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The physical ingredients that make a candle are the wick, the wax and the additives. All these give candles their special properties. Additives can affect the rare at which a candle burns. The size and type of wick also affect the burning rate. The quality and condition of the wax and its specific melting point play important roles also.

There are three standard types of wick, flat braided wick, square braided wick and wire or lead core wicks. Each type of wick comes in several different sizes and each is used for a different type of candle. The size of the wick is usually appropriate to the diameter of the candle.

Paraffin wax and beeswax are the most common in candlemaking. Beeswax is the wax that is taken from the hive of the honeybees. Paraffin wax is a by product of the petroleum industry. It is a white-semi transparent hard wax that is suitable for a wide range of uses in candlemaking.

Over the years, there have been many materials added to wax to give it certain characteristics. Workability, slow rate of burning, added hardness, and opacity are a few desirable traits that additives can give wax.

Stearic acid is a fatty acid that brings to wax the most desirable attribute of tallon, it adds to the hardness of the wax, giving it the ability to burn longer.

Luster crystals have many useful qualities, this compound gardens the wax, adds to the burning time of the candle by raising the melting point, improves gloss or sheen and brightens colors.

Clear crystals also raise the melting point of the wax, thus adding to the hardness and burning time of the candle. They also brighten colors and eliminate bubbles on the surface of the wax.

It is important for you to understand the properties of these essential candlemaking materials and how each impacts the final product.

Having this knowledge will help you enjoy and have a more productive candlemaking experience.