Product display with candles and packaging labeled LINEA.

What does a candle label mean?

A candle label is way more than just your name on a product.

You have a website ready, a great process set up, dependable suppliers on hand, and the most important thing, a uniquely curated array of scents. You feel ready to make a label for your products. But you’ve still got quite a few things to figure out before that.

A big question when selling something that lights on fire - is it legal? Is it allowed to sell homemade candles? Short answer: Yes, it is. But the law relating to candles is quite complex and technical. Yet, it’s a vital part of the process that protects your business, as well as your customers.

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First, the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA) has created three denominations to define several types of labels and packaging:

The outer container
Also known as a holder for taper candles, the FPLA refers to this part as the 'package.' We won't focus on this one in this article.
The primary label
This label type is attached to the candle and should include information about the product. The FPLA refers to these parts as 'label' or Principal Display Panel.

You need to design this label with the Fair Packaging & Labeling Act in mind. It is a standard that protects consumers from marketing shenanigans while still respecting manufacturers like yourself that design their label as freely as possible.

It’s essential to add all the below information in a clear and straightforward way, alongside your branding:

  • Type of wax used – Soy wax, natural beeswax, palm wax, gel, etc.
  • The Candle weight – In milliliters, grams, ounces, depending on your region.
  • Where it was made – Made in the U.S.A., handcrafted in Germany, etc.
  • How it was made – Is it a hand-poured soy candle? Was it infused with essential oils? You need to clarify these things on your label.
  • Burn time – The number of hours or minutes it will burn, depending on your candle.
The safety label
The safety label holds hazard descriptions and instructions. It’s referred to as the 'label' by the ASTM International guidance used by CPSC.

Every single one of your candles should have a warning label or tag listing the key rules for candle fire safety. Most cautionary labels also include added manufacturer instructions for burning the candle properly.

Safety labels need to have information about trimming the wick, keeping the candle away from foreign materials, surfaces best for burning your candle on, and the maximum time the candle can burn at one time.

Consumers will lean towards products with clear indications of usage and are approved by the safety commission in every region. Thankfully, there are industry-standard pictograms that help you convey this message.

What are the best candle label materials?

The National Candle Association recommends biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) self-adhesive labels for the best heat resistance, safety, and printing quality.

Whether you are selling your candles for your friends and family, for decorative use, aromatherapy, or other purposes, you need to make sure that your candle labels can manage the heat. Labels should remain attractive and representative of your brand. Nobody wants their candle labels to melt or wither away.

candle label
Photo by Rendy Novantino on Unsplash

While you can stay away from the flame, your label has no choice. This proximity to heat means that your label needs to withstand temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit (815 degrees Celsius), depending on your candle.

And it’s not just the heat that it needs to withstand. It’s also temperature fluctuations, as you put the candle on and off. The right choice of material (and adhesive) will keep your label looking great until the end of the candle's life.

Experts recommend a thick biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) material and a permanent acrylic adhesive for your label materials.

Decide whether you'll place the label on the candle itself or if you’ll apply it to a container or a candle tin. If this is the beginning of your candle making journey, you'll have better luck placing labels on containers.

Wax is a difficult substance for a label to adhere to. Plus, it's more of a fire hazard. Also, if you choose soy as your material, it has a lower melting point than other types of wax, meaning that the label has an even greater risk of getting damaged.

Pick a unique candle label shape to set yourself apart

When most people think of candles and their labels, they usually imagine a simple square label or an oval shape. While these always look good on a classically cylindrical candle jar, there are countless other options to choose from. Triangle-shaped candle labels were a hit in the past few years. You can also choose a shape for your label that is featured prominently in your logo.

create candle label
Photo by Sherise VD on Unsplash

You might like a circle label for the lid of your candle tin or a large, vertical rectangle label for the candle itself. Alternatively, consider a personalized candle label that wraps around the candle jar to offer more information.

Including all the ingredients of your candle and company information on the front label can be overwhelming and diminish the impact of your design. If you choose to create a longer custom label that wraps around the candle, you can fit in more information without overwhelming the consumer.

