How Much Wax Does A Clamshell Hold?

What is a Clamshell Container?

A clamshell container is a one-piece plastic container consisting of two halves joined together by a hinge. When closed, the two halves form a sealed enclosure used to store or transport a variety of products.

According to Wikipedia, “A clamshell is a one-piece container consisting of two halves joined by a hinge area which allows the structure to come together to close” (source).

Clamshell containers are most commonly made of plastic materials like PVC, PET, or rPET. They provide a tamper-evident and tamper-resistant enclosure that can be repeatedly opened and closed. Their sealed design helps protect contents from contamination and spills.

Common uses of clamshell packaging include food products like baked goods and produce, consumer goods like toys and electronics, medical supplies, and cosmetics. They allow customers to clearly view packaged products while keeping them securely contained.

Clamshells come in various standard sizes and custom shapes. Their transparent design showcases products attractively. The hinged enclosure provides convenience and portability. Overall, clamshells offer an efficient and versatile packaging solution for many applications.

History of Clamshell Containers

Clamshell containers were first invented in the 1970s as a way to securely package small consumer goods. According to an article on, the initial concept for clamshell packaging came from the plastic blister packs that were gaining popularity at the time Blister packs provided visibility of the product and theft deterrence. However, they were not re-closable.

The modern clamshell container was patented in 1978 by American inventor Thomas Jake Lunsford. As described in an article on, Lunsford’s design used a single sheet of plastic formed into a hinged, re-closable blister pack This allowed consumers to easily view products at the store, while also being able to securely close the package at home.

Lunsford invented the clamshell as a way to provide secure, tamper-evident packaging. The design allowed manufacturers to display products to consumers while deterring theft in stores. For consumers, clamshells enabled reclosing the package to keep unused contents protected at home.

Types of Clamshell Containers

There are several different types of clamshell containers available for various uses. Some key types include:

Two-Piece Thermoform Clamshells – These consist of a top and bottom part that snap together to securely enclose a product. They are commonly used for retail packaging of small consumer goods like electronics, cosmetics, and toys [1].

Fold-Over Clamshells – The lid is connected to the base with a living hinge that allows it to fold over and close. These clamshells are often used for food like baked goods and sandwiches [1].

Tri-Fold Clamshells – These have three connected panels that fold around the product. They provide 360 degree visibility and are commonly used to display small products on retail shelves [1].

Clamshells come in many different shapes and sizes. Smaller sizes are frequently used for food products like baked goods, sandwiches, fruits, and vegetables. Larger sizes are common for electronics, hardware, and other consumer goods [2].

Measuring Clamshell Dimensions

To accurately determine how much wax can fit inside a clamshell container, you first need to precisely measure the interior dimensions of the clamshell. There are three key measurements to take:

  • Length – The longest horizontal interior dimension
  • Width – The shorter horizontal interior dimension
  • Depth – The vertical interior dimension

According to the University of Cornell’s guide on clamshell box construction (source), you should follow these steps:

  1. Place the empty clamshell on a flat surface and fully open it.
  2. Use a ruler or measuring tape to measure the maximum interior length from one side to the other.
  3. Record the length measurement.
  4. Next, measure the maximum interior width from front to back.
  5. Record the width measurement.
  6. Finally, measure the maximum interior depth from bottom to top.
  7. Record the depth measurement.

For accuracy, it’s best to take multiple measurements and average the results. Measurements should be taken to the nearest 1/8th inch or millimeter. Having precise interior clamshell dimensions is crucial for calculating the available volume.

Calculating Clamshell Volume

Clamshell containers are unique in that their volume can be easily calculated based on their dimensions. Since clamshells have a rectangular prism shape, their volume can be determined by multiplying length x width x height.

For example, if a clamshell container has a length of 5 inches, width of 4 inches, and height of 3 inches, the volume would be calculated as:

Volume = Length x Width x Height

Volume = 5 in x 4 in x 3 in = 60 cubic inches

Knowing the interior volume of the clamshell container is crucial for determining how much wax it can hold. According to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, volume can be precisely calculated using the internal dimensions of any rigid plastic packaging container (

When purchasing empty clamshells for candle making, be sure to check the product specs for the interior dimensions. This will allow you to accurately determine the total volume and wax capacity before filling the containers.

How Wax is Measured

Wax is typically measured by weight, rather than volume. This is because wax can be compressed or melted into different volumes. Measuring by weight provides a consistent and accurate method. The most common units for measuring wax are ounces (oz) and grams (g).

