How to Make Scented Soy Candles
How to make pure natural candles
Soy candles are the new 'green' candles. There are several reasons soy candles are better - for a start they are made from renewable materials, they also burn longer and cleaner than paraffin wax candles. Anyone who cares about the environment will love them. They are cheaper to produce, although the manufacturers don't tell you that. You will also find that they diffuse essential oils much better because soy melts at a lower temperature. It creates a large liquid pool around the wick where the essential oils accumulate. Finally, if you should have an accident and spill soy wax, it is much easier to mope up. I still can't get the stain out of my hearth from ordinary candles.
Whether you want to make you own, make some to give as gifts, or even make some to sell soy candles at a craft fare, all the information is on this page, including a couple of 'how-to' videos. Please enjoy your visit.
Candlewic video on how to make soy candles
This is a great video for the complete beginner. It shows that there is nothing complicated in getting started making homemade candles.
Where do I begin?
First, you need to ensure that any glasses, jars, ceramic cups or bowls that you intend to use are thoroughly clean. Unused mason jars from the kitchen cupboard or ceramic cups and bowls from thrift stores can work very well.
Next, melt your wax flakes in a clean pouring jug standing in hot water inside a heavy-bottomed pan - don't try to rush this by turning the heat up too high. If you don't have a pouring jug, you can use a clean tin can (such as a soup or bean can).
Stir the wax flakes gently until melted. If you have a candle or candy thermometer, remove the pouring jug/can from the heat when thermometer reads 180-185F.
Natural Soy Wax: available in amounts from 1 pound upwards. It melts easily and evenly, and can be used for making candles, diffusing essential oils, and even making lip and body butters.
Adding the Wick and Pouring the Candle
If you haven't already done it, thread the wicks through wick tabs while the wax cools. A good tip to stop the wick pulling out of the candle: fray the end of the wick that will sit at the bottom of the candle.
If using glass containers, warm the glass with hot water or a hair dryer. This will give the candle a better finish.
Place the wick and tab into the container, and pour in a small amount of wax to cover the tab. Let the wax cool slightly, then press the wick tab down and into the center of the container. The wax should then harden over the tab so it stays at the bottom. After that, you can pour the rest of the wax. It's a good idea to leave a little space at the top of the container so the wax won't overflow when you burn the calendar.
Again, if you have a thermometer, cool the wax to 110-115F, before pouring.
Improving your Candles
You can use a pencil or pen to ensure the wick stands straight in the cooling candle. Attach the wick to the pencil with a rubber band, and rest the pencil over the container. You can actually buy a little device for this, if you really get into candle-making.
Give the candle some space! Let it cool undisturbed, and do not be tempted to put it in the fridge, otherwise you'll get cracks over the top. Of course, all is not lost if you do get cracks - you can run a hairdryer over the surface to melt the top layer. This will give a slightly frosty surface when it cools, but that's certainly better than imperfections.
Remove the wick holder when the wick feels pretty stable. That will probably be around 25-30 minutes after pouring, depending on the temperature of your room. After around 24 hours, your candle will be ready to show off, gift wrap or burn.
Making a Scented Candle
Once you've tried basic candle-making, you'll probably want to branch out into making scented and/or colored candles.
Adding a scent or fragrance to your candle is easy, you simply need to add one or more essential oils. You should make sure the oil you choose is suitable for using in candles. You can use pure essential oils but avoid massage oils as they contain a carrier which won't work.
Depending on the oil or fragrance you want to use, let the wax cool a little after melting. Many fragrance oils can be added at around 180F.
You can add single fragrances or blends. For example, lilac can blend well with Patchouli, Pear or even Almond.
You are limited only be your imagination and, I guess, your sense of smell. Fruity fragrances, such as Apple, Blueberry or Pear can be very refreshing, and can easily be matched with dyes. At Christmas time, you might want to use Christmas Wreath, Cinnamon or Vanilla fragrance. Floral fragances give a delicate reminder of Spring and Summer in the garden - try Lavender, Freesia, Rose or Jasmine.
Lilac Fragrance Oil will evoke the Spring, with light, clean floral aroma. As well as candle or soap-making, many of the best oils, like this one, can also be used as a perfume or as an addition to your bath, body or haircare formulations.
Adding Color to your Candles
I'm not a chemist, so the easiest way to add color to my candles is with special candle dyes. These are simple to use and can give lovely vibrant colors to the finished candles. One thing to be wary of is the concentration of the dye. Different companies produce dye blocks that vary widely in color.
Start by adding just a few flakes of dye to your melting wax. Stir well, then let a few drops of wax set on white paper. This will give you a good idea of the color for your candle, you can always add more dye to reach the color you want.
An easy way to start your candle adventure
You could begin with a starter pack if you only want to make a few candles either for yourself or to give as gifts. Kits usually include all you need - a pouring pot, soy wax, wicks and, of course, some pots to make the candles in. Some also contain colors and fragrance, but if not, you can still add these if you want.
This kit includes everything you will need to make four tea lights or two jar candles, or indeed two tea lights and a jar candle. The pouring pot is sturdy enough to keep and reuse over and over.