Candles are beautiful, giving us light and heat, and can be aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. But, sometimes, they can also be a pain to manage and fully utilize when they start dripping all over the place. So, either you placed a candle and let it burn longer than you meant, or it simply burnt faster than you expected and left a puddle of wax somewhere unpleasant or hard to clean!
These same struggles had me look for an alternative candle that won’t drip all over my candelabra and other decorative candle holders that I love and cherish!
Dripless pillar candles are similar to regular wax candles, except the wax has been modified by adding stearic acid to make the wax harder, raising the melting point of the wax to prevent it from dripping. As a result, the wax is absorbed and burned off through the wick, causing little to no drips and a clean-burning flame.
These candles do not drip (most of the time), and I discuss that below! Read on to learn what dripless candles are, what they are made of, why you might want to use them, and how to make your own ones at home!
What Is A Dripless Candle?
Dripless candles are candles that have a wax with a higher melting point than regular candle wax. As a result, these candles melt much slower, allowing them to burn away quickly or melt in a way that doesn’t cause drippage! These candles are generally made in two different designs; thick pillar candles and slender taper candles.
Dripless candles sound very appealing compared to ordinary candles; there is no more wax being dripped everywhere, and the wax is being utilized rather than melting and reforming.
So, what makes these candles so unique?
Dripless candles are made with wax that has a much higher melting point than the standard wax candle (135F to 145F). To achieve this, candle makers add stearic acid to their paraffin wax to strengthen and harden the wax, increasing its melting point.
Great, we increased the melting point. But won’t the candle still drip?
As the liquid wax is formed, the wick absorbs it, and the wax is burned away before it gets a chance to drip. The wick is made to an appropriate size to burn at the rate needed to prevent any drippage from the candle!
There are also other great benefits to using dripless candles!
- Stearic acid produces clean soot-free flames with very few smoke trails
- Harder wax means a sturdier candle
- Stearic acid adds brilliant colour to the candle
- When the stearic acid is added to the wax, it causes it to shrink, making it easier to remove from the candle moulds!
Are there any negatives to burning dripless candles?
From our experience with dripless candles, no. They are more user-friendly, don’t create large messes like traditional candles, and burn for a long time.
The significant distinction between dripless and regular candles is that dripless candles cost more. For someone who burns candles often, the price increase might not be so affordable to use all the time!
Do not fret! We will show you how to make any candle dripless further below.
The Different Types of Dripless Pillar Candles
Two common candle styles are used to make dripless candles; long slender taper and thick pillar candles.
Slender Taper Candles
A dripless taper candle looks exactly like any other regular waxed tapered candle but is made by adding stearic acid to the wax. When equipped with a proper wick, these candles can burn for several hours without a single drop of wax dripping off the side.
They will burn right to the last drop, only leaving a nub of a candle on your holder, getting your full money’s worth out of them!
These kinds of candles are often seen in candelabras and other similar holders. Unfortunately, these candle holders usually get covered in wax with an ordinary candle and are very hard to clean!
Thick Pillar Candles
The thick pillar candles are more interesting than their slender taper cousins! These candles are made in layers, with the middle layer as regular wax with a lower melting point. This wax layer is then dipped into a more rigid layer of wax with a higher melting point.
These layers of increasing melting points create a funnel for the wax to stay in rather than spilling over the edge of the candle!
For the sake of talking about dripless candles, electric candles are also an alternative. But simply plugging them in an outlet provides an intense light without any drippage. These candles can be expensive, but if you are buying many candles, they may be a great alternative option for you!
Can I Use A Wax Other Than Paraffin Wax?
Paraffin wax is not the only type of wax used to create dripless candles! The most common secondary wax is Beeswax which already has a higher melting point than other waxes. Manufacturers also use plant-based waxes such as coconut, rapeseed, and soy.
Beeswax is the only naturally dripless material used to make candles and is a healthier alternative to paraffin wax if that is something you are being wary of.
