The most important part of making candles is making candles that are safe. If you can’t make candles that are safe, then what is the point? No one wants an unsafe candle.
How do I make sure my candles are safe? Make sure your candles are safe by burn testing them after allowing them to cure. In addition, you can also make sure your candles are safe by getting your candle making materials from reputable and trustworthy sources rather than sites like Alibaba and eBay.
Making candles is relatively easy once you have the process of making a candle using your equipment. When it comes to making sure they are burning correctly, you’ll want to do some quality testing. These methods all have varying degrees of assurance that your finished product isn’t going to become a danger when it’s burning. The easiest is to light one of the finished candles and place it in a room where it can be watched closely.
This room shouldn’t have anything in it that can catch fire and also should have a window for ventilation. This is so any excess smoke or fumes that are coming from your candle can vent away safely. Depending on the size of your candle, you’ll also want to see how long it takes for it to completely burn to the end. Other considerations include heat build-up if you put them in glass jars and if the glass gets too hot.
Perhaps the design of your candle might cause the wax to melt unevenly or be a risk for dripping off to one side unexpectedly. Aside from this, you can learn a lot from how your candle is burning and then adjust to change a wax recipe, percentage of fragrance oil, or changing of wick thicknesses. To be fair, you should only burn your candles for 4 hours at a time during any test. After this, allow your candle to cool off before continuing another test.
What are candle testing requirements?
There are performance and safety standards that a candle should meet when you’re making any candle. Not a lot of people are doing this so it’s best to know what the procedures include. The basic test is to limit your burn test to only 4 hours at a time. This way you can notice how effective your wax is melting and at what rate the wax is pooling around your wick.
No matter how well-made a candle is made, it’s the mixture of certain waxes that can melt faster than others. This way, you can continue your test to see where a potential failure will occur since the wax will have a chance to cool off completely. This is continued until there is a problem found in your overall design or wax recipe. Testing allows you to see if the wick you’re using is suitable for the candle safety that best applies to your candle.
Larger candles don’t necessarily need larger wicks, since it all depends on the burn ratio of the type of wax you’re using. These ratios can then be adjusted to produce a candle that will burn evenly with less likelihood of it going out or causing any problems when it’s lit. Since you don’t always know how additives such as scented oils will also contribute to fire hazards if there is too much oil added to your wax.
Aside from the basic safety candle burning tests, most of the basic tests are also including BLO tests for Hot Throw. This isn’t so much about safety but how effective the scents will fill a room with scents. What you really want to focus on for testing candles has to do a lot with creating an optimally controlled fire using the right blend of waxes, aroma additives, and wick thicknesses.
How to conduct a candle burn test?
One of the most common mistakes you can make with making your first candle tests is using the same candle for each test. There is only half of the truth included here, so you want to keep the diameter of your candle the same for each candle that you test. The only thing that needs to change is the wick size. You will also need to have 4 or 5 different wick sizes on the same candle to conduct your burn tests.
This will give you immediate results as to find the best-sized wick for the size candle you intend to produce. If you only have three sizes of the wick, then ultimately this is what your test candles need to include. This will also allow you to see how well the Hot Throw is moving scent around the room, in addition to any kind of controlled burn situation. With a minimum of 3 candles (per test), you can best determine if the wick size and scent dispersion are working.
Allow candles to cure before testing them
Right before you decide to do any kind of burn test, you also must know that candle waxes are still curing even after the wax is completely cool. This phenomenon is called polymorphism and has a lot to do with structural hardening and the formation of natural wax crystals with the wax itself. The time you need to allow the wax to cure will vary between the varieties that you’re using.
Natural waxes which include soy or palm are more sensitive to aging and usually take longer to gain good structural stability. If you do tests on these candle types too early, the results can mislead you because they haven’t had enough time to age properly. Keep in mind that temperature fluctuations can also affect the wax and even lead to wax frosting. So be sure to keep soy and palm candles in a room that has a steady temperature while they cure.
The standard length of time you should wait before testing any candle does have minimal waiting periods that apply to each category of wax that you’re using. Here is a handy chart:
Paraffin wax- 24 to 48 hours
Vegetable wax- 14 days (2 weeks)
Blended wax- 14 days (to allow soy or palm to cure properly)
What should I look for when testing a candle?
Before you start testing candles you need to take a closer look at the ASTM Industry Standards to see what the big boys are covering for candle safety. As a candle-making hobbyist, you might not be aware of how serious these issues can be since wax is wax, right? There are specific rules that include Voluntary Standards which are always a good idea to observe and protect your liability if someone wants to sue you for damages due to faulty candles.
When it does come time to start making burn tests, you will want to look at the immediate results of how a candle is burning. If all of the conditions are following a checklist of observations, it can be simple to say that your candle will be suitable for being a reliable and safe candle to sell after that.
Have plenty of candles ready for testing
Start with 3 to 5 candles that will have the same diameter, but with different size wick running through the center. No matter what kind of candle you are using, be sure to use the same glass container for each if they are votive candles.
You should put them into a room that is between 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Dedicate a room that has consistent temperature and ventilation if there is smoke.
Place candles into trays that will catch spilling wax but not in the same area with each other. The residual heat will affect a candle and could cause the wax to soften and melt, so space them apart 2 or 3 feet from each other.
Once you light your candle, carefully watch for these signs:
A) The flame needs to be inch to 2-inches in length depending on the size of your candle. Smaller candles produce smaller flames while bigger candles will have bigger and longer flames. If a smaller candle is giving off a 2-inch flame- it has failed! The size of the flame must be approximate to the size of the candle itself.
B) A candle flame should not dance or flicker and remain constant. There should not be excess smoke, or sooty ash coming off the flame. There should never be mushrooming smoke either, as this is a bad sign right away.
C) The pool of wax that forms around a flame that forms after one hour should be between ¼ to inches depending on the diameter. This will vary for different candle diameters, but the rule of thumb is all based on the immediate diameter of two inches. This reaches a full wax pool after 2 hours based on the total diameter size.
D) Single-pour waxes (low-melt paraffin, vegetable, soy, and beeswax) become more viscous when they melt into molten wax. These types of candles need a thicker wick than standardized paraffin wax melt blends. Thinner wicks will likely burn out faster.
Safety & Regulations
Are there candle safety regulations?
There is a go-to guide that covers more than you ever wanted to know about candle safety and burn tests. This is considered the bible of testing candles and tells you everything you need to know.
Despite the age of this report, it’s remarkably up to date with practical info you should know about candle burn tests of all kinds and what is accepted or not.
Do I need warning labels on my candles?
These days it’s all too easy to forget to add a warning label of some kind on your candle somewhere on the packaging label. It can also be in the form of a cautionary label that specifically says it can be a fire hazard if improperly used.
It’s meant more for liability than anything else, but also to show that you’re meeting industry standards for fire safety. This label also needs to mention info on trimming the wick before burning it each time.
It also needs to mention the length of time the candle is recommended for burning at a maximum. The last thing to mention is where the candle should be placed when it’s lit to protect anything from catching aflame from accidental fire.
These labels can further protect you from liable actions from customers who don’t follow these fire safety rules.
In conclusion, while there may not be a lot of legal requirements in regard to candle testing, some might say you have moral and ethical requirements to test your candles.
In addition, by making sure you are producing safe products you also protect yourself from liability. If you produce products that have no issues for the users then you won’t open yourself up to legal action.