Javascript is either disabled or not supported by this browser. This page may not appear properly.
Candle Gel
          Gel is a combination of mineral oil and resin and has a high level of safety relative to the flashpoint.  The gel we use for our candles and sold in our store is produced and marketed by Penreco under the brand name of VersagelTM.  When used in accordance with the guidelines that we recommend, which directly evolve from the criteria established by Penreco, you will be on your way to creating beautiful and safe gel candles.  We offer the VersagelTM CMP also known as medium density gel.  This is the most commonly used grade by gel candlemakers.  Other grades are VersagelTM CLP (or low density) and VersagelTM CHP (or high density).
Consumer Information & Safety Guidelines For Making Safe & Beautiful Gel Candles
Candle Gel
          Gel is a combination of mineral oil and resin and has a high level of safety relative to the flashpoint.  The gel we use for our candles and sold in our store is produced and marketed by Penreco under the brand name of VersagelTM.  When used in accordance with the guidelines that we recommend, which directly evolve from the criteria established by Penreco, you will be on your way to creating beautiful and safe gel candles.  We offer the VersagelTM CMP also known as medium density gel.  This is the most commonly used grade by gel candlemakers.  Other grades are VersagelTM CLP (or low density) and VersagelTM CHP (or high density).
Glassware
          Choose glassware that is suitable for making gel candles.  Your glassware should be at least 2 inches in diameter, of good quality, without flaws, and have a stable base.  It should be able to withstand the pour of hot liquid.  Do not use extremely thin glassware.  Examples of glassware that are appropriate for use in making gel candles are ivy bowls, votive holders, dessert cups, wine glasses and other barware.
Make a habit of performing test-burns of your candles using your different choices of glassware to ensure that they are suitable and safe. 

Fragrance
          There are several very important factors to consider when choosing your fragrance oils for use in gel candles.  First, the fragrance should be of a non-polar character in order to be soluble with the gel.  (Refer to the instructions for polarity testing below.)  The other factor to consider is the flashpoint of the fragrance oil.  Only oils with flashpoints of 170 degrees or greater should be used in making gel candles.  Fragrance should be added to the gel at 200 - 220 degrees and stirred well (for at least 2 minutes) to ensure proper and safe dispersement of the fragrance oil in the gel.  Air that is introduced into the gel during the process of mixing the fragrance oil can be diminished by allowing the gel to sit at around 200 degrees for a few minutes after stirring.

Polarity Testing
          Use a clear glass with no markings or flaws.  Make sure that your container is clean and dry.  A juice glass or a small votive glass works well.  Test tubes are good for testing, but are not readily available.  We test our fragrances using test tubes which can be capped and shaken to thoroughly mix the oils.
          Use a food grade mineral oil.  Do not use baby oil for testing.
First perform the test using mineral oil and
fragrance oil in the following ratios:
75% fragrance oil  (example 3 tsp. fragrance oil)
25% mineral oil  (example 1 tsp. mineral oil)
Mix WELL by stirring for several minutes, or shaking.
After complete mixing of the oils, the mixture should be clear without clouding, hazing, or separation.
You may notice some clouding during the mixing process,
but once the oils are mixed together well, there
should not be any clouding.
Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes, then recheck the
appearance.  If there is no clouding, hazing,or separation,
perform the second portion of the polarity test.

For the second portion of the polarity test, repeat
the above steps using mineral and fragrance oil
in the following ratios:
75% mineral oil  (example 3 tsp. mineral oil
25% fragrance oil  (example 1 tsp. fragrance oil)

If there is no clouding, hazing, or separation during both portions of the polarity test, the fragrance oil is considered to be non-polar and safe for use in making gel candles.

Fragrance Load
          The recommended amounts of fragrance per pound of gel as set forth in the guidelines recommended by Penreco are as follows:
VersagelTM LMP (low density)
0 - 3% or 1/2 oz. of fragrance oil

VersagelTM CMP (medium density)
VersagelTM CHP (high density)
0 - 5% or 3/4 oz. of fragrance oil


Wicks
          Zinc core wicks are most commonly used for gel candles due to their rigidity during the making of the candle and during the burning, but some gel candle makers use cotton and paper core wicks.  Wicks come in different sizes, and the size you use is determined by the diameter of your glassware.

