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  • Testing

    Hi, I'm just trying to get my head around which method would be best for making and testing my candles. I haven't started making yet because I want to make sure I get it right to minimise waste / mistakes. Ideally what i wanted to do was to use a selection of essential oils for fragrance and for each fragrance make wax melts, votives and small pillars. So I was imagining that I could make up a batch of wax and fragrance it with say frankincense and then from that batch produce a tray of wax melts, 1 votive and 1 pillar and then repeat the process for each fragrance, so that I have would have a nice varied but small range of aromatherapy candles which can be replaced as and when they sell, so that I'm not just stockpiling stuff that I can't shift, if you catch my drift Anyway I then realised that I would have to test each one of those so whats the solution, wwyd? Do I make up 2 of each type instead, one to test, one to sell? (this seems like a lot of wasted ingredients). Do you have to test each batch you make or do you assume that if the recipe / method was good last time it was made, that as long as the process is repeated in exactly the same way for the next batch, then it is safe? Sorry if this seems garbled or confusing, hope its clear what I mean please share with me how you went about testing your candles, thanks

  • #2
    There will always be a certain amount of testing involved in candle making, especially at the start.
    If you plan on selling then you have to ensure that your product is safe and the only way of doing that is by burning some from start to finish to ensure there are no problems. This shouldn't be looked at as a waste of ingredients, but more as an essential part of the process.

    Once you're happy you have a safe burning candle you can go ahead and replicate that candle as many times as you need without any real need to keep testing them. I do tend to test one every now and then just to ensure everything is working as expected.

    You would have to test each EO individually as their burning characteristics will differ.

    Also for each major change of component you would have to test again. So if you got a new wax or EO supplier then you'd have to test again. Wax can be slightly different from batch to batch, but EOs are far more likely to be different from one supplier to the next.

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    • #3
      For my container candles ~ to start with I made several candles with the same wax and FO formulation but with different wicks and burnt from start to finish. I then chose two wicks that burned well and gave good hot throw and made another two candles with the same formula and the two wicks. From these, I chose my favourite the make all my candles with and made one for each of the nine scent I am going to offer and burnt them. I burnt all my test candles from start to finish.

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      • #4
        Just a little tip, we've used friends and family as guinea pigs if you will. If it burns well and they like it, they tell everyone they know - if not, we make them another one! Just gives another angle from which you can feel like you're not wasting anything. We also still do this with things that don't quite come out right.

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        • #5
          Thank you thats very helpful, it hadn't occurred to me that I'd have to test each time I change supplier of oils too, so thanks for that its good to know. As an aromatherapist I use a few different suppliers depending on what I need at the time but I think I need to just pick one for candle making and stick with them, to keep things simple. I'm very excited about getting started with it all properly but worried at the same time, that I might just end up spending good money after bad because I can't get a good throw or they just don't burn right!

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          • #6
            £375. That's exactly the amount that it cost me to get the perfect (in my humble opinion) container (status jar) woodwick candle.

            Bloody hell??????? :-)))))))))

            i wonder how much everyone else has spent on testing.

            When you add up equip, time, gas, travel, postage etc etc. I think you might be surprised.....

            ....right time for yet more trials :-()

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            • #7
              Yep, I'd easily say well over £100 for our containers - thankfully all being the same shape it's a fairly simple formula to translate. Then you just hope it burns okay :P
              ....and we're still testing votives so it's only going to increase!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Robsmithimages View Post
                £375. That's exactly the amount that it cost me to get the perfect (in my humble opinion) container (status jar) woodwick candle.

                Bloody hell??????? :-)))))))))

                i wonder how much everyone else has spent on testing.

                When you add up equip, time, gas, travel, postage etc etc. I think you might be surprised.....

                ....right time for yet more trials :-()
                I don't dare go there, Rob!

                Marion

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                • #9
                  Hence why your already up and running as a successful business hahaha. Well done Laura. Oh and your bookmarked so onwards and upwards.
                  amazing though when you add up the numbers. For those that think starting up a candle business to make profit should really consider the 'trial' costs.

                  yikes!!!!!!!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Robsmithimages View Post
                    £375. That's exactly the amount that it cost me to get the perfect (in my humble opinion) container (status jar) woodwick candle.

