There are many different types of candle wax, and not all of them work the same way. Each wax has its own purpose and they have different melting points, which is important to know for melting the candle wax.
Beeswax is a soft and sticky wax. Most people do not even attempt to use it for molded candles. The benefits, however, are that it burns very cleanly and has a pleasant natural scent. It can be a bit pricey, however. The melting point is about 150º F.
Paraffin wax is a by-product of crude oil, a petroleum product. It is still one of the most popular forms of wax because it is easy to use and appropriate for various types of candles. Low-melting point paraffin has a melting point of 130º F, medium 130º to 145º, and high 145º to 150º. The low and medium melting point waxes are only suitable for container candles as they are too soft for mold candles. But high melting-point paraffin is great for making mold candles as it is hard enough to maintain a shape.
Bayberry wax comes from boiling bayberries. It has a natural sweet scent and is green in color. It takes 15 lbs of bayberries to make just 1 lb of wax, however, so it is a costly choice. It has a very low melting point of 118º Fahrenheit.
Soy wax is becoming popular because it burns cleanly, like beeswax, and is affordable, like paraffin. While other waxes typically require additives for hardness or clarity, soy wax does not need this extra step. Depending on the product you buy, soy wax could have a melting point from 120º to 180º. Soy wax holds fragrance better than paraffin and will not get air bubbles. It also does not shrink as much when cooling.
Finally, tallow has been used for centuries of candle making. It is made from the fat (lard) of animals like cows, sheep, and pigs. As you can imagine, it has a naturally unpleasant odor and it smokes more than the other varieties of candle wax. But it is still an option and many people use it for container candles. Just remember to be a little extra heavy-handed with the fragrance.
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