Candles are a crowd pleaser. They fill a room with your favorite scent, and can really “set the mood” for the space. If you’re looking to create a cozy atmosphere, a spicy warm candle like the Chai Tea Latte Candle does the trick. On the flip side, the Purple Blackberry Flower Candle adds a sweet smell to the room. There is a candle for just about every occasion.
The most common candle making question I receive is, “can I add soapmaking fragrance oils to my candle?” After all, the most important property of a candle is the scent. The short answer is yes! All fragrance oils and essential oils at Bramble Berry can be used in your candle project. The small caveat is these fragrances were tested specifically for soap, and were not tested in candles. The scent may change once the candle is burned, or may not give off the best scent throw.
Soapmaking fragrance oils can be added to candle projects, but they may not have been tested for scent throw.
When using a new fragrance for candles, I strongly recommend making a small test candle first. From our tests, we know that Pineapple Cilantro and Pink Grapefruit Fragrance Oils don’t smell very good in candles. In addition to the scent changing when burned, sometimes fragrance oil can separate once the candle has cooled. It’s important to always thoroughly mix in the fragrance oil into the melted wax. And if your fragrance starts to separate, do not burn the candle. This can be dangerous, as you don’t know how the fragrance oil will behave when introduced to direct flame. If you’re making a gel candle, there are a few fragrance oils we do not recommend because of their low flashpoint. You can find that list here.
Flavor oils are fragrance oils which are safe for the lips. These fragrances are also safe to use in candles, but have not been tested and the scent may change when the candle is lit. On the flip side, if you buy a candle fragrance oil, it may not be suitable for soap or other products applied to the skin. Candle only fragrance oils are held to different (lower) standards of safety because they are not used on the body.
If you want a tried-and-true fragrance for your candle project, the Skin Safe Candle Fragrances are the way to go. These fragrances can be used in both soap and candles, but were specifically formulated to have a great scent throw. The term “scent throw” refers to the intensity of scent candles emit once lit. For a medium to strong scent, I recommend using 0.8 oz. – 1.2 oz. of fragrance oil per pound of wax into your project. If your fragrance oil features especially strong notes, you may find 0.5 oz. fragrance oil per pound is suitable for your project. You can use the Fragrance Calculator to find out how much scent to add as well.
Several other factors affect the scent throw of your candle, including what type of wax you’re using. Some of my favorite waxes for candle making include EcoSoya Advanced Soy Wax and EcoSoya 135 Wax for container candles, and EcoSoya Pillar Blend Wax for pillar candles and tarts. Yellow beeswax is wonderful if you want to add a natural, smoky scent. I used yellow beeswax and Pure Honey Fragrance Oil in a candle and it may be one of my favorite combinations ever! The smell was wonderful.
The size of wick also affects scent throw. If the wick does not create a large enough burn pool, it may inhibit the scent throw. The chart below is helpful for finding the right wick for your project. Another important step is allowing the candle to cure. Over time, the scent in candles actually improves as the fragrance and wax bind together. Cure time will vary depending on the crafter, but I like to give my projects at least 3-4 days to cure. This post has more candle tips and tricks.
Last but not least, it’s important to consider temperature. Some candle makers find adding a fragrance oil with a low flashpoint to hot wax causes some of the fragrance to “burn off.” In general, fragrance oil should be added to most waxes once they have cooled to about 150 ° F or below. This will vary slightly depending on the wax and fragrance being used.
Do you have any tips for getting the best scent in your candles? I love candle making, but don’t consider myself an expert, so I’d love to hear your thoughts! =)