Scented Candle Making Mistakes To Avoid

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7 DIY Scented Candle Making Mistakes To Avoid

Avoid these seven scented candle making mistakes. Follow these DIY scented candles tips to make strong scented candles at home.

I absolutely love candles and have been perfecting the art of candle making for nearly 10 years. If there’s one thing I’ve come to understand, it’s all about the fragrance for 99% of people. The scent of a candle has become the most defining characteristic of candles. 

Whether you’re at an outdoor market, high-end boutique, or a local craft fair, what’s the first thing you do when you see a candle? You raise it to your nose to see if you like the scent. After that, you may read the label in detail or ask the candle maker what it’s made of – ONLY if you like the scent. 

It’s ALWAYS the candle scent that begins the buying process. Those in the business of selling candles agree that scent throw is the most important factor to customers when choosing a new candle and considering a repeat purchase. 

And for those of us who do not sell candles, whether it’s fall candle bowls scented with classic spiced cider, refreshing apple sage scented candles, or luscious scented Mediterranean lemon fig candles we want to make, it’s not worth our time or investment if we can’t nail the scent we’re after!

It’s a fact – candle scent matters.

So, how do you make scented candles smell stronger? There are a lot of do’s and don’ts for candle making. And several are related to candle scent. 

After almost a decade of making candles, I have learned what DIY scented candle making mistakes to avoid. And I’m sharing each of these with you so you can enjoy your favorite candle scents more. 

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After almost a decade of making candles, I have learned what DIY scented candle making mistakes to avoid. And I’m sharing each of these with you, so you can enjoy your favorite candles scents more.

It all begins with a scent throw…

What Is A Candle Scent Throw?

Technically scent throw is the ability of a candle to diffuse the scent that is fused into the wax. In layman’s terms, it means how well a candle distributes its scent. 

To be more specific, scent throw is divided into two parts: ‘Cold Throw’ and ‘Hot Throw.’ 

Cold Throw: 

The cold throw of a candle describes the amount or strength of fragrance emitted from a candle when it is unlit. 

Hot Throw: 

The term hot throw describes the strength of fragrance emitted from a candle when it is lit. 

(Learn more candle maker terms and grab our quick guide to candle terminology in the Simple Living Library.)

Each is highly important for candle makers! We want to smell the candle scent from beginning to end. Scented candles can lift our mood and transport our senses.

Even from a business perspective, if the cold throw is weak, you will have weak sales. If the cold throw is strong, but the hot throw is weak, you’re not going to see many return customers.

So to help make strong scented candles at home, I put together a list of seven scented candle making mistakes to avoid, along with the host of candle problems they can create. 

Related To: Common Candle Problems Solved

How do I get my homemade candles to smell stronger?

Luckily, there are simple solutions to making your homemade candles smell stronger. Start with these scented candle making mistakes to avoid, and you’ll smell the difference! 

If you want to make strong scented candles at home, avoid these seven scented candle making mistakes that can cause a host of candle problems!

7 DIY Scented Candle Making Mistakes

1. Inaccurate Fragrance Load

What is a fragrance load? The fragrance load of a candle correlates to the percentage of fragrance used in candle making. It will determine the candle’s scent throw, including the cold and hot throw I explained above. 

What happens if you put too much fragrance oil in a candle?

  • Adding too much fragrance to a candle can cause it to self-extinguish or not burn properly. This happened many times when I first began to learn how to make scented candles. 
  • It’s also been known to cause the fragrance to settle to the bottom of a candle.

How much fragrance should you add to a homemade scented candle?

6% is the standard fragrance load used by manufacturers. But, some candle wax types can hold up to double that amount. (See Mistake #2)

Use our fragrance load calculator to determine the correct fragrance amount before making each batch of scented candles. 

2. Not Using High-Quality Wax

There are so many choices when choosing wax for homemade candles, but your choice weighs heavily on the strength of the scent throw. 

You see, some candle wax types can hold a larger fragrance load and therefore release more fragrance, whereas others don’t. For example, this soy candle wax can hold up to a 12% fragrance load. That is double the amount of the industry standard!

Soy wax and coconut wax, or a blend of the two, are both known to have an excellent cold throw and hot throw. They cost more than paraffin wax, but they make up for it in quality and eco-friendly standards.

3. Using The Wrong Wick Size

Making candles with the wrong wick size will always result in a candle problem. But, when it comes to scented candle making mistakes, it’s all about the melt pool. 

If your wick cannot create a full melt pool, fragrance won’t be released effectively, and candle tunneling will likely occur too. Therefore you need to select the correct wick size to provide a steady flame and a good melt pool. 

How do you know if you are using the wrong candle wick size? Here are five signs your wick isn’t the correct size and how to remedy it! 

Use our printable candle wick charts from the Resource Library to cross reference the size of each candle wick you intend to use.

And choosing the correct candle wick is much easier when using a candle wick size chart! Find printable candle wick size charts in the Simple Living Library.  

It’s also fair to point out that using the basic candle care method to trim candle wicks with a wick trimmer before each light helps to improve the melt pool.

4. Adding Fragrance At The Wrong Temperature

Heat is the number one thing we all must monitor when making candles (which is why I use a no-touch infrared thermometer). Not watching the temperature of the candle wax can significantly affect the scent throw. 

For starters, if the wax hasn’t fully melted before adding your fragrance, it will not bind. A good practice is heating the wax to the flash point and maintaining it for five minutes to ensure it’s fully melted. 

Another common scented candle making mistake is not paying attention to the flash point of your fragrance. Standard fragrance oils can typically be added at 185 degrees Fahrenheit whereas natural options should be added at a cooler temperature. It is imperative this is done right, so the wax and fragrance bind together for an optimal scent throw. If you fail, you risk the heat vaporizing the fragrance, resulting in a remarkably decreased candle scent. 

So, always read labels and use a thermometer to ensure you add the fragrance at the correct wax temperature. 

5. Not Stirring Fragrance 

Another key to making scented candles smell stronger is sufficiently stirring the fragrance once it’s added to the melted wax. It should be stirred slowly for a good two minutes! 

This step ensures that the fragrance is evenly dispersed throughout the candle and significantly improves the scent. 

6. No Cure Time

You might be surprised to learn that candles need curing time like a good steak. By allowing candles to cure or rest for a period of time before the first burn, the fragrance can fully bond with the wax. 

A minimum of three days is required for scented candles. But, a cure time of 1 to 2 weeks will result in a much better scent throw.

7. Not Storing Candles Properly

How you store scented candles also impacts the quality of the scent throw for the life of the candle. It’s a good idea to keep a candle covered when it’s cooled and not currently in use. Because a candle’s scent can weaken over time when exposed to air, and dust or debris can settle onto the candle wax or wick. 

So, if your candle has a lid, use it! If it doesn’t,  store candles under a glass cloche to help avoid the scent fading. It’s one of my five tips to make a candle last longer.

How do I get my homemade candles to smell stronger? Luckily, there are simple solutions to making your homemade candles smell stronger. Start with these scented candle making mistakes to avoid and you’ll smell the difference!

Don’t be intimidated to make scented candles at home. These tips help you avoid scented candle making mistakes, so you make strong smelling candles! And enjoy your favorite perfectly balanced uplifting and warm and cozy candle scents. 

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Avoid these scented candle making mistakes that can cause a host of candle problems. Follow these DIY scented candles tips to make strong scented candles at home.

Save scented candle making tips to your candle making Pinterest board, and while you’re there, be sure to follow Life-n-Reflection for more inspiring ideas. Tag #lifenreflection on Instagram to share your candle making with me.

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