Gel candles are one of the most popular candle types on the market. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including pillars, votives, hurricanes, lanterns, and more. Before making (or buying) your next set of gel candles, there’s something very important that you need to keep in mind.
The type of wax, of course! It’s important to know which kind of wax is best for gel candles so that you can get the most out of your investment.
For gel candles, you should always use a special type of wax called ‘gel wax’. Gel wax is created using a mixture of 5% polymer resins and 95% mineral oils, which gives it a jelly-like consistency. This unique combination is also what gives gel candles their signature translucent look. Gel wax burns slower and at a lower temperature than other types of waxes such as paraffin or soy.
There are a lot of unique benefits that come with using gel wax for your candles. In this post, we’ll explore some of the most important ones so that you have a fair idea about how gel wax works, what its features are, and how it’s different from other types of wax.
What Exactly Is Gel Wax?
As we’ve already established, gel wax is a type of wax that’s made from a combination of mineral oils and polymer resins. The major component in gel wax is mineral oil (around 95%), but unfortunately, it’s too loose to be used as a stand-alone wax. That’s where polymer resins come in – they help to thicken the gel and give it some structure.
Did you know? – The patent for gel wax and its manufacturing process is owned by a company called Penreco. They have trademarked this wax under the name ‘Versagel’. This means that if you’re purchasing gel wax for candle making, there’s a high chance that you’re buying Penreco waxes!
4 Features of Gel Wax That Makes Them Perfect for Gel Candles
Now that we know a little bit more about gel wax, let’s explore some of its most noteworthy features:
1) High Melting Point
One of the most notable features of gel wax is its high melting point. In fact, it has one of the highest melting points out of all the different types of candle waxes available on the market today. Just take a look at the graph below.
As you can clearly see, the melting point of gel wax is far higher than that of other types of waxes, such as paraffin or soy.
2) Longer Burn Time
Another great feature of gel wax is its longer burn time compared to most waxes, and this is an extension of the fact that gel candles have a higher melting point. If you burn two candles at the same time, one paraffin and one gel, the gel candle will melt at a slower rate and therefore last longer.
This is great news for anyone who loves candles but hates having to constantly replace them! With gel candles, you can enjoy the relaxing ambiance of a burning candle without having to worry about it melting away too quickly.
3) Translucent Appearance
One of the most distinctive features of gel candles is that they’re translucent. This is caused by the refraction of light through the tiny beads of mineral oil that make up the gel wax.
All gel candles that you create using gel wax will allow light to pass through them, creating a beautiful, unique effect. As such, you can decorate gel candles with objects such as shells, sand, stones, glitter, marbles, or even flowers which is not possible for other waxes.
Another advantage of this translucence is that gel candles shine brighter than other candles. This is because the light is not being scattered in all directions like it is with opaque waxes – instead, it’s being focused and directed through the gel.
4) Easy to Work With
Gel wax is perhaps the most forgiving type of wax to work with. If you’ve made mistakes in how you’ve poured or handled your gel candles, don’t worry – they’re very easy to fix.
All you need to do is reheat the wax and then pour it back into the mold or jar. You can even add extra decoration or re-scent it at this stage if you want! This is much harder to do with other types of waxes such as soy or beeswax.
Note – Although gel candles are easier to work with, you still need to be very careful with how you handle them. Do not place it on its side or keep it upside down, as this can cause the gel to pour out. You should also not touch or move the gel immediately after it’s been heated since it will be extremely hot.
Can I Make My Own Gel Wax for Candles?
According to U.S. Patent No. 5,879,694, the Penreco company owns all the rights to the gel wax formula and its manufacturing process. However, you can still go ahead and make your own gel wax for personal use, as long as you do not commercially sell any candles made from it.
All things considered, we do not recommend that you try to make your own gel wax since it’s a complex process that requires special equipment and knowledge. For making gel wax, Penreco uses a very specific mineral oil that has been extensively researched and lab tested for safety and quality.
When you purchase mineral oils from a store, you can’t be sure that it’s the same type of oil used in gel wax or even if it’s safe to use. So, unless you’re an experienced chemist, it’s best not to risk it and instead just buy gel wax from a candle supply store.
Frequently Asked Questions
Let’s take a look at some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about gel wax and gel candles.
Q1. Can I mix different types of wax together?
Yes, you can mix different types of wax together if you want to adjust the opacity or scent-throw of your gel candles. For example, if you want to make a more opaque candle with a larger scent throw, you can mix in some paraffin wax. Just make sure you follow the instructions properly.
Q2. Is gel wax safe to use?
Yes, gel wax is safe to use as long as you follow the guidelines on how to handle it and don’t overheat it. Gel candles also don’t produce any soot or smoke when burned, making them a much healthier option than other types of candles.
Q3. At what temperature should you pour gel wax to make candles?
Ideally, your gel wax should be between 185-200 degrees Fahrenheit when you pour it into the mold or jar. Any lower than this and you risk getting bubbles in your candles, and any higher than this and the gel wax might become too hot and break the container.
Gel wax is an amazing material that can be used to create absolutely stunning candles that’ll last for a long, long time. If you’re interested in making your own gel candles, then make sure you buy the right supplies and follow the instructions carefully. And always remember – safety first!
Now that you know everything there is to know about gel wax and gel candles, it’s time to get creative and start making your own! We hope you enjoy this fun and rewarding activity. Thanks for reading!