Making wax melts is fun and super easy. There are tons of different molds you can use to create different designs, but adding color is another fun way to make your wax melts unique. Candle dye chips work great for tinting your wax any color you wish. However, mica is another additive you can use to create beautiful wax melts!
What does mica look like when you add it to wax?
If you’re new to using mica powder, you might not know what to expect when you add it to wax. Mica is great for dyeing soap base, bath bombs and other cosmetic products like lip balm. However, it behaves differently in wax.
Unlike dye chips, mica will not color your wax melts. Mica will look beautiful in your wax when you first add it, but the color will mostly disappear as soon as the wax hardens and cools. This means when you add mica to wax, you won’t be able to see much of the color in your final product. Darker colors of mica may subtly tint your wax, but you won’t get a bright pop of color using mica alone.
However, the color of your mica will sparkle and shine each time the wax is melted. Pigments that were undetectable in the hard wax suddenly come to life and create a mesmerizing display of swirling sparkles as the wax begins to melt. This beautiful effect is why so many people love using mica in their wax melts.
Can I use mica and dye chips together?
The fact that mica doesn’t show up well in hard wax can feel a little disappointing if you were trying to create colored wax. However, there’s no rule against using dye chips and mica powder together! The dye chips will create beautiful pigments that show up when the wax is hard, while the sparkling mica will steal the show once the wax is melted.
Looking for inspiration? Check out our wickless gradient candle tutorial. This blog explains how to use dye chips to create an ombre effect and how to incorporate mica powder.
You might also like our pumpkin spice wax melt tutorial, which uses dye chips and mica powder to create wax tarts that look just like pumpkin pie!
Can I use mica in my candles?
Mica powder is ideal for wax melts and wickless candles, but we don’t recommend using it in candles that have a wick. Mica is a very fine powder, but the particles do not completely dissolve in wax. Therefore, the mica can potentially clog your wick and negatively affect how your candle burns.
Of course, you can experiment with adding mica to your candles. However, a very small amount should be used. For example, some candle makers like to dust a small amount of mica on the top of their candles for a slight shimmering effect. In any case, testing is always the key when it comes to making great candles.
How much mica can I use in wax?
A little mica goes a long way. You can add up to 1 tsp of mica per pound of wax, but we recommend starting with a much smaller amount and working your way up. If you add too much mica, it can be difficult for the powder to disperse evenly in the wax, and the excess mica may simply sink to the bottom.
A great tool for working with mica is a micro scoop, which is a tiny scoop that holds just .15 ml of material. Most of our project tutorials that call for mica powder recommend using anywhere from 1-8 micro scoops of mica.
How to Mix Mica with Wax
Mica can be added to your wax pot as soon as the wax is completely melted. In our testing, we haven’t noticed any change in results when the mica is added at different stages in the recipe.
When you add mica to your melted wax, you will notice that the color appears right away as the pigments dissolve. Some of the mica may sink to the bottom, so we recommend stirring regularly until you’re ready to pour the wax. Be sure to stir thoroughly right before you pour the wax to ensure the mica is fully incorporated. You may find that a whisk makes it easier to stir in the mica.
Most recipes will already tell you not to melt your wax on direct heat, but this is good advice to keep in mind when using mica powder as well. Because some of the mica may sink to the bottom of your melt pot, you will get better results if you avoid heating mica over direct heat (such as on a stovetop without a double boiler).
How to Clean Mica Out of Your Melting Pot
After you pour your wax, it’s normal for a thin layer of mica to remain at the bottom of your pot. The easiest way to remove it is by carefully wiping the pot with a dry paper towel before the remaining bits of wax harden. If you wipe out the pot while the wax is still in liquid form, the towel should catch most of the mica that remains in the pot. Please be careful when wiping hot surfaces.
Mica may be more difficult to remove from slightly textured surfaces, such as the surface of a non-stick melting pot. If mica still remains in your pot after wiping with a dry paper towel, you can wait until the pot is cool, then wipe again with a damp towel. Because mica is water soluble, the damp towel can help lift any remaining pigment.
Keep in mind that some melting pots are not designed to be submerged in water. For such pots, using a minimal amount of water to spot-clean your pot may be the safest and most effective way to remove any remaining mica.
To avoid potentially messy cleanups, some people prefer not to add mica to their melting pot at all. If you like, you can transfer your hot wax into a pouring pitcher that’s easier to clean, then add the mica just before pouring the wax into your molds. You will have to work more quickly to ensure that the wax doesn’t harden while adding the mica.
Other Ideas for Using Mica with Wax
Adding mica to your wax melt recipe is just one way to create a fun shimmering effect. Mica can also be used like paint to decorate your wax melts. You will need a small amount of rubbing alcohol to create mica “paint.”
One method is to combine mica powder with a few drops of rubbing alcohol to create a paste that you can paint onto your wax melts. Adjust the amount of mica and rubbing alcohol until you get a consistency that is easy to work with. Another method is to dip your brush between a dish of dry mica powder and a dish of rubbing alcohol, and then apply the pigment to your wax melts. This method is similar to painting with watercolors.
Details can be added to your wax melts once they are hard, or you can paint details directly into your mold before pouring the wax. This technique is covered in our tutorial on making wax melts with mica powder. Check out the video below to see how we painted mica into a plastic mold.