Candle making can be a fun hobby or even a profession for some. However, if you’re interested in candle making, you may want to branch out and make your own. This isn’t always a bad idea but there are some things you should never use when making candles.
While you can experiment, there are a few ingredients that should never be used in candles. From making your candles dangerous to simply not being effective, these are the ingredients that should never be included in your candles.
Let’s take an in-depth look at four things that you should never use for candle making.
7 Things You Should NEVER Use For Making Candles
1. Glitter or similar decorations
Can you use glitter when making candles?
You should never use glitter when making candles, glitter can clog up the wick and alter the burning process. In addition, some glitter is flammable and could become a hazard. However, you can find types of glitter that can be specifically used in candles.
Although you’ve probably seen glitter in candles before, you may not be aware that not all glitters are created equal. When scrounging through your craft drawer have you ever come across your glitter and thought it would be a fun additive to your candles? Unfortunately, while it may add to the appearance of your candle, you may also be creating a fire hazard.
Craft glitters are a paper product that can be incredibly harmful when added to candles. They have a low burn point and will typically clog the candle wick. They can also pose a fire risk to the use so you should never add this type of glitter to your candles.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t still enjoy some sparkle in your candles though! Polyester glitters are available and tend to work well. They are more expensive but they’re versatile and mix well with a number of solvents including wax and a gel wax. They have a higher burn point and come in colors and flake sizes from coarse to very fine pieces. FDA certified cosmetic grade glitters are also an option. They are expensive as well but have been tested and can be used safely in candles.
Glitters can also be made from crushed crystals or shimmer dust. Make sure that you do your research into the type of glitter that you have before adding them to your candles to be on the safe side.
2. Mica or other minerals
Can you use mica when making candles?
Do not use mica for making candles. Mica is a non-flammable mineral that will not mix well with candle wax and will clog up your candle’s flame. This will cause your wick to not burn correctly, causing it to extinguish itself. Instead, use an approved dye specifically designed for candles.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with mica, it’s wick-clogging pigments don’t make it a great choice for candles. Unlike crayons though, the powder is often used as a decorative outside coloring rather than a blended color.
This means that you can create a candle without adding any color. After it hardens, you can add mica powder to the outside, painting it on to add your preferred color. This doesn’t mean that you’ll have a clean burn since the powder may end up in the melt pool and clog the wick, but it’s going to be better than adding it to the wax itself.
Most of the candle designs you see that have mica powder use them for decorative purposes and won’t actually be intended for burning.
3. Crayons that can clog your wick
Can you use crayons to make a candle?
Do not use crayons to make a candle. Although crayons are wax, they contain pigments that give them their color. These pigments will clog your wick and prevent it from burning properly. In addition, crayons are made out of paraffin wax which is known to be more toxic than soy or coconut wax.
This is an item on the list that is painful for so many. After all, crayons are wax, right? It’s easy to pick up leftover crayons and think of how you could recycle them into something useful. However, they’re actually an extremely poor choice for candle making
Even though they’re great tools in their own right and made from paraffin wax, this doesn’t mean they’re a naturally good option for candles. Many of the paraffin waxes available on the market today are made with additives to enhance their properties and then make them ready for candle making. The wax used for candles is usually very different although typically food-grade.
Although you can melt down crayons, using them in candles is going to cause your wick to snuff out. You’ll also notice that the pigment is going to separate from the wax as it won’t dissolve. The color selection with crayons is great and there’s nothing unsafe about using crayons in your candles. However, if you want them to burn or behave in the right way, you’re better off choosing another material.
4. Titanium dioxide or other pigments
Can you add titanium dioxide to candles?
Do not add titanium dioxide to candles. Titanium dioxide does not mix well with wax and it will not burn when pulled up to the wick. It will clog the wick of your candle and snuff out the flame. Instead, use a wax blend or approved dye that will give you the color that you want for your candles.
Have you ever wondered why you don’t see candles that are white-colored? While paraffin and soy naturally have a slightly off-white color, you won’t actually see a white candle dye on your own. Titanium dioxide is a compound that you may be considering using. This compound is naturally occurring and used as a white colorant. Now only as its own color but also can be used in other formations as well.
As a coloring agent, titanium dioxide is usually available as a pigment which will cause it to destroy normal candles. Most of the white dyes on the market today are created with titanium dioxide so be careful when searching for them.
Candle makers who want to have a white color in their candles will use a paraffin wax or even use stearic acid in order to whiten their blends. However, this won’t give you the same result as a dye. Generally, if you want a white candle, you should consider using a white wax such as a paraffin or palm.
