The art of candle-making may seem simple, but in order to avoid candles that sink in the middle, you need to take the right precautions. There are a few distinct reasons that candle wax sinks in the middle, which we’ll explain in this article.
Temperature issues are the main reason that candle wax sinks in the middle when making candles. You can stop this issue by achieving better control of the temperature and ventilation in your candle-making environment.
Read on to learn how to stop candles from sinking in the middle. We’ll lay it out step by step and share tips to improve your candle-making process.
Why Do Candles Sink in the Middle?
You typically encounter this problem because candle wax is going to cool and harden faster on the outside of the candle.
This occurs because the container holding the wax – which touches the outside surface area of the candle – is cooler in temperature than the center of the candle. Further, the hotter your wax is when you pour it, the worse this problem gets.
This is why you may face issues with sinking in the middle if the wax’s container is too cool or the room is too cool. The environment of the room you’re pouring in may be too cold, which causes the candle holders to be so cool that they cause the outside wax to cool faster than the middle wax.
Now, let’s take a look at steps you can take to avoid your candles from sinking in the middle.
1. Make Sure Your Room Is Warm
First, you can work on improving the environment you’re making candles in. A warmer room will ensure that the surface of your candle container is warmer.
If it’s cold outside and you get poor ventilation of heat in your candle-making room, you should consider turning up the thermostat.
This will help the outside part of the candle to cool and harden slower. The result is that the outside of the candle cools at a speed closer to the cooling of the middle of the candle.
This will create less of an issue with wax sinkholes in the middle of candles since the wax won’t cling only to the sides. An ideal room temperature for pouring candle wax is between 71-77 degrees Fahrenheit.
It also helps to adjust the room temperature before you start working (a few hours before) so that the room has time to heat up fully and circulate the warmer air.
2. Pre-Warm Your Candle Jars and Containers
As we already established, a colder candle jar is going to intensify the wax sinkhole problem.
This is especially true when it comes to glass candle jars, as glass gets cool very easily. So, in addition to pre-warming your candle-making room, you can also pre-warm your candle jars.
Heat with a Heat Gun
There are a few ways to achieve this, the most immediate being to use a heat gun.
You may also opt to use a hairdryer, but the results may not be as effective as a crafting heat gun.
Heat in the Oven
Another way to pre-warm your candle jars, which is slightly slower than using a heat gun, is to place them in the oven.
Of course, you’ll need to be wary of cracking the glass. Lower oven temperatures are safer if you’re not using some kind of Pyrex glass or high heat-resistant glass for your candle jars.
A few minutes at about 150-160 degrees Fahrenheit should do the trick.
Store in a Warm Place Overnight
Finally, the third way to pre-warm your jars is to keep them in a warm space overnight. Keeping your candle jars in an insulated box that is not close to any windows or other potentially cold surfaces will keep them from getting too cold.
Obviously, this method isn’t quite as effective as the previous two. However, even setting your jars next to a warm air vent overnight might do the trick so that they’re not completely cold when you go to pour wax the next day.
3. Eliminate Temperature Inconsistencies
You should avoid any factors that might make the temperature of your wax or candle jars inconsistent. This means cutting off any drafts, such as open windows, cracked doors, or other sources that could blow cool air onto your cooling candles.
Not only will this help with the sinkhole issue; it will also help with preventing general unevenness in cooling wax.
You can also eliminate temperature inconsistencies by making sure that your work surface is close to the temperature of the room or warmer.
Place a soft or warm cloth down on your work surface to set your candle jars on while working (ensuring it’s a flat surface still).
4. Use the Right Type of Candle Wax
Many beginner candle makers make the mistake of using the wrong type of wax.
Certain types of candle wax are actually designed to harden more evenly, even in the case of a cool environment (or cool candle jar). These are “soft” waxes. As opposed to paraffin wax, you might consider soy wax or beeswax.
Soy wax and beeswax are generally considered higher quality and are thus more expensive than paraffin wax. They’re also more eco-friendly since they aren’t byproducts of crude oil refinement. Note, however, that beeswax is not vegan.
Using the right type of wax will ensure that it hardens and adheres more evenly all throughout the candle jar.
5. Lower the Wax Temperature Closer to the Jar’s Temperature
Another way that you can avoid sinking in the middle of your homemade candles is to pour the candle wax at a slightly lower temperature. Doing so will keep the wax in the middle of the jar from cooling so slowly. However, note that there is a risk to this method; if your wax is too cool, the candle will not be set up correctly.
The suggested temperatures to pour candle wax at are:
- 125-160 degrees Fahrenheit for pure soy wax
- 175 degrees Fahrenheit for paraffin wax
- 155-160 degrees Fahrenheit for beeswax
These temperatures only represent estimates for different types of wax, but you should always consult the directions for the brand and type of wax you have purchased.
Most candle wax supplies will come with instructions for minimum and maximum suggested pouring temperatures.
6. Use the Two-Pour Method
If you want to use an alternate method to loophole the sinkhole wax problem, so to speak, consider pouring the wax in two different sessions.
This is a method that many candle makers use to optimize the evenness of the wax pour. You need to start by pouring wax at the correct temperature to about the halfway mark in the candle jar.
Once you have done this, it’s crucial that you let that wax fully cool and harden before you pour the second half of wax.
A few hours should be a sufficient amount of time. Then, you can do your second wax pour and wait for the wax to fully cool and harden.
7. Poke Holes in the Wax While Cooling
This method is slightly unconventional, but it can work. Sometimes, sinkholes in the middle of the candle can form due to air pockets or bubbles within the wax.
When this is the reason for the sinkhole, your aim should be to eliminate these air bubbles.
You can do so by poking small holes in the wax while it’s still liquid in the candle jar. These are “relief holes”, and they work to relieve or pop any existing air bubbles in the wax.
You can use a wooden chopstick or thin wooden dowel to poke into the wax.
One thing is really important here – don’t poke into the wax unless it’s still liquid (and fairly hot).
The reasoning behind this is that if you poke into wax that is slightly solidified or halfway cooled, you may end up pulling chunks of wax out of the cooling candle. You also run the risk of creating more unevenness in the candle, such as ripples, bumps, and/or slants on the top surface.
8. Take Your Time When Pouring Wax
Being patient with the process of candle pouring helps to improve the overall result. If you are rushing to finish the candle, you may end up with the wrong temperatures, settings, and other factors affecting the cooling of your candle.
You want to take your time to ensure that candle jars are warm, the wax is at the correct temperature, and all air bubbles are carefully removed.
Double pours are another instance where patience is absolutely essential. Otherwise, you end up with possibly two sinkholes, instead of just one.
Making your own candles is a delicate process that requires planning and preparation. It’s not just your materials that you need to prepare; you also need to make sure your environment meets the right conditions.
In order to avoid sinkholes – sinking in the middle of the candle due to uneven cooling – ensure that you follow the tips provided above on how to stop candles from sinking in the middle. Temperature, ventilation, and time all play a part in a candle that cools evenly.