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Candle Making 101 | Terminology

Candle making terms by Morouge Canada.

What are the most popular candle-making terms?

Candle-making has its own vocabulary just like any other craft. Getting familiar with candle terminology will help you tackle production challenges and address them more efficiently.

Here are some top candle-making terms:

A material that is added to the candle wax such as candle dyes, stearic acid, and Vybar helps with candle performance or appearance. Botanicals and gemstones are also considered additives.
Burn Cycle
Burning a candle for four hours, putting it off, letting it fully cool, and burning it again for four hours and repeating until the candle ends. A burn cycle is an essential part of performing candle testing.
Burn Time
The total time it takes a candle to be consumed once it's lit. This information should be part of the label. For example, an 8oz straight-sided jar has a burn time of +/- 40 hours depending on the wax and the wick used.
Clogged Wick
A clogged wick is a wick that is dying due to the lack of fuel. That happens when too much of an additive such as dye is used. Certain fragrance oils or essential oils might also cause the wick to be clogged.
Cold Throw
What candle makers refer to as CT is how the candle smells before it's lit.
Container Candle
A candle that is poured into a container, jar, or vessel as opposed to free-standing candles such as votive and pillar candles.
The time needed for a candle to cure and establish a good cold and hot throw. Curing time may vary depending on the candle wax and the fragrance oil used. Soy, coconut, and other natural wax blends require 1-2 weeks of curing time for the wax to solidify and for the fragrance to be fully bound with the wax resulting in a better scent throw. 
Flame height
The height of a lit candle's flame. Typically 1/2 - 2 inches is considered to be a good height. Flames that are longer than that might cause safety issues. 
A flickering wick is a wick that dances. That happens when the Oxygen or wax supply gets disrupted. The most common cause of flickering is wind draft. Candle wicks also flicker when there are impurities in the wax or when too many additives are added.
Fragrance Load
The percentage of fragrance oil that is added to the wax. We recommend using 7.5-8% with most of our fragrances, but you can add up to 10%. 
Glass Adhesion
This refers to the candle wax sticking to the candle container. If a wax does not have good glass adhesion, it will pull away from the glass causing what is known as "wet spots".
Hot throw
Also referred to as HT, is how the candle smells when it's lit and how strong the scent is. A good hot throw should cover a large area.
Melt pool
The melted wax around the wick when the candle is lit. During testing, a candle should achieve a full melt pool on the second or third burn, meaning that the melted wax should then reach the edges of the container. If by the third burn a full melt pool is not achieved, that will result in tunneling and eventually a dead wick. Full melt pools are not recommended from the first burn. That might mean that the wick is too large and you need to wick it down.
Refers to carbon buildup during and after a candle is burnt. It looks like a mushroom on top of the wick.
Pour temperature
The temperature at which the wax and fragrance get poured into the container. Depending on the wax used pouring temperature may vary from 150 - 190 degrees.
Second Pour
A candle with sinkholes might need a second pour of wax to get rid of sinkholes and to achieve smoother tops. This is usually needed with soy wax. 
Sink Holes
Holes that are caused by air pockets in a finished candle. This is very common with soy waxes and is treated by a second pour or a heat gun.
Smooth Tops
Refers to the top of the wax in a container. Smooth tops give the candle a presentable look and help achieve an even burn.
Black smoke that comes out of a burning wick. It is usually a sign that the candle is not properly wicked.
The excess fragrance appears as spots of wet liquid on top of a candle. This is usually caused when too much fragrance load is used and the wax could not hold it, or when the fragrance did not bind well with the wax.
When a candle does not achieve a full melt pool, this will result in the candle burning deeper into the wax rather than burning evenly across the container. Tunneling will cause the wick to drown in the wax and eventually die. Using a bigger wick will most likely help avoid tunneling. If not then this is a sign that there might be an issue with either the wax, the wick, or an additive that is preventing the wick from performing well.
A container that holds the wax such as a glass jar.
Wax Tart
Also referred to as wax melts, is scented wax that releases fragrance into a room using a wax warmer.
Wet Spots
Air pockets between the wax and the container wall. They appear like wet liquid is trapped, but it's not wet. This is very common and does not affect the performance of a candle. It only appears when using clear glass for the candles.
The process of choosing the right wick for a candle. 

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