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What Is a Gel Candle?

By L. Hepfer
Updated Feb 16, 2024
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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 this type of 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 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.

The high density gel is needed as well for any gel candle containing glitter or embellishments. These candles can be found with all kinds of items inside to represent the scent it gives off. For example, the 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 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 these 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 the candle, the candle's wick should be put out before it reaches the sand.

These 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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Discussion Comments

By donasmrs — On Apr 22, 2014

I prefer gel candles too because their light is very bright compared to other types of candles. The issue with gel candles is that they can melt in high temperatures. I've bought several gel candles online in the summer and they arrived slightly melted and misshaped. So this type of candle is not best for shipping, especially in the summer. It may be okay to ship in the winter months.

I also agree that some gel candles have a very mild scent that is barely noticeable. But good brands which tend to have a slightly higher price usually do not have this problem.

By candyquilt — On Apr 22, 2014

@fify-- Maybe you just haven't found a good gel candle. The scent of the candle while in the package may not be indicative of its true scent. It might be more scented when the candle is actually burning.

I use apple cinnamon scented gel candles and I love them. They smell delicious and the scent is neither mild nor too strong. It's just perfect. The best part about this candle is that it has what actually looks like real apples and cinnamon sticks in the jar! So it looks delightful, especially when the candle is burning.

I prefer gel candles because they burn longer than regular candles like the article said. There is no soot either which is important.

By fify — On Apr 21, 2014

I guess it's difficult to make scented gel candles because many of the gel candles I see at stores barely have a scent. Some are actually unscented.

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