Part of what makes gel candles so popular and so beautiful is the transparency of the gel candle wax. So when any yellowing or clouding of the candle wax happens it can be a huge disappointment as a candle maker. However, you have some options to prevent this clouding from happening. Let’s take a closer look at why it happens. Why Is My Gel Candle Cloudy?
Gel candles can become cloudy for multiple reasons. These reasons include using a temperature in excess of 225°F, wax-coated wicks, embeds, and fragrance oils.
You have several options to reduce the clouding of your gel candles. Including some best practices for gel candle making. For example, be careful what wick you buy for your candles if they are pre-coated and always pre-coat your embeds.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at this problem, and some solutions.
Causes Of Cloudy Gel Candles
Here are some of the most common causes of cloudy gel candles.
- Wax Coated Wicks
- Overheating Gel Wax
- Un-coated Embeds
- Fragrance Oil
- Pre-coated Embeds
- Wax Embeds
Wax Coated Wicks
If you are using pre-coated wicks then they may be coated in a traditional type of wax and not gel candle wax. This type of wax can melt in to the gel mixture when you pour your candle and make it cloudy.
Overheating Gel Wax
Gel wax melts very slow in comparison to soy wax so you may be tempted to use higher temperatures than you might otherwise would have used.
However, if you overheat gel wax it can discolor it, give it a yellowish color and make it cloudy.
Depending on what type of embed you are using, if it has not been pre-coated it may bleed in to the gel wax after pouring. This can create discoloring and cloudy looking gel wax.
Some dye can discolor your gel wax and make it cloudy. While you need to use dye specifically made for gel candles, some of it can still become discolored and cloudy at high temperatures.
You will have to do some trial and error with a few different types of dye until you find one that works exactly how you want.
Like with dye, you have to use a gel wax compatible fragrance oil for making gel candles. These types of fragrance oil have very high flashpoints because of the higher temperatures used when making gel candles.
Even though some fragrance oils are considered to be gel wax compatible, some of them may still cause problems in your gel candles. These problems include discoloring and clouding of the gel wax.
This is another thing that might take some trial and error on your part. Get two fragrances and try them side by side with all other factors remaining the same. If one becomes cloudy you will know not to use it anymore.
Like wicks, pre-coated embeds can cause problems when making gel candles. If they were coated in a traditional type of wax, and not gel wax then you could end up with a cloudy candle.
Some embeds for gel candles are made out of traditional types of wax, this is a problem because the temperature at which you pour gel candles is far above the melt point for any traditional wax.
This means when you pour your gel candles using traditional wax embeds they will begin to melt and discolor your gel candles before the gel candies begin to setup and harden.
Preventing Cloudy Gel Candles
Here are some ways you can prevent cloudy gel candles.
- Pre-coat Wicks
- Pre-coat Embeds
- Use Correct Temperatures
- Choose Embeds Carefully
- Chose Dye Carefully
- Choose Fragrance Oil Carefully
Buy your own wicks that have not been pre-coated and then pre-coat them yourself using gel wax.
This will save you any mishaps with traditional wicks that may have been coated with soy wax or paraffin.
Pre-coat your embeds. Even if it is something that may not melt in the gel wax after pouring, it is still a good idea to pre-coat the embeds because it can not only help keep the embed coloring from bleeding out, it can help prevent bubbles.
Use Correct Temperatures
Gel candle wax should be heated no more than 225°F and it should be poured at no less than 185°F. If you over heat your gel candle wax it can lead to yellowing and discoloring.
In addition, pour your candles as soon as the dye and fragrance oil has been added. The sooner they can begin to cool in the candle containers the less chance they will discolor the mixture.
Choose Embeds Carefully
Choose your embeds carefully. Some embeds will bleed into the gel if not pre-coated and some embeds will melt into the gel if not pre-coated.
If you just want to add stuff straight into the gel wax then you will have to choose carefully. For example, embeds such as seashells, marbles, or copper might not bleed into the wax. However, wax embeds, or organic embeds might.
Choose Dye Carefully
Although a dye may be approved for making gel candles that does not mean it will act as intended once exposed to the gel candle mixtures and high temperatures.
This will take trial and error to choose the correct dyes for your project.
Choose Fragrance Oil Carefully
Like dye, fragrance oil compatible for gel candles is no guarantee you will get what you wanted. Different fragrance oils will react differently to the gel wax mixture and temperatures require for making gel candles.
Keep a few options and try them both at the same time in a side-by-side comparison. See what works and what doesn’t.
Gel Candle Making Tips
Here are a few tips to help you make the best gel candles possible.
- Pre-coat wicks and embeds
- Tap on containers
- Use chopsticks
Pre-coat wicks and embeds
Use some high density gel to pre-coat your wicks and embeds before even beginning to make your candles.
Mix up a small batch of high density candle gel and dip everything you have using tongs or chopsticks then let them dry on some aluminum foil or parchment paper.
This will keep them from forming tons of bubbles or discoloring your gel candles.
Tap on containers
Once all of your embeds are in place and the containers are full. Tap on the sides and tops of your gel candle containers. This will help encourage any bubbles to rise to the top.
You can use chopsticks to place embeds and to work out bubbles from your gel candles after pouring them. They are rather narrow and do not cause too many bubble inclusions compared to a wooden stirring spoon usually used in candle making.
In conclusion, like every problem in candle making a solution always exists. If you follow the steps in this article you should be able to prevent any discoloring or clouding of your gel candles.
Do not let gel candle making frustrate you or intimidate you just because it requires a few extra steps over traditional candle making.
Make yourself a step-by-step list of what to do before you start, and follow that list. If you follow everything then in the end I am confident you will have gel candles that are beautiful and make you happy.