Where Does Wax Come From? Amazing Candle Making Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Oct 12, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Oct 27, 2021
Burning wax candles and tropic leaf on table.

Over the years, candle wax has been developed from a variety of oils, fats, and wax-like substances.

These substances are said to be derived from plants (such as palm), oil, insects, animals, petroleum, and rocks. Wax is also used to make a variety of things like food, cosmetics, crayons, polishes, chewing gum, coatings, and many more!

Candle wax is a byproduct of the chemical refining process of crude oil and is usually a yellow color in its natural form. Before the 19th century, the wax used to make a candle was commonly beeswax.

There are now many different forms of candle wax and many more ways in which wax is used.

Many scientists use wax as a generic term for materials that have characteristics such as a smooth texture, low toxicity, low odor, are solid at room temperature, are water repellent in nature, and have a primarily hydrocarbon structure. As centuries passed, candle wax has developed in many different forms.

Each of the waxes used for candles is quite similar and they tend to all burn in the same way.

There is no particular wax that is best in wax candles, as long as they are all of high quality, they are shown to burn safely and cleanly. Presently, there are several blends of wax available on the market.

Keep reading to learn more about wax and its various compounds. If you enjoy these fun facts and want to learn more, why not read about where does water come from and where does tea come from?

What are the different types of wax?

Wax comes in many different types, each having a form of its own. There are many industries where different types of candle waxes are used. While there are a variety of waxes, we will only be looking at plant and animal-based waxes.

There are many different animal waxes:

Beeswax is the most common and natural type of wax, well-known by many. It is produced by worker bees in a hive, where honeybees later build honeycomb cells in it. To harvest this wax, bees are settled in another colony and the honeycomb is melted in boiling water.

Tallow wax is rendered from animal fat. It is an inexpensive wax, which is why it was used for many centuries to make candles. Tallow candles are also often used for emergency kits as they are slow-burning and allow for an extended amount of light.

Lanolin is also called wool wax, because it comes from a wool-bearing animal, like a sheep. Among its many other uses, Lanolin is most famous for being used to soften baseball players’ gloves.

Ambergris wax has its origin is in the intestines of a sperm-whale and it is thought to be a protective substance against intestinal irritation. After the wax has built up inside the whale, it gets rid of it. It is then harvested when it washes up on the shore and is found by people.

Plant waxes are another type of wax. The two most popular plant-based waxes are Carnauba wax and Soy wax. The former is well-known for its use in car polishes and the latter, soy wax, is well-known to be an environmentally-friendly product.

What is wax made of and where does candle wax come from?

Wax is a solid material containing carbon. It is flammable and, once heated higher than room temperature, becomes a liquid. When someone lights a candle, it produces light and heat. This occurs because, when the candle wax melts, the wax combusts and is then vaporized. This means it can fuel a flame.

Candle wax can come from various sources. It is estimated that almost any kind of oil can be used to make wax, which makes for numerous choices when it comes to producing candles.

For example, petroleum and coconut wax are recent inventions, whereas beeswax is one of the oldest types of wax, having been used for thousands of years.

Each of the various waxes used in wax candles has its own properties and its own means to produce a flame.

Some candles are better at burning slowly, leading to a smoke-free flame, while other candles are better at holding a fragrance. The natural wax that is said to burn for the longest amount of time is soy wax, which can burn for between 35-50 % longer than paraffin wax.

Soy wax is derived from vegetable soybeans and soy oils and is known to be 100% natural, as it's made out of vegetable soybeans. It provides a smoke-free flame, has a low melting point and smells good.

However, if you want to achieve the best fragrance in a candle, paraffin waxes are considered the best.

What is carnauba wax and where does carnauba wax come from?

The famous Brazilian wax, called Carnauba wax, is a plant-based material obtained from the carnauba palm, also known as a fan palm. It has a high melting point and is known for its hardness.

This vegetable wax, found in the carnauba palm, is also used as a gelling product, a food-grade polish, in candle making, and has many more uses! Food-grade polish made from carnauba wax is used in some of our favorite food items like skittles, M&M’s, and fruit snacks!

The organic wax present in these candies is safe to eat, gives them a shiny look, and helps in preventing them from melting too quickly.

What is paraffin wax and where does paraffin wax come from?

Did you know that the famous Yankee candles are made from paraffin wax? Paraffin wax is a white or colorless kind of translucent wax. It is extracted from petroleum and is used in polish, wax paper, candles and cosmetics. It was first produced back in 1867, when it was commercially sold as a refined petroleum product.

Paraffin wax is very helpful and is used to obtain perfume from flowers, supply a waterproof coating to roofs, and in medical ointments

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for where does wax come from?

Amazing candle making facts for kids, then why not take a look at interesting mushroom facts for kids: where do morel mushrooms grow? Or where do hummingbirds go in the winter? Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Facts?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

Read full bio >