Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fathers Day, Wick Your Wax and Tea Lights!

Wick Your Wax scents are on sale this month at Bitter Creek. I know many of our customers have never tried them and if you haven’t this is the PERFECT opportunity for you to give them a whirl! Wick Your Wax Spring Sale! All Wick Your Wax fragrances on sale this month for $2.00 off per pound or $1.00 off an 8 oz bottle!

What makes the Wick Your Wax fragrances different? They are concentrates. The regular line is double strength, meaning if you normally use 1 weight ounce per pound of wax, with these you will use ½ ounce per pound. The Top Shelf Wick Your Wax scents are even stronger!!! When using the Top Shelf, I recommend starting at 1/3 ounce per pound of wax! When comparing the cost, in most cases, using the more expensive WYW scents actually saves you money!

So many men are not huge fans of candles, and soaps or anything they deem “Fru-Fru” but I find men like things that indeed are manly and smell nice both! Three of my top selling “man scents” are Tuxedo from the WYW Top Shelf & Sage & Citrus from the regular Wick Your Wax line have been a hit with my personal male clientele for a decade!  Try these scents Soap, Man Candles, Lotions and Body and Room Spray! Perfect Storm has been a consistent seller for me in Candles, Room Sprays and Incense! I have chosen to use this scent this month for a tutorial on how to make Tea Light Candles.

Supplies List:
Wick Your Wax Perfect Storm
Blue Liquid Candle Dye
IGI 2281 Straight Paraffin with 1/2 tsp per lb of wax Vybar 260 OR IGI 4794 Votive Blend. Both work excellent! I used the IGI 2281 and Vybar for this.


Weigh out the amount of wax you need on a digital scale. For 1 dozen candles, you will need to melt 6.5 weight ounces of wax. You can do this in a double boiler, a Presto Kitchen Kettle or a commercial wax melter. Heat the wax to 180*

While your wax is melting, place your Tea Light cups together and straighten and set your wicks near them.


Weigh out your fragrance oil and add your dye. For this I used one drop of Blue. The more you add the darker it will be. I used .2 weight oz of WYW Perfect Storm and 6.5 weight oz of wax. I do this directly in to my pouring pot.

Once your wax is up to temperature (check with a thermometer), remove it from the heat and place in a pouring pot if it isn’t already. 

If you used your pour pot to melt the wax, set it on a digital scale and use the tare feature to zero out the weight and weigh in the fragrance and add the dye as done in the previous step. Stir well.

You are now ready to pour the candles. Pour each candle about 3/4 full and insert your wick.

Allow the candles to cool until they are solid but pliable and adjust the wick. Be careful not to pull too hard or you can pull the wick out of the tab. Let the candle continue to cool until you are ready to do a final pour

Re-heat your wax using a double boiler. Be sure to re-position the wicks so they are centered. Heat to 185* and re-pour the tea light until it is just full.

Allow the candles to fully cool and package.

We sell a variety of great packaging for tea lights. Clear and Frosted boxes and Clear Tubes

Here is an example of our Clear Tea Light Box filled! These are a great seller!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wicks. Wicks. Wicks.

With wicks on sale this month I started thinking about how many questions I get every week with regards to wicks, wick size, testing wicks etc.. This month I decided to change my blog a bit to explain and also show you what a candle that burns correctly should look like and act like both.

How do I know what kind of wick to use in my candle? Wicking is tricky. In fact probably the most difficult part of making any candle. My rule of thumb is to wick first according to manufacturers recommendations but then also based on my own physical testing. I have tested at some point every wax we sell and every type of wick, although not all of them together.

In my experience candles that are made from a base of paraffin wax; Straight Paraffin, Blended Paraffin and Single/Reduced Pour Paraffin waxes tend to do the best in "most" cases with zinc core wicks. What does that mean? Well, for Pillar or Taper style candles, made from paraffin, a zinc wick isn't my first wick choice. I find Flat Braid Cotton or Square Braid Cotton wicks tend to work better for those types of candles. For a Tea Light candle, my preference is also for a cotton wick. In this case, a coreless braid but one already tabbed. For most paraffin containers, I prefer zinc core wicks. I find that they burn slower and because paraffin wax burns out, then down...this works best. On that note, many people don't like zinc core wicks personally (and that is OK! This is what trial and error testing is all about folks!) and use LX, HTP, CD etc. in their containers or votive candles. As long as it burns correctly and safely it's the right wick for you!

