If you are here, chances are that you are still grappling with the concept of candle making. To be precise, the amount of wax to use. This comes as no surprise as we are always asked questions surrounding this very topic.
How much wax do you need to make a candle? The amount of wax you need to make a candle varies depending on the size of the candle, and the fragrance load, among other things. Thankfully, there are simple formulas for calculating the estimated amount of wax needed for a candle.
We know math can be a little intimidating, but trust us, it gets much simpler as you go on reading this article. Dive in to learn about the basic principles of measuring candle wax with charts for easy reference.
How Is Candle Wax Measured?
Most of the experienced candle makers can confess one thing: as beginners, they would measure wax based on the capacity the container holds.
In other words, if a jar is indicated as 4 oz, they’d fill it to the top with wax and call that a 4 oz candle. This method of measuring wax, although it seems logical, is misleading and gives incorrect candle sizes.
So then, which is the correct way to measure the amount of candle wax? The proper way to measure the amount of candle wax is by weight.
Why Wax Is Measured By Weight
Wax is measured by weight rather than volume because of its density. Density is the total space matter occupies in relation to its weight. The density of wax is just about 86% that of water.
Note: 86 is a universally accepted average. It can be more or less depending on the type of wax. It is usually between 80-98%.
A jar capable of containing a specific volume of water will not weigh the same as when it contains the same volume of wax. That’s because the two liquids have varying densities.
Therefore, it takes more wax to rise to a similar measure of water by weight. You can carry out this simple experiment at home if you have a kitchen scale.
Weigh 10 oz of water and 10 oz of wax, then pour them into separate but identical containers. The wax will take up more space because more of it is needed to reach a similar measure of water weight.
Another example, imagine filling up two identical vessels, one with wooden beads and another with metal bearings of the same diameter as the beads. While the volume is the same, the latter is certainly heavier.
What this means is that filling your container with 4oz or 8oz of wax is using more wax than necessary. It may not be such a big deal for the hobbyist or anyone making personal candles. However, for a business, that’s a huge deal. You’ll be shortchanging your business.
Let’s look at a couple of other reasons we measure wax by weight and not by volume:
- Wax is sold by weight, not volume. So you must know how much wax you need based on weight.
- Another reason wax is best measured by weight is that fragrance oils, essential oils, and other additives are also sold and calculated by weight.
- Also, for those with a vision of doing large-scale candle making to cast their nets wider, shipping will be involved. In most cases, shipping companies charge the package by weight.
- Lastly, it just makes life simpler. With weight, you only need a reliable kitchen scale to do the math for you. Measuring volume is a bit difficult, especially if the wax comes in irregular blocks, flakes, or even balls.
So, how do you measure candle wax by weight? We have two methods.
The total weight of the wax for a candle will only be 86% of the water weight of the jar. This is called the average density method and is the most widely used method.
Here, the weight is determined by multiplying the weight of the water a jar holds by the specific gravity.
Water weight of jar × 0.86
Here’s what each container size translates to as the total weight of wax of a candle.
Note: We are referring to ounces and not fluid oz.
|Jar Size||Multiplied By Specific Gravity||Total Weight Per Candle|
|3 oz||3 × 0.86||2.5 oz|
|4 oz||4 × 0.86||3.4 oz|
|6 oz||6 × 0.86||5.1 oz|
|8 oz||8 × 0.86||6.8 oz|
|10 oz||10 × 0.86||8.6 oz|
|12 oz||12 × 0.86||10.3 oz|
|14 oz||14 × 0.86||12.0 oz|
|16 oz||16 × 0.86||13.7 oz|
|20 oz||20 × 0.86||17.2 oz|
It’s always easy when you already know the size of the container. Nonetheless, you may find yourself in situations that you don’t.
Perhaps the jar or even mold has no details on capacity. What do you do? Follow these steps to find its capacity:
- Grab your kitchen scale and weigh the empty container. Note down the weight in oz.
- Fill up the container (not to the brim) with water and weigh both of them. Note that down too.
- Subtract the weight of the empty container from the weight of the container when occupied by water.
- Now you have the weight of the water alone, which is the vessel’s capacity.
- Multiply that weight by 0.86 to get the total weight for one candle.
- Multiply the result by the number of candles you intend to make to get the total wax weight for those number of candles.
There’s another pretty straightforward formula for calculating how much wax you need to make a certain number of candles by weight.
Targeted number of candles × size of container
Simple, right? Let’s break it down further with a model situation.
Suppose you want to make 100 candles in 4oz jars. Using the above formula, it will be 100 candles multiplied by 4 oz, which is the size of the container. This gives you the total volume of wax for 100 candles. Divide that by 20 to find the weight.
100 pieces × 4oz = 400 oz
400 oz / 20 = 20 lbs wax
You’ll need to buy 20 pounds of wax to make 100 4oz candles.
Suppose you need to know how much wax each candle needs for pricing purposes. You’ll divide the result by the number of candles. In the above case, 20 lbs is divided by 100, so each candle is 0.2 lbs.
Other times, you already have the wax but can not figure out how many candles you can make out of it. How many 4 oz candles can a 10 lbs wax make? How many 10 oz candles can 20 lbs of wax make?
Such questions are so frequent, so here is how to determine the number. Using the same formula for working out the wax needed by weight, you’ll work your way back.
Assuming you have 10 lbs of wax, how many 4 oz candles can you get out of that? First, convert the lbs to oz by multiplying by 20. Divide the result by the size of the container.
