Common Candle Making Terms & What They All Mean

Common Candle Making Terms & What They All Mean

8 mins read

With the NI Candle Supplies community constantly growing, we’ve noticed an increase in the use of candle making jargon. There are many terms, phrases and abbreviations people use day to day to talking about their candle making. But sometimes makers new and old just don’t understand what these mean.

This blog is designed to create a glossary of phrases and abbreviations made and tailored towards the NI Candle Supplies Community. We want to help you get faster and more accurate advice when reaching out to others, especially in the Candle Makers UK Group. But most importantly it’s good to brush up on your vocabulary to help develop your knowledge of the candle making process and reduce the production and troubleshooting time you have, by giving you the knowledge to find the information you really need.

NI Candle Supplies Personalised Glossary:

Before we dive into other common phrases and abbreviations, we wanted to dedicate the first section of our glossary to the phrases and abbreviations the NI Candle Supplies community sent into us.

Candle Burn Rates - This is the rate at which the candle wick consumes the wax while burning. Factors such as wax, wicks and fragrance used, along with the type of container the candle has been made in will affect the burn rate of your candle. We suggest using depth of melt pool (see below) as a better way to gauge whether your wick is suitable for your candle.

CLP - Or Classification, Labelling and Packaging of substances is an EU legislation to identify hazardous chemicals and inform users about these hazards. All of our oils have an editable CLP template available under the specifications tab, one at 10% for use in non-hazardous bases and one at 25% for use in Augeo base.

CT - Cold Throw, the fragrance emitted from a candle even though it isn’t burning.

Drowning Out - When the wick becomes clogged or is too small to consume the molten wax, this results in the wick drowning in the wax and either extinguishing itself or continuing to burn with a very small flame.

Flashpoint - Is the point at which the vapours from the neat fragrance oil can ignite if exposed to an ignition source.

Flickering (or dancing flame) - A flame that is unsteady and tends to jump about whilst the candle is burning.

FMP - Full Melt Pool. Ideally your candle should reach a full melt pool on the second or third burn for the wick to be the correct size as your candle burns lower down. A good rule of thumb when checking your melt pool is to perform 1 hour of burn time per inch of diameter of the vessel. For example, a 3 inch diameter vessel should reach a full melt pool in 3 hours on the second or third burn.

FO - Fragrance Oil. All oils have top, middle/heart or base notes. Top notes are the lightest of all the notes. They’re the first notes you notice when smelling a candle and are the quickest to evaporate. Middle or heart notes are the core of the fragrance and come through once the top notes evaporate, they also give a hint of what is to come from the base notes which follow last. The base notes intermingle with the heart notes and provide a depth of character to the fragrance.

Hang Up - Is the rim of wax that can be left behind when burning a candle. Hang up should melt away completely by the third burn. If it doesn’t, then your candle is likely to be tunnelling and a larger wick may be required.

HT - Hot Throw, this is the release of a candle’s fragrance into the air whilst being burnt.

IFRA - International Fragrance Association. The IFRA standards determine the maximum amount of fragrance oil that can be used in a product. IFRA Declarations are required as part of cosmetic submissions for bath and body products.

Scent Load - Also known as Fragrance Load is the ratio of fragrance oil to the weight of your wax. We recommend candle makers use 8% fragrance oil for their candle unless it’s a really light oil. To calculate your scent load check out our how to blog and Scent Load Calculator.

SDS - Safety Data Sheet. This document provides the handling information for a product in relation to occupational safety and health.

Sooting - This is the black residue left around the rim of the candle vessel. It’s an indication that the wick is not the correct choice for your candle.

Melt Point - This is the temperature at which the wax turns from a solid state to liquid form.

Testing - A vital part of candle making, designed to ensure your candle burns as it should. In our Candle Makers UK group, we have a handy file to help with your candle testing. You can find it here.

Throw - The release of fragrance into the air by the candle, there are two types of throw: cold throw (CT) and hot throw (HT).

Time Allowed For Curing - Candles made with natural waxes need to be left to cure so that the wax and fragrance molecules fully bond before the candle is lit. A long curing time can help ensure a good throw from your candle.

Wicking - This refers to the candle wick used in your candle.

UFI - Unique Formula Identifier, UFIs are being introduced to help the Poisons Centre easily identify a product in the event of an emergency. The UFI requirement and submission to the Poisons Portal will be mandatory from January 2020. We will be releasing a blog post on this topic to cover it in more detail next month.

Other Common Candle Making Terms and Abbreviations

Afterglow - The light emitted from the wick after the candle is put out.

