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Quick Troubleshooting Guide to Candle Making

Even the most experienced candle maker runs into problems from time to time. Here at Scents Soaps and Candles we have put together a list of what we feel are the most common problems that arise from candle making. Just remember as with any form of crafting you must learn to be patient. Learn from your errors and enjoy the fun process of candle making. You will discover that sometimes you have done everything right but you still end up with a problem – welcome to the world of candle making! 

Here our common problems that you can experience when making your candles:

Bubbling effect – This sometimes happens when you use wax not at the correct temperature or if your wax has been moved while it was cooling. This could be because the wax is not within the recommended temperature range or the wax has been disturbed during the cooling process.

Tunnelling effect   This is when you get an uneven burn and the outside of your candle does not melt as quickly as the inside. When this happens you will end up with the wick burning out and you will have half the wax left over. Tunnelling happens when you use a wick that is too small. You can ‘wick up’ (use the next size up) when you make the same size candle again. You can determine what size wick to use by checking our wick size chart that is given for each type of candle wick that we sell. 

Sink holes – This is when you end up with holes at the top of your candle after it has cooled down. Sink holes are a common occurrence but you can help reduce their effect by ensuring that the wax is at the correct temperature when pouring. To resolve this, just put more hot wax (at the correct temperature) to fill in any holes in the top of the candle. Remember to make sure that the candle has fully hardened before adding any more wax. You can also preheat the candle glass before you pour the wax which can sometimes reduce the sink hole effect.

Your candle wick is creating smoke – If your wick is generating too much smoke it may be because it is too long at the top of the candle. If this is the case put out the candle and cut the wick down in length to about 1cm. Excessive smoke may also occur if you have used too large a wick in relation to the diameter of the candle. Another cause is if you have used too high a percentage of fragrance oil or candle dye. Finally, if you have put the candle in an area that is drafty it may cause it to smoke too much. 

Your candle keeps going out – If you find that your candle keeps going out you should prime . the wick by covering it with wax but let it harden before adding your melted wax. If you have used too thin a wick, this can also lead to issues with your candle going out. 

Your wick starts to mushroom – If your wick starts to curl up and twist it is referred to as ‘mushrooming’. This can happen when you get a build-up of carbon and is usually caused by using too large a candle wick in size for the diameter of the candle.

Your candle wick has moved – Your wick can sometimes move during the cooling process if it has not been pulled taut before you start the cooling process.

Your candle cracks when you remove it from the mold – If your candle cools too quickly it can result in cracking. Remember to cool your candles at room temperature – do NOT try and speed up the cooling process by putting them in a freezer or fridge.

There is fragrance oil seeping from the candle – If you use too much candle fragrance oil it can result in it seeping from the candle. Do not exceed recommended percentages. 

Your wax has caught fire in the saucepan –  If this happens it is because you have heated the wax to a higher temperature than you should have done. Remember to always use a wax thermometer to ensure you are at the correct temperature.If you are unfortunate enough to experience the wax catching fire you should use a water towel soaked in water or better still a fire blanket to cover the saucepan. Do not use water or a water fire extinguisher – if you use a fire extinguisher only use a powder one. 

My worktop is covered in wax  Gently scrape off any surplus wax from your worktop. Then use a warm cloth to gently rub any remaining off.

The colour on my candle is starting to fade – If you sit your candle in direct sunlight for a long period of time it will start to fade. A good tip is store your candles in a dark area or in a cupboard. 

There are dye spots on your candle – You can get dye spots when the dye dye has not been fully dissolved in the molten wax. A good tip is to stir thoroughly before adding it to your container.

The top of the candle is cracked – If this happens use a hairdryer to slightly melt the surface of the candle until the cracks disappear.