aromatherapy recipes

Candle scent confusion

by Jane
(London, England)

Q: I bought a beginners soy candle kit and have a few questions.

1. The kit did not include a thermometer and the instructions make no mention of one. Is this a problem? Everything I've read so far suggests that candles require a certain temperature to have any kind of throw.

2. Is there a standard or optimum temperature to add scent to a soy candle? My instructions say add fragrance when the soy pellets melt.

3. (The biggie) the fragrance advice is so confusing. As a beginner I'm instructed to start small, my kit contains tiny containers, not more than 2 in in diameter and I have been making enough just for one to avoid waste of resources. In every forum etc that I read, people are speaking in larger quantities and saying they go up to 7-8% frag in soya wax which I assumed meant 7-8% of the total weight of the candle?!

Unfortunately, I now think that most people are only referring to large quantities and not thinking of say 30g wax and 7-8% frag.

My first experiment was woeful, lovely scent, great cold throw, burned okay but the melt pool was a little deep yet it had no-low hot throw and it began to burn with a fatty, greasy smell. It contained lavender, lilac, chamomile and rose.

My second experiment is not cured but I added 6% frag to a 32g candle and now think this was wrong? It does look a little greasy and smells overpowering cold but that may just be my nose being overwhelmed.

So how can I judge the right measure of fragrance to test candle and why is my melt pool so deep? Is my container too small? Wick too large or small or is the fact that I'm using a beginner's kit the real problem?

Thanks for any help you can give, this is not an easy or cheap hobby to take up and I feel I may give it up.

A: Hmmm... Okay, let's start with question 1. It's fairly important to have a thermometer because you do need to add scent when you wax reaches a certain temperature. A simple candy or meat thermometer will do, so don't spend too much.

2. You're using fragrance oils rather than essential oils, so you should be adding the fragrance when your candle wax is at 180 degrees for best hot throw results.

I would speculate that the reason your candle has a fatty, greasy smell is because the wax quality and/or the fragrance oil quality is poor. It sounds like you bought a dud of a kit, frankly :(

You're right about the general rule of thumb - adding 6-8% fragrance per pound of wax. That works out to about 1oz of fragrance per pound of wax. Maybe you can do some math and reduce the numbers for each candle???

I think the wicks that came with your kit are not great, and that's causing your wax pool problems. My best suggestion: get new wicks or throw out the kit entirely and get a better one. Sorry...

Best of luck, and if you decide to try again with some new supplies, check out for quality soy candle making supplies at good prices. Poke around in their how-to section too, there's some helpful info!

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