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How to make candles - how much fragrance do I add?
How to Make Candles:  Part 3 - Fragrance

Read about types of candles and types of wax in Part 1.


Read about types of wicks to use for your candles in Part 2.




Ahhh, so many smells.  Fragrance is the primary reason for most people’s candle purchase.  We want candles that smell great, right?  I want lemons and oranges in my kitchen, florals in my laundry room, sweets in my bathroom, and everyday, more masculine scents in my living areas.  The fragrances you choose just have to smell great, otherwise, your candle won’t get burned.


Choosing fragrances for their smells is tough.  You just have to buy them.  Look for sales on 1 or 2oz bottles, and buy as many varieties as you can.  Then, make lots and lots of test candles.  It’s the only way to make a great (and safe) candle.


Fragrance Load


How much fragrance should I use in my candle?  If you google that question, your number 1 response will tell you to use 1oz of fragrance per 1 pound of wax.  Some people think that using more fragrance will give you a stronger scented candle.  Let me be the first to yell out, all of that is flat out wrong.


Consult your wax.  Every wax you purchase is going to have a Max Fragrance load percentage.  This is the most fragrance oil that your wax can hold without impairing the burn.   Too much fragrance oil in a candle can clog the wick and actually make your candle have a weaker scent throw.  It won’t blend with the wax correctly and cause wet spots.  All sorts of nasty problems can come from adding  too much fragrance oil in a candle.

I’ve found the best percentages to add to soy wax is between 7-10%, depending on the fragrance.  You just have to test and play, and figure out what works best.  Now here comes the best part:  the math!


1.    Figure out how many candles you are going to make

2.    Figure out the size of those containers

3.    Convert all your measurements to grams


We convert to grams just to have all our numbers on the same playing field.  An ounce is a unit of mass, but a fluid ounce is a unit of volume.  We need to convert all of our fluid ounces to a unit of mass in order to get the correct measurements for your candles.


So let’s say you’re going to make three candles that are 4oz each.




Since 1oz = 28.35 grams, each candle needs 113.4 grams of wax.  (28.35 * 4oz = 113.4)


Multiply that by 3, since you’re making 3 candles.  (113.4 * 3 = 340.2).  So now you know that you’ll need to melt 340 grams of wax total.


Now let’s say that you want to add your fragrance at 8%.  Multiply 340 * .08 = 27 grams.  So if you add 27 grams of fragrance to your 340 grams of wax, you’ll get three, 4 oz candles with an 8% fragrance load.


Using this formula you can figure out that if you use 1oz of fragrance oil per 1 pound of wax, that’s only a 6.2% fragrance load.  And while that may make a nice candle with a stronger scented fragrance, you won’t smell it at all with a different fragrance.


Now that you’re a math wiz, here is some other information about fragrance that you should be aware of.


Can I use essential oils in my candles?


I’ve tested quite a bit with essential oils, and I’ve found that they have great cold throw, but their hot throw is quite pitiful.  I definitely use essential oils with my fragrance oils, but I have not been able to produce a quality scented candle that you can smell to the very bottom of the jar with essential oils alone.


What is a fragrance flashpoint?


Each fragrance has a flashpoint rating in fahrenheit, which is the temperature it can combust if it’s exposed to open flame.  Your oil will NOT combust if you add it to a wax temperature that is higher than your flashpoint.  However if you’re making gel candles, you better read up on the flashpoint and be safe.


What about chemicals in fragrance oils?


There is a list of chemicals on a Proposition 65 list that are known to cause cancer and birth defects.  Check, double-check, and then check again that the fragrance you are using does not have any chemicals that are on this list.  Any fragrance oil that is worth using will come with an IFRA certificate from the International Fragrance Association, so you know what exactly how that fragrance can be used.  Mountain City Candles does not use any fragrances without a certificate, and anything that contains a chemical on the prop 65 list does not come anywhere near me or my family.  It’s ultimately up to you to decide, but it’s worth paying more money for quality oils to keep you, your friends and family, and customers, safe.


What are phthalates in fragrances?


Phthalates (Diethyl Phthalate) are solvents used to make the scent of a fragrance oil linger.  They’re found in all sorts of household items like nail polish, aftershave, lotions, shampoos… and candles.  The American Chemistry Council claims that phthalates are safe in low exposure levels.  But consider this:  Sally wants to make candles and doesn’t do her research.  She makes a bunch of candles using too much fragrance oil that contains phthalates.  Do you really want to burn Sally’s candle in your home? 


You make that decision for your own home and family.  Mountain City Candle Co uses only phthalate free fragrance oils because that’s the only type of candle I trust with my whole heart.


Check back soon for the last part of our candle series – putting it all together in a candle.




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