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Candle Making Glossary, Definitions and Terms:
Additives Anything added to wax to alter it's properties.
Cored Wicks Wicks with a material inside to help keep it rigid while it burns in a pool of liquid wax. These wicks are commonly used in votive candles, jar candles, and pillar candles. The cores are either paper, zinc, cotton, or lead. Up until a few years ago lead was used in wick cores, however, due to health concerns lead cored wicks should Never be used!
Double Boiler A smaller pot placed into a larger one that contains heated water. This is generally considered to be the safest way to melt wax in the home environment, however, great caution should be used whenever melting wax.
Dye A liquid or powder that is used to color wax. Can also come in flake or chunk form mixed with a small amount of paraffin wax.
Essential Oils Different plant extracts that can be used to add scent to wax. These are usually diluted with a white oil or mineral oil to act as a carrier.
Jump Lines or skip lines Lines that form when wax is poured into a jar or mold that is cooler than the wax.
Flash Point The temperature at which vapor from heating wax will ignite. Great care should be taken to avoid approaching or reaching these temperatures when melting wax. The actual temperature depends on the type of wax, although it is usually around 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Flat Braided Wick The wick used to make taper candles. It was a great innovation from the 1800's. Before flat braided wick was invented taper candles had to be "snuffed" to remove the carbon that built up on top of the wick as the candle burned. The flat braided wick is "self trimming" which means it breaks off as it burns preventing the carbon build up. This wick design also aids in the combustion process.
Floating Candle Any candle that is made to float on water.
Fragrance Oil An oil, usually mineral, that has a scent in it. Used to scent waxes.
Gel Candle A clear type of candle made from a gelled mineral oil.
Gloss Poly An additive that raises the melting point, hardens a candle, and can give a candle a shine if used in a smooth surfaced candle mold.
Hemp Wicking A wick made either entirely of hemp, or a wick that uses hemp as the core material.
Hurricane Candle A candle that is made with a high melting point wax as an outer shell that can either be filled with a softer wax or a votive or pillar candle.
Layering Pouring different layers of colored wax.
Luminaria Votive candle used in a sand-filled container for outdoor use.
Luster Crystals A wax additive which will brighten the coloring in wax, and raise the melt point of wax.
Melting Point: Temperature at which wax melts. Can vary from about 125 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mineral Oil Also called white oil, a clear oil used in candle making mainly as the carrier of scents.
Molded Candles Any candle that is made from pouring wax into a container of some shape or form.
Mold Release A wax additive that aids in the release of a poured candle. Can also be a spray that is applied to the inside of a mold to aid in release.
Mold Seal A clay or putty used to seal any space around a wick where it passes through a mold.
Mottling A surface effect on a poured candle that looks like snowflakes.
Mushrooming A condition where carbon forms at the tip of the wick on a burning candle. This condition is caused by using the wrong size wick, and sometimes by using some additives.
Overdipping When a color is desired on the outside of a candle but the core of the candle is clear, the process is called overdipping. This is the only way a pigment coloring can be used on a candle while minimally affecting the burning of a candle without clogging the wick.
Paper Core wick A wick with a cotton outside and paper inside. The paper core helps keep the wick rigid while immersed in a pool of liquid wax.
Palm Wax A hard wax that is derived from the palm tree. It has a high melting point. Used on its own or as an additive. When used as an additive it usually is in the form of palm stearic, a flaked or powdered additive.
Paraffin wax This is the most common wax used in candlemaking. It comes from the refining of petroleum.
Petrolatum, Petroleum Jelly Used to lower the melting point of waxes. Makes wax softer, used frequently by wax sculptors.
Pigment colors A coloring that is tiny particles that stay suspended in a candle to produce color. This type of coloring should only be used as an overdip color as the non-dissolved particle composition of them will clog a wick if used in the core of a candle.
Pillar Candles A molded candle that is usually intended to be used by itself.
Polyethylene An additive to wax that hardens wax and adds sheen when the wax is cast in a smooth surfaced mold.
Pouring Temperature The optimal temperature at which wax will produce the best finish and characteristics when poured into a mold. This temperature varies greatly dependant upon the type of wax being used, the size and type of mold, and various other conditions affecting the candle.
Scent Oil An oil that carries a fragrance used to add scent to a candle.
Slack Wax A lower cost wax with high oil content used mainly for jar candles.
Soy Wax or Soybean Wax Wax derived from the soybean. A clean burning wax that is usually harder than parrafin waxes.
Stearine, Stearic Acid Used to harden wax, and add opaqueness.
Taper Candle The classic candle made for hundreds of years. Through history these were made by dipping a wick into a vat of melted wax repeatedly, each time building another coat of wax increasing the candles thickness. During the past 200 years taper candles have sometimes been molded.
Tart A piece of scented wax used in a burner where a votive heats a pot in which the tart is placed, giving off its fragrance.
Tealight Candle Usually in a tin cup, it is a small, self contained candle that can be inserted into a holder.
Votive Candle A small molded candle used in a holder. Commonly scented and colored.
Vybar 260 Added to wax to make colors more vivid and increase fragrance. Used for waxes with melting points below 130 degrees fahrenheit.
Water Bath A container of water used to expedite the cooling process of liquid or warm wax.
Wax glue or sticky wax A microcrystalline soft wax used to adhere decorations or appliques to candles. Also used to repair broken candles.
Whipped Wax Wax which has been beaten or whipped in order to add air to it and make it lighter and more opaque.
Wick A bundle of fibers that is twisted or braided and delivers the molten wax of a candle to the candles flame through the process of capillary action.
Wick Tabs A clip that holds a wick straight and at the bottom of a candle.
Zinc Core Wick Wicking with a zinc metal core. These are rigid wicks used mostly in jar candles.
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