My DIY soy wax candles tutorial is here!!! You may remember I made a HUGE amount of soy wax candles for a craft fair, as kind of a test run to see if I wanted to open a candle Etsy shop.
Which means there is NO reason to keep my secrets from y’all, and I’m going to share exactly how to make some awesome candles!
First, just a few quick things I learned that will help you choose your materials and perfect your candle-making process.
Important Things to Know:
Why soy wax? Because paraffin wax is toxic. | Did you know the most common wax that is used for candles – paraffin wax – is like REALLY bad shit? It’s super toxic. Like, made from petroleum. (Actually, it’s a petroleum by-product… the leftovers.) And it releases carcinogens when burned. So those yummy scents you’re inhaling. I KNOW. It’s horrible news. (No judgment here if that’s not enough to stop you from using them. I have greatly increased the ratio of non-toxic candles to toxic ones, but I’m still a sucker for some cheap, pretty, or awesome-smelling candles too 😉 )
(Side note that will probably make me sound like a conspiracy theorist – you may see or hear that the FDA has found paraffin wax is not toxic. I could go on a super long rant about this, but the short story is: (1) that’s just wrong; (2) that is in direct contradiction to EPA and CDC findings for the chemicals that paraffin candles emit; (3) seriously, please don’t listen to the FDA or USDA. Like, seriously.)
SOY WAX is not toxic, yaaaaaay! Soy wax is made from soy bean oil. Super natural, hoorah! Clean burning AND burns WAY longer than paraffin wax! HOORAH!
Also, beeswax is another natural wax option that burns clean. It also burns even longer than soy wax and is firm enough to pour into adorably-shaped molds or pillar candles if you want (soy wax is too soft for that). But it has a slight sweet smell of its own so it interferes with essential oils if that’s what you’re into. That’s why I chose soy wax.
Soy Wax Does Not “Throw” Scents Very Far I wanted to do totally natural essential oils. Big problem with that is that soy wax doesn’t “throw” scents very well – meaning the same amount of essential oils poured in paraffin wax would smell a lot stronger and farther than that amount poured in soy wax.
For personal use, I will absolutely just load up on essential oils to get a candle that smells as strong as I can make it.
If you want to make these in bulk, or just cheaper for whatever reason, you could consider using fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are NOT as natural and don’t have the therapeutic benefits that essential oils have. But you can find some that are made from good quality ingredients and will help make a much stronger smelling candle. For my craft fair, I wound up adding a small amount of fragrance to boost the essential oil scent.
You can only use 10% fragrance. There is a LIMIT to the amount of essential oil or fragrance oil you can include. It can be at MOST 10% of the candle. So… if you are making a 10 ounce candle, you can pour one ounce of fragrance or essential oil into the wax.
ENOUGH WITH THE BORING TIPS AND WARNINGS, LET’S GET TO IT!
// Large glass measuring cup (if doing small quantities) or pitcher
// thermometer (not necessary but I HIGHLY RECOMMEND*)
// wicks (LOVED these. Way better than the other wicks I tried.)
// wax adhesive or wick stickers (but I didn’t try wick stickers)
// containers for your candles (I bought silver and gold tins)
// essential oils or fragrance oils of your choice
*Soy wax is mostly really easy to work with EXCEPT one thing – it often buckles on the surface when it’s cooling. Which makes for a super unattractive candle. You can absolutely avoid this without a thermometer, but pouring at the “right” temperature is as close to a guarantee as you can get that you’ll get a smooth surface.
DIY SOY WAX CANDLES INSTRUCTIONS
1. Measure your wax: Measure twice as much wax as the container you want to fill – so 20 ounces of wax for a 10 ounce container.
2. Melt your wax: In the microwave in a glass container, microwave was for two minutes, stir gently, and microwave for another minute at a time until well melted. On the stovetop in a metal pouring pot, melt wax over low heat until fully melted.
3. Add fragrance: Gently stir in whatever fragrance or essential oils you’re using. I used a bamboo skewer to stir mine in, mostly because that way I could throw them away afterward and avoid cleaning wax off extra equipment 😉 but it worked perfectly.
4. Get your container ready: stick your wick in the center of your container with your wax adhesive or sticker. Roll the extra wick around a skewer and set on the top of the container. I love the wicks I linked above because they were so sturdy that if you rolled it tightly, it would stay perfectly centered. If you use looser wicks, you’ll want some way to center them – either with a little metal wick centering tool or just by adding some extra wax adhesive over the skewer to keep it in place.
5. Let wax cool: this is the MOST IMPORTANT STEP if you want a SMOOTH CANDLE. Let your wax cool to AT MOST 135 degrees before pouring it. I let a few batches get almost as low as 125 degrees.
6. Pour wax: this step is super easy. The only “trick” is to pour as slowly as possible, because if you pour too fast you’ll create bubbles which can cause some of that ugly buckling I was talking about.
7. Allow to cool: be patient. 🙂