Scent throw is the term candlemakers use when describing the strength of a candle’s aroma. Hot scent throw refers to the strength of the aroma when the candle is lit, whereas cold scent throw describes the strength of the smell when the candle is solid and cold.
To make your homemade candles smell stronger, try these ingredients and methods:
- use high-quality oils
- correct fragrance oil percentage to wax
- use the correct wick
- fragrance oil at the recommended temperature
- add fresh herbs, flower petals & spices to wax
- the correct curing time
If you are a beginner candlemaker and have difficulty getting your candles to smell stronger and more fragrant, this article is for you. We will discuss numerous ways to help you achieve the candle aroma you are longing for and transform you into an expert in no time!
How Do I Make My Homemade Candles Smell Stronger?
Candle-making is a pleasurable activity, and if you get it right, you can even start a small business and make a really good profit. However, it is important to follow certain steps and methods to produce the product you desire, especially regarding the aroma.
We will take a more in-depth look below at what you can do to make your homemade candles smell stronger.
Use High-Quality Oils
Making strong-scented candles isn’t difficult, but it does require a bit of experimentation to get it just right! The quality of the fragrance you use plays a huge role in the outcome of your candle’s smell.
High-quality essential oils yield the best results because they are pure extractions or distillations from various parts of the plant. Fragrance oils are a combination of natural and artificial scents specially formulated for making soaps and candles.
If you use high-quality essential oils, you can add a smaller amount to achieve the same results as you would by adding a higher amount of lower-quality fragrance oil to your wax.
Add the Correct Fragrance Oil Percentage to the Wax
Don’t measure fragrance oils; weigh them. Many make the mistake of measuring their fragrance oils with a cup or a spoon instead of weighing them.
The typical amount of fragrance oil to use is 1 oz (28 gm) or a 6% ratio per pound (450 grams) of wax. Always be sure to look at the “properties” section of the wax label or instruction guide for the maximum amount of fragrance oil you can add to that specific type of wax.
Natural Soy Wax has a maximum fragrance load of 1.6 oz (45 gm) or a 10% ratio for every pound of wax that you can add at a temperature of 113 – 125 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Soy – Natural Wax Blends have a maximum fragrance load of 1.6 oz (45 gm) or a 10% ratio for every pound of wax that you can add at a temperature of 114 – 124 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Paraffin – Natural Wax Blends have a maximum fragrance load of 1.6 oz (45 gm) or a 10% ratio for every pound of wax that you can add at a temperature of 133 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Paraffin Wax has a maximum fragrance oil load of 0.5 oz (14 gm) or a 3% ratio for every pound of wax that you can add at a temperature of 138 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Beeswax has a maximum fragrance load of 1.92 oz (54 gm) or a 12% ratio for every pound of wax that you can add at a temperature of 160 – 165 Degrees Fahrenheit.
Coconut Oil Wax has a maximum fragrance load of 1.6 oz (14 gm) or a 10% ratio for every pound of wax that you can add at a 180 – 185 Degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
Palm Oil Wax has a maximum fragrance load of 1.92 oz (54 gm) or a 12% ratio for every pound of wax that you can add at a 185 – 195 Degrees Fahrenheit temperature.
How to Calculate Your Fragrance Oil
Use a soap and candle scale to weigh your oil. Look at your candle containers (holders) and determine the amount of wax you need to make your candles. We will work with 1 pound (16 oz or 450 gm) of wax for this article.
If you add 10% fragrance, multiply 16 x 10% (or 0.1), which will give you an answer of 1.6 oz (14 gm). Tare your scale until the weight of the measuring cup shows 0. Pour 1.6 oz (14 gm) of fragrance oil into the cup.
Example: If you plan to make 10 x 8 oz (226 gm) candles with an 8% fragrance oil percentage, first multiply 10 x 8, which will give you a wax amount of 80 oz (2.26 kg). Then, multiply 80 x 8% (or 0.08oz or 2.26 gm), which gives you an amount of 6.4 oz (181 gm) of fragrance oil that you need to add per 80 oz (2.26 kg) of candle wax.
