Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Adding Additives!

I get a lot of questions about additives. The one I am asked most is: What additive will make my candles smell stronger. The answer is None. There isn't anything you can add to your candles to make them stronger. The best candles come from a combination of the right wax (and additives if you are using a straight paraffin instead of a blended wax) the right wick (because scent throw comes from the melted wax) and of course testing to find the scents that do best in your wax and wick combination (not all scents do equally well in every wax).

With that in mind, there are a lot of additives that we offer and there is still a lot of confusion as to how many are used. Hopefully this will clear some of that confusion and even get you considering testing making your own wax blend! It is a lot of fun to create something all your own and of course it is something that you have complete control over. 

Scent binders: Bitter Creek offers a few different binding agents for your wax.
Vybar 103 which is designed for waxes with a melt point 136* f. and above and Vybar 260 for waxes with melt points 135* f. and below. 
What does Vybar do and what do you use it in? Vybar is a scent binding agent that when used in a straight paraffin wax will significantly increase the amount of scent the wax can hold. Most straight paraffin waxes will hold no more than about 2-3% fragrance before they are blended with an additive like this. With the addition of Vybar it is entirely possible to use at least 1 weight ounce of scent per pound of wax (6%) and in some cases up to 1.5 weight ounces to the pound by weight (9%). Vybar will also stop a wax from mottling and aid in helping a wax have a smooth, creamy appearance. Mottle is the interior crystal structure that some straight paraffin waxes will give. Some people like this and opt not to use Vybar for that reason.

When Vybar isn't the right additive and mottle is a desired effect
you can choose an additive like Mottle Max. Mottle Max will in most cases not diminish mottle when used at 1/2 tsp to 1.5 tsp per lb of wax. .5-1% total. The use of Mottle Max will allow for even a mottle candle to hold between 6-9% fragrance, something that prior to it's introduction, wasn't possible. These three additives are for use in straight paraffin waxes. The will have no affect on soy. Vybar will also not increase scent throw contrary to popular myth and in fact can decrease by locking up the scent if too much is added as is the case when using it in waxes that already contain it such as a blended paraffin or reduced pour paraffin.
Vybar 103 & Vybar 206 are available at Bitter Creek South
Vybar 103, Vybar 260 and Mottle Max are available At Bitter Creek North

Color Protectors:
Bitter Creek North and South offer the same product for this and quite frankly: It's awesome! UV Color Stabilizer is easy to use It not only helps inhibit fading from light, but it also helps improve the stability of the candles color from UV exposure but it also protects it from the effects of heat and fragrance solvents! Some scents will change the color in time. For example Blueberry Muffins with Blue Liquid Dye used to turn green in time. With this product it will not. It will stay it's original vibrant blue.

The energy from light and heat affects and destroys the chromo-phores of color molecules. Light and heat also cause free radicals to form in the wax blend. Organic solvents and particularly the additives used in fragrances augment the destructive effect of light and heat. This unique system of stabilizing agents increases the stability of the candle components by absorbing light energy as well as by inhibiting the formation of free radicals.
I strongly recommend the use of this product in all wax types if you are selling your product to protect the colors for the life of the candle! It's well worth the investment!
UV Color Stabilizer is available at Bitter Creek North
UV Color Stabilizer is also available for purchase at Bitter Creek South.

Wax Hardeners: Both locations carry Steric Acid,the most common hardener for all types of waxes. This is a natural palm based product. We carry triple pressed vegetable steric. Triple Pressed Vegetable Steric is commonly used in paraffin and vegetable wax candles for hardness and opacity. It is normally used in pillar/molded candles at approx. 3 tbs per pound. Typical usage rates are around 1-3%. Keep in mind that you don't usually want to add steric acid in a container candle since it will inhibit the softness and meltability of the wax. In a container those are properties that are desired. In a pillar where hardness or a shell is desired this will allow you to accomplish this with little to no effort with the proper size wick. Steric Acid is also common in taper candles and used with beeswax produces a dripless candle.
Steric Acid is available at Bitter Creek North
Steric Acid is available at Bitter Creek South

Most waxes will not require much more than the basic UV additive including soy and palm. There are other additives out there like Mold Release Powder and Mold Release Spray that are carried at Bitter Creek North that are excellent for use when making molded candles. They can be used with any wax type. Petrolatum (Vaseline) or Mineral Oil can be added to straight paraffin waxes to soften the melt and Mineral Oil is also often used in straight paraffin wax to help increase mottling (remember this can also reduce the fragrance load the wax is capable of). Soy can be added to paraffin to increase burn times and decrease sooting. Many people blend 50/50 Ez Soy and a Blend like the 4636. It is the best of both worlds! A creamy pretty paraffin candle with the benefits of soy! I personally have made a soy that was half IGI 1343 and half Crisco. It burned beautifully! The candle was actually quite hard, as the 1343 is quite hard and has a higher melt point. Crisco is a partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

Sky is the limit with additives and making your own blends. Now is the time to stock up and start testing in the new year!  If you have any questions about how an additive may improve your performance or how it may alter the current state of your candle, please let us know! Our Tech Support department is here to answer your questions!

It is that time of year again! Please note that no PayPal or money orders will be taken after December 14th due to year end inventory.
PayPal E-checks take 5 to 7 business days to clear, so please remember this will delay your order significantly. Do not choose this option if you need rush shipping!

Bitter Creek North and South will be closed December 24 - January 2nd for Christmas and year-end inventory. Normal business hours will resume on January 3rd. Please note, all orders placed during this time will not be processed until January 3rd.

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