Stearin - the Secret to Successful Candle Making    

What is Stearin?

stearin granules Stearin, (or stearine), is a mixture of fatty acids, used in candle and soap making. Triple pressed stearic acid has many industrial uses: it's found in the cosmetics, skin care lotions, liquid soaps, shaving creams, even the multivitamins you use, where it appears as glyceryl stearate or glycol distearate (chemical compounds of glyceryl/glycol and stearin).

Stearic acid is derived from animal and vegetable fats. Common sources: Peruvian, Scandinavian, or Japanese fish oils; tallow; palm stearin, which comes from tropical coconuts and palm nuts.

The white crystalline substance comes in a variety of solid or granular forms. Buy it as flakes, or a white powder, for better solubility.

How to Make Stearin Candles

Stearin wax plays an indispensable part in your candlemaking routine. It makes all the difference between disappointing, or successful, candles.

How much stearic acid do you add to paraffin wax? Stearin should make up 10% of your overall quantity of wax. Firstly, melt the stearin in a double-boiler or wax melting pot. Colouring your candles? Mix the dye/s in gradually, little bits at a time, until you achieve the colour intensity you want. Next, add the wax. Stir now and again, while heating the mixture to the required pouring temperature.

Tip: stearic acid's not good for latex rubber moulds, (it rots the rubber). Vybar should be used for candles made in flexible moulds, instead.

Why use Stearin in Candles?

Using stearin in candles vastly improves their looks and burning qualities. Listed below are the benefits of this additive:

  • Easier mould release. Stearin increases shrinkage in candle waxes. The set candle pulls away from the mould slightly, and loosens easily.

  • Intense colour. The classic combination of 1 part stearin to 9 parts paraffin wax produces candles with vibrant colours. No more dull pinks and lilacs, instead you have brightly colored candles. A ratio of 1:4 produces startlingly vivid tones, but might give the wax a soapy appearance.

  • Slower-burning candles. Stearin increases the melting point of paraffin wax to 80°C (176°F). Your candles burn longer, with steady, unwavering flames.

  • Less drips and smoking. Candles made from stearic acid are virtually dripless. You'll spend less time cleaning up waxy messes. Smaller, neater flames emit less trails of smoke, and protect your walls and ceilings from unsightly soot.

  • Harder candles. Stearin candles survive hot climates, without melting, sagging or losing their shape.

So, there's your secret to better looking and burning candles. Mixing stearin into your waxes has many advantages. This valuable ingredient is a powerful weapon in your candle making arsenal!

Take Note: I have only combined stearin with paraffin waxes, and have no idea what stearin does, or how it acts, when mixed into other types of waxes.

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Reference materials:

Candles, by Jon Newman. This informative book contains extensive references to stearin, and contains various historical facts; definitions and characteristics of; the uses of stearine in candle making; and where it's sourced from.

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