Wick Size Chart for Zinc Core Wicks

             Diameter of Container          Wick Size
2 to 3 1/2 inches             44-24-18 zinc
3 to 4 inches                   51-32-18 zinc
4 to 5 inches                   60-44-18 zinc

Wicks are available pre-assembled, or you can use wicking and wick tabs to make your own wicks in the lengths that you need.  Pre-assembled wicks are usually pre-primed with wax. Pre-assembled wicks are available with a higher meltpoint of wax that is preferred by some gel candlemakers.  Pre-primed wicks may cause clouding of your candles, especially during higher temperature pours.  If desired, you can remove a good portion of the wax by putting the wicks on a paper towel in a pan and placing them in a low temperatue oven for an hour or so. 
          One important factor in any candle safety, is to not allow the candle to burn all the way to the bottom.  Using wick tabs with high collars helps to extinguish the flame before the candle burns to the bottom.  Using a wick crimp on your wicks is another way to increase the safety of your candles.  We prefer to use a wick crimp for all of our candles.  We  feel this helps to ensure extinguishing of the flame before the candle can burn to the bottom.  Once the candle is out of our hands, we have no control over the level of safety at which the candle is burned, so we do this for all of our candles as an added precaution in the event of customer negligence.  We use metal jewelry crimps that can be found at most craft stores, and attach them to the wick approximately 3/4 to 1 inch from the bottom of the candle.  When using sand, salt, baking soda, etc. in the base of your candle, you should always  apply a wick crimp.  Remember to perform test-burns with your candles to be assured that you are using the appropriate sizes of wicks for your containers.

">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
">
Dyes & Colors
          There is no information which shows that dye influences gel candle safety.  Dye should be soluble in the gel, therefore candle dyes work well.  Food dyes are water soluble and do not mix with candle gel.  Dyes are available in liquid and dye blocks.  It is your preference as to what works best for you, but always start with a small amount of dye and work your way up to the color you want.  You can always add more color, but it is difficult to take it away once it has been added.
Embedding Gel Candles
          You can create unique and beautiful gel candle designs by using embedded objects, however,  it is extremely important to follow the guidelines for candle safety when making gel candles with embeds.  Embeds that are used directly in a wicked candle should be non-flammable.  Plastic, wood, silk, candy, and dried fruit should not be used unless you use the "double glassing" method for making your candles.  Wax embeds are great, but if scented, they should be made using a non-polar fragrance oil.
          Your embeds should be placed toward the sides of your container, away from the wick.  When creating sea scenes with sand and shells used for the "floor" of the candle, always attach a wick crimp approximately 1 inch above the sand/shells to prevent the candle from burning to that level.

Using the "double glassing" method for embedding
          If you are going to use flammable objects or objects for which you are unsure of their flammability, it is strongly recommended that you use the "double glassing" method to create your candles.  This simply means that you use a smaller glass container inside your larger primary container to separate the embedded objects from the wicked part of the candle.   Place your wick and gel in the smaller container to form the part of your candle that will burn.  Not only does this method maximize safety, it also allows your candle to be burned without altering your design and gives you a candle that can be refilled or used to burn a votive candle after your original candle has burned.
Consumer Safety
          Always include warning labels for candles that you sell or give to others.  The following information is a good guide for developing Consumer Safety labels for your candles.
          1.  Never leave a burning candle unattended.
          2.  Never burn for more than 4 hours.
          3.  Always trim the wick to 1/4" above the gel surface
               before each use.
          4.  Never burn the last inch of a candle.
          5.  Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.
          6.  Keep candles away from drafts, vents, and
                    flammable objects.
          7.  Keep matches and other debris out of the candle.
          8.  Do not move a glass container candle when the
                    candle is burning and/or the gel is liquid.
          9.  Extinguish the flame if it burns too close to the
                    container walls.
   10. Extinguish a candle that smokes (check instructions
                    before re-lighting).
   11. In case of fire, do not extinguish with water-use a
                    fire extinguisher.
c 2002     Candlethings...