Candle gel, paraffin and soy wax: Candlemaking made easy for everyone
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Other wax additives

Apart from the two very popular additives we just talked about - Vybar™ and stearic acid -, there are yet other products you can add to straight paraffin for one reason or another.
Let's take a look at this (non exhaustive) list of less-known additives and their properties.



Vegetable shortening (aka Crisco)

Crisco shortening was originally produced by Procter & Gamble to be used in candles Believe it or not but the product known today as "Crisco" (the name is derived from "crystallized cottonseed oil") was developped in 1911 by Procter & Gamble to replace the expensive animal fats used back then to make candles!
It was the first shortening to be made entirely from vegetable oil. But because electricity soon began to replace candle light and because the product resembled lard, Procter & Gamble started selling it as... food.

Because of its chemical structure, paraffin expands when heated and contracts when is cools off. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it: the contracting part greatly helps when the time has come to remove a candle from a mold but it's not welcome in the case of container candles where you want the wax to stick to the glass container.
Also because of its chemical structure, vegetable shortening like Crisco does NOT expand/contract according to its temperature. The logical conclusion is that, by mixing equal amounts of paraffin and shortening, you will end up with a mixture that will be 50% less prone to expansion/contraction than straight paraffin.

If you don't have access to special container blends, or if you're a die-hard do-it-yourself'er, you can mix your own container wax by incorporating Crisco (or any other vegetable shortening) into your formula.
The exact proportions depend on several factors: the type of base paraffin, the shortening itself, the other additives you may use... You will more than probably have to test and test again before you find a formula you really like. But if you want a kick start, visit the page about container candles formulas, your will find a starting point for your research.

In small proportions, Crisco gives a nice creamy look to your candles, even pillars or votives.

Where to find Crisco (or another vegetable shortening)?
Easy to find in the nearest supermarket, in the oils and fats aisle.



Paraffin oil (aka Mineral oil)

L'huile de paraffine: excellente pour l'effet 'flocon de neige'
Mineral oil (also known as "paraffin oil" and "baby oil") is primarily used in candlemaking to achieve a mottled look, also called the "snowflake effect".
Mottling can occur accidentally, usually for one (or several) of the following reasons: too much fragrance oil in the wax, no Vybar™ used to bind the fragrance or poor-quality (or a bad batch of) paraffin.
But mottling can also be an appreciated feature of a candle. There are nowadays specialty waxes that will automatically induce mottling but adding the right amount of mineral oil to the wax is an unexpensive alternative (you could add fragrance oil and get the same effect but fragrance oils are waaaaaaay more expensive than mineral oil).
You can read more information about the not-so-easy-to-get-right mottling effect in this article.

Mineral oil is also used as a fuel for oil lamps.

Where to find mineral oil?
Mineral oil is still currently used as a laxative. You can usually find it at your local pharmacy or in large drugstores.
For more sources, please use the supplies finder



UV inhibitor

Pour protéger et conserver les couleurs de vos bougies: l'anti-UV UV inhibitor is an ultraviolet light stabilizer. Ultraviolet (UV) light, whether it originates from sunlight or from artificial light, has an influence on the colors of your candles. A long exposure to any kind of light will fade the candle's colors if you don't add UV inhibitor to the wax.

A little goes a long way so even if you have to order it from abroad, it's a good idea to do it.

Recommended usage is 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per pound of wax.

Where to find UV inhibitor?
Hard to find locally in Europe (except in the UK) but having it shipped from the United States won't cost you much and is well worth it.
Please use the supplies finder for sources in your neighborhood.



Universal additive

Universal additive is a proprietary mix of different additives and usually has the following properties:
  • makes the candles burn longer,
  • permits a higher fragrance load,
  • eliminates mottling,
  • increases the hardness of the wax,
  • does not affect the translucence of the wax (too much),
  • helps reduce bubbles in candles.
  • You can achieve an approaching result by smartly combining the clasic additives.

    Universal additive has a relatively high melting point (190°F) so you'll need to heat your wax up to 190°F before you can successfully add this additive.

    Recommended usage is 1/2 to 2 tsp per pound of wax.


    Where to find Universal Additive?
    Available only in the United States.
    Please use the supplies finder for possible sources.



    Luster crystals

    Luster crystals are a polymer-based wax additive that increase the strength and gloss of your candles.
    They can help you achieve great-looking and vibrant colors and also harden the wax.

    Luster crystals have a high melting point (195°F) and you should melt them separately from the wax.

    Recommended usage is 1/2 to 2 tsp per pound of wax.


    Where to find Luster crystals?
    Available only in the United States.
    Please use the supplies finder for possible sources.



    Translucent crystals

    Translucent crystals enable you to add color and scent to your wax without compromising (too much) its transparency. Therefore, it's often added to the wax when making Hurricane shells
    This additive will also help eliminate surface flaws and increase the strength of the candle.
    Please note that translucent crystals will not add translucency to the wax: it will only help maintain it.

    Translucent crystals have a high melting point (215°F) and you should melt them separately from the wax.

    Recommended usage is 1/2 to 2 tsp per pound of wax.


    Where to find Translucent crystals?
    Available only in the United States.
    Please use the supplies finder for possible sources.



    For each candlemaking need, there's an additive
    For each candlemaking need, there's an additive


    Associated articles:
  • stearine (stearic acid)
  • Vybar™


    Advanced search:
  • mineral oil
  • universal additive
  • uv inhibitor
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