Introduction to melting candle wax
For hobby and professional candle makers, learning the different methods and processes is step one in creating quality candles. Luckily, these days you can practically find all the information on the internet, so you don’t have to start learning by doing. Among the most basic knowledge, there is information about the right candle wax types, the differences between essential and fragrance oils and detailed descriptions of certain processes. In this article we are going to cover the basics of how to melt wax for candles. As there are more than one way to do it, getting to know the different methods is essential. Let’s see together how to melt candle wax.
Below is an overview of the methods you can apply in order to melt wax for your candle making:
- Double Boiler Method: This is the most common method used for melting wax. Simply fill a pot with water and place a heat-resistant container with the wax on top. Heat on medium heat until fully melted.
- Microwave Method: Place the wax in a heat-resistant container and microwave in short intervals, stirring between each interval, until fully melted.
- Slow Cooker Method: Place the wax in a slow cooker on low heat and let it melt completely.
- Hot Plate Method: Place a heat-resistant container with the wax on a hot plate and heat on low until fully melted.
- Direct Heat Method: Place the wax in a heat-resistant container and place it directly on a low flame until fully melted. This method should be used with caution as it is the least safe option.
But we will break it down into more detail later on.
Regardless of the method you choose, always make sure to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the wax and never leave it unattended.
Let’s start with gathering everything you will need for melting wax. Generally speaking, you will need some sort of a pot in which you melt the wax. It can be a simple pan, a heat resistant glass bowl or a smaller pot.
Furthermore, a good quality thermometer is also essential. It is crucial to check the temperature of your wax as it will determine the quality of your candles greatly. Without a reliable thermometer, you won’t be able to determine when to add your essential or fragrance oil and when to remove your wax melt from the heat. These mistakes can easily worsen your chances of getting a good quality candle as a result.
Apart from temperature, the quantity of your wax is also crucial in order to end up with great candles. Not only it is important for the candle quality itself, but also in order to measure the right amount of essential or fragrance oil. For that, you will need a good scale and a measuring cup.
These are all essential equipment, regardless of what method you choose for melting the wax. As the whole process is based on how good equipment you use and how well you follow the processes, it is worth paying attention to the details, as well as investing in your equipment if needed.
After having all the necessary tools and ingredients, we can get down to the different methods of melting candle wax. When it comes to choosing among the options, you can always go with your own needs and preferences. As long as you know the pros and cons of each method, it will be easy to choose the best one for yourself. But for that, you really need to know the details of all the possibilities. So let’s see which options you can choose from and what you need to know of each method.
To begin with, the most popular method would definitely be the double boiler. A double boiler is a specific kitchen tool, which not every household has. It is basically a bigger pan with two separate compartments on top of each other. The one below needs to be filled with water, while the one above is for the wax. After you filled both parts of the double boiler, you simply have to place it on the stove and start heating it. As the water starts to boil, the steam will start to melt the wax above. You will simply have to keep an eye on your wax and check the temperature regularly with your thermometer.
The pros of this method are that it is easy and convenient way of melting wax. Also, you don’t need separate pans and pots, just one really useful piece of equipment, the double boiler. The only drawback is that in case you don’t have a double boiler, it might be a bit more expensive to get one. As it is not sure whether you will be able to use it for anything else apart from candle making, not everyone likes getting one just for this one task. So if this is your case as well, just jump to method number two, where we will cover that option as well.
Oven or stove top
This method is for those who would like to try the double boiler method, but don’t have one at home. In this case, you still don’t have to worry. As long as you have more pans and pots in different sizes, you’re good to go. In this case, you will need two pans, a bigger one and a smaller one. You have to fill the bigger one around halfway with water and start heating it on the stove top. You have to add your wax in the smaller one and place it either on top of the bigger one or simply inside it. This way, when the water starts to boil, it will melt the wax. With this option, you can basically use the double boiler method without having to buy a double boiler for it. Of course, if you are a professional candle maker, good quality equipment is really important – so it might be worth investing in a double boiler.
The other option in connection with the oven would be to actually heat up the wax in the oven. For that, you will need a non-stick pan or glass bowl. You can fill that up with your wax and then start melting it in the oven. Make sure to do it at a lower temperature in order to avoid burning it and as with all the other methods, check the temperature regularly.
The next possible option for you is to use your microwave. In this case, you should simply fill a heatproof bowl (possibly made of glass or ceramic) with your chosen candle wax. You can start with one minute on middle temperature, after which you’ll have to check the temperature of the wax.
The biggest advantage of this method is that it is really quick, so you don’t have to wait longer to melt the wax. This way, you can prepare and melt your wax in a more convenient way. However, the biggest disadvantage is also important: unlike using a double boiler, with the microwave method, you don’t have the chance to constantly check the temperature of your wax. So, in order to be safe, you will have to frequently stop the microwave and check the state and temperature of the wax. This can be a hassle for some, but still worth it for others.
To begin with this method, it is required to know what a wax melter actually is. A wax melter is an equipment specifically designed for candle making. It is basically a bigger pot with a tap on the bottom side of it. The machine will start melting your wax, and the completely melted wax will flow out through the mentioned tap.
