Candle safety
August 7, 2018 4:58 PM   Subscribe

How do I know if a glass jar is safe for a candle? I am thinking specifically of a glass jar from Dannon's Oui yogurt.

For mildly meaningful reasons, I want to make a candle out of this yogurt jar and Babybel cheese wax, which I have been collecting. (Yes, it smells like cheese when it is warm. I will try to find a complementary scent, maybe rosemary, when I buy a wick for it.) But I don't want to make something that will crack or explode.
posted by Countess Elena to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
Make a test one, put it somewhere where it can't hurt anything (like on a cookie sheet on your counter, maybe) and just let it burn down until there's nothing left. See what happens. I bet it will be fine, personally.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:29 PM on August 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

Glass will only crack when thermal expansion or contraction is too fast for the geometry of he vessel. So it’s easy to crack a hot coffee carafe by quenching in cold water, but basically impossible to crack a 1 pt. mason jar unless you toss it into a raging fire.

Anyway, on the off chance your trial does crack after burning for a while, you can mitigate that by lining the interior edges with some glass beads- they will absorb and even out any thermal shocks from the flame/wax system.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:12 PM on August 7, 2018

Wait, are you.... burning the Babybel wax? I would worry more about the safety of that; I don't know what they're making it from/coloring it with, but it might not be suitable for burning.
posted by gennessee at 6:26 AM on August 8, 2018 [7 favorites]

From this site:
Our wax is composed of fully refined paraffin wax, micro-crystalline wax, and a low percentage of Polyethylene. It is colored with varying pigments, depending on which flavor of our cheese it will coat: if the wax is red, it contains red dye #40; if yellow, it contains yellow dye #5.

The wax is G.R.A.S. , which means “Generally Recognized As Safe” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and it meets all of their requirements in regards to wax that covers or contacts food. (Cardboard containers of ice cream are similarly waxed on the inside.) While we do not recommend eating it, if a person or pet accidentally consumes the wax, there will be no harmful effects.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 11:32 AM on August 8, 2018

Being safe for consumption doesn’t mean being safe for burning. Plenty of things are safe to eat and dangerous when burned. I would look up information about red dye #40 and polyethylene on candle making sites to make sure they’re human and pet safe when burned.

As for the Oui jars, I used some to make soy candles. Make sure you have the proper size wick that is dead center (wrap around a pencil while the candle cools so it stays there) and you should be fine. I haven’t had any issues with mine, but I really don’t know how they’ll do with a different wax. The candles also tend to go out, due to the somewhat narrower mouth of the jar. They’re not my favorite containers, but they work fine. With the soy wax they have about 4-6 hours of burn time.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:48 AM on August 8, 2018 [4 favorites]

Thanks, guys!

I did think of it as a way specifically to use the Babybel wax, as playing with balls of Babybel wax at my desk is something I do at tiresome moments instead of ruining paper clips the way that I used to. The days pile up with frustrations and balls of wax, so I wanted to do something more interesting with the stuff. I'll look into it before I melt any more. I already melted some of it; it seemed to take a higher temperature than regular candle wax, although I could have been wrong.
posted by Countess Elena at 12:25 PM on August 8, 2018

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