It is safe for anyone who has allergies and burns very cleanly. Aside from a mildly sweet smell produced by the beeswax candles, they do not have many faults! However, the burn time is a significant comparison between a beeswax-rolled candle and a hand-dipped paraffin wax candle.
A hand-dipped paraffin wax candle will burn for a more extended period than a beeswax candle will!
Moving on from beeswax candles, there are some plant-based candles that some manufacturers have been able to make candles from. They are much trickier to make since their wax is naturally softer than paraffin wax and Beeswax. These candles are much more uncommon and expensive than the other two choices on the market.
Will They Really Never Drip?
Dripless candles were created not to drip to prevent messes and still provide a long-lasting candle when you need one. But sometimes, these candles may drip if the quality isn’t excellent or the conditions aren’t right.
Many people have purchased ‘dripless’ or ‘no drip’ candles and share their painful experiences of having candles that still drip when they aren’t supposed to.
There are a few things that could be causing this to happen.
- The candle is tilted or isn’t level, which creates an uneven burn: if your candle has been placed on a rough surface, it can cause the wick to burn and warm one spot rather than the whole candle uniformly. Be sure to have your dripless candles upright, straight, and still while still burning.
- Stearic acid level not high enough: If your candle didn’t have enough stearic acid added to the wax, it might not be hard enough to melt slower than standard wax candles. However, without the stearic acid added to the candle, the melting point is too low and will cause the wax to pool and drip over the sides.
- Candles placed in a drafty location: If your candle is placed near a window or a fan causing some sort of breeze, it will cause the flames to flicker and burn more to one side of the candle than the others. This one-sided burn will cause the wax to melt unevenly and eventually drip along the side.
How-To Make A Dripless Candle At Home
Candles are very simple to make in your home. If you haven’t made a candle before, follow our free candle-making course that takes you from start to finish in just 12 simple steps!
Whether trying to make dripless candles from scratch or improve the ones you have already purchased, both methods are possible for making your own dripless candles at home!
DIY Method One
While following my candle-making course, when you reach the step to melt the wax, there is an extra step that you need to follow to make dripless candles.
- For every pound of wax (approx. 450 grams), measure 3 tablespoons of stearic acid (42.5 grams); We are looking for a 10% stearic acid to wax ratio.
- Melt the stearic acid in a pot separate from the wax. It needs to get within 140°F and 160°F for that to happen.
- Once the stearic acid is fully melted, it can be added to the liquid wax mixture and continue to make your candles as usual.
- Add in some fun essential oils to release warm, homey smells!
Stearic acid causes the wax to shrink, making your candles appear slightly smaller. However, because of this shrinkage, your candles will come out of the moulds much more manageable than usual!
DIY Method Two
You likely already have some candles in your home and can use this method to convert your ordinary candles into dripless ones within 24 hours!
- Create a saltwater solution. Dissolve salt into warm tap water until the salt does not dissolve any longer.
- Submerge your candles into the salt water mixture for several hours (The longer they sit inside, the more saturated the wax will become).
- Remove from the mixture and dry off completely before using.
This works because when the salt is absorbed into the wax, it raises the melting point of the wax. It has the same effect as stearic acid, although not as potent.
The last way to make your ordinary candles ‘dripless’ is to put them into the freezer for a few hours to cool down the temperature of the wax. Cooling the wax will harden it temporarily and allow it to burn more slowly than if it were at room temperature!
Now that you are done making your candles, here is the best way to store candles after they have been made!
Dripless Candles Are The Best!
When I first discovered dripless candles, I was amazed at how effective they were and just how simple they were to make in my own home.
Now you know what makes these candles drip-free and how to make them at home for yourself! I would love to hear how you make out with your candles, so please share how your candles turn out below in the comments section!
If you want more information on the best waxes and essential oils to use in your candles, check out my resources page, I have plenty of articles teaching you about these topics!