How To Make Soy Wax Candles
One of our first small steps in learning to build our City Farmstead was to learn how to make soy wax candles. The thought came to me after watching a program on television about EMPs (Electromagnetic Pulses) and the possible loss of the entire power grid and how long it would take to get power restored to the US (years), we wondered – what would we do in this situation? This was the beginning of it all – we began paying more attention to our comfortable “store bought” surroundings and realized that there were so many things we could learn to do ourselves to become more self-reliant, save money, and build our City Farmstead. To be clear, we’re not “preppers”, but having a decent supply of inexpensive candles for emergencies seemed like a pretty good idea. Plus, they make great inexpensive gifts and are fun to make! So after lots of research and a few failures, I’ve come up with an easy, inexpensive recipe for How To Make a Soy Candle at home!
We started by using Ball jars, but if you want to save a few pennies, you can use any 8oz container that you might already have available. I’ve used old candle jars (put jar in hot water to melt the old wax and wipe clean), or you could even use an empty soup can that has been cleaned out… when you start looking around your home, you’ll be surprised at how many possibilities there are! I’ve even seen candles poured into old coffee mugs and tea cups, so stay open minded! For this batch, I picked up 4 jars at the local Dollar Store.
Below is a listing of supplies that you’ll need:
- Four half-pint 8 oz jars, old mugs, jars/containers to pour melted wax in
- Melting Pot/pitcher or an old saucepan to melt the wax in
- Larger pot to use as a double boiler
- Soy Wax – 10 cups (36.4 oz by weight)
- Wicks – 6″ Medium Eco 10 series
- Scale (any digital scale should work)
- Measure-N-Pour (can use any container that measures ounces – medicine cups, etc.)
- Glue gun, superglue, or wick stickers (I use an old glue gun)
- Mixing spoon (I use an old wooden spoon)
- Clothespins to hold the wicks straight (can use straws, wood skewers, pencils, etc.)
- Fragrance oil (optional) For each pound of wax I use about 1 oz. fragrance oil. Not needed if you choose to make unscented candles
- Color blocks (optional). Not needed if you choose to make white candles
- Newspapers to protect counters
- Paper towels
- Chef’s torch (optional) for re-melting tops if necessary (other methods available at no cost!)
How I like to begin is by getting all my supplies out and on the counter. I want to make sure I have everything I need and select my scent and colors if I’m including them. You won’t want to get started and find out after your wax is already melting that you don’t have something you’ll need! For this batch, I split the recipe to make two different scents and colors, but you can do one full batch using one color and one scent, or choose to not include scent/color at all – your choice! This recipe will fill four 8oz jars…
Lay out newspaper on the counter (to protect your counter from any spillage!) and line up your jars in advance. While I’m doing this, I plug in my glue gun to get it heated up. I like to line up my jars at the edge of the counter so that I don’t have to reach over anything when pouring the melted wax. Next, dab a bit of glue onto the metal ring of the wick and stick to the bottom center of the jar. I use a wooden skewer to press it down if I can’t reach my fingers in, but a pencil or any long skinny object will work just fine. You can then put the wick through the clothes pin to hold it straight and centered. You can use other items like wood skewers, straws, pencils, or anything you have laying around to hold them in place. Once the jars are all lined up and wicked – we’re ready for the next step!
Wick Note: Wicks come in different sizes for different sized jars – if you use a wick that is too big for the glass, it could break the glass. I recommend using the wick size listed above in the supply list.
Measure out 10 level cups of soy wax (36.4 oz by weight) and put into pouring pot. Remember, I split into two batches of 5 cups (18.2 oz by weight) each so that I could color and scent different jars (which means I did it twice). In my first half-batch (left) I used 5 cups of soy wax, 1/2 block of green color block with .5 oz Amberwood Moss FO (Fragrence Oil). My second half-batch (right) I used 5 cups of soy wax, 1/2 block pink color block with .5 oz Exotic Grapefruit Sea Salt FO. Again, you can just do one batch and use a full color block of your choice and 1 oz of FO of your choice, or leave them both out and go with white unscented.
