Candle consumers are getting more choosy about what their candles are made of. Increasingly, researchers are advising candle fans to burn paraffin candles sparingly to avoid side effects like migraines or asthma attacks. I’ve noticed that many candle-makers are switching to soy wax because it’s natural and nontoxic. This post will help you to make handcrafted soy candle at home.
Soy candles are all the rage right now. They’re clean burning, non-toxic, and last longer than candles made from other materials. Additionally, while they don’t always hold scent well, they are especially good at holding onto the scent from essential oils, which also just happen to be non-toxic and even good for your body and mind.
One thing you need to be careful about, however, is whether a soy candle really is made out of soy. Many soy candlemakers mix types of wax. As long as a candle is at least 50% soy the manufacturer can call it a soy candle—which is why I always note in my candle reviews if a soy candle is 100% soy or not! One good way to know if your candle is 100% is to make it yourself.
Here’s my quick tutorial for making your own soy candles with essential oil at home.
Gather your materials
You’ll need a candle votive, soy wax flakes, essential oil (I used lavender), and cotton candle wicks. An optional material is glue tabs, which you can stick to the bottom of wicks to keep them in place (though I usually go without and don’t have an issue.) You may also want to have a wooden stick for stirring—I used bamboo skewers, the kind for kebabs.
This is also an eco-friendly tutorial! I took the old votive from my used up Gold Canyon Candle and reused it.
To measure the amount of wax I would need, I filled my votive with soy wax flakes, emptied them into a bowl, and repeated a second time. Twice the amount of soy wax flakes that fit in the votive is the amount you will need for a candle.
Melt your wax
Pour two cups of water into a kitchen pot. Put your bowl (I used Pyrex) in the pot, and set the water to boil. DO NOT boil the water first and then put the bowl in after—the quick temperature change could crack your bowl! Instead, let the heat build gradually.
Once the water boiled, I set the stovetop heat to low and simmered it until my wax fully melted. Stirring the wax with a wooden kebab stick also helped it to melt more quickly.
Give it a rest, then add the essential oil
When the wax is melted, don’t do anything yet. Allow it to cool for 3-5 minutes. This is because wax at a lower temperature holds scent better. After five minutes, you can add the essential oil. I used 50 drops of lavender for this two-wick candle votive.
A good rule of thumb is 20 drops of essential oil per milliliter of soy wax. You’ll know you used too much if the wax “sweats” when you burn the finished candle—beads of oil will appear on top of the wax. It’s harmless but good to note for next time.
Prepare your votive
When extremely hot soy wax is poured into a cold glass votive, it can do unattractive things to your finished candle. It might create air bubbles between the votive and the candle. Or it might “frost,” creating discolored crystals on top of the wax. Since both of these problems are caused by a dramatic change in temperature, make sure your wax has cooled down for at least a few minutes and that your votive is warm. I rubbed the outside of my candle votive with a warm, damp cloth before pouring.
After that, drop in your wicks. I used two wicks, and I put a dab of wax underneath each to place them. This is where you’d use glue tabs, if you have them! The wax dabs don’t help much once the rest of the wax is poured into the votive.
Pour and cool
Pour the wax into your votive. It will need 24 hours to fully cool.
During that time, I used wooden kebab sticks to keep my wicks upright and centered where I wanted them to be. As the wax got cooler, I found it easier to move the sticks closer together and get my wicks straighter.
After 24 hours, trim the wicks down to size. Now you’re ready to enjoy your candle! Light it and relish in a completely non-toxic candle you made by yourself.
The Wikihow also published an article on how can you make candles at home. Check out the following tips and make scented candles at home.
Scented candles are great for home decoration and aromatherapy. They also make excellent for handmade gifts. Personalize your home and gifts for loved ones with your own homemade candles.
Assembling Your Candles
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Wash out the jars you want to use. Glass jars that are heat resistant work best because you will be pouring hot wax into them. If you’re recycling old mugs, plant holders, or other containers, inspect them for cracks so that the wax won’t aggravate the infrastructure.