It may seem silly to worry too much about the wick, but an incorrect length or type of wick can affect the smell of your candles. We recommended the following;
Use the Correct Size & Type of Wick
If you use a wick that isn’t big enough to melt the entire diameter across the candle, you should opt for a bigger size as it can affect the scent throw immensely.
Different waxes require different wicks. The following all factor in when it comes to choosing the correct wick;
- Type of wax
- The melting point of the wax
- The candle’s diameter (size)
- The candle’s shape (square, round, etc.)
- The candle type (container, pillar, etc.)
- The percentage of fragrance oil added
- The type of fragrance oil added
- The type of colorant(s) added (color block, powder, liquid, dye chips, etc.)
Selecting the right wick for your candle will ensure the following;
- A beautiful hot scent throw
- Flame consistency
- Minimal afterglow (after the candle is extinguished)
- Minimal carbon deposits (blooming)
- Moderate container temperature
- Well-formed wax pool (no dripping down the sides)
Types of Wicks
If you use the right wick, you will experience the optimal burning flame result. The different types of wicks include;
Braided Wicks – burns slowly and consistently, high-quality, crafted from knitted, plaited, or braided fibers, used in pillars, votives, and taper candles.
Twisted Wicks – generally used for birthday candles, lower quality, burns quicker due to its loose construction.
Flat Cotton Wicks – consistent flame, made from three fiber bundles, best for pillar and taper candles.
Square Cotton Wick –knitted or braided, promotes a curl in the flame, robust and rounded, best for beeswax candles.
Cored Cotton Wicks – has a cored material to keep the wick upright, crafted from paper, zinc, and cotton, best for pillars, container candles, and votives.
HTP Wicks – self-trimming, has a rigid core, improves wax pool symmetry, deposits minimal carbon, works well with palm wax, soy wax, and paraffin wax.
Performa Coreless Wicks – does not bend while burning, made from flatly braided cotton.
LX Wick – flat wicks with a unique braiding style, made with stabilizing threads for an optimum burn, stable, consistent flame, minimum mushrooming (carbon build-up), reduces afterglow, soot, and smoke, great for soy, or paraffin wax, used in container or pillar candles.
RRD Series Wicks – consistent, stable flame, increases fuel flow to the flame (fragrance and wax).
CD Series Wicks – coreless, flat braided style, has a paper filament woven around, full and consistent flame, works well with soy wax, paraffin wax, and waxes that are difficult to melt.
Wooden Wicks (Hardwood or Softwood) – requires little to no trimming and promotes a soothing crackling sound like firewood burning.
Trim Your Wicks
If you don’t trim your wicks to the correct size (according to the size of your candle), the result could be mushrooming, soot, smoke, and a very big flame. The following wick lengths are recommended;
- Soy & Palm Oil candles – 1/8th inch
- Paraffin candles – 1/4 inch
- Wood wicks (in any application) – 1/4 inch
Helpful Tip – The very first time you light your candle is the most important because it creates a “burn memory.” This sets the stage for how your candle performs every time you light it.
How to Create the Best Burn Memory
To create the best burn memory, allow the whole top layer of the candle to melt (each inch of the diameter will take about an hour to melt).
When the top layer has melted completely (from edge to edge), extinguish the flame and allow it to solidify again. Then, trim the wick to a 1/4 inch, and continue to do so after every use for maximum fragrance output.
Add Fragrance Oil at the Recommended Temperature
The temperature is the most important thing to check when adding fragrance oil to your candle wax. If the temperature is not correct, the oil won’t bind to the wax properly, and you will end up with a very weak scent throw. It is also important to consider the fragrance oil’s flashpoint.