Soy Candles are a completely different animal versus those made from traditional Paraffin. Wicking a Pure Soy Wax, a Blended All-Vegetable Soy Base Wax or a Paraffin & Soy Blend, you will need to wick according to the soy in the wax. Soy is a lot more viscous and creates a more difficult burn situation than say a straight paraffin wax. Soy instead of burning out then down like paraffin also burns down before spreading out. If your wicks are not hot enough, the wick can not handle the down before out. For any wax with soy, zinc wicks are not recommended. Zinc can tend to fizzle out and stop burning out of nowhere, even if they had previously worked in the same combination for years. For any container (or tea light and or votive) candle with soy, my first choice is the CD series followed by the following in no particular order: HTP, ECO, LX, RRD, Performa, Paper Core.Wicking Pillar Soy is a bit tricky but I have found the Square and Flat Braid Cotton work well for me!

With ANY candle and ANY wick and ANY wax (yes, I meant business there!) you have to keep your wicks trimmed, burn for the proper amount of time for your container and be sure to TEST, TEST & TEST! The ideal burn for any jar candle is after 4 hours your melt should be between 1/4" and 1/2" deep against the glass (this may take a few burn cycles to get to, but as long as you see it by the third burn and the first two are VERY close, you should be good). If you are following this guideline and trimming your wicks before each burn (1/8" for soy and 1/4" for paraffin) you should also have very minimal soot and smoke, even near the end of the burn! Remember it IS all about the wicks. Wicks make the candle burn either correctly or incorrectly. The wicks create the melt pool which is where scent comes from. The wicks are what will either make a safe or unsafe candle while burning.

Bitter Creek Candle Supply offers one of the largest selections of wicks in the industry! Have a question about a wick? Can't decide which wick will be best for you? Need help selecting a wick? We offer FREE Technical Support to all our customers! Online help is available 9am to 5pm Central Time Monday through Friday. Click here for information on how to contact Tech Support by phone, e-mail or through our Live Online Chat Application! Real candlemaking advice from a working chandler with over a decade of experience in the business!

*We can only offer recommendations as to wick sizes and applications, but we cannot guarantee any certain wick to work in a certain application because of too many variables involved. The only way to determine the appropriate wick selection is by experimentation. Test burning will be necessary to determine the best wick for your candles! For testing, we offer for purchase, sample packs that contain 5 of each size wick within a series.

The candle in the photo above was made by me, Flicker. It is made from IGI 6006 which is a Paraffin & Soy Blend. It is poured in our 8 oz. Jelly Jar, colored with liquid candle dye and wicked with a CD series wick. That is taken after the candle has burned 4 full hours. This is what an ideal burn looks like.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Falling forward to Fall shows!

I tend to think a few months ahead in the game of making and selling candles and body care. I am a wholesaler for the most part. My shops are buying ahead sometimes 4-5 months! I am already putting the finishing touches on my Christmas line. This year I've decided to add Pinecone Fire starters! They are SO pretty and smell SOOO good!

Simple directions for this quick and profitable item!

You will need Wax (I used the IGI 4625 but any hard paraffin wax will work!)
Dye (I used Burgundy Liquid Dyes)
Fragrance (I used Mulled Cider, mmmmm! Such a yummy scent!)
and Wicks or String! (I used zinc core wicking)

Melt your wax. While the wax is melting wrap wick pieces around the cones to use as holders while dipping. They will also be the way the cones are lit later on!

Take your pinecones and dip them into the wax to form a base. I did this before adding the color and scent but that really doesn't matter. Just be sure the wax is hot 175-185* so that it will penetrate the cone to leave a nice solid base for the latter layers to adhere to.

Set aside the cones on wax paper to cool.

Now with scented and colored wax if you did not in the last step, allow the wax to slighly cool so it will build up vs. melt off the pinecone...dip, allow to drip off and set on the wax paper to cool.

Repeat the process until you have achieved your desired look.

These are pretty and sell easily at fall and winter shows! Average prices are $9-15 for a bag of 9. Use different colors with different scents. Also a great way to use up extra wax!!!! The better the packaging the more they will sell for! Include instructions and have some out for people to sniff!!!