Dry your jars completely by preheating them. Set the jars on a baking tray and place them in the oven on the “keep warm” setting or a low heat while you prepare the wax. Leave them in the oven for a few minutes to make them warmer than room temperature.
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Assemble the candle wicks. You can buy pre-made candle wicks from a craft store with the metal collar attached at the end or put together your own. Buy the metal collars and uncut wicks separately, thread the wick through the collar, and use pliers to squeeze it tightly shut.
It’s best not to place a wick in a candle without a collar. The metal prevents the flame from heating the bottom of the glass jar to the point of breaking.
If you use uncut wicks then you won’t be limited to candle size or height.
For best results, buy pre-waxed wicks.
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Take the jars out of the oven and attach the wicks. Be careful as they may still be hot. Melt a few wax flakes in the microwave and place a few in the bottom of each jar. Before the wax cools, place the metal end or bare end of your wick in the wax and let it set.
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Secure each wick in place. Lay a pencil or chopstick across the top of your jar and wrap or tape the wick to it. You want to make sure the wick remains upright so that when you pour the wax in, the wick won’t fall down into the candle.
Melting the Wax
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Measure out your wax flakes. You want to have two times the amount of wax flakes than your jars’ ounces. For example, an 8 oz jar will need 16 oz. of wax flakes. Use a heat-resistant glass measuring cup with a handle, such as a Pyrex cup, to measure and then later melt the flakes.
When choosing wax flakes, soy based wax burns longer than paraffin and some people prefer it as a natural ingredient.
Make sure that you buy wicks that are meant for soy candles if you choose to use soy instead of paraffin wax.
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Make a double boiler to melt the wax. All you will need is a medium sized pot or saucepan and a stovetop range. Place the measuring cup on the side of the pot and fill the pot with water. You want a lower level of water so that the water doesn’t splash into the wax as it boils.
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Turn the stove to a low to medium heat. You don’t want a full rolling boil because that may cause the wax to overheat. Stir the wax with a wooden spoon as it melts so that all of the flakes are equally liquefied.
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Test the temperature of the wax. You want to keep the temperature of the wax between 150°-180° F or 65°-80° C. Do not leave the wax unattended. This is so that it doesn’t overheat but is mostly for safety. At these temperatures wax can burn skin easily.
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Add color to your candle. Break off small pieces of non-toxic wax crayon pieces to add a hue to the wax. A little bit goes a long way, so add the crayon in increments of a 1⁄4 inch (0.6 cm) piece at a time. You can test out the color intensity as you go by dropping a little wax onto some parchment paper and letting it cool as the wax finishes melting.
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Take the wax off the stove. Once it reaches these temperatures and is fully melted, set the measuring cup aside. Let the wax cool down to 125° F or 50° C. You cannot add the essential oils or scents at a higher temperature because the scent can evaporate away.
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Add the essential oils. For every 16 oz. of wax flakes, use ten drops of essential oils. You can mix and match scents and oils for a unique candle. For scent ideas, reference your own favorite candle scents or smell different oil combinations to determine what meshes and what clashes.
Pouring the Candles
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Place a tray or newspaper under your jars. In case the wax spills while pouring, protect your surface so that clean up is simple and easy. Dried wax is easier to clean up since the large pieces can be picked off and the residue spot-cleaned.
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Pour the wax into your jars slowly. Going slow and steady will prevent the wax from cracking when it settles and avoids creating air pockets within the jar.
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Leave space at the top of the candle as you pour. When the candle burns, the top layer of wax will melt and pool around the wick. You don’t want the wax to overflow when you first start burning your candle.
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Top off the candle with a little more wax. There can often be a sinkhole of wax that forms around the wick as it begins to set. Simply pour a little more wax into the sunken area and give the jar a light shake to settle the wax evenly.
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Trim the wick before burning. Leave about a quarter of an inch of wick above the top of the candle. If the wick is too long, it will flop over and burn incorrectly. If it is too short, you will have trouble getting it to light and it may drown in the melted top layer of wax.
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Learn how to make candle at home step by step with this short video-