There are a few ways you can decide on the custom size of your label:

  1. Measure your candle directly. Use a paper ruler to make this easier. Then simply measure the space where you want to stick your label and apply that information in your design tool.
  2. Design various shapes and sizes. Then print them with your own printer before sending them to a print shop or scaling the process at home. Apply them to the candle or the container and choose what you like best. There are various shapes to choose from, so experimenting might be a terrific way to go about it.
  3. Create a template. Use a piece of paper to create the markings of your potential label. Mark the spots where the label edges will be. To get an even better idea, cut the paper along your marks to check if it fits the way you wanted. Note your measurements and apply them to your design tool.
  4. A combination of all the above. If you think about it, there's no right or wrong way to do this, and you can use any technique if you are happy with the result.

To make it even easier to design candle labels, you can work with multiple artboards in Vectornator to better preview the label shape.

Master the Shape Tool in Linearity Curve

Unlock the full potential of the Shape Tool to elevate your designs. Our detailed tutorial guides you through every step for creating complex shapes with ease.

Texture or no texture?

People might buy candles for varied reasons. They might be looking for pillar candles for a romantic dinner, or some cute scented tealights for relaxation. Whatever the reason, they want to know more about the experience they will get before buying. A textured label can give that to them. It's a candlemaker's secret weapon.

Those who are looking to buy candles are often searching for a sensory experience. The aroma of a candle entrances your sense of smell, while the warm flicker of light captures your attention. It only makes sense that a unique texture for your candle's label can inspire a purchase.

candle label with texture
Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

Textured labels for candles can also imply to the customer that your candle is high-quality. It shows that the company has thought about every aspect of the candle, from the wax color to the candle's smell, even to the design on the jar's label.

When you put attention and quality into your label, your customer will associate this quality level with the rest of the product. Especially if you are selling your products at a farmers' market or in-person, then the tactile quality of your chosen texture can make your candles stand out.

In Vectornator, you can use the "Multiply" blend mode to preview how your label will look once it's printed on textured paper.

Tablet showing a graphic design project with the text LINEA.

Make sure your label design reflects your brand

Before you start thinking about complementary colors and what shape the label should be, it's important to lead with your brand. What is your company's design logo? Does your business prioritize minimalism or bold, bombastic design?

Your brand identity and the aesthetics of your company should be the first thing you think about when you start designing a new label. Product labels that align with your brand help your consumers find your items on a shelf. Customers won't expect a minimalist company to unveil a cluttered candle design.

If you think you can simply put your logo on a candle to draw attention, you're in for a rude awakening. Including your logo on the label is one thing; ensuring that the entire label is in line with your company mission and aesthetic is another.

Assessing your business' brand will help you find the characteristics you should prioritize in a suitable candle label. You should think of your candle's label as an extension of your business card. It doesn't need to be a carbon copy of your design scheme, but it should pay homage to your logo, website, and overall color scheme.

Use your logo to help decide the color, font, and artistic flourishes that can make your product stand out. But make sure not to limit yourself to the confines of your logo's design.

Four colored circles on a black background.

Fonts speak volumes in label designs, as these types of projects tend to be more typography heavy. So, the font you use and how the type appears in your design is of the utmost importance. If your candles are big and bold, pick a font that is also big and bold. If you have candles that are subtle and dainty, a simple font might look better.

Also, pick a readable font. Ensure that your font has sharp contrast with the background, and make sure that your fonts work well together. Consider the spacing of your text characters, the size of your text, but also make use of negative space.

There is a simple font-size calculator by Armatage Candle Company that we’re going to share with you:

  • Cylindrical Candles: Display Pane = ( Container Height ) x ( Diameter ) x 1.26
  • Square-Sided Candles: Display Pane = ( Container Height ) x ( Container Width )

If you're looking for inspiration, here is a full video tutorial made by the amazing artist, Sandra Staub, on how she designed a logo for her own candle merch series:

What are some great examples?

Telling a cohesive story is Branding 101. Here is a beautiful rectangular label that contrasting beautifully with the color of the wax and the container. This one is a stellar example of using both coordinating and contrasting colors altogether:

Graphic design interface showing candle label designs.
In Vectornator you can work with multiple artboards to better preview the label shape.

