Soy wax is well known for having inconsistent tops. This is not a problem that only you are experiencing. As you can see in the above picture, this candle has already been burned, yet when the wax hardens the candle still has a lumpy top. While it is a common problem, there are still a few things you can do to avoid it.
Lumpy Tops Explained
Lumpy tops are sort of a distinctive trait of soy wax candles. It is usually a sign that you are working with real 100% soy wax and not a blend of some sort. Some people find it annoying while others have just come to accept it. Why does my soy candle have a lumpy top?
You have a lumpy soy candle top from using the incorrect temperature when pouring your candle. It is important to use a thermometer to keep the temperature even, and not just take your chances. If you don’t already have a thermometer invest in one before you make your next batch of candles.
Using the correct pour temperature is essential for keeping them looking smooth with good glass adhesion. Because the seasons change, and temperature in the air varies you need to keep your thermometer handy, as it is hard to guess the temperature correctly without it. What causes lumpy soy candle tops?
Lumpy candle tops are caused when the wax in your candle cools at an inconsistent rate. When separate areas of the candle are cooling more quickly than others it can cause the wax to cling together, separate, and detach from the sides of the container.
You will find that a lot of the problems related to making soy candles come from this very issue. Including wet spots, sinkholes, and lumpy tops.
Fixing Lumpy Tops
The method you choose to fix your lumpy tops may vary depending on if you are a hobbyist or if you are making candles for a side hustle or a full-time job. How do You fix Lumpy Candle Tops?
You can fix the lumpy top by using a heat gun or a blow dryer and melting the wax on the top of the candle and smooth it over, this might do if it is just for your own use. However, if you are selling candles you need to adjust your pour temperatures to prevent future issues.
In addition, sometimes your fragrance oils can cause holes and lumpy tops, some floral fragrances cause curdling these include lavender, and some geraniums.
To avoid this make sure that oils are well mixed with the wax at the correct temperature, and use a really good quality fragrance.
A quality fragrance will be compatible with the candle mix, and the curdling won’t occur.
Making Candles With Smooth Tops
The type of fragrance used can also cause curdling. If you are using a floral fragrance like Lavender or Geranium use good quality fragrances.
How do You get Smooth Tops on Soy Candles?
- Pour candles at around 140° F.
- Use proper amounts of fragrance oil.
- Preheat candle containers.
- Reheat surfaces to smooth them out.
Make sure that they are well mixed, or reduce the amount of fragrance that can sometimes tip the balance and lead to curdling. Sometimes you will see small holes in the top of the candle, so smooth them over thoroughly when completed
Bubbling Soy Candles
Your candles can get annoying air bubbles, this is more common with paraffin, but can still happen with soy, and this is how to avoid it.
Why is my Candle Bubbling
- Avoid stirring too much.
- Pour the candle mix at a slightly higher temperature, raise it about 5 degrees Fahrenheit
- Heat your containers first
- Do a slow pour.
This problem is more common in some other types of candles, however, it is still good to know how to deal with it should the problem arise. How do You Get Air Bubbles out of Soy Candles?
After you have poured the wax, tap the glass gently to release any air bubbles. In addition, heat your containers from 90-100 degrees F in a warm oven. Pour the candles, and then cool them at room temperature. If you see an air bubble tap the glassware to try to release the bubble.
What is the Best Temperature to Pour Soy Wax
Anywhere between 120 degrees and 180 degrees Farenheight. It is important to get the temperature right to avoid wet spots from appearing on the glass. This happens when the wax pulls away from the side of the glass. It won’t affect the burning of the candle but just looks like a fault, and we want our candles to look perfect. This is caused by temperature fluctuating causing the wax to expand and contract.
Interestingly the quality of your glassware also plays a part with clear glassware being best. If you find the wet-looking spots appearing on the glass, increase the pouring temperature slightly to enable it to cool more slowly. In hot weather, you may have to put them in the fridge to set.
The Sinking Candle
Another problem that can occur when the temperature is too low. If the candles are cooling too quickly the wax on top dries while underneath is still quite warm. The wax sucks down forming a hollow in the candle. It is much better if the candle can cool slowly and evenly. Candles do best in a room temperature of about 21 degrees centigrade.
The natural wax of soy can recrystallize causing frosting, and all waxes frost to a certain extent and is a sign that you are using natural soy wax for your candles. Some soy wax has additives to prevent frosting, but not all of them. The frosting won’t affect how your candle works, and it will still burn well, but sometimes this can be frustrating when you are trying to produce the perfect candle.
If you are selling candles you want to produce a candle that not only looks good but burns well and smells nice. Safety is also a concern, and you will want an even gentle burn.
Mottling sometimes occurs as a pattern on the finished candle. It can look like a snowflake. This is caused when a fast cooling time occurs causing a chemical reaction between the wax and oils. Sometimes it comes from the wax coating on the wick or even an incompatible floral fragrance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes candles are not smooth on top due to air escaping from the wax as it’s cooling. In addition, other causes can be uneven cooling, container and wax temperature differential, and the temperature of your candle wax when you pour your candles.
Soy wax cracks when the candle wax is poured at too low a temperature. While pouring candles with the wax too hot can cause problems, pouring them with the wax too cool can cause its own unique set of problems. You have to find the sweet spot in the middle.
Soy candles have a bumpy top after burning because when the wax cools, it cools at an inconsistent rate. This is normal for soy wax candles and a problem that soy wax is kind of famous for. This is not a sign you did anything wrong and you can continue using the candle as normal.
This is just one of the many problems that can occur in soy candle making, and most of them are easily solved. Another problem can be during wick insertion, as a quality wick should always be used to avoid incompatibility of fragrances and wax.
The wrong wick can ruin the finished product, causing the candle to cloud. Sometimes natural ingredients also change from batch to batch, so we have to be vigilant and always buy the best soy wax and the best fragrances, and try to avoid lumpy candle tops.