Make a Candle That Smells Strong When it Burns

Make a Candle That Smells Strong When it Burns

Making your Candle Throw (or cast its fragrance over a wide area) is the primary goal of making a fragranced candle. This is not hard to achieve if you understand the basic parameters. There are 5 things to consider when making a successfully Fragranced Candle. If you have the following in place, the Candle will be excellent and fragrant.

Do not be discouraged if your first try is not as good as you had hoped. These things are easily achieved when you know what to plan and look for.

1. Make sure you are using very high grade fragrance concentrates. If you wonder what you have, read the article about the differences between A Grade and B Grade fragrances in the frequently asked questions section.

2. Make sure you use 1 to 1.5 oz of your fragrance per pound. (1 oz to 20 oz liquid wax) You can use less after testing for strength, but start here. With our fragrance it will run you out at that level, and you can back off to your desired fragrance strength. Also make sure that your fragrance is mixing completely into your wax. You will know this when you pour into your candle containers. If there is a bunch of unmixed fragrance on the bottom of the pot, raise your temperature next time and stir it in better before pouring.

3. Make sure your wax is holding the fragrance in the wax evenly, all the way to the top. You will know this if there is not any watery substance at the bottom of the container after it sets up. Also, if your candle has very little smell when initially lit or has to burn about half way down before it starts to smell good, then you know the fragrance is settling down into the lower part of your wax. To make sure this does not happen, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of the additive Vybar 260 to your container blend to hold it in properly. This will allow the wax to hold your scent in evenly to the top of the candle after it sets up and in most cases will not noticeably effect the burn of the candle.

4. So, now you have made sure you have; Quality fragrance, and you are Using an adequate amount of it, and the fragrance is mixing properly with your wax, and your wax is holding it evenly after it sets up, Make sure the top of the candle is level flat before lighting it. This means in most cases that no matter if you are using a one pour wax, or regular paraffin, you will still have to either do a repour if you are using regular paraffin to fill the crater in the center, or if you are using a one pour container blend, you will have to take a heat gun and remelt the top and fill any holes or dips in the top. Ideally, where the wick comes out of the wax will be level, or a little above the edges of the container where the wax touches the edge of the jar. (like a mini pyramid is shaped) If you do not do this, the wick no matter how big it is, will core down and drown out if it is in a well when lit. The candle tops are easily remelted flat with a heat gun. A hot hair dryer will work in some cases also. Take care not to light the wick with your heat gun, people will complain that the candle is used and want to return it if the wick is charred.

5. Ok, now here it is, the whole secret to a candle that throws is to know where the throw comes from. The throw and fragrance from a candle comes from the melt pool of the candle wax when it burns. The actual fragrance oil burning makes no smell at all. Raw fragrance only creates soot if burned directly with an oil lamp wick by itself. (don’t try that yourself by the way, its dangerous) This is why melts or tarts smell so good when used in a tart melter. The tart melter makes a melt pool to warm up the candle fragrance in the wax pool creating a warm updraft to spread the fragrance throughout your home. The same applies to a candle. The melt pool should be ¼ inch to the thickness of your pinkie finger at the most. A deeper melt pool can make your container hot and could possibly spill onto your customers table or carpeting if bumped so be careful and find the ideal melt pool for your container by varying your wick size up or down. A melt pool of ¼ inch works fine in most cases and will throw the fragrance as the candle is burning, making the melt pool, and creating a slight heat updraft from the candle that takes the fragrance with it to fill your home.

The Author:

Steve Pollard has been in the Candles, Cosmetic and Personal Products Industry for over 10 years. His background includes Manufacturing, Product development and Formulation of Candles, Fragrance and Color development and personal products. For the Technical edge and to claim some valuable bonuses, you can subscribe to his popular newsletter at:

copyright 2006 –  The Candlemakers Store

26 thoughts on “Make a Candle That Smells Strong When it Burns

  1. I am just starting my business and for now i am making gel candles the only problem i have is making candles smell when burning i have played a little bit, i bought medium grade wax should i get high grade wax or does that make a difference when it comes to fragrance. All of my fragrances are about 2 oz I made a candle that was one pound of wax and i used almost all of the fragrance bottle and i burned it but it still does not smell unless you are right on top of the candle please help me.

