When you burn a candle, one of its unique properties is the brightness of its flame. Choosing the right wax plays an important role in making the candle burn brighter.
Candles made with beeswax have a warmer-toned flame, and they are the brightest, comparing them to other waxes. In the second place for the brightest wax are candles made with soy wax. The higher the wax’s melting point, the brighter they are.
Let’s find out how to pick the right wax to maximize the candle’s brightness, and also, of the same importance, what are the other factors you should consider to make the most bright homemade candle.
The Brightest Burning Wax
The burning process is a delicate osmosis of molecules reacting to each other and fueling themselves to create a shiny flame. In our very first article, we analyze this fascinating process in all its details.
In this post, we will focus on wax only. Beeswax and soy wax are the natural waxes that help to create brighter flames because of their higher melting points.
Having a higher melting point means that the wax melts at a higher temperature and, by doing that, produces both more heat and more light, along with water vapour and carbon dioxide that make the candle keep burning.
Other kinds of waxes, such as paraffin wax, have lower melting points that make the candle burn less bright and, more generally, less durable and pleasant to burn.
Considering just wax as a bright factor for improving the brightness of your candle, you can pick either beeswax or soy wax. In general, beeswax cost a bit more, and soy wax would be the best option since it’s also vegan if you want to compromise just a little bit of brightness.
As you probably got it already, plenty of other factors influence the final result of having a bright flame.
Let’s dive into them, one by one!
6 Tips to Make Your Candle Burn Brighter
The following points come from our experiments collected in our little green notebook, where we report all our findings, success and failure. By browsing it back and forth a couple of times, I managed to shortlist six tips that you can start applying right now to your candles and make them burn way brighter.
Some of those may sound obvious, some may sound completely astonishing, and some are not even listed because these will be those you will find by practising homemade candle making.
1. Choose the Right Wax and Type of Candle
Beeswax, for its higher melting point, is the favourite wax to use, but it may be not easy to use for someone starting the homemaking process and not advised for container candles. Our choice is always soy wax for its natural properties, intrinsic brightness and reduced bulk costs.
On the resource page, you can find our favourite wax with competitive pricing.
Container, pillar or taper candles reach different brightness points because metal or glass containers might diffuse or tarnish the flame depending on the glossiness of the container’s finish. Pillar or taper candles instead let the flame shine freely without anything around, and its brightness will propagate all over it.
As a rule of thumb, if you want to make batches of container candles, go for soy wax for its cost-effective and easy to make properties; if you are going for pillar or taper candles, go for beeswax to maximize brightness.
2. Choose the Right Container’s Size
The container’s size is another variable that would influence the brightness of your candle. The diameter of the container will create a tiny or wide pool of melted wax depending on its length, and it will be responsible for nurturing the wick and fueling the flame.
It’s not an easy job, though: it’s a play of balance, and to be fair, it’s challenging to suggest the correct size.
We found that it works well in size, a container’s diameter of circa 7.5cm (3 inches) with one central wick and soy wax (we use soy wax for all our containers).
3. Choose the Right Container’s Material
If you make a container candle and want to make it appear brighter, go for a glass jar, eighter glossy or irregular shape.
The flame’s light will bounce and reflex on the glass, gifting a soothing and bright experience to its surroundings.
The perfect candle to have while relaxing in your bathtub, with the flame bouncing through the glass’s imperfections.
We haven’t tried to use materials, such as tins with shiny internal surfaces, but the effect could be similar but less diffused all around the candle.
Thanks to the transparency of glass containers, soy wax-based candles emit a bright light comparable to the one emitted by pillar or taper candles.
4. Choose the Right Wick
Candle wicks are essential for pretty much anything related to burning a candle, and obviously, its brightness.
There are two main wick trends on the market: wooden wicks and cotton wicks.
Wooden wicks are pretty popular, but their burning process is not optimized for the candle. To make the candle burn properly and brighter is vital to use cotton-based pre-waxed wicks of a consistent thickness (medium/large).
To have the best performing wick, it’s also important to trim it at precisely ¼ inch using a pair of sharp scissors.
If you are a wick-nerd like I am, here there is an entire article all about wicks.
5. Choose the Right Wick Set
It’s common to use more than a wick for candles with wide mouth containers. If you have a container with a diameter longer than 7.5cm (3 inches), it’s necessary to use more than a wick.
Two? Three? How many would you say? It depends on the diameter of the candle. What we want by placing more than one wick is to make sure that our candle surface burns evenly to avoid any holes or dips.
A configuration with a set of three wicks usually covers surfaces of wide candles better and makes the melted wax fueling the three wicks properly.
Having more than one flame will increase the candle’s brightness and the heat that it propagates. So make sure to burn it in a safe place, safety first – always with any candle!
6. Choose the Right Position
The last tip is about interior design and using light sources and shiny, reflective or translucent surfaces.
We love to make sure there is close by to our candle a mirror or a shiny/reflective surface. In this way, a simple one-wick candle will shine bright in the dark just by using it in the correct position.
That’s a challenge for you: try placing your candles around until you find an inspiring spot that makes it stand, empowering its emission.
The candle becomes almost a piece of furniture, a natural version of a lamp!