Or, you can opt for a super minimal design with subtly contrasting colors. With minimalist labels, you can let the scent of the candle speak for itself.

Lit scented candle next to its packaging.
Photo by Andrew "Donovan" Valdivia on Unsplash

Minimalist packaging has been a trend for quite some time now, and it fits many homes and decors.

 "New York City" labeled scented candle burning.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

On the other hand, you can choose to stand out. This design makes use of whitespace with highly contrasting design cues.

The unique beer can shape combines with the full height label to create something special. Even the name gives a lot of character to the otherwise simple design. And looks just beautiful with subtle pops of metallic in the text.

Almond scented "L'amour" candle with lit flame.
Photo by Tammy Gann on Unsplash

If you want a combination of something minimal with something that pops, make use of a custom, one-of-a-kind font that you don't see every day while keeping a muted color scheme. The light colors of the text allow light from the candle to illuminate its name.

Lit "Warm Tobacco Pipe" scented candle on a table.
Photo by maar gaming on Unsplash

Vintage looks and candles are a match made in heaven. With this design, we're lured by deep tones into a sense of the richness of the scent and its fine, aged ingredients. Even when it's not burning, this candle could warm any shelf and inject a sense of old-fashioned style.

You don't need to stop at just labeling the candle or the container. Think about labeling the lid too! Candle tin labels are fantastic way to add more character to your product, primarily since the cap can supply more valuable branding real-estate:

Get creative with our ready-to-use templates.

Linearity Curve offers templates for every social media platform and various use case templates for posters, business cards, slides, app store screenshots, and more.

The finishing touches

Once you have a general idea of what you want your personalized candle label to look like, it's time to apply the finishing touches. How can you make your colors stand out more?

candle label
Photo by Svitlana on Unsplash

The simple addition of a gold border can make your product pop. Additionally, you might also want to consider changing the shades of your graphic if you're printing labels for clear jars.

You don't want your label's color to clash with the color of the candle's wax. Plus, what sort of finish do you want for your label? Will you use matte or gloss paper, natural or metallic?

All these details matter when you want to set yourself apart from your competitors. Minimal labels work if that is the type of aesthetic that defines your brand, and your consumers appreciate it.

But you might want to opt for something with a little bit more personality to stand out. You should also include any highlighted information that's unique to your company.

If you prioritize eco-friendly products, you'll want a biodegradable label. Some companies also donate part of their profits to a nonprofit or another organization. Putting this on your label can encourage people with similar interests to buy your products. These finishing touches are small, but they can significantly change the way customers view your products.

How to produce your personalized candle label?

You can easily design printable candle labels at home. Many office supply stores or craft stores have printable labels available.

If you're making a personalized gift for someone, you can opt for blank labels that you manually sign or write. Many companies can supply essential candle warning labels in convenient rolls, so you don't have to worry about designing your warning label from scratch.

You can hire a graphic designer too, if you want your labels professionally done. Many design companies offer fast and easy printing services together with the design process. If you decide to design yourself, just make sure to deliver your design file according to their requirements. If you decide to work with a candle label printing company, you can opt between rolls and sheets to get your labels done. Most companies will manufacture candle label stickers that are super convenient, safe, and easy to apply.

At this point, you'll need to decide how you will apply your label. By machine or by hand? Machine-applied labels are often an easy solution since they drastically cut the risk of mistakes or bubbling. Yet, hand-applied ones have their unique flair, and some customers might appreciate that type of look.

Find out size of the market for your brand before deciding to work with a third party.

Understand what's best for your business. Don't be afraid to set strict turnaround times and ask for samples before production starts in full swing.

The process of creating the ideal candle label isn't always easy. There are a variety of factors that go into making a label that stands out from the competition. Follow these tips when you want to improve your candle labels.

To get you started, you can rely on candle label templates that you can find online. We have also created similar templates that you can easily use for candle containers - wine label templates! Check out our extensive take on approaching these types of design endeavors and branch out to even more DIY projects!

Need an intuitive graphic design platform to start designing your candle labels? You've come to the right place. Download Vectornator today!

How to create the ideal candle label | Linearity
How to create the ideal candle label

Jumpstart your ideas with Linearity Curve

Take your designs to the next level.