The following wax types need to reach these temperatures before you can add the fragrance oil;
Paraffin Wax – 180-185 Degrees Fahrenheit
Soy Wax – 180-185 Degrees Fahrenheit
Palm Wax – 200-205 Degrees Fahrenheit
Parasoy Wax – 176°Degrees Fahrenheit
Coconut Apricot Wax – 200-220 Degrees Fahrenheit
Beeswax – 150-160 Degrees Fahrenheit
Coconut Oil Wax – 200-205 Degrees Fahrenheit
Use a Thermometer
You should closely monitor the wax’s temperature throughout the entire process. Using a thermometer reduces your chances of burning or scorching the wax. If this happens, start the process over because the scent throw will be unpleasant, and you probably won’t be using these candles any time soon!
Stir, Stir, Stir!
This is an important part of the process because if you don’t stir the oil and wax mixture for at least three to five minutes, the fragrance oil will have difficulty binding to the wax properly. This causes the oil to settle at the bottom and ultimately produces a candle with an extremely weak scent throw.
Preheat Your Candle Containers
The best cooling rate for a candle is a slow one. Before you pour the wax, preheat your containers first, as it allows the wax to cool down at a slow rate, preventing shrinkage and wet spots.
Add Fresh Herbs, Flower Petals & Spices to Your Wax
What is better than a spicy candle burning and filling the air with pure ambiance? There are so many great things other than expensive oils that you can use to add fragrance to your homemade candles.
You will be surprised to know that your spice drawer and garden are all you need to create an aromatic candle.
How to Add Herbs & Spices to Your Homemade Candles
If you intend to make candles to sell them, we recommend that you use jojoba oil as it lasts longer than olive- or almond oil. If you are creating candles just for you, then olive- or almond oil will suffice.
Whichever oil you decide to use, measure 1 cup (250ml) and pour the oil into a ½ liter jar. Go through your spice drawer and garden and gather the ingredients (scents) you want to add to your candles. These can include;
- Fresh Lavender
- Fresh Jasmine
- Vanilla Extract
- Ground Cloves
- Chai Spice
- Rose Petals
- Flower Petals
- Dried Herbs
- Citrus Peels
Helpful Tip – If you plan to use fresh herbs, flower petals, or lavender to make your fragrant oil infusion, it would be best to dry them out first. You can do this by placing them on the windowsill for a few hours, on the side of the house that is relatively sunny.
Drying the ingredients makes it easier to pulverize or crush, and it also increases the potency of the fragrance. Be careful not to over-dry them.
Next, measure ½ cup (125ml) of the fresh herbs or flower petals, and add them to the oil in the jar. Make sure that everything is thoroughly covered in oil, and then crush them into smaller pieces using a wooden spoon.
If you use dried herbs and spices instead of fresh, add ½ teaspoon to the oil and mix well. You can adjust the potency of the smell by repeating this process until you achieve the fragrance you desire.
Set your stove on the lowest heat setting, and in a large pan or pot, add two cups (500ml) water and leave it to heat up for 5 minutes. Place the jar containing the oil and infusion ingredients into the water and allow it to sit for two minutes.
This step speeds up the infusion process, but be very careful not to let it get to boiling point. Next, cover the jar and place it in a cool cupboard for about a week, stirring the concoction once a day with a wooden spoon.
In another ½ liter jar, use a cheesecloth to line a sieve and strain as much oil as possible. Please press on the contents to get the oil out, remove the sieve, cover the jar once more and place it back into the same cupboard for another week.
Helpful Tip – For a sweeter scent, add a drop or two of vanilla extract to the oil infusion before placing it in the cupboard.
Add your homemade infusion oil to the molten was the next time you make candles. The more fragrance oil you add, the stronger the scent, but remember not to add more than the recommended oil load amount.
Allow Your Homemade Candles Enough Curing Time
The curing process of a candle is as important as the candle-making process. Curing allows the aromatic molecules to spread out as the wax hardens. Proper curing time is vital for trapping the scent inside the candle.