5. Natural containers like wooden bowls or coconuts
Are wooden bowls safe for candles?
Wooden bowls and other natural containers such as coconuts are not safe for candles. Instead, use tins or glass containers such as mason jars and jelly jars. Jars are designed for pressure and high temperatures and that makes them the ideal containers for candles.
Nothing is lovelier than a candle in a natural container such as a bowl but you want to avoid it when making candles. Many people choose wooden bowls or coconut shells, wanting their candles to have an earthy feel and also be eco-conscious. This seems like a good idea at first, but you’re actually creating a fire hazard when you choose this type of material.
When using natural materials such as wood and coconut shells. As the candle starts to burn down, the fire can spread to the container itself. You may start with a single flame and then end up with a fiery inferno on your hands. Of course, you can keep an eye on the candle itself but it’s simply a risk that you probably don’t want to take. Any wood or natural container is likely not going to be flame resistant. so don’t use it for candle making.
One item, in particular, that’s especially dangerous is flower pots or other porous ceramic containers. A container such as a terra cotta pot can actually soak up wax. This will end up turning into a giant wick that will cause the entire pot to burn along with the candle. You could try to coat the pot with a non-porous material such as mod-podge before making the candle but it’s probably easier to simply avoid it altogether.
6. Embedded items like herbs or flowers.
Is it safe to put dried herbs in candles?
Do not add herbs, beans, or flowers to your candles. They can produce a burned smell, clog the wick and become fire hazards. Instead, use essential oils and fragrance oils in the candles. You can find a fragrance oil for nearly any scent you can imagine from a major candle supplier.
This is an area that isn’t as clear-but no you do not want to add herbs, coffee, or flowers to your candles. Instead of pointing out one specific item, there are many items that people embed in their candles that don’t actually do anything. For example, adding coffee beans or sugar to your candles might be something you would think would add to the air quality.
However, these items will typically just burn and may even slow down your candle or clog the wick. A lot of these items are disappointing and often smell bad. For example, a coffee bean in a candle that’s burning will smell like burned coffee rather than a fresh roast. Potpourri is an item that also falls into this category.
Instead of adding items to your candles, you’re probably better off using a fragrance oil. These oils are designed to evaporate naturally during warm conditions. You can use these to ensure that your candles are fragrant without having any negative effects.
Fragrance oil is also simple to use. Make sure that you review the directions for use as too much can be overwhelming and too little may make your candle underwhelming.
7. Wine glasses and martini glasses
Can you use wine glasses to make candles?
Do not use wine glasses to make candles. Glass containers for candle making should be thick, heat resistant with smooth surfaces. Mason jars and jelly jars make ideal candle containers as they are designed for use with hot temperatures and high pressure.
Although you may think that a glass container such as wine glasses or martini glasses are a good choice, this is one that can cause a lot of problems. Similar to a container that’s leaking, a thin glass container can break when it becomes overly hot. When it cracks, you’ll spill hot wax all over and the flame can grow and spread, becoming a fire hazard.
You’ll also find that there are numerous stories about exploding gel candles as well. The majority of these stories are due to the gel in the candle getting hot and then cracking the martini glass, fishbowl, or other glass material where it was made.
This doesn’t mean that glass containers aren’t allowed completely though. In addition to being resistant to leaks and cracks, make sure that you look for heat-resistant containers. Even if the candle burns properly, the wax pool and flame will become hot as they burn.
The container needs to be able to take that heat. This is why jelly jars and mason jars have been popular choices over the years. They are designed to withstand high heat and are easily available. Other types of glassware are fine to use as well as long as they’re heat-resistant.
Although you can easily make candles at home, some of the materials you might think were safe should actually be avoided. This list contains the primary unsafe items but it doesn’t have every single hazard. If you’re getting ready to add an item to your candles, do a little research first to be on the safe side. By taking a little extra time, you’ll have candles that are both safe and beautiful to sell, keep, or give as gifts.
In conclusion, it is best to avoid using things such as glitter, crayons, minerals, herbs, metals, natural containers and unsafe types of glass when making candles. You still have a multitude of options available to allow you to create beautiful candles without any additional safety hazards or fire risks.
Do your research and check out the major candle suppliers and wholesalers and see what they have available for you to use and only use materials that are designed for use in candles.
Sure, if you are making your own candles you might be able to accept some of the risk that comes along with risky additives or containers. However, if you are selling candles you cannot take on that risk or the responsibility that comes along with one of your products harming your customers. The risk is not worth the reward.