10 lbs × 20 = 200 oz
200 oz / 4 oz = 50 candles
Therefore, you can make 50 4 oz candles from 10 lbs of wax. Here’s a complete chart using different wax weights and candle sizes
|Candle Size||1lb wax||5 Lbs wax||10 Lbs wax||20 Lbs wax|
|3 oz||6 candles||33 candles||66 candles||133 candles|
|4 oz||5 candles||25 candles||50 candles||100 candles|
|6 oz||3 candles||16 candles||33 candles||66 candles|
|8 oz||2 candles||12 candles||25 candles||50 candles|
|10 oz||2 candles||10 candles||20 candles||40 candles|
|12 oz||1 candle||8 candles||16 candles||33 candles|
|14 oz||1 candle||7 candles||14 candles||28 candles|
|16 oz||1 candle||6 candles||12 candles||25 candles|
|20 oz||1 candle||5 candles||10 candles||20 candles|
Accounting For Fragrance
So far, we have been assuming that the candles are non-scented. So, what we’ve been calculating is the total weight (wax + additives).
This weight is different from the wax weight (wax alone before additives). If a candle is non-scented, then the total weight becomes equal to the wax weight.
But it’s no secret that scented candles are super popular, and you probably want to make those too, don’t you? So how do you account for the fragrance oil or essential oils since they form a significant portion of the candle weight?
There are formulas for that. But first things first. What is your fragrance load? You need to determine this before doing anything, and it is usually a set percentage.
Fragrance load is typically between 3-12% depending on what your type of wax recommends. Your wax manufacturer will often indicate that somewhere on the package or instructions.
For this purpose, we shall stick with the average of 6%, which we will convert into a decimal.
We are also using the average density method for finding total weight, as it is more factual. The specific gravity is 86%.
How To Calculate Wax Weight
Wax weight is the weight of the wax without fragrance oil, while the total weight is the weight of the wax plus fragrance oil. The formula for calculating wax weight is:
Total weight/ (1 + fragrance load)
Using the average density method mentioned earlier, the total weight for 100 3oz candles is 250 oz.
F is 6% = 0.06
Therefore, the wax weight will be calculated as:
250 / (1 + 0.06) = 235.8 ounces
That is the amount of wax you need before adding the fragrance oil. To calculate the weight of fragrance oil that should be incorporated into your candle, you’ll subtract the wax weight from the total weight.
In our case, 250 – 235.8 = 14.2 oz. Therefore, your fragrance oil should weigh 14.2 oz.
Further along your candle-making journey, you may want to experiment with custom wax blends. In this case, you will express each type of wax as a percentage of the wax weight.
For example, if you want a 70/30 ratio of coconut to soy wax. Then using our previous figures, it will look like this:
- Coconut – 70 / 100 × 235.8 oz = 165.06 oz
- Soy – 30 / 100 × 235.8 oz = 70.74 oz
Let’s quickly recap on the three critical formulas for finding the total weight, wax weight, and determining the fragrance weight in a chart.
|Candle size |
(weight of water when filled in the jar)
|Total candle weight |
(jar size × specific gravity (86%) )
|Wax weight before fragrance oils |
(total weight/(1+F) )
|Fragrance weight |
(total weight – wax weight)
|3 oz||2.5 oz||2.4 oz||0.1 oz|
|4 oz||3.4 oz||3.2 oz||0.2 oz|
|6 oz||5.1 oz||4.8 oz||0.3 oz|
|8 oz||6.8 oz||6.4 oz||0.4 oz|
|10 oz||8.6 oz||8.1 oz||0.5 oz|
|12 oz||10.3 oz||9.7 oz||0.6 oz|
|14 oz||12.0 oz||11.3 oz||0.7 oz|
|16 oz||13.7 oz||12.9 oz||0.8 oz|
|20 oz||17.2 oz||16.2 oz||10.0 oz|
We’ve covered how you can measure candle wax. But remember, these numbers are not set in stone or mean your measurements will be 100% accurate.
The calculations are only meant to give you a close estimate of the amount of wax you need. But the accuracy can be compromised by various things.
First, the specific gravity used is only an estimate unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer. Some will give you 80% and others 90% depending on the wax.
Second, the wax that remains on the walls of the pouring container and the stirring spoon cannot be accounted for precisely.
In addition, there might be overflow because not all jars have a fill line. And even if they do, your hand may not be very precise or even fatigued, and you might go over it with several candles, especially with large batches.
Multiple hand pouring errors double up quickly and can cost you, particularly when crafting candles for a business.
You might over-pour and run short, which can be a problem if it is a special order. You might have to buy additional materials to fulfill the number ordered, even if it is by a single candle or two, which is not economical.
That is why it is best to have a little wax allowance in your measurements to cushion you against such marginal errors. Round off the decimal numbers upwards to be on the safe side.
You can always store, melt and reuse any leftover wax. Most importantly, have a scale next to you and weigh each candle as you go.
How Much Wax For A 4oz Candle?
You need 3.4 oz of was for an unscented candle and 3.2 oz of wax for a scented candle assuming a 6% fragrance load.
How Much Wax For A 6oz Candle?
You need 5.1 oz of was for an unscented candle and 4.8 oz of wax for a scented candle assuming a 6% fragrance load.
How Much Wax For An 8oz Candle?
You need 6.8 oz of was for an unscented candle and 6.4 oz of wax for a scented candle assuming a 6% fragrance load.
We hope you’ve grasped the best practices when it comes to measuring candle wax where no guide is provided by the candle wax manufacturer. Nailing weight is the ultimate solution to making consistent candles like a pro.
If it is your first time making candles or math is not your cup of tea, you can skip all this headache by getting a candle-making kit. Beginner candle-making kits have everything spelled out for you, including pre-measured supplies like wax and fragrance in perfect ratios.
However, if you are serious about taking your candle-making skills to the next level and making endless batches, accurate measurement is a crucial skill that you just must have and continuously sharpen.