So, you want to make a candle.
You've selected all that you'll need - from the wax type to the wick length, container size to decorative touches - but there's one crucial element missing. The scent.
Deciding the best scents to use in a candle can prove difficult, especially if you don't know how much the scent is going to carry once it's added to your wax.
Choosing the right fragrance oil percentage is an important part of this step, as it not only makes choosing the right scent easier, but also prevents unpleasant side effects once the candles actually lit - like sweating or curdling.
Getting the right scent throw for your liking is also key to the candle making process, and too much fragrance oil could quickly ruin what should have been a light and delicately-scented candle.
If you want to learn more about how to make a candle from scratch, you can follow our step-by-step beginner's guide to candle making.
How much fragrance oil per candle should I use?
There are three key factors to identifying the perfect fragrance oil in candle percentage:
- The wax type
- The flash point of the oil
- The strength of the scent
Since there are several different elements at play for many of these factors, it's important to always properly research the type of wax and oils you are using before proceeding.
What wax is best for candle making?
There are three popular wax choices for candle making: soy wax, beeswax, and paraffin wax.
While all three have their advantages, using soy wax is generally recommended amongst hobbyists, as soy has a lower melting point than most other wax types.
This means that it will burn slower in the container and allow your candle scent to be enjoyed for a longer period of time overall. It's also unlikely to produce smoke and black soot like paraffin wax often can.
What is a flash point?
When heated, all liquids will reach a specific point where they start turning into a gas. This can be so subtle that we may not even notice it at all.
At certain temperatures, however, a liquid can start releasing so much vapour that, when presented with an open flame, it could easily be ignited. This is called a flash point.
Despite its scary-sounding nature, this really isn't as dangerous as it seems, since heat alone would never ignite the oil.
Regardless, knowing the flash point of your oil is important if you don't want to lose the scent of your candle. To find this information, simply refer to the Safety Data Sheet associated with your fragrance oil.
You can learn more about flash points and why they're important here.
How do I know which scents are strong?
Scent is subjective, so what may seem overly "strong smelling" to one person may not be the same for another.
That being said, certain fragrance oils are likely to carry a heavier scent profile than others. For instance, Aloe Vera & Coconut Water will smell objectively lighter than Candy Floss, but both can be equally toned up or toned down depending on the percentage you add to the wax.
Most waxes can hold up to 12% fragrance oil without affecting the burn of the candle, however it is generally recommended to stay at or under 10% to be safe.
So, if you're looking at how much fragrance oil per 100g of soy wax to add, 10g of fragrance oil is ideal for a strong aroma.
If you're looking for a more subtle scent throw, a percentage of 5-6% may be better suited.
Why should I measure my ingredients in grams?
You may have noticed that the majority of candle instructions are laid out in grams - despite liquids generally being measured in millilitres.
This is done as a way to ensure weight accuracy. Since wax is solid at room temperature, it makes more sense to measure it - and the fragrance oils that go into it - in grams.
Thankfully, the conversion from millilitres to grams is generally the same - with slight variations depending on the density of the liquid. And since fragrance oils aren't particularly dense, it is pretty safe to assume their conversion will be similar.
Does this technique work with wax melts too?
Finding out how much fragrance oil for wax melts to use is just as simple as with candles.
The rules are essentially the same, and wax melts provide an easier alternative if you don't feel like jumping into candle making right away.
You can find our complete guide on how to make wax melts here.
Experimenting with fragrance oil percentages can be great if you're still looking to find the right scent strength and technique for you.
To be safe, though, be sure to always keep your ratios on or below 10%, and ensure you're using fragrance oils with a low enough flash point to avoid crafting issues.
Shop our fragrance oil range here.