                    Bloody hell??????? :-)))))))))

                    i wonder how much everyone else has spent on testing.

                    When you add up equip, time, gas, travel, postage etc etc. I think you might be surprised.....

                    ....right time for yet more trials :-()

                    Crikey I wouldn't like to calculate the cost, made the mistake of making full candles rather than smaller samples to test in the beginning. Wish I'd found this site when I started

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                    • #11
                      I have a couple of very supportive candle-fan friends who are my guinea pigs. I made a small batch of one fragrance tealights (6 normally) and burned one after 3 days. If I thought the fragrance was good I gave one each to the friends and kept the others for myself. Then I tried another, meantime waiting for feedback. These same friends have now bought lots of tealights and spread the word.

                      Now I'm testing jars (painful process) and, when I get it right, I'll give just one of them a jar and perhaps the other the next fragrance test jar. In the meantime, when I see a jar going wrong when I'm testing it I melt it down and try again. I find the goodwill giving away the odd freebie generates repays itself in sales and good publicity.

                      I am going through a lot of wax, testing, but it's probably cheaper than enrolling on a course that would teach me about all types of wax, wick, containers etc, even if such a course existed. Speculating to accumulate, I hope!

                      Best of luck with it - at worst your house will smell amazing.

                      Marion

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                      • #12
                        We definitely thought long and hard about how we wanted it to look, the approach we wanted to go for and both answers naturally leaned toward having uniformity as the concept. Which in turn made things SO much easier! I dread to think what our outlay has been on top of the original £300 purchase of staple items. And I'm not going to look until we've made at least £500 back!

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                        • #13
                          Any amount of testing has to be worth it in terms of safety for your customers and the inherent safety of your business. You may not have read a post I made this weekend about a candle that was bought for me as a gift that I burned and that burst into flames before it was properly burned out. There was enough wax left in the bottom of the container I put it in to cause one hell of a fire had I not been there to put it out (as in, I wasn't in the bathroom or answering the phone).

                          I would say that until you are sure that your candles are safe you have to test everything and perfect it. Think of it this way.....(and I'm not a candle maker so I don't know how this works)....make a candle, write out your formula and light it as a test. If it's perfect then woo hoo! Make more using that formula (testing one every now and then as you go). If you make two, one to sell and one to test each time, but you haven't gotten the formula right then you've wasted twice as much in terms of materials.

                          I make jewellery and other accessories and if I make something that scratches someone or leads to an infection because a substance I've used causes an infection then that's pretty bad. But. A candle could cause a fire that could lead to a devastating outcome. I would suggest that you test, test and test again until you know what you are selling is safe because I love and use candles on a regular basis and I trust that sellers make something safe.
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                          • #14
                            Good grief! Was it a pillar candle or in a container? How dreadful and how fortunate you were there. Thanks for sharing this post - it's good to be reminded what can go wrong.

                            Marion

                            Originally posted by blackwillow View Post
                            Any amount of testing has to be worth it in terms of safety for your customers and the inherent safety of your business. You may not have read a post I made this weekend about a candle that was bought for me as a gift that I burned and that burst into flames before it was properly burned out. There was enough wax left in the bottom of the container I put it in to cause one hell of a fire had I not been there to put it out (as in, I wasn't in the bathroom or answering the phone).

                            I would say that until you are sure that your candles are safe you have to test everything and perfect it. Think of it this way.....(and I'm not a candle maker so I don't know how this works)....make a candle, write out your formula and light it as a test. If it's perfect then woo hoo! Make more using that formula (testing one every now and then as you go). If you make two, one to sell and one to test each time, but you haven't gotten the formula right then you've wasted twice as much in terms of materials.

                            I make jewellery and other accessories and if I make something that scratches someone or leads to an infection because a substance I've used causes an infection then that's pretty bad. But. A candle could cause a fire that could lead to a devastating outcome. I would suggest that you test, test and test again until you know what you are selling is safe because I love and use candles on a regular basis and I trust that sellers make something safe.

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                            • #15
                              I also have notes anywhere and everywhere. But all good points here. Learning by mistakes is the only option. Plus Spencer's book might be along soon. But reading spyders and spencer mammoth post is a very good place to start.

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