In the old version of the site, waxed paper was filed under "Other equipment"
But considering the many ways it has managed to make itself indispensable during my many candlemaking sessions, I have decided to give it a well deserved promotion and include it in the chapter dedicated to the equipment you MUST have!
Different types, different names, different uses
In candle making, even something as simple as greaseproof paper can be confusing... It exists in different incarnations, has many names and cannot always be used for every task.
Here's an overview of what you may encounter in the aisles of your store:
- Baking paper - also known as bakery paper or parchment paper. This is the type you should get. It is a non-stick, heat-resistant greaseproof paper that can be used for almost everything in candle making. Its heat-resistant properties are very useful when you need to clean your metal molds or any other metal accessory: wick pins, wick holders, needles, you name it. Just put a sheet of baking paper on a rack at the bottom of the oven, set the heat to 176°F and place your metal molds and other tools on the paper. Leave it all there for ten minutes and all the residual wax will end up on the paper. All that remains now is for you to wipe the equipment clean with paper towels (watch out, it will be very hot to handle), let the wax set, peel it off and set the wax paper sheet aside for another future usage.
- Waxed paper - or wax paper - is exactly what the name suggests: paper with a wax coating. This type of greaseproof paper is NOT heat-resistant and should not be used to clean your tools in the oven, for instance. If you already have some, you can still use it to line your work area, especially the spot where you pour wax into your molds and / or containers; so if you're a little clumsy while filling up a mold and some of the wax ends up where it shouldn't, provided that you had taken the precaution of covering your work area with waxed paper, all you have to do is wait a few seconds for the wax to set and then simply peel it off the waxed paper and put it straight back into your melting pot.
- Freezer paper is coated on one side with wax and another polycoating on top. It is used, as its name suggests, to freeze food such as meat to keep them from freezer burn. Not heat-resistant and probably a bit expensive to be used as a liner.
- The last type (that I'm aware of) is called butter paper - or sandwich paper. It doesn't have a non-stick surface and is only meant to pack a lunch or to protect your chopping board when you have to cut raw chicken, for example. Not suitable for candle making because of its absence of non-stickiness...
It is worth underlining that one of the advantages of greaseproof paper is that it can be reused again and again. As long as it only comes in contact with wax and does not get soiled (by candle dye, for example), just let the wax set, peel off and voilà!
You can also recycle the bags that contain corn flakes: just cut off all the seams and you've got yourself a big sheet of waxed paper. But beware: if it's perfect to cover your work area, this up-cycled material does not appreciate being used inside an oven. In this case, use real baking paper instead.
Drop a little colored liquid wax onto the waxed paper and let it set: you will have an excellent idea what the color of your finished candle will be
Where to get it?
Greaseproof paper can be found in any supermarket next to the aluminium foil and microwave cling film or you can get it from Amazon. It is often available in different widths; that's entirely up to you so pick the one that suits you best. I buy mine in a 38 cm (15 inches) width only because my workbench is 40 cm (just under 16 inches) deep and that allows me to cover most of it. When you have a choice, choose a roll of baking paper above individual sheets, you get more freedom to use it as you want. And while you're at it: go for the non-bleached version, if available, it comes in a nice Kraft paper brown color.
Both baking and waxed paper are very affordable: in a regular supermarket, a 75 feet (23 meters) roll is typically priced under 2 dollars. But you can find it cheaper when you buy larger quantities (or in this case, bigger rolls): check websites that cater to restaurants and industrial kitchens. And when it's marked off, do not hesitate to stock up on it.
One last thing before I let you go: I have seen rolls of baking / waxed paper with an INSANE price tag on various online platforms. Do not get scammed! Unless you live deep into the mountains of Mordor, you should never pay more than one dollar per 10 feet (3 meters) of waxed paper.