As you see, this is a really convenient option, but as you might guess, most people don’t keep wax melters at home. It is safe to say that generally only professional candle makers have this handy tool at home, so don’t stress if you happen to live without one. However, it is useful to know that such equipment can actually be found. An electric wax melter can make your candle making processes a lot more efficient, so it might be a good investment in the long run. The reason for that is that they usually have bigger capacity, so you can melt up to 5 litres with the right type. Obviously, this also means that this method is mostly for people who plan on making candles in bigger batches. Of course, you can use the wax melter with smaller amounts, it just might not be worth the investment of actually purchasing one.
This is my review of for a presto pot wax melter, I used it most days for smaller batches of candles.
Quick and Even Melting: Users have praised this Presto Pot wax melter for its ability to melt wax quickly and evenly, offering a significant improvement over traditional methods like using a saucepan.
Ease of Use: Assembling and operating the wax melter is reported to be straightforward and user-friendly, requiring minimal setup time (approximately 10-15 minutes).
Efficient and Professional Results: Customers appreciate the efficiency of this wax melter, which can melt a substantial amount of wax in a short time, making it suitable for those looking to produce candles professionally.
Built-in Tap: The built-in tap for dispensing melted wax into containers or molds is noted for working well and creating minimal mess during the pouring process.
Soy Wax Heating: Some users specifically mention that the wax melter effectively heats up soy wax, which is commonly used in candle making.
UK Plug: The product comes with a UK plug, making it suitable for use in the United Kingdom without the need for adapters.
Inaccurate Temperature Gauge: Several users have reported that the temperature gauge on the wax melter is not accurate. They suggest that a digital thermometer is still needed to obtain precise temperature readings, which can be inconvenient.
Tap Issues: One user mentioned that the tap on their unit didn't work, which could be a potential issue in terms of convenience for some users. They expressed a need for a solution to this problem.
Overall, this Presto Pot wax melter appears to offer quick and efficient wax melting, making it a valuable tool for candle makers. However, the reported issue with the temperature gauge accuracy and tap functionality may be drawbacks to consider when making a purchase decision.
Lastly, it is also really useful to know that a heat gun can also be used to melt wax. However, obviously it is not the same category as the rest of the methods above. As you might understand why, the heat gun has a slightly different use. This is on the list as it can be very useful in case you have some issues with your already made candle. In case you experience uneven top, or maybe tunnelling during the use of a candle, a heat gun is your best option. It can melt the top of your candle pretty quickly, so in case of issues, it is a really good choice. Obviously, you can’t use it to melt your whole pack of wax in the beginning of the candle making process. However, it is advised to keep one at home in case of minor flaws with your candle.
As you can see from the list, you actually have quite a few options when it comes to melting wax for candles. This is pretty convenient and brings you great flexibility with the methods. So, you can choose based on your own needs and requirements, whether it’s to be convenient or quick. If you wish for more quick options, the microwave method might be the best one. For the sake of convenience, melting in the oven is a good choice. However, if you plan on running a professional candle making business, investing in a wax melter might be your best bet.
FAQ: How to Melt Wax for Candle Making
- What is the best method for melting wax for candle making?
- The most common methods are using a double boiler, microwave, or a dedicated wax melting pot. Choose the one that suits your equipment and safety preferences.
- What type of wax should I use for candle making?
- Common choices include paraffin, soy, beeswax, and palm wax. The type of wax you use depends on your preference and the type of candle you want to create.
- Can I melt wax directly on the stovetop?
- It's not recommended to melt wax directly on a stovetop as it can be dangerous. Using a double boiler or a dedicated melting pot is a safer method.
- How do I set up a double boiler for melting wax?
- Fill a large saucepan with water and place a smaller heat-resistant container (like a metal or glass pouring pitcher) with wax inside the larger pan. Heat the water gently to melt the wax.
- Can I reuse old candle wax for new candles?
- Yes, you can reuse old candle wax. Simply melt down the old candles, filter out any debris, and use the melted wax for new candles.
- What temperature should I melt the wax to?
- The ideal temperature varies depending on the type of wax. Generally, you should melt paraffin wax to around 160-180°F (71-82°C), soy wax to 170-180°F (77-82°C), and beeswax to 145-160°F (63-71°C).
- How do I prevent wax from overheating and catching fire?
- Never leave melting wax unattended. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and remove it from the heat source as soon as it reaches the desired melting point.
- Can I add fragrance oils or colorants while melting the wax?
- Yes, you can add fragrance oils and colorants to the wax once it's partially melted. Stir them in gently to evenly distribute.
- What safety precautions should I take when melting wax?
- Always work in a well-ventilated area and keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Use heat-resistant gloves and safety goggles, and be cautious around open flames or hot surfaces.
- What do I do if the wax gets too thick or starts to harden during pouring?
- You can reheat the wax gently to maintain a pourable consistency. Avoid overheating to prevent damage to fragrance or color.
- Is it safe to pour melted wax down the drain or into the trash after use?
- No, never pour melted wax down the drain as it can cause blockages. Allow the leftover wax to solidify and dispose of it in the trash or consider recycling if possible.
- Can I melt different types of wax together?
- Mixing waxes can be done, but be aware that it may affect the candle's final characteristics. Test small batches first to ensure the desired results.
Remember to always follow safety guidelines when working with hot wax and handle it with care to create beautiful and safe candles.