Glossary

A brief dictionary of terms related to candle and soap making.

Additive

A substance blended with wax to enhance its burning qualities or alter its properties. Additives may include vybar, stearic acid, or UV inhibitor to name a few. Afterglow The light emitted after removal of an energy source. A wick may tend to “glow” and burn down slightly even after it has been extinguished.

Bloom

A powdery substance that appears on beeswax candles. Bloom results as the oils of the candle migrate to the surface over time. It can be removed by rubbing with a soft cloth. Bloom will not affect the burn of a candle and shows the 100% purity of the wax.

Burn Rate

The amount of wax consumed per hour in grams.

Burn Time

The amount of time it takes for the wax in a candle to be consumed completely.

Chatter Marks

Horizontal lines or rings that appear because wax is poured in a cold container or mold, or the wax

Clam Shell

A six or twelve cavity plastic formation used to make wax “melts” or tarts for use in a tart burner/warmer.

Cold Pour

Process of pouring wax at a cooler temperature to give a rustic look.

Cold Throw

The fragrance emitted from a candle when it is not burning.

Container Candle

Any candle poured directly into the container from which it will be burned.

Core

Refers to the interior of a candle. Also used to reference the inner material of a candle wick (may include zinc, cotton or paper).

Coreless

Used to refer to wicks, this indicates there is no core material.

Diameter

The measurement of a candle, container or mold at its widest point.

Double Boiler

Two nested pans with water in the lower one, designed to allow slow, even heating.

Dye

Colorants that are used to give color to wax.

Essential Oil

An oil derived from a natural substance (plant material, flowers, leaves, wood, grass, etc.)

Flashpoint

The lowest temperature at which the vapor of a combustible liquid can be made to ignite momentarily in air.

How this relates to candles: The flashpoint refers to the temperature fragrance oil would have to be in order to catch fire when encountering a spark or an open flame. For example, if fragrance oil has a flashpoint of 170, the oil would have to reach a minimum temperature of 170 degrees before it could catch fire when touching a flame. This does not mean that you cannot allow your candle wax to reach a higher temperature than the oil's flashpoint. It is perfectly safe to allow your wax to heat up to whatever pouring temperature you need even if you are using fragrance oil with a lower flashpoint.

Floater (also floating candle) A shallow candle with a significantly tapered base that will float in water.

Fragrance Oil

A blend of synthetic and/or natural components used to create scented oil.

Frosting

White, chalky marks that appear often on soy candles. Similar to bloom on beeswax candles.

Gel Candle

An usually translucent or clear candle that is made from a mineral oil based product. 

Hot Throw

The fragrance emitted from a candle when it is burning.

Hurricane Candle

An outer shell of wax with a high melt point that may be decorated and is not intended for burning. There will be an inner candle that can be burned and/or replaced.

Jump Lines

See Chatter marks 

Melt Point

The temperature at which a wax will start to liquefy.  Do not confuse with POUR POINT.  As a rule, softer waxes have a lower melt point.

Melt Pool

The wax that liquefies as a candle burns. 

Mold

A form used to create a free standing candle. They are usually made of metal or silicone.

Mold Plug

Small cone shaped rubber pieces used to close the hole in the bottom of a mold.

Mold Release

An agent used to coat the inside of a mold to make removing the candle easier.

Mold Sealer

A clay-like substance use to seal the hole on the bottom of a mold, used to block the extra space left around the wick on the outside of the mold.

Molten Wax

Hot melted liquid wax.

Mottling

A surface effect in wax that has a snowflake type appearance.

MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet)

Product safety information sheets prepared by manufacturers and marketers of products.

Mushrooming

Carbon build up on the tip of a wick after burning.

Neck

The vertical shaft of a wick tab that secures the tab to the wick. Lengths of wick tab necks can vary.

One Pour

A wax that does not require a second pour. See also single pour.

Opaque

Not transmitting or reflecting light; impenetrable to sight.  Solid in appearance.

Overdip

Coating a finished candle with an alternate wax for color or other effects.

Paraffin Wax

Made of refined petroleum; most commonly used wax in candle making.

Pillar Candle

A candle made in a mold and meant to be free-standing. Usually made with a high melt wax.

Pour Point

A determined temeperature at which to pour melted wax into the candle form.  Changing the Pour point will result in varied candle finishes.

Primed

Term used when referring to wicking; meaning coated with wax.

Relief Holes

Holes poked in candles to release air pockets that can form as wax cools to prepare for a second pour.

Repour

The action of filling the cavity left after wax has completely cooled to make the top of the candle level.

Scent Load

Amount of fragrance a wax will hold; usually stated in a percentage.

Scent Throw

The fragrance emitted by a candle. (See also cold and hot throw)

Single Pour Wax

A wax that does not shrink enough to require a second pour. Also one pour.

Sink Hole

Cavity that is formed when a wax hardens and contracts.

Soy Wax

An all natural wax made of soy beans. A clean burning wax that is a natural alternative to paraffin.

Stearic Acid

Used to increase opaqueness, slow burning, and harden wax.

Taper

A tall, thin candle that becomes more slender at the burning end. A candle holder must be used with this type candle.

Tart

A small portion of scented wax used in a tart burner. Can be made in various shapes. Easily made with clam shells. Also referred to as "melts".

Tart Burner

A device that has a votive or tealight in a lower compartment with an open cupped area on top where a tart can be heated. Some burners use a light bulb that is designed to get warm enough to melt wax in place of a burning candle.

Tealight

A small, self-contained candle usually poured in a tin or polycarbonate cup, measuring approximately 1.5” in diameter and 0.5” tall.

Tunneling

When a wick does not make a full melt pool in a candle leaving a ring of unmelted wax on the sides.

UV Stabilizer

An additive used to prevent fading when a candle is exposed to UV rays or fluorescent lighting.

Votive Candle

A small candle measuring approximately 1.75” diameter and 2” tall and requires burning in a votive holder; designed to liquefy completely. 

Vybar

A polymer used primarily to aid in fragrance oil retention, also increases opacity and enhances color. A modern alternative to stearic acid.

Water Bath

A container of water used to accelerate the cooling process of a candle; cool water is usually used.

Wet Spots

An area where wax has pulled away from parts of a container leaving spots; a common problem with container candles.

Wick

Material that delivers fuel to the flame in a candle.

Wick Bar

A small metal bar used when making candles to stabilize a wick at the top of a candle.

Wick Clip Assembly

A precut length of wick with a wick tab already crimped in place.

Wick Pin

Takes the place of the wick while pouring votive or pillar candles. It is removed when the candle is completely cool, and a wick is inserted in its place.

Wick Tab

A flat metal disc with a small hole in the center for a wick; holds the wick at the bottom of a candle.