For a long time, paraffin wax has been the leading wax for making candles and other things like crayons etc. But more recently, there has been a shift away from paraffin wax towards natural waxes which are generally accepted to be more eco-friendly. One such type of vegetable wax that has taken the second spot behind paraffin wax is Soy wax, though it is still really far behind. And then we have other types like Palm Wax and Bayberry wax. And there is also the good old Beeswax, which is not widely used because it is expensive. One of the lesser known types of wax is Coconut Wax. Unlike other types of waxes, coconut wax is basically a blend of refined coconut oil and other types of natural properties.
Coconut oil itself is not a wax as it is liquid at room temperature while the wax remains solid. When coconut oil passes through the refining and hydrogenation process, the coconut scent is removed and the melting point is raised higher to about 100°F. It is this high melt point coconut wax that is then melted with other types of vegetable waxes to finally form ‘Coconut Wax’. Coconut wax is usually composed of some percentage of coconut oil and the wax blended with it is only to solidify it more. Paraffin wax is avoided in making coconut wax so as to preserve the latter’s naturalness. However, there are many waxes packaged as coconut wax but are composed mostly of soy wax. So when purchasing coconut wax, be sure that you are doing so from a trusted and reliable source.
Coconut wax is somewhat white in colour and is very good for candle making. But since its main component is coconut oil, it is oily and very soft. This is why coconut wax cannot be used to make a candle unless it is blended with another type of wax. Even though coconut oil does not win the battle in terms of versatility, it is still wonderful wax to use and has amazing qualities. You may wonder, that if coconut wax is so good, why is it not as popular as paraffin wax, soy wax etc. This is because of the cost. Coconut wax is more expensive than those types of wax. And there are people who continue to use and enjoy coconut wax because it is worth the cost. Let us look at some benefits of coconut wax.
Benefits of Coconut Wax
This is the first feature mentioned when discussing any type of vegetable wax. And it is the main reason most people use vegetable waxes. There have been growing concerns about paraffin wax candles releasing harmful toxins into the air (it is gotten from petroleum) and vegetable waxes are seen as a viable alternative in this regard. Even though coconut wax is a blend of the oil with other natural wax, paraffin wax is not used. The absence of paraffin wax in it preserves its natural qualities and ensures that coconut wax is safe for use.
Coconut wax is known to burn cleanly (that is, with less soot) and slowly too. Burning slowly means coconut wax candles last longer. This can be a justification for its high cost.
Fragrance Oil and Scent Throw
Coconut wax is also known to hold fragrance and throw scent very well.
An advantage of using soft and low melt point waxes, of which coconut wax is one, is that they adhere very well to the edges of the glass.
Now, let us move to how to make coconut wax candles.
How to Make Coconut Wax Candles
Coconut wax cannot be used to make a candle alone. It is so soft that it just would not work. This is why it needs to be blended with some other type of natural wax. Usually, it is blended with Soy wax but it can also be used with Beeswax, Palm wax etc. For making this type of candle, you would particularly need a kitchen scale to measure the percentage and amount of each type of wax (coconut wax and another) that you would use.
Just like every other candle making method, you would need your double boiler and stove or hot plate to melt the wax. Use a glass jar that is heat-resistant. Wicks (either pre-tabbed or with wick tabs) and wick bars/stabilisers are needed. There are alternatives for those though, but it is better you get them. Don’t forget a thermometer too. And if you wish to add fragrance oil and candle dye too, do so. Coconut wax throws off scent well. Finally, get paper towels for cleaning up when you are finished. Then follow the steps below:
The first step is to blend the two waxes together in the required quantity. The percentage of coconut wax you’ll use would usually depend on the type of wax you want to blend it with. This step is a little different. Once you go through this step, the rest is similar to making other types of candles.
Heat up your wax blend in a double boiler. Keep stirring and monitoring it as it melts. Set up your container and wax at this stage, adhering the wick to the bottom of the container and securing it so that it stands straight and centred. You may preheat your glass jar in an oven before that.
When the wax temperature hits about 180 – 185°F, turn off the heat and add fragrance as desired and stir it well but don’t add too much. Add your candle dye too at this stage.
Let your wax cool to about 135°F before pouring. If you added Beeswax, then the pouring temperature should be higher (about 175°F). Pour the wax into the jar really slowly.
Wait several hours (up to 24 hours) for the wax to harden. Trim your candles, clean up and you are good to go!
In conclusion, adding coconut wax to your regular natural wax (especially soy wax) would make it perform better and if you do not already do so, consider it today. Try it at least once and you would see you like it.