It gives the candle wax enough time to absorb the fragrance, improving not only the hot scent throw of the candle but also the cold scent. For the best scent throw results, place a lid on your candle containers before storing them for the curing process.
Different types of candle wax have different curing times, such as;
- Paraffin Wax – 24 to 48 Hours (min)
- Soy Wax – 1 to 2 Weeks (min)
- Bees Wax – 7 to 10 Days (min)
- Parasoy Wax – 7 to 10 Days (min)
- Coconut Oil Wax – 2 Weeks (min)
- Coconut Apricot Wax – 2 Weeks (min)
- Palm Oil Wax – 7 to 10 Days (min)
Things You Should NEVER Do When Making Scented Homemade Candles!
Now that we have covered everything that will help make your homemade candles smell stronger, we feel it’s of utmost importance to cover the things you should avoid doing.
Don’t Melt Wax in the Microwave
Melting your wax in the microwave makes it impossible for you to monitor the temperature of the wax, and in most cases, it melts unevenly.
This is problematic because you run a high risk of scorching the wax in the areas that melt before other areas called “hot spots.” The result; an unappealing, burnt popcorn-scented homemade candle.
Don’t Use Wax Crayons to Dye Your Candles
Crayons are awesome; for kids! However, using crayons to dye your candles is not so awesome. Even though it seems like a great idea, crayon wax isn’t made to burn like candle wax.
Not only does it affect the scent of the candle, but it also clogs the wick resulting in a weak-burning candle flame. If you want to color your candles, opt for dyes specifically formulated for candle-making.
Don’t Replace Fragrant Oils with Perfume
Perfume is something you wear on an evening out or to smell pretty throughout the day, not as a fragrance in a candle! The perfume will clog your wick, causing a poor burning flame, and more importantly, it is a major fire hazard.
Don’t Refrigerate Your Candles
A refrigerator may preserve your food but is not recommended for a candle. It makes sense to place a hot candle in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process, but it damages the candle in several ways.
Firstly, the extreme temperature change from very hot to cold can cause the glass to shatter or crack. Secondly, it can create sinkholes and wet spots. Thirdly, it can cause the wax to shrink up, and finally, it weakens the scent throw significantly.
To avoid these heartaches, allow the candle to cool down and set at room temperature (not too hot) to get the best results.
Don’t Add too Much Fragrance to Your Wax
When mixing juice concentrate with water, the more concentrate you add, the sweeter the cooldrink. The same does not apply when adding fragrance to candle wax. Unfortunately, adding more fragrance than recommended could cause unwanted gooey spots.
Excess fragrance can also cause the wax to separate from the fragrance, which automatically turns it into a potential fire hazard. It would be best to follow the product guidelines to prevent these problems.
Don’t Store Your Homemade Candles Near Heat or in Direct Sunlight
The safest place to store any candle is in a dark, cool cupboard or drawer. High temperatures will melt and warp your candles. The color and scent fade when candles are exposed to heat, especially direct sunlight.
Don’t Add Drops of Fragrance Oil After Lighting the Candle
It’s easy to see why many have made this mistake; it seems like it could work, right? Wrong! Many folks making homemade candles have tried it, and most have experienced disappointing results.
They light their candles to melt the top layer of wax, and once it has melted, extinguish the flame. Next, they add a few drops of fragrance oil to that molten layer and finally let the candle wax set again, hoping that the candle will smell stronger.
Unfortunately, you don’t know the exact temperature or amount of this layer of wax. Therefore, you won’t be 100% sure how much oil to add, and if you have added too much, it will impair the candle’s burning characteristics and weaken the scent throw even more.
We can see that adding more fragrances to our candles won’t necessarily make them smell stronger. The best way to achieve the optimal fragrance from your candles is to stick to the guidelines set out for each type of wax.
Most importantly, enjoy making your candles, and remember, if you don’t succeed at first, try and try again!
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys, and I’m so excited to start this adventure with them! In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.