Whether you love buying decorative candles or making them yourselves at home, knowing
and learning about the dos and don’ts of candle making is essential either way. Did you know, for example, that different types of candle waxes have different ‘curing’ or setting periods? Yes, and that’s just the start of it.
Expert candle makers suggest a period of at least 24 to 48 hours for paraffin wax to set. Paraffin wax should reach its full hardness level within a day or two of pouring. In almost every instance, it is better to opt for long cure times as opposed to shorter cure times for improved candle safety.
Why is it important to ensure that paraffin wax is well set before burning? What can be the dangers associated with burning paraffin wax before it is set? For the answers to these questions and a lot more you have come to the right place.
Every stage of the candle-making process is important and the cure period (the time it takes wax to set) is no different.
The period of time between when paraffin wax is poured out (in its melted state) to the time it is burnt for the first time (in its hardened state) is referred to as the cure period.
Now, this may seem pretty straightforward, but finding the optimal cure time for paraffin wax to set is still widely debated by experts. The main reason for these debates is other factors that can have an impact on cure time.
Factors such as the type of wax, fragrance oil, or wick used can all have a direct impact on the cure time needed for a candle to be deemed “ready” for use.
Differences in the pouring temperatures of the wax, embellishments used, and the temperature at which fragrance oil was added to the wax can also impact the time required for the wax to be fully set.
So, why is it important to get the cure time right? Getting the cure time right will allow your paraffin wax candle to harden and set in a semi-solid state. The right type of fragrance oils added at the right temperature and mixed in well with the wax will also start to bind; trapping oil molecules in the wax as it hardens and cools.
If the curing process is done correctly the wax will be hardened to a semi-solid state with fragrance oil dispersed evenly throughout the blend. This would result in an even burn and long-lasting aroma.
If you are someone that is just starting out and learning the ropes of candle making we have compiled a table to help you along. Take note, that the pouring temperature is just as important as the curing period. Not pouring the wax out at the right temperature can gravely impact cure time and result in an unsafe candle.
|Type Of Wax||Pouring Temperature||Suggested Cure Period|
|Paraffin Wax||170-180 ℉ (76-82 ℃)||2-5 Days|
|Gel Wax||185-200 ℉ (85-93 ℃)||2-3 Days|
|Beeswax||140-150 ℉ (60-65 ℃)||5-7 Days|
|Soy Wax||120-140 ℉ (49-60 ℃)||7-14 Days|
|Parasoy||160-180 ℉ (71-82 ℃)||5-10 Days|
|Coconut Blend Wax||110-130 ℉ (43-54 ℃)||7-14 Days|
|Palm Wax||185-195+ ℉ (85-90+ ℃)||7-10 Days|
The suggested cure times mentioned are to be on the safe side and are a guide for beginners. If you are an experienced candle maker and know how to tell when wax is firmly set you can opt for shorter cure times (at your own discretion) to speed up the process.
Not waiting long enough before burning a candle may lead to misleading results. The wick used, for example, may produce enough heat to melt the wax early on. However, given a few days, the wick may no longer be effective as the now hardened wax would require more heat to melt.
Harder wax would require larger wicks to generate enough heat. It is always best to do a wick test at least 3 days after pouring out paraffin wax.
That’s not all. If you don’t cure paraffin wax for long enough there are chances that the fragrance oil doesn’t fully bind into the wax. This can create pockets of fragrance oil within the wax that can cause the candle to flare up and burn unevenly.
Candles that have not been properly cured are not considered shelf-safe or sellable. They have a high risk of sweating fragrance which can be a potential fire hazard.
It is always best to do a test burn before committing to producing a mass batch of candles. A test burn will tell you everything you need to know about the candle you intend to make. Whether it burns properly, has an adequate scent throw, or has the right type of wick?
All of these questions can be answered by simply making one candle and testing it before producing an entire batch.
The ‘first burn’ of a candle is when you light it up for the first time and leave it lit for at least a period of 2-3 hours or until a full wax pool has formed on top of the candle. By doing this on every candle you own you will never face the problem of ‘candle tunneling’.
The term refers to instances where the wax only melts directly under the flame with the heat not strong enough to melt the edges.
By doing a ‘first burn’ the candle will provide a long even burn throughout no matter how many times you re-use it. This is a neat trick for all you candle lovers that didn’t know!
Always store your candles in cool dry places. The basement and panty, for example, are some of the areas around the house that would provide ideal space for storage. Paraffin wax can begin to soften in temperatures exceeding 25 ℃.
Thus, avoid storing or placing candles in direct sunlight for extended periods of time or in the more heated areas around the house. This can cause the wax to melt or soften making the candles unsafe for use.
Paraffin wax is one of the most common types of wax used in candle making. Like most waxes, it is produced as a by-product of petroleum refinement. Fully-refined paraffin wax is odorless, non-toxic, waterproof, and has long burning. It is a safe and dependable long-burning fuel.
Paraffin wax also has properties that allow it to blend in with fragrance oils and dyes to produce wonderful candle creations. The fact that it is cheap, readily available, versatile, and safe make it an excellent choice for candle-making beginners and experts alike.
As a rule of thumb, it is always best to be on the higher end of cure periods rather than the low end. All of us want our candles cured quickly so we can finally test them and enjoy our creations. However, being impatient doesn’t help and can in fact be dangerous.
Give paraffin wax the time it needs to set after pouring and make sure you conduct tests to ensure the candle is safe for use. Let us know how your candles turned out and whether this guide helped you get those results!