Paraffin Wax Candle
Paraffin is made from petroleum. It’s really cheap, so paraffin candles cost less than candles made with other waxes (though candlemakers who comparison shop and buy in bulk can get soy wax for only slightly more than paraffin). Paraffin is the easiest kind of wax to make a functional candle out of when you don’t know what you’re doing. Cheap + hard to screw up = perfect for beginners.
Other advantages to paraffin include:
- it’s easy to dye with all types of candle dyes,
- all candlemaking fragrance oils work well in it,
- almost all candlemaking instructions assume you’re using paraffin,
- all the “rules of thumb” apply to it, and
- all additives work in it (which means it’s easy to make a side range of pretty effects such as snowflakes and crystal patterns). Some of the pretty things that can be done with paraffin can’t be done with other waxes.
Paraffin’s disadvantages include:
- oil mining is frequently bad for the environment,
- petroleum is a non-renewable resource, so we’re basically setting fire to something we have limited quantities of,
- it doesn’t biodegrade, so it’s going to be in our landfills for a REALLY long time
- you can scrape *most* of the spilled paraffin out of your carpet, but to get it all dissolved you would have to use a special chemical cleaner designed for dissolving paraffin. This cleaner has a lovely oranges smell, but it says on the label in big scary black letters, “This product contains an ingredient known to the State of California to be a carcinogen.” Granted that’s the solvent not the paraffin, but it’s still kinda creepy.
Good uses for paraffin candles:
- Beautiful decorative candles that won’t be burned
- If you need a huge number of candles and have a very small budget to work with, paraffin may be your best bet, though comparison shop between paraffin and soy before deciding.
- Best wax to start with when you start out in candlemaking.