Candle-making is as popular as it has ever been, and it’s easy to understand why! Candles create warmth and ambiance that can’t be reproduced by any other form of lighting. One of the most common issues candle-makers face is when their candles sink in the middle. This can be a frustrating problem, but there are some simple solutions that can help. First, let’s look at why candles sink in the middle.
Candles sink in the middle because of a temperature difference between the pouring wax and the temperature of the container. When the side of the container is much cooler than the wax being poured then it will begin to harden on the sides of the container first.
The good news is that this problem can easily be mitigated by taking a few extra steps when setting everything up to make your candles. Let’s take a close look at what’s happening.
Wax Sinking In The Middle Explained
As mentioned above, candle wax sinks in the middle whenever the wax around the sides of the container cools faster than the wax in the center of the container. This will leave a dip in the center of the candle at the wick.
This happens because wherever the wax begins to harden first, even more wax will cling to it as it cools. This pulls wax from the center to the sides as the candle cools. Sometimes the wax will also cling to the wick and begin cooling in that area at the same time, but not always.
Ideally, candle wax will cool at the same time all across the entire candle. This will give you an even level of wax in the candle container and give you a perfectly flat surface.
Let’s take a look at how you can make that happen.
How to Prevent Wax Sinking In The Middle
There are a few things you can do to help prevent wax from sinking in the middle of the surface of your candles.
Heat Your Candle Containers
You can heat your candle containers to help prevent your candle wax from sinking in the middle When you warm the candle containers it prevents the wax from hardening around the side of the container first.
You can do this by setting your candle containers on a cooking sheet and letting them sit on the edge of your stove so that they stay warm while you are getting your candle wax and fragrance oil mixture ready.
I use my heat gun and blow hot air into each candle container for a few seconds before I start pouring the wax in. This will generally solve the problem and it isn’t very time-consuming.
Be sure not to over do it or else you might soften the adhesive holding the wick sticker in place in the bottom of the container.
Pour The Wax At A Higher Temperature
Let your wax get 5-10 F warmer than you normally do before pouring it into your candle containers. This increased heat may help warm the candle container enough that the wax does not begin to immediately harden around the edges.
This is not as sure a thing as warming the candle containers with a heat gun but it does increase your chance of mitigating issues with wax sinking in the middle.
Check Your Room Temperature
If it is too cold in the room you are making your candles in then it can cause the outside edges of your candles to harden faster than the center. It is best to pour your candles and let them harden in a room that is a few degrees above average. This will let them harden slower and let the wax harden more smoothly.
Change Your Wax Blend
Changing your wax blend can also help solve this issue. If you add more wax that has a lower melt point it can help prevent wax from sinking in the middle. If your melting pot temperature remains the same, but you are using wax with a lower melt point then it will be the equivalent of pouring your wax at a warmer temperature.
This can help warm the candle container more before the wax begins to harden. Giving the wax and the container time for the temperature to equalize a little bit before the wax begins to harden.
How to Fix Wax Sinking In The Middle
The good news is that you can easily fix the problem with wax sinking in the middle once your candles have hardened.
Make sure all of your wicks are still clipped and held straight up so that they do not fall over when the wax begins to melt.
Now like up all of your candles spaced out about 2 inches apart and briefly hit the top of each candle with a heat gun. Make sure to keep the heat gun moving so that the heat is distributed evenly, go back and forth and melt the surface wax of all of the candles.
Once all of the surface wax has melted about 1/4-1/2 of an inch it should be melted enough that the surface wax can begin to level out. As long as the containers are level the wax should begin to harden perfectly smooth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Soy wax candles can be poured between 120 F and 165 F. Stay closer to the high side of that range to help prevent wax from sinking in the middle.
The main cause of wax sinking in the middle is generally the wax isn’t hot enough or the room you are pouring your candles in is too cold.
Common candle-making problems are wax not hardening evenly, the wick falling to one side or not burning correctly, and a weak scent throw. Other problems include candle containers sweating, wax shrinking away from the sides of the container and wax sinking in the middle.
Soy wax is generally considered to be the best type of wax for making candles. It has a lower melting point than other types of wax and is easier to work with. Soy wax also has a cleaner burn and does not produce as much soot when burned.
In conclusion, it is important to take your time when you are making candles. Take your time, check your temperature, and don’t try to rush the process. A lot of candle-making problems can be avoided by taking your time and double checking your temperatures and going the extra mile and doing things like preheating your candle containers just before you start pouring the wax.
In addition, you should consider looking into some gadgets such as a heat gun if you do not already have one. You will be surprised to find out how many candle-making issues you can fix with a heat gun. They are also great for cleaning out old containers and useful in a variety of other crafts.
With the right knowledge and practice, you can make beautiful candles every time.