When most people think of wax, in any form, the wax they generally think of is probably a paraffin wax. It is one of the most plentiful and multi-use waxes used today. A by-product of the crude oil refining process, in its raw form, it is a white, odorless, tasteless, "waxy" solid, with a typical melting point between about 110 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and while it's very inert, it burns well.
What Kind of Candles Does It Make?
You can make almost any type of candle with paraffin wax. The melting point is the primary determinant of the type of candle you can make with it.
- Low-melt point paraffin (less than 130 degrees Fahrenheit) is used for container candles in jars, cups, or glasses.
- Medium-melt point paraffin (130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit) is used for candles that need to stand on their own, such as votives, pillars, and other molded candles.
- High-melt point wax (greater than 150 degrees Fahrenheit) is used for more specialized applications such as hurricane candle shells, overdipping, and other special candle-making applications.
How It's Generally Packaged or Sold
While many people have seen paraffin wax for canning in small boxes in the grocery store (not the best kind for candles), paraffin candle wax is usually sold in 11-pound slabs. There are also a couple of companies that sell paraffin wax in pellet form. This makes weighing it out and melting it super easy.
Suppliers of Paraffin Wax
Here are some suppliers of candle wax that sell different blends of paraffin wax for candle making:
Paraffin Wax vs. Soy Wax for Candle Making
If you want to hear some strong opinions expressed, just ask a group of candlemakers which wax is better: soy, or paraffin. Both have their benefits. Soy wax has "natural" qualities, even if others believe that paraffin is an evil toxic substance. As you'll see from the National Candle Association facts below, the most important thing is that you use a high-quality wax in a well-made candle.
Candle Wax Facts From the National Candle Association
From the National Candle Association:
- All waxes are primarily hydrocarbons, whether of animal, vegetable, or petroleum origin. The chemical composition of all candlemaking waxes is similar, and all candle waxes burn in the same manner.
- No specific type of wax or wax blend is considered "best" for candle making. All waxes—when provided in high-quality format—have been shown to burn cleanly, safely, and in the same manner.
- No candle wax has ever been shown to be toxic or harmful to human health.
- There is no such thing as a soot-free wax.