Are You Ready to Ignite Your Soy Candle Making Desire?
Are you ready to begin soy candle making? Consider these things first to get candle making right the first time!
Soy candle making is a lot like making bath bombs. You can fully experiment with scents and colors, unleashing your creativity! Even choosing the containers for candles is a part of the fun.
And just like making bath bombs, you never know exactly how the color or scent will come out until you go through the steps of soy candle making. But, there are a few things you should consider before gathering your candle making supplies.
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Why Make Natural Candles?
Basically, anytime we burn poor or cheaply made candles, chemicals can fill and linger in our home – long past blowing out the candle, which in effect can cause the air in our homes to become fairly unhealthy.
All it all comes down to candle ingredients. You see, many store-bought candles are filled with chemicals such as carcinogens and phthalates (Farley, 2016). Never heard of phthalates? They are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are a health risk to babies, young children, men, and women (Powers, 2007). Phthalates can aggravate asthma and are linked to increased incidences of breast cancer (Stuart, 2016).
Luckily, we can leave these types of candles at the store and make our own with better candle ingredients! So, let’s get started by choosing your candle making supplies. We’ll cover it all from wax to wicks to fragrance and containers before we show how to make your first candles!
Related: Beginner Soap Making
Natural Soy Candle Making Supplies:
I can attest that picking up supplies for candle making can be inconvenient. It can take what seems like half a day trying to find the supplies you want and need. So, I’m including a link where possible to order online as we talk about the soy candle making supplies you’ll need.
Candle Wax Types
Natural waxes like soy and beeswax are excellent sources for candles. In fact, you can make a half dozen soy wax candles at home in just an hours’ time, all while leaving the yucky stuff out!
And what I really love about soy wax – it’s non-toxic, biodegradable, renewable, and cleans up if spilled with just warm water.
I buy my soy candle wax by the pound in flakes here. It’s really easy to measure out that way. You may also love working with a blend of the two, like this natural coconut, soy, beeswax blend for candle making. Unsure of what candle wax you want to use? Start with a sample kit of candle wax types.
Paraffin wax is the most commonly used wax in candles. Unfortunately, it is a byproduct of the petroleum industry. As such, paraffin wax releases toxic carcinogens, including acrolein, acetaldehyde, and formaldehyde, according to the EPA ( Knight & Levin, 2001). Therefore, I don’t recommend it.
Have you ever noticed a small wire in the center of cotton candlewick after lighting it?
Well, that wire happens to be a lead core and when burned it emits lead into the air. Yep, that’s pretty crappy, right?
But, did you know is it illegal to manufacture candles in the United States with lead-cored wicks? While that is great news, candles made overseas and sold in the U.S. can still contain lead.
With that in mind, wood wicks make a great alternative to cotton wicks. They are non-toxic, eco-friendly, and can be readily made from organic renewable resources. You’ll also need little metal clips to hold the wood wicks in a place like the ones in the photo above.
And as a bonus wood wicks add to the ambiance of a beautiful flickering flame with a soft crackling sound. It is reminiscent of a cozy night spent by the fireside. What’s not to love?
Want to see a crackling wood wick candle? Check our video and tutorial for how to make your own here.
Another option is natural cotton wicks. And pre-waxed cotton wicks are the easiest to use. Just make sure you buy healthy ones like these, made without paraffin wax or other additives.
However, the downside to using cotton wicks is centering the wick. It is really tricky to center a wick. I’ve tried lots of ideas like tying wicks to pencils and bamboo skewers. But, what works best is a centering device.
You really need the wick to be held in the center during the pouring and setting process. I got my first centering devices with this candle making kit. They have handy options to set wicks for multiple widths and they can withstand the heat of the wax.
How Do You Fragrance Non-Toxic Candles?
It’s easy to create your favorite candle scents with essential oils, natural extracts, or aromatic isolates. Let’s start with the essential oils. How much essential oil do you use to make candles?
I recommend adding half an ounce to one ounce of essential oils per one pound of wax. If you are combining a few different essential oils like lemon and rosemary make sure to split up the amount.
Another option for soy candle making is all-natural fragrance oils composed of aromatic isolates from nature and essential oils. Did you know like essential oils, this type of fragrance oil has zero additives?
Yep, compared to typical fragrance oils, they do not contain parabens and phthalates. They can be a more affordable candle making supply than essential oils. Yet, still helpful for creating a candle without synthetic ingredients. You can even start with a sample candle making kit to find your favorite candle fragrances!
No matter which candle fragrance type you choose, the key is getting the fragrance load correct. Use our fragrance load calculator to get it right every time!
What are your favorite candle fragrances?
Find some of my favorite candle scents and more in the Simple Living Library with printables for candle making! And don’t miss our fun