What type of jars are best for candles?

Most new candle makers will start their candle journey making container candles. They are a great place to begin because they are straightforward and fairly easy to make. However, a new candle maker might also find themselves struggling to select a container that will both look beautiful as a candle but also is able to handle the heat created by the candle. Selecting a jar that can’t take the heat can result in shattered glass, melted wax everywhere or even worse a fire.

Here we will look at how to select the best vessel for your container candles.

Heat Resistance

You want to make sure that the container that you select for your candles is heat resistant. If you are planning to use glass jars, you should look for jars made from tempered glass. Canning jars are made to withstand a lot of heat, so they make an excellent choice. Thin glass is very susceptible to shattering, so using things like wine glasses is not recommended.

Other types of containers that won’t shatter from the heat of a candle include oven-safe ceramics, cast iron and tins.

Fireproof

You have no doubt seen the trend of using dough bowls and other wooden vessels as a candle container. The popularity of these candles may have misled some new candle makers on what a fire-safe candle container really is. When left raw, these containers can light on fire and be very dangerous. They can absorb wax and could become one giant wood wick. When choosing a container that is flammable you are taking a big risk.

If you are determined to use a dough bowl or other wooden container for your candle vessel, you absolutely must put a thick coating of 100% waterproof sealer on it first. Don’t ever try to use a plastic container for a candle. Even with the thickest coating of sealant on it, it would still melt from the heat of a candle.

Containers made of things like cement, terracotta and clay are also popular options for candle vessels. When they are in their raw form, they are very porous and can absorb melted wax. This can make them flammable and unsafe. These types of containers will also need to have a thick layer of sealant before being used to make candles.

Shape matters

While it might be tempting to use a container that has a unique shape to it, you need to be very careful that it’s not going to create a problem for you when it’s time to select a wick. You must keep in mind that a wick will create a circular melt pool that will maintain the same diameter from its first burn to its last.

For example, if you chose a vessel that is thinner at the top and wider at the bottom, it would be impossible to properly wick it. A wick that burns out the proper diameter at the top would end up creating a tunnel towards the bottom. On the other hand, if you put in a wick that is right for the wide bottom, it would be too hot for the thinner top and could cause the glass to shatter.

It is a much better idea to select something that is cylindrical and has sides that are either straight up and down or only slightly tapers in towards the bottom.

You will also want to make sure that the shape of your vessel doesn’t leave it unstable. An uneven bottom or something with a pedestal bottom could easily topple over.

Other considerations for glass containers

Here are a few other things to watch for when choosing the right glass jar for your candles:

  • Recycled glass doesn’t hold up as well with heat, so it’s best to avoid using recycled glass.
  • Glass vessels that have bubbles throughout should not be used. Those air bubbles might look pretty, but they are areas where the glass is thinner and more fragile to heat.
  • Look over your glass very carefully for weak seams, cracks, and leaks. This could all result in a jar shattering and a big mess.

What are the best containers for candles?

Glass

Glass containers are probably the most popular type of candle vessel used today, but some glass containers are not safe to use. To make candles in a glass, it needs to be thick, smooth, and able to bear high heat.

Mason jars are safe to use as candle containers as they are designed for pressure canning. This means that they can withstand up to 250F. They are nonporous, smooth, and thick enough to avoid cracking.

In fact, any glass jar that holds these similarities could be a good candidate for candle making. Here is a selection of jars that are known to be safe for candle making.

As for other types of glass, avoid drinking glasses, wine glasses, glass vases, and other thin, delicate decorative glass containers.

Metal Candle Containers

Candle tins are a great choice for candle-making. You can choose from many sleek designs and beautiful colours. They are also very easy to label on the top, bottom, or side.

One great benefit for candle makers is that, unlike glass containers, you can’t see the wax inside. This makes metal containers for candles a good option for beginner candle makers. They will hide imperfections such as candle frosting, “wet spots” and uneven pours.

One thing that you will need to be careful with when using tins is their ability to absorb heat. You will need to have a caution label on your candle letting people know not to touch it while it is hot as it could burn their hands.

Ceramic Candle Containers

Ceramics are great for making candles in! They are long-lasting, heat resistant, and most come already sealed. Basically, if a ceramic container is marked microwave and dishware safe, you’re good to go!

If you are making a candle in a previously used ceramic container or mug, make sure that it doesn’t have any cracks and is in good condition. If you find a ceramic container that you love, and it isn’t sealed – just apply two coats of sealer to make it candle safe.

Concrete Candle Containers

Concrete has become more popular in recent years. It has a unique industrial look to it and is sturdy and leak-proof to work well as a candle container. It is known to be resistant to heat and fire making it a safe option for candles. Concrete is however quite porous, so it is best to seal it before pouring a candle into it.

Never Assume… Always Test!

Once you have selected the container that you would like to use for your candles, you shouldn’t assume that just because your vessel meets all the requirements listed above, that it will be safe to use. You will need to put it through a thorough test burn before you will know for certain that it is able to hold up to the heat of your candle.

Start by only making one candle and burn it for a minimum of 4 hours in a safe and controlled environment. Never leave the candle unattended. If your container can withstand this test, then you know for sure that your candles will be safe in your chosen vessel.

Conclusion

While there are many different options to choose from when picking a candle container, there are many that are not safe to be used as well. Be sure to do your research before investing in several vessels. This includes testing them out as a candle in a safe place to see how they react to the heat.  

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