how to use candle dye

How to Use Candle Dye

Adding dye to candle wax is a great way to make your candles unique. Candle dye is a special kind of colorant that dissolves in wax. Whereas water-based dyes don’t mix with wax, candle dye is formulated to blend evenly with oil-based products such as wax. If you’re wondering how to use candle dye, you’ll find everything you need to know in this blog post!   

What are the different types of candle dye? 

Most candle dye comes in the form of dye chips, dye blocks, or liquid dye. Some candle dye suppliers also sell dye in flake form. However, dye flakes are a little harder to measure accurately, which can lead to inconsistent results if you’re trying to make multiple batches of candles look the same. 

Candle dye colors are made from a variety of materials, such as plants, oxides, clays, minerals, and synthetic sources. Most candle dyes contain synthetic ingredients, as these produce better color results. 

The dyes used for coloring candles are combustible, meaning that they burn with the wax rather than being left behind after the wax is consumed. Because the dyes burn with the wax, they do not build up and leave a residue that clogs the wick. This is why candle dyes work so effectively.  

Can you color candle wax with food coloring or crayons?  

Candle dye is a specific type of colorant. Not all dyes and colorants can be used in candles.

Many people wonder whether you can use food coloring to dye a candle, but this doesn’t work. The main reason is that food coloring is water-based and won’t mix with wax. When added to wax, food coloring forms droplets that don’t dissolve, regardless of how much you stir them.

Using crayons to dye candles has also become very popular in recent years among DIY bloggers. Crayons are wax-based, and it’s true that the pigment will mix with candle wax. However, crayons are usually colored with powder or other pigments that don’t fully dissolve. Even if the color mixes with the wax, the pigments won’t burn up the way that candle dyes do. As a result, crayon pigments get left behind in the candle and usually clog the wick. 

Can I use mica or glow in the dark powder in candles? 

Powdered pigments such as mica and glow powder don’t always work the best in candles. Powdered colorants such as these will disperse in oil-based products like candle wax. However, they don’t dissolve like candle dye. As a result, you will always be left with particles that don’t fully mix with the wax. 

Not only does this affect the appearance, it may also prevent the candle from burning effectively. Because powdered colorants do not fully mix with wax, they tend to clog wicks. Read more about how mica works in candles.

Nevertheless, many people enjoy using mica powder and glow powder in their candles. Just keep in mind that these powders tend to sink to the bottom, and they do not give off the bright, well-blended color you would get from using candle dye. If you choose to use powdered pigments, this is something you will have to incorporate into your design. 

While testing candles is always important, it’s even more crucial if you’re using powdered pigments. Because powdered colors tend to affect how candles burn, you should test your candles even more thoroughly if using these pigments. Learn more about using mica in candles here

What is the best dye for candles? 

Between candle dye chips and liquid candle dye, you might be wondering which type is best for you. The best kind of candle dye is really a matter of personal preference. Dye chips are great because you can pop them into your wax melting pot without measuring or counting the number of drops. You can easily adjust the final color of your candles by adding more dye chips. Likewise, you can create pastel colors by cutting the dye chips into smaller pieces. 

Liquid candle dye is highly concentrated, and a little goes a long way. Just a few drops of liquid dye will color a whole batch of wax. Like dye chips, you can also adjust the strength of the color by changing how many drops you use. Liquid dye is highly versatile, as you can use it to color gel candles as well as soy and coconut candles. Because of its liquid form, it will allow gel wax to retain its transparency. 

How do you add color to candles? 

Adding dye to candle wax is an easy process. For dye chips, simply pop your dye chips into your melting pot when the wax reaches approximately 185 degrees. For best results, don’t add dye chips to wax that is hotter than 225 degrees F. After adding the dye chips, stir until they completely dissolve. You want to ensure that the pigment is fully blended before pouring your candles. While stirring, check that no specks of colorant are left behind. 

Liquid dyes can also be added once your wax is fully melted. Most people let their wax get to 185 degrees F. As the dye is already in liquid form, very little mixing will be required. However, you still want to give it a quick stir to ensure the dye is fully blended. 

How much candle dye do I need?

The amount of dye you need for candles depends on what you want your end result to be. It will also vary based on the type of wax you are using. 

  • Paraffin wax will result in bright, bold colors. You need less dye to achieve colorful results. 
  • Coconut wax blends will be softer and more pastel than paraffin wax, but you can still achieve bright colors. It will simply take more dye than you would need for paraffin. 
  • Soy wax tends to produce more pastel shades no matter how much dye you use. When coloring soy wax, keep in mind that you won’t be able to get the bold colors you might achieve with paraffin. 

If working with dye chips, you usually need 1 chip per pound of wax. Natural waxes like soy and coconut blends may require up to 5 chips per pound of wax. It’s always a good idea to start small and work your way up. 

If using liquid candle dyes, you need 1-2 drops per pound of paraffin wax. Coconut and soy waxes generally need 2 or more drops to get bright colors. 

Keep in mind that the colors will always look darker when the wax is in liquid form. For example, dark or intense colors may make your wax appear black when it’s melted. The color will be lighter once the candles are poured and begin cooling. 

Does candle dye affect how candles burn? 

Like any candle additive, colorants can affect how your candles burn. Depending on how much dye you use, you may find it’s necessary to wick up when using candle dyes. Keep in mind that each color of dye may have a different effect on your wicking. Always test each wick/wax/color/fragrance combination thoroughly. 

Can you mix colors of candle dye? 

Yes, different colors of dye can be blended to create custom colors. By mixing different dyes, you can create an endless array of colors. You can also experiment with adding liquid dye and candle dye chips together.

Does fragrance oil affect the color of candles?

When adding color to your candles, it’s important to consider how your fragrance oil might affect the final result. Some fragrance oils are naturally darker in color. While this is a result of the fragrance ingredients, and doesn’t come from pigment, it can still affect the color you end up with. When using fragrances with a natural yellow, orange, or brown color, make a small test batch to see how this color may interact with your candle dyes. 

Can I use candle dye for wax melts?

Absolutely! Liquid candle dye and dye chips both mix nicely with our C55 Tart Wax. If you’re looking for project inspiration, check out our Citrus Wax Melt Recipe and our Botanical Wax Melt Recipe!

Can I use candle dye for bath and body products? 

No. The pigments used in candle dye are not approved for bath or body products. Don’t use candle dye to color bath bombs, soap, lip balm, lotion, sugar scrubs, or other similar products. For bath and body products, use our mica powders instead. 

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