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What is a Gel Candle?

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  • Written By: L. Hepfer
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2014
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A gel candle is a candle that is made from a material composed of 95% mineral oil and 5% polymer resin. When the oil is mixed with the polymer resin, which is a powder, it becomes more solid, making it the consistency similar to finger Jell-O. When pressing on the gel, it should be solid but have a give to it and bounce back when the pressure is released. A gel candle can be clear or come in any translucent color. They come in various shapes and sizes and numerous different scents. They can also be made with decorative scenes inside the gel.

Gel candles can be bought in stores or made at home. When making a gel candle at home, one should be careful in following instructions thoroughly. Patience is required in making these type of candles because the gel tends to take longer to melt and is harder to pour than paraffin wax, the main ingredient used in wax candles. They can be fun to make, however, and have a tendency to burn longer than regular wax candles.

The gel used in making a gel candle can be ordered three different ways: a low density, a medium density or a high density. The type of density to be used is based on the level of fragrance the candle maker wishes to have placed in the candle. The stronger the fragrance, the higher the density of gel is needed.

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The high density gel is needed as well for any gel candle containing glitter or embellishments. Gel candles can be found with all kinds of items inside to represent the scent it gives off. For example, a gel candle might have wax strawberries inside to mimic the strawberry scent the candle gives off and make the candle seem more appealing to the consumer. A gel candle with a scent representing summer may come with sand and seashells inside or have blue marbles in the bottom resembling water with a glass goldfish.

All embellishments found in gel candles should be non-flammable items and used for decorative purposes only. Glass marbles, ceramic items, seashells, stones or wax embellishments are safe for using in gel candles. Items such as dried fruit, silk flowers and plastic items are not safe and should not be found inside of any gel candle. If sand is placed in the bottom of a gel candle, the candle's wick should be put out before it reaches the sand.

Gel candles have been rumored to be unsafe for burning in one's home for fear of them exploding. However, the gel itself has never been found to be unsafe because the gel itself was not exploding, but rather the container. Careful consideration should be made in buying any candle from a retailer by examining the container and making sure it is made with safe materials. The same consideration should be made when one decides to make these beautiful candles at home.

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