Welcome to the wonderful world of gel wax! As you probably know, adding fragrance to your gel candles is a great way to make them more personal and special. Vanilla, lavender, citrus, cinnamon, pumpkin spice… the possibilities are endless! But when is the best time to add these scents?
Well, wonder no more, because we have the answer right here.
You should add fragrances to your gel candles once the gel has cooled down to around 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit (or 65-70 degrees Celsius) after being melted. If the gel is too cold, the fragrance will not blend well. If the gel is too hot, the fragrance you’re using can combust and catch fire.
However, it’s not just the temperature that decides whether your fragrance will be a success or not. Are your fragrances soluble in gel wax?
What is the flashpoint of your fragrance? In this post, we’ll take you through everything you need to know to about getting the perfect scent for your candles, every single time!
How to Add Fragrance to Gel Wax?
A lot of new candle makers are intimidated by the idea of adding fragrance to their gel candles. After all, a single mistake can ruin your whole batch! But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ll show you a step-by-step guide on how to add fragrance to gel wax, so you can get it right the first time itself.
Step 1: Cut Your Gel Wax and Melt It
First things first, you need to cut your gel wax into small pieces and melt it. We recommend doing this in a double boiler so that the wax melts evenly and doesn’t burn. Maintain a temperature of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
After a couple of minutes, your gel wax will be syrupy and completely melted. Take it off the heat at this point.
Step 2: Add in Your Dye
If you’re planning on coloring your gel candles, it is recommended to add the dye first before adding any scents. This is so that you can reheat the gel wax in case the color isn’t intense enough. To add the dye, simply stir it into the melted gel wax until you get your desired shade.
Step 3: Cool Down the Wax and Add the Scent
Now, it’s time to add the fragrance! But before you do that, you need to cool down the wax so that it is at a safe temperature. We recommend cooling it down to 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit. If your wax is cooler than that, gently heat it up till it reaches the desired temperature.
Add about 1/2 a teaspoon if you want a light scent, and increase the amount if you want a strong scent. Stir it well so that the fragrance is evenly distributed.
Step 4: Test the Scent
Now, it’s time for the all-important step of testing the scent! Take a small amount of gel wax and let it cool down till it solidifies. Once it’s solid, light it up and see how strong the scent is. If you want a stronger scent, simply reheat, add more fragrance, and repeat the process.
And there you have it! Beautifully scented gel candles that are sure to please. Now that was easy, wasn’t it?
How to Select the Right Fragrance for Gel Wax?
Whenever you’re selecting a fragrance for gel wax, there are four important things to consider – density, polarity, solubility, and flashpoint. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.
Gel wax comes in three different densities – low, medium, and high. Depending on the density, your gel candles will have different properties.
- Low Density Gel (CG-1): Holds the least amount of fragrance (only about 2%). However, it has the largest burning pool, which means your candles will last longer.
- Medium Density Gel (CG-2): Holds a moderate amount of fragrance (about 4%). It has a good burning pool and a good fragrance throw.
- High Density Gel (CG-3): Holds the most amount of fragrance (up to 6%). However, the burning radius will only be 2 inches even if you use the largest wick you have.
So, if you’re looking for a strong fragrance, go for high density gel. If you want a long-lasting candle, go for low density gel. And if you’re looking for a perfect balance, medium density gel is the way to go.
Polarity is a chemical property that determines how well two substances will mix. Polar substances will dissolve in polar solvents and non-polar substances will dissolve in non-polar solvents. However, polar and non-polar substances will not dissolve in each other.
For e.g., you might have noticed that oil and water don’t mix together. This is because water is polar and oil is non-polar. They effectively ‘repel’ each other.
When it comes to fragrances, you have to make sure that your fragrance is non-polar (you will often find it mentioned on the label). This is because gel wax is a non-polar substance and if your fragrance is polar, it will not mix well with the gel and can cause it to become cloudy.
The next thing you need to consider is solubility. This is basically how well your fragrance will dissolve in gel wax. Always, always check the solubility of your fragrance before adding it to gel wax. (This is very important! Because once you add the fragrance to your entire batch of gel wax, and you find that it’s not dissolving properly, there’s no way to fix it!)
Here’s how to check fragrance solubility:
- Mix one part fragrance with three parts mineral oil.
- Shake vigorously and then allow the mixture to settle for a couple of minutes.
- Check to see if the fragrance has completely dissolved in the mineral oil. If it has, then it is soluble in gel wax. If not, then it’s not soluble and you shouldn’t use it in your candles.
The flashpoint of a fragrance is the temperature at which it will ignite and start burning. Why is this important? Because if the flashpoint of your fragrance is too low, there’s a risk of your gel candle blowing up once it is lit.
The ideal flashpoint for any fragrance that you use for gel candles should be 170 degrees Fahrenheit or more. The higher the flashpoint, the better.
Some Tips to Get Stronger Fragrances for Your Candles
Now that you know how to select the best fragrances for your gel candles as well as how to add them, here are some tips to maximize the fragrance throw of your candles:
- Use the correct amount of fragrance for the wax that you’re using. For gel candles, the general rule of thumb is to add around 1/2 an ounce of fragrance oil per pound of wax.
- Always measure your fragrance oils using a scale. Don’t eyeball it because even a tiny bit too much or too little can make a big difference.
- Use high-quality fragrance oils. They might be more expensive but they will definitely give you a stronger scent throw.
- Stir well after adding the fragrance. This is so that it is evenly distributed throughout the gel wax. Even small pockets of poorly mixed fragrance oil can significantly weaken the fragrance of your candles.
- Allow your candles to cure for at least 3 days after adding the fragrance. This will give the fragrance time to properly bind with the gel wax and will result in a stronger scent throw.
- Wider candle diameter = Stronger fragrance. If you’re setting your candles up in a large space such as the living room or a hallway, choose wider candles so that you can fill up the whole space with your fragrance.
So, now that you know all about fragrance and gel wax, it’s time to put your knowledge into practice! Experiment with different fragrances until you find the perfect one for your candles.
We’re not going to lie, it’s going to take quite a bit of trial and error and you’re bound to go through a couple of batches of candles before you get it just right.
But trust us, it’ll be worth it in the end! And once you’ve got that perfect fragrance, your gel candles will be sure to impress everyone who comes across them.