evaporating.
The puddles of wax that are formed when burning traditional candles is just wax that has spilled away and dripped down without completely burning.
Gel candles are stored in containers so you don’t really see them melting away. The gel just gets thinner and gooier than normal whilst most of it evaporates into the air. Be it at a slower rate than traditional candles.
The Unique Attributes Of Gel Candles
Gel candles are made from 95% mineral oil and 5% powdered polymer resin. When mixed together they form a rubbery and clear mixture (much like Jell-O) called gel wax. It is the addition of the polymer resin that gives gel wax its semi-solid nature and transparent finish.
Types Of Candle Gel
There are three types of candle gel; LP (low-density polymer), MP (medium-density polymer), and HP (high-density polymer). The higher the density of the gel the more fragrance it can hold and the longer it will take for it to melt.
HP gel is also needed if you are planning on creating candles that contain glitter or other non-flammable embellishments.
Melting Point & Flash Point
The melting point of HP is approx. 275 ℉ with a flashpoint temperature of 440 ℉. Flashpoint is the temperature at which the gel will catch fire or burst into flames. Always remember, the higher the density of the gel the higher its melting point.
Gel has the highest melting point as compared to any other type of candle wax allowing it to burn brighter for much longer.
Perhaps the best thing about gel candles are the countless embellishments one can use to customize the candle to their own personal taste.
Just make sure the items you choose are non-flammable and are used for decorative purposes only. Embellishments such as seashells, ceramic, stones, glass marbles, metal, and wax are all fair game. However, stay away from using organic or plastic items at all costs.
The same is the case when it comes to fragrances. It is absolutely necessary to only use non-polar fragrance oils that have a flashpoint of 170 ℉ or higher.
Under no circumstance should you use paraffin wax scents or any type of essential oil. Adding these polar fragrances will cause your gel candle to catch fire or worse explode.
Gel Candle Safety Tips
They are certain things everyone should be aware of when using or making gel candles. After all, all candles have a naked flame that is dangerous and requires caution and care when in use.
- Never move or touch a gel candle whilst it’s hot or still burning
- Always close the lid on your gel candle in between uses to prevent dust from collecting
- Never leave a burning gel candle unattended
- Always keep the candle well away from anything flammable, as well as, kids and pets
- Refrain from burning a gel candle for long periods of time. Excessive build-up of heat can in rare cases cause the container the gel is housed in to explode.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1) Do gel candles explode?
Gel candles can indeed explode but not because of the gel or other chemical nuances. The culprit in such incidents is always the container in which the gel is stored.
Gel candles are normally housed in glass containers. If the glass is too thin and if the candle is left burning for too long the build of heat can cause the glass to expand and in turn explode or shatter.
A gel candle can also explode if you use a polar fragrance with a flash point of less than 170 ℉.
Q2) Are gel candles toxic?
There is no evidence suggesting that gel candles are dangerous as far as toxicity is concerned. Although the gel is made from a by-product of crude oil refinement, studies show that scented gel candles pose no threat to the consumer and release no harmful toxins when burning.
Q3) Are Gel Candles Better Than Wax Candles?
Gel candles have two major advantages over wax candles. The first advantage is the fact that they have a much higher melting point meaning that they have the potential to last for twice as long as compared to wax candles.
The other major advantage of gel candles is the fact that the gel is transparent and reflects light better than paraffin wax. As a result, gel candles seem to burn brighter than traditional wax candles. So, yes, gel candles would be considered better than wax candles.
Gel candles melt just like any other wax candle. The melting process is just slightly different as a result of the difference in materials. Even though gel doesn’t exactly liquefy it can still be extremely hot and should not to be touched under any circumstance.
Always take necessary precautions when dealing with a naked flame. Remember, safety always comes first!