as promised last week on instagram, i'm excited to share with you a little soy candle tutorial! i'm by no means an expert, but i usually make a large batch of candles each year for christmas and try to make enough extras to last david and i for the rest of the year. many moons ago (before i started going home to roost!) i even did a few craft shows selling nothing but soy candles. they're surprisingly easy to make and super fun!
first of all let's discuss: why soy?
- soy wax is natural, renewable, non-toxic and biodegradable (paraffin is made from crude oil, which is not renewable).
- soy wax burns longer at a cooler temperature than paraffin wax.
- soy wax produces less soot than paraffin wax- pure soy wax could be used to cook with or as massage oil (though i'm not recommending either)!
- soy wax cleans up easily with warm water- no worries about clothes, countertops or hands.
next let's talk about supplies. many of the specialty supplies are nice to have but can be substituted with household items which i've outlined below. i've always used candle science for my supplies, but know that you can shop any candle supplier you like!
- soy wax - i like to use golden brands 464. how much wax do you need? 1 pound (20oz) of wax will fill 16oz worth of of containers - for example, 2-8oz containers or 4-4oz containers, etc.
- hot burner - you can also use a stove top, but a hot burner will come in handy when you're not making candles in your kitchen, or you'd like to keep the wax hot right where you're working.
- pouring pitcher - you can also use a regular pot, but make sure it pours well. the last thing you want is hot wax leaking all over everything while you pour!
- wick bars - you'll use these to hold your wick in place as the wax cools. i think you could also rig something yourself (maybe with clothes pins?), but they are inexpensive and nice to have.
- candle containers: for this post i've used medium straight sided jar with gold lids. i've also thrift shopped for glass containers of all kinds! the only thing i've noticed is that when containers get smaller at the top than at the bottom, the wax usually hardens with holes and gaps. i usually just have to finish the tops again to make them smooth, which isn't a huge deal but kind of time consuming.
- fragrance - here i've used cinnamon, blue spruce and pine cones (yum!). 1 oz of fragrance will usually scent about 1 pound of wax. (i've also tried using botanical oils but haven't had much luck with them.)
- hot glue gun - use this to glue the wicks to the bottom of each container.
- color - i usually like to keep my candles white. i love the classy look they have, but if you'd like to add color, it's easy! just stir in a dye chip when you add your fragrance.
- thermometer - any candy thermometer will work.
- labels - though you don't have to label your candles, i think it gives them a really nice, professional look, so i've made you a set of printable labels (see below to download)!
i printed these label on a full page of kraft sticker paper from world label, and then cut them out using a rotary cutter and ruler. i used ribbon font for the fragrance titles in case you'd like to use it as well.
to download: click here (or on the image above) to download the .zip file. inside you'll find 1) the above labels as a pdf 2) a blank label pdf so that you can fill in your own fragrance 3) a transparent png file so you can overlay these labels using any image program 4) an editable .eps file you can open and edit in photoshop or illustrator. whew! (i'm sorry, but i don't have any other file types available, including Word.)
step 1: place the wax chips in a pouring pitcher (or pot) and heat until melted. remove from heat as soon as it's melted to avoid getting your wax too hot (caution: it can catch on fire!). wax should be about 185°f.
step 2: while your wax is melting, glue the bottom of your pretabbed wicks into each container using a hot glue gun. place the wick bar on top of your container and insert the wick so that it's tight and centered.
step 3: once your wax is melted, remove it from the heat and stir in your fragrance when it's 185°f (and color if you're adding it). 1 oz will usually scent about 1 pound of wax.
step 4: carefully pour the scented melted wax into each of your containers. let cool until wax is hard and white (usually 30-60 minutes).
step 5: remove wick bar and trim wicks to about 1/2 inch long.
step 6: place the lids on each jar and label them if desired. light and enjoy!
why did my candles burn down so fast and make a tunnel?
soy candles need to be burned so that the wax melts right across the container before blowing out the flame each time. if you don't, you'll make a tunnel in the wax. another reason might be that you chose a container that is too wide for one wick.
why did my wax pour end up with holes in it?
holes can come from pouring too hot or using particular brands of soy wax pellets. experiment with pouring temperatures to find what works best for you.
why did my yield come out differently?
for measuring purposes, 20 ounces (weight) of soy wax is equivalent to 16 ounces of fluid volume.