Candle Terminology

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Candle Manufacturing

Candle Terminology

November 11, 2022
Lynette Reed
Candle Manufacturing

Candle Terminology

Every industry has their own language, and the candle industry is no different.  Here are some key terms to help you when speaking with a manufacturer, a vendor, a customer or just to sound cool around your friends.


Fragrance Load

Fragrance load is the amount of fragrance to wax in percentage.  Most candles on the market today typically fall into the 6% - 12% range.  Mass market candles might be about 4 – 6% and luxury brands are typically 8 – 10%. Most candle are under 12% as any amount over that can cause issues with burn and safety.


Melt Pool

The melt pool is the liquid pool of wax on the top of the candle when it is burning.  Ideally you will have a “full melt pool”(liquid all the way across the top) within 2-3 hours of lighting and at 4 hours no deeper than ½”.  This will vary depending on the diameter of the candle and applies to container candles.


Cold Throw

The cold throw is the fragrance you can smell when the candle is not lit.  This is not solely due to the fragrance load, it partially does, but it also has a lot to do with the type of fragrance, the type of wax, and how they are interacting together chemically.


Hot Throw

The hot throw is the fragrance you can smell with the candle is lit. This is also not solely due to the fragrance load but also to the typeof fragrance, the type of wax, how they are interacting together chemically as well as if the candle is properly wicked. A candle that is not properly wicked might have a very low flame and therefore not have a very strong fragrance throw.  Or it might have too large of a wick causing it to burn to hot which can not only cause sooting but it can also burn off certain fragrance notes.  Also, keep in mind that everyone smells things differently and some people can perceive some fragrances with a greater sensitivity than others.  In other words, something might smell strong to one person, but another can barely smell it.



Tunneling is when there is a tunnel or hole burned down the center of the candle leaving a lot of wax all around the sides.  This can happen for a few different reasons, but the two primary reasons are either the candle was not wicked properly and too small of a wick was used to make it or the user is not burning the candle long enough to reach a full melt pool (for a standard 3– 4” diameter candle this should be about 2-3 hours)



Sweating is when the fragrance separates from the wax and collects on the top (or even the sides) ofa candle in small beads or even a pool. This happens when a candle goes from one temperature extreme to another and is more common with 100% soy candles. This does not affect the burn or quality of the candle.


Top Pour

Is when a secondary pour is done on the top of the candles once they have set.  This is done to give a smooth surface and make the candle look finished.



A vessel is the container that the candle is poured in.  Common vessel types are glass, ceramic, and metal tins.


Pillar Candle

A pillar candle is a free-standing candle (not in a vessel)


Wick Testing

Thorough wick testing is essential to have a safe candle that burns properly.  It is essential that the correct wick is chosen for each fragrance/wax/vessel combination.  At Modern Candle, we test multiple wicks forevery candle made and only until it has passed all tests as far as time taken to reach full melt pool, melt pool depth, flame height, glass temperature, sooting only then is it passed and ready to proceed into production.  This process can take a couple of weeks ormore depending on the size of the candle and how many different combinations need to be tested.


Burn Time

Burn time is the total amount of time to burn a candle.  This is not done all at once, it is done in 4-hour increments.  Burn time can be affected by the ambient temperature of the room as well as if there are any drafts.  Never burn a candle for more than 4 hours at a time.


Hang Up

Hang up is the unburned wax that is left on the inside walls of the vessel after the candle has been




Frosting is the white crystalline coating that forms on the surface of natural waxes in most particularly soy candles, but can also occur with coconut soy blends.


Pull-away (Glass Adhesion,Wet Spots, Delamination)

Pull-away is often mistaken for “bubbles”.  This is when the wax slightly pulls away from the container. When the container is glass, an optical illusion occurs making it appearto be a bubble.  Wax will expand andcontract with temperature changes and as it pulls away this effect is created however, there is nothing wrong with the candle and there is also no way to avoid it.  



Wick Up

During wick testing if a candle is not achieving a full melt pool in the required time frame, then a larger wick will be needed – this is wicking up.


Wick Down

During wick testing if a candle is burning too hot (flame too high, glass getting too hot, sooting) then it needs to wick down to a smaller wick


Sink Holes

Sink holes can happen with100% soy.  Basically, it is an air pocket on the inside of the candle, usually close to the wick.  Sink holes can be prevented by putting relief holes during the making process.


Mushrooming (Carbon BuildUp)

This is the buildup on the top of the wick of carbon which is caused by incomplete combustion. Using the incorrect wick size, too high of fragrance load, or other additives can causethis problem.


MSDS (Material Safety DataSheet)

A Material Safety Data Sheet lists information regarding the different ingredients and substances in regard to health and safety.



Minimum Order Quantity is the minimum amount you can order from the given vendor



A PO is a PurchaseOrder.  Your company must give a PO to avendor to place an order


Flash Point

A flash point is the temperature that a fragrance can ignite when exposed to a flame or spark. This information can be found on the MSDS sheet of the fragrance


Jump Lines

Jump lines are the horizontal lines going around a candle. (vessel or pillar) This happens when the wax is not hot enough when it is poured causing it to congeal too quickly forming the unintended lines


Power Burn

A power burn is when a candle is burned for more than the recommended safe 4 hours and often over 8hours.  This is never recommended and should only be done in a lab for testing purposes.



Thank you!

Lynette Reed