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Candle additives

Additives, as the name implies, are miscellaneous substances that can be added to a paraffin base in order to achieve a particular effect.

Candle dye as well as Fragrance oils are considered on this website as entities with whole share and not as additives although, technically speaking, they are.

Additives can serve multiple purposes:
  • to raise or to lower the melting point of a paraffin base,
  • to opacify or, on the contrary, make the paraffin translucent,
  • to harden paraffin or make it sticky (for container candles, for instance),
  • to give the candle a specific visual effect, like the Snowflake effect (see Special effects waxes),
  • to help paraffin shrink even more when it cools off, making it easier to unmold the finished candle,
  • many many more...
  • The additives that are used most frequently in candlemaking are stearic acid and Vybar™.

    Most of the time, microcrystalline waxes are not used as a base wax but rather as an additive.

    Mineral oil is used a lot as well, for example to achieve the Snowflake effect.

    Another additive that can prove very useful is the UV inhibitor. A tiny quantity (0.1%) in your wax formula helps reduce color fade caused by UV rays from sunlight and artificial light. The UV inhibitor blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

    If you don't live in the United States and, therefore, cannot easily obtain the huge range of special wax blends available to our american friends, be prepared to use lots of different additives in order to compensate this lack of choice. I will sometimes talk you into adding very peculiar substances to a wax formula and this will probably make you wonder if I have bats in the belfry.
    For instance, to achieve a low shrinkage wax formula (used with container candles where you want the wax not to shrink away from the container walls), you might have to use:
  • vegetal oil (soybean),
  • vegetal shortener (100% vegetal and hydrogenated, we'll see later on why this is important),
  • sticks commonly used in a glue gun.
  • In the United States (and that's the only place I've heard of where it's available), you will find an additive called Universal Additive (UA), whose formula is kept secret, that contains all the required additives needed to make certain types of candles. If you're not in the United States, you'll probably have more success looking for unicorn droppings.

    Additives summary

    Stearic acid   Use it to
  • raise the melting point of paraffin (this will give the candle a longer burn time),
  • 'harden' paraffin,
  • give the colors a pastel shade.

    Do not use it
  • with rubber molds (use Vybar™ instead)

    start with 3 teaspoons per pound (453 grams) of paraffin.

  • Vybar™   Use it to
  • bind fragrance oils to paraffin and eliminate mottling (snowflake effect),
  • accentuate colors,
  • replace stearic acid in rubber molds,
  • opacify paraffin.

    Do not use it
  • if, precisely, you want to achieve the Snowflake effect

    1% ou 1 teaspoon per pound (453 grams) of paraffin.

  • Other additives   Depending on the type of project

    left: Vybar™; above: Stéarine; right: paraffin
    left: Vybar™; above: Stéarine; right: paraffin

    Related articles:
  • stearine (stearic acid)
  • Vybar™
  • other additives

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