Burn Cycle - The burning of a candle for four hours, blowing it out letting it cool and then repeating. This process is used for evaluating wick performance as well as candle testing.

Burn Test - After your wax, vessel and fragrance have been chosen it’s important to conduct a burn test to evaluate the best wick size and type for your candle.

Burn Time - The amount of time it takes for a candle to burn to completion. Wax type, wick size and vessel size will contribute to this.

Finishing - A heat gun is applied to the top of the wax to smooth out any imperfections in the candle after setting.

Gutter - Excessed melted wax that can run down the outside of a pillar candle.

Jump Lines - Also known as Chatter and Stuttering are the unintended horizontal lines or ring around the side of a container or pillar candle.

Melt Pool - The liquid pool of wax of a candle while burning.

Mix Temperature - The recommended temperature of the wax when you add fragrance and colour.

Out of Bottle - The first experience of a fragrance once the bottle is opened.

Pour Temperature - The required temperature for pouring the fragrance and wax into the vessel.

Power Burn - Burning a candle for longer than 4 hours.

Relief Holes - Holes that are deliberately poked into the candles to avoid air pockets forming.

Tart - Also known as wax melts are scented waxes with no wick that are melted for their fragrances using a Burner that is heated by a tea light candle.

Transition Temperature - The temperature range where a wax cooling from liquid to solid state has changed from non-crystalline form to crystalline.

Top Pour - Also known as re-pour and second pour is an additional pour after the candle has set to either fill in a sinkhole or smooth out the top.

Vessels - These are jars or containers that you use as a base for your candle.

Viscosity - This is the waxes ability to resist movement when melted. Wax - A filler substance that a candle is made from. Common types include paraffin, beeswax and soy.

Wick - A strip of porous material up which liquid fuel is drawn by capillary action to the flame in a candle.

Wick Down and Up - Also known as size down and up is when you test a wick one size smaller or bigger to try for optimal results.

Candle Making Terms and Abbreviations for Troubleshooting

The following terms and abbreviations have all been explained and resolved in our Common Issues with Soy Candles and How to Solve Them blog series.

We’ve categorised all of those here to make these troubleshooting terms easier to find, as well as linking you to our blogs to help solve your issues.

Also known as Bloom is the formation of a white crystal coating sitting around the side or sometimes on top of the candle. It’s a unique and natural effect of using vegetable waxes, especially soy. The wax is trying to return back to its natural form and as a result, it begins to crystallize.

You can read more on how to avoid frosting here.

Lumpy Tops
As you’re probably expecting, a lumpy top is when a candle does not form with a smooth top that we would normally expect. It can be caused by different temperatures during the pouring and setting processes.

You can read more on how to avoid lumpy tops here.

Mushrooming and Excess Carbon
Mushrooming is often caused by the use of an oversized wick. When testing your candles burn, you may notice is burns very brightly. This shows that the candle is taking on a greater amount of wax than it can burn, thus meaning that the wick becomes too hot and create unpleasant looking excess carbon, which looks like a mushroom shape.

You can read more on how to avoid mushrooming here.

When you see holes or craters in your wax, these are known as sinkholes. They are caused by air pockets trapped inside a finished candle. It’s quite uncommon but can occur with soy candles. You can prevent this by accurately following the instructions for melting and pouring temperature and ensuring candles set on a flat, undisturbed surface.

Also known as Leaching can be the result of moving a candle from one temperature to another. Soy wax is sensitive to extreme temperature changes, causing natural oils to separate from wax, leaving small beads or pools of oil on the candle.

You can read more on how to avoid sweating here.

Tunnelling or Uneven Burns
When a candle burns down the centre and leaves a hard wax around the outside this is an example of tunnelling. It is usually caused by having a wick that is not large enough for your wax, or ‘underwicking’ your container fragrance.

You can read more on how to avoid tunnelling here.

Wet Spots
Have you ever noticed that some of your candles seem to have air bubbles or wet looking patches between the wax and the glass jar? These are known as Wet Spots. As your candles cool down, a variation in temperature or the environment can cause the wax to cool down too quickly. When this happens, the wax pulls away from the glassware creating air bubbles.

You can read more on how to avoid wet spots here.

Here is the NI Candle Supplies Candle Phrases and Abbreviation Glossary. If there’s anything you think we’ve missed or would like answered leave us a comment or get in contact with us on our website or on our Facebook Page.

For all your other candle making needs, like how to guides and tips and tricks, make sure you visit our resource centre.

1 Response

NI Candle Supplies LTD
Tonya Browning

This is extremely helpful. Thank you.

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