Wax has a density that ranges between 0.9-1.0 g/cm3 depending on the type of wax. This density determines how much volume a given weight of wax will occupy. For example, one pound (16 oz) of a paraffin wax with a density of 0.9 g/cm3 will occupy around 473 ml (16 fluid ounces), while a soy wax with a density of 0.95 g/cm3 will occupy around 410 ml. The actual volume will vary based on factors like temperature, but measuring by weight provides a standardized method.[1]

Digital kitchen or jewelry scales designed for small weights are ideal for measuring candle wax in ounces or grams. Scales that measure to at least 0.1 g precision allow for accurate measurements when working with small quantities of wax, fragrance, and additives.[2]

How Much Wax Typically Fills a Clamshell

The amount of wax that will fit inside a clamshell container depends on the size of the clamshell. However, there are some general estimates for how much wax a standard clamshell can hold:

a few clamshell containers filled with different colors of soy wax

According to The Candle Science Standard 6 pc Clamshell description, their clamshells hold approximately 2.75 oz of wax ( This is one of the most common clamshell sizes on the market.

Their tutorial on making clamshell wax melts also confirms that each clamshell holds around 2.75 oz of wax. So if making 6 clamshells, you would need about 16.5 oz of wax total (

In general, a standard size clamshell container holds approximately 2-3 ounces of wax. The exact amount can vary slightly depending on factors like the clamshell dimensions and thickness of the wax once poured and cooled.

Factors That Impact Wax Volume

There are several key factors that impact how much wax a clamshell container can hold:

Container Size – The dimensions of the clamshell directly correlate to how much wax it can hold. Larger clamshells with more surface area and depth can hold substantially more wax than smaller containers. Standard sizes range from 1-2 ounces up to 4-6 ounces.

Wax Type – The type of wax used, whether soy, paraffin, beeswax or a blend, impacts volume. Soy wax tends to be denser and require more wax than paraffin to fill the same container. Beeswax is very dense. Wax density, firmness and opacity can vary.[1]

Wicks – If wicks are placed in the wax tart, this takes up space and reduces the amount of wax that can be added. More or larger wicks displace more wax. Wickless wax tarts can hold slightly more.

Additives – Extra additives like dye blocks and scent can minimally impact the wax volume, as they take up space in the container that would otherwise be wax. The more additives, the less wax space.

Temperature – The pouring temperature of the wax can influence volume. Hotter wax is thinner and may compact more as it cools and shrinks. Cooler wax is thicker and may not compact as much. The ideal temperature depends on wax type.

Taking all these factors into account allows crafters to maximize the wax volume for any given clamshell container and recipe.


Recommendations for Filling Clamshells

Experts recommend the following tips and tricks for properly filling clamshell containers with wax:

According to the Candle Science tutorial, the wax should be heated to 185°F (85°C) before adding fragrance oil. Adding 0.75 oz (21 g) of fragrance for every pound of wax is also recommended.

The Rustic Escentuals library tutorial notes that 4.5 oz of wax is needed to fill a single clamshell votive set. Pouring at the proper temperature helps ensure the wax fills all the crevices.

Allowing the wax to slightly setup before putting the lid on can prevent spills and mess. Some makers recommend letting it setup for 1-2 minutes before closing.

Using wax paper or silicone liners inside the clamshells can make removal of the wax easier and leave less residue behind.

Store clamshells upright after pouring and cooling to prevent wax leakage.

Clamshell Container Wax Volume Examples

Here are some examples of typical wax volumes for common clamshell container sizes:

Small (6-cavity): Around 2-3 oz per container[1]

A standard 6-cavity small square clamshell holds approximately 3 ounces of wax melts or tarts. Each of the 6 cubes can hold about 1/2 ounce of wax.

Medium (8-cavity): Approximately 3-4 oz per container[2]

An 8-cavity medium clamshell typically holds around 3-4 ounces of wax. Each cube holds about 1/2 ounce.

Large (10-cavity): Around 4-6 oz per container

Large 10-cavity clamshells generally hold 4-6 ounces of wax. Each individual cube holds approximately 1/2 to 3/4 ounce.

The exact amount that each clamshell can hold depends on the specific dimensions, wall thickness, and how much the wax shrinks as it cools and hardens. But these examples give a good general estimate.

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