How to make wax melts, tarts, or cubes.

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Wax melts, tarts, or cubes, are scented chunks of wax. They are placed into tart warmers, also called tart-burners, where the heat gently melts the wax and releases the fragrance.  The scent lasts anywhere from several hours to several days.  When the wax melt is exhausted, the remaining wax is discarded, and a new chunk of wax can be added to the tart warmer as desired.

In this tutorial we’ll show you how to make scented wax melt cubes. We’ll be making the tarts inside of a 6-cavity clamshell package.  The clamshell packaging doubles as a mold in this example. This convenient packaging allows individual cubes to be broken off as needed.

Tart Molds

Clamshells can be creatively labeled on the front for gift-giving, or retail display.

Clam shell cavities

Each mold has 6 cavities, allowing individual chunks to be broken off as needed.

Wax Selection: Almost any kind of paraffin or soy wax will work for this. Avoid waxes that are really soft or sticky, as they will be difficult or messy to remove from the tart mold packaging. Harder waxes are generally easier to remove from the molds. Choose waxes with a melting point of 145F or less so that the cubes melt easily when placed into the tart warmer. The following waxes all work well for this:

Soft waxes, such as IGI-4627, IGI-4630, or IGI-6006, are poor choices by themselves because they will adhere to the clamshell mold, and be difficult to remove. These soft waxes will also tend to “flow” and become messy when the clamshells are stored in an upright position at warm temperatures.  However, the softer waxes can be strategically mixed with some of the harder waxes to impart properties such as increased scent throw, increased fragrance loading potential, lower melting point, or single-pour characteristics (reduced wax shrinkage while cooling). Your climate and expected storage conditions should play a role in your wax selection.

In this tutorial, we selected a 50/50 mix of IGI-4630 and IGI-4625. The IGI-4630 is a soft container wax that has excellent scent throw and minimal shrinkage, but it is too soft by itself to mold into cubes.  IGI-4625 is a harder pillar wax, intended for molded candles. The resulting blended wax is firm enough to make it easy to break off cubes as needed, but also possesses some of the single-pour characteristics of the soft container wax, minimizing the need to do re-pours.  The procedure would be the same for other waxes, or wax blends.

To calculate how much wax you will need (or how many tart molds), expect 1 lb of wax to fill about six of the 6-cavity Break-Away Tart molds.

Add fragrance at 3-9% by weight. For a typical objective of 6% fragrance load, that comes out to about 1 ounce of fragrance oil added per pound of wax.

Items You will need:

 

Step 1.  Measure your wax with a scale. To keep the math simple, we used a pound of wax.

Measuring wax with a scale.

Using a digital electronic scale to measure the amount of wax.

 

Step 2. Using a double boiler, or other wax melting setup, melt your wax to 175F.

double boiler

Double Boiler: Indirect heat is used to melt the wax for safety reasons.

Wax melting

Wax melting within Double Boiler set-up. A pool of water surrounds the pouring pitcher.

Monitor your wax Temperature.

Always monitor your temperatures with a thermometer. For this project, our target temperature is 175F.

 

Step 3. Remove the wax from the heat source and add dye, if desired.  Mix thoroughly.  We used liquid dye, but chips work equally as well.

Liquid dye

Here we are coloring our wax with liquid candle dye.

mixing dye

Mixing the dye into the wax.

 

Step 4.  Add fragrance oil as desired. We added 1 ounce of fragrance oil to our pound of wax, to achieve a 6% fragrance load. Mix thoroughly.

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Stir well after adding fragrance oil.

 

Step 5.  After adding dye and fragrance, your wax should be cool enough to go ahead and pour (150-160F) into the molds. You do not want to pour while the wax is too hot, as it can melt the tart mold. Try to pour as cool as reasonable, but also try to keep the temperature about 15-20 degrees F above the melting point of your wax. This will help to avoid jump-lines or other cosmetic blemishes.

Pouring wax into tart mold.

Pour wax carefully into the break-away tart mold/clamshell.

 

Step 6. Allow to cool, and enjoy.

Tarts cooling off

Allow the tarts to cool for an hour or two before handling.

Tart warmer with melting tart.
Why do some wax melts seem to last longer than others? The temperature of the tart warmer is the single biggest factor to influence how long a wax melt will produce an effective scent throw. Some tart warmers get hotter than others. Tart warmers that get really hot will produce a higher intensity fragrance, but the fragrance will dissipate much sooner. Tart warmers that don’t get as hot tend to produce a less intense, but longer lasting aroma. Therefore, it is a tradeoff of intensity versus endurance.


53 comments on “How to make wax melts, tarts, or cubes.
  1. Sierra says:

    If I wanted a stronger scent,because my warmer doesn’t produce much of one,can I just add more frangance when I make them? Instead of an 1oz, maybe 1½oz ?

    • Lorraine says:

      It depends on the type of wax you are using, they each hold a different maximum amount of Fragrance oil. For instance Nature wax C3 is up to 6% and GW 464 is up to 12%

  2. Daphne says:

    Can I use unscented candles to make these?

  3. Melaney says:

    We just recently started making soy candles but want to make tarts as well. This wax is particularly soft and we use 2 oz. of fragrance per pound of wax. Is this fragrance load too high for plug in warmers? We have some fragrances with a flash point of 150 degrees and some with 200 degrees. We usually just use our excess to pour into silicone molds. We haven’t used any yet but wanted to know if this is too high a fragrance load for these types of warmers.

  4. Dana Gannon says:

    what temperature should wax be when pouring in the liquid fragrance

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