    1. I’m having the same problem and I’ve tried a number of different things like letting the wax cool longer before adding the fragrance this seemed to make it worse and not smell at all. I’ve tried using a paraffin and soy wax blend, because when I started out I was only using soy at the time I didn’t know its hard to get soy to hold a fragrance or even throw it across a room. I’m getting ready to which to paraffin wax only I hear it holds the fragrance much better. I even tried buying fragrances from different companies some would have a chemical smell, others just didn’t small good at all and some had a strong smell until it was added to the wax and wouldn’t small at all while burning. I think the trick is in the fragrance. It says on different websites that you should get 100 percent concentrated fragrance oil, but they don’t work any better. If you figure this out please share the results. I’ve been on this one problem for over a year now thanks.

      1. I too am having the SAME PROBLEMS!! My candles smell fantastic when they’re cold…but when I light them up…it just smells like there’s a candle burning…but no SCENT/FRAGRANCE at all!! I made 2 8oz candles, and used 1oz of fragrance in the batch to make just these two…they smell HEAVENLY when cold…but you light them…AND YOU GET NOTHING AT ALL. It makes me MAD AS HELL that I’m going through all this money and not getting what I’m TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH…PLEASE HELP!!!!

        1. Margie,

          It can definitely be frustrating when you put in time and money to make candles that don’t end up smelling strong enough. Have you tried experimenting with different types of fragrances or using a different wax? It might be worth a try to see if that helps improve the scent throw.

      2. Nikki, I completely understand your frustration! It can be really tricky to get the fragrance to hold and throw in a candle. Have you tried adding the fragrance at a slightly higher temperature, just before pouring the wax? Sometimes the wax needs to be a little hotter than usual to properly blend with the fragrance. Also, have you tried using essential oils instead of fragrance oils? They can be a bit more expensive, but they tend to have a stronger scent. I hope this helps and good luck with your candle making!

    2. Hi there Mona Kantor! Congrats on starting your candle making business! I understand your concern about getting the fragrance to come through in your gel candles. You might want to consider doubling the amount of fragrance you use. Also, try adding the fragrance oil at a higher temperature when the wax is between 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit, this way the fragrance will be able to blend better with the wax. High-grade wax can give you a cleaner burn but it may not necessarily help with the fragrance throw. You can purchase fragrance enhancers specifically made for gel candles. These additives help to improve fragrance throw and dispersion in gel wax. Additionally, make sure to mix the fragrance oil well within the gel wax before pouring. I hope these tips help you achieve better fragrance throw in your gel candles. Good luck!

  2. your wax should be at a certain temp for it to bind with the fragrance your manufacturers advice . I use a paraffin/soy blend (igi6006) and it is suggested with this wax to heat to 175-190 then add wax…then I let cool down to 155 to pour..your wick is a factor as well. 1lb wax to 1oz of FO

    1. Thanks for sharing your tips! It’s always helpful to know what has worked well for others and what the manufacturer’s advice is. And you’re right, the wick can definitely play a role in how strong the fragrance is.

  3. I need to know how to make candles smell like different thinks, like old books, or fireplace, or stone, or leaves, or wet grass. Please help me.

    1. There are a few methods you can use to make candles smell like different things:

      Essential Oils – Essential oils are a great way to add natural scents to your candles. For old books, try using cedarwood or sandalwood essential oils. For fireplace, use cinnamon or clove. For stone, use lavender or eucalyptus. For leaves, use tea tree or peppermint. For wet grass, use sage or lemongrass.

      Fragrance Oils – Fragrance oils are synthetic scents that can mimic many smells. Look for fragrance oils that are specifically designed to smell like old books, fireplace, stone, leaves, or wet grass.

      Herbs and Spices – Adding herbs and spices to your candles can also create unique scents. For old books, add dried basil or thyme. For fireplace, add dried orange peel or cinnamon sticks. For stone, add rosemary or sage. For leaves, add dried lavender or mint. For wet grass, add lemongrass or rosemary.

      Natural Materials – You can also add natural materials to your candles to create unique scents. For old books, add shredded old book pages to the wax. For fireplace, add small pieces of wood or pine needles. For stone, add small stones or pebbles. For leaves, add dried leaves or acorns. For wet grass, add small pieces of grass or moss.

      Remember to always follow proper candle-making safety guidelines, do not overdo with scents and do multiple small scent tests, considering the plant or chemicals extracts effects on you and people around you to avoid health issues and allergies and gradual adapt with your customers market and feedback.

  4. Thanks for the tip about keeping the wax pool to about a quarter of an inch. However, I just wanted to add that it is a good idea to reuse some of the wax from scented candles you already have. I recently bought a good coconut scented candle, and when the wicks burned out I melted the wax and made a new smaller candle.

    1. That’s a great idea! Reusing the wax from scented candles not only saves money but also reduces waste. The coconut-scented candle sounds lovely, and it’s even better that you were able to make a smaller candle out of the leftover wax. It’s always good to find ways to be environmentally friendly, and this is a great example of that. Thank you for sharing your tip!

  5. margie. URRGGHHH! I am having the same issue. I thought it was my wax (paraffin) I’ve switched to Soy because they have to cure and apparently soy cures quicker. I’ve read so many things online that are supposed to help… NONE of them have worked! It’s driving me insane. Has anyone figured this out?

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you’re also having trouble getting your candles to smell strong enough. Keep trying different methods and don’t give up hope! It could also be worth reaching out to other candle makers or fragrance suppliers for advice.

  6. I heard you heat wax to 180 degrees then a make sure it mixed well, cool to 150 degrees then add scent, mix very well. The pour at 130 degrees, it has something to do with making sure the wax is not too hot and the scent to stick to the wax. And use great scents too, when I use essential oils, like peppermint, they never have a good scent throw.

    1. Those are great tips, thanks for sharing! It’s all about finding the right temperature balance to ensure the fragrance can bind well with the wax. And you’re right, the quality of the fragrance oil can also make a big difference in how strong the scent throw is.

  7. Hi! I am planning to put up a candle making business and I would like to try to make one by myself. Scented candle is a plus. Thank you for this tutorial. Would definitely apply this! ?

    1. Good luck on your candle making business! Glad to hear that this tutorial has been helpful to you. Scented candles are definitely a great addition to your products.

  8. Me too can someone tell me somehow when they know the trick please? I used kerawax a blended one , mulled wine FO worked in that on a high temp , the others didn’t ..I also have 135 soy, suppose to be good, just done everything the pro’s told me and added fragrance at a high temp of around 80 to 82 C ..NOTHING..i am nearly skint and I am not going to give up either, I am getting angry and want to get this right ,,But then I cannot remember how long I left the soy one to cure might leave it a few more days and re try ..IF it works I will let you know x..But I could kick myself..ages ago I made a mulled wine candle from just normal soy ,and it smelt amazing , only thing is they burn down quick in soy , and I can’t remember what I did right was pure flook

    1. Keep on trying, don’t give up! It’s normal to have some failures in the beginning, but keep experimenting and trying different techniques. It might be helpful to document each step and ingredient used so you can trace back what went wrong or right in your previous attempts. Good luck on your candle making journey!

  9. In reply to Nikki.

    I’ve been using essential oils and using 1.5 oz of scent to 1 lb of wax and the candles smell amazing. I put the oil in AS SOON as I take it off of the heat, maybe 1 minute after. Perhaps you’re letting it cool too much?

  10. Not sure if how you prepare your jar container affects the scent but it is suggested to always heat your jar first. Either with a heat gun or in the oven for a couple of minutes. I do mine in the oven preheat 350 degrees, leave it in there for 3 minutes. I use a 10oz glass tumbler, 100% Soy and 100% cotton wick. The wick could also be a factor. My wick size accommodates 3-4″ diameter– so make sure you check with your manufacturer on the wick size which is dependent on what container you are using. I use 1.5 oz of fragrance (non essential) per pound of wax. I heat wax to 172 degrees, remove it from heat, pour FO right away and stir for about 5 seconds and pour in jar. I tested two different candles that were made the same way. Test#1— I burned the jar after 24 Hours, cold throw was really good but hot throw was not, could barely smell anything. I tested inside a large living room and a 10×10 room and no difference in hot throw. Test#2– I waited a minimum of 1 week to burn the second candle. Both cold and hot throw were great in a 10×10 room but in a larger room, it was subtle. So there are varying factors to consider when you can’t smell your candle: jar preparation, wick size, wax pour temperature, temperature at which perfume is poured, room size compare to jar size, and how long you let your candle solidify until you burn. Hope this helps someone out because I too went nuts over hot throw! Good luck everyone ?

    1. Thank you for sharing your tips and insights on how to achieve a good hot throw. It’s really helpful to consider all these factors when making scented candles. I will definitely keep these in mind when I try making my own scented candles. Thanks again and good luck on your candle making!

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