Once your wax and color block (if using) is measured out into your pouring pot, place the pot into larger pot with water (about 1/4 full) and turn stovetop on medium heat. Be sure to have your thermometer in your pot so you can watch the temperature rise, and continue to stir throughout the melting process.
As the wax melts it will change in color – if you are not using a color block, it will turn to a translucent yellow and will turn white again once hardened. Above shows the progression as it melts using the green color block.
When using color, I like to test it on a white paper towel… once the block melts entirely (around the 160 F mark) I drop a little of the melted wax onto the paper towel. This gives me an idea on what the color will be when the wax hardens back up. If I’d like it a little darker, I can quickly add more color if I want to. I did not add any additional color to either of these batches.
Note: Don’t use crayons to color your wax – believe me… I’ve tried it and it ruins your wick (clogs it up) and you end up wasting 3/4 of your wax. It just won’t burn right! Food coloring will not work either, as they are water based and will not adhere to the wax – they will evaporate leaving you with no color at all.
Once the temperature reaches between 170-180 F, remove from pan and set the pouring pot aside to cool. I like to keep my pan of water on low just in case I don’t get things done quickly enough and need to re-melt the wax, or warm it up a bit. From here you get a little break! The wax will need to cool down to 140 F or below before you can move on. I always have something little I can do while I’m waiting for the wax to cool – unload the dishwasher, throw some laundry in, or just veg for 20 or so minutes! I do keep my eye on the temp however, and like to give it a stir here and there to help it cool down faster.
When your wax cools down to 140 F or below you can then add your fragrance oil. Remember, if your doing 1/2 batch only use .5 oz, but for a full batch, use 1 oz. I’ve learned that the wax holds the scent much better the lower the temperature is – I have gone as low as 120 F to wait and mix in my fragrance oil, but you can start at 140 F if you’re impatient! The reason you wait to include the oil is to prevent the fragrance from being burnt off or evaporating, so definitely wait until 140 F or lower. Once you’ve added in your FO – continue to stir for a couple minutes – this gives the FO the opportunity to saturate completely into the wax. Now your ready to POUR!
Note: Cooking extracts cannot be used for fragrances as they are alcohol based and will cook off/evaporate with the high temperature and be ineffective in creating any type of scent
Keep in mind that if you’re concerned about the “smoothness” of the tops of your candles, you will want to save a small amount of your batch to re-melt later and pour over any crusty and/or bumpy tops.
Take your time when your pouring, slow and steady! This helps avoid bubbles.
Once you’ve poured the melted wax into your jars – walk away! Don’t touch! Don’t move them! This is still a hard one for me, but I’m getting better at leaving them alone…
I poured the green first, so it had some time to cool by the time I poured the pink batch. Here is where we wait…
Once your wax has hardened, you can then remove the clothespin, if you want to wait and let them sit overnight before removing, you can do that as well, but again… I have little patience so I always remove it once I think the top is firm enough to hold the wick up.
And then THIS happens! Don’t panic! This can be corrected in a couple different ways. Remember I mentioned saving a little wax from the original batch, re-melt and pour over the top? I have not used this method because at this point (many hours later) I have already cleaned up my kitchen and put away all of my supplies. Luckily, I have this little beauty! Its a chef’s torch, the kind you use to crisp up the top of Crème Brule. If you happen to have one – just start it up and re-melt the top (be careful not to lite the wick while doing this).
Note: If you end up with a crusty or bumpy top or have bubbles, the candle can still be used , these imperfections will not affect the candles performance – it is merely an aesthetic preference!
Tahhh-Dahhh! Now all that’s left to do is trim the wick – you’ll want to trim to 1/4″ and your candle is done! I have lit them up within 4 hours, however, with soy wax, it will have a better “burn” if you wait for at least 2 days up to 2 weeks before lighting. The longer you let it cure, the better it will burn.
Some things I’ve discovered making this last batch… I prefer no color at all! But that’s just my personal preference. My favorite candles I’ve made to date have all been white. I will continue to use the color blocks we bought – I hate to be wasteful, and will keep striving to find unique and inexpensive ways to enhance and grow our little City Farmstead!
Thanks for reading How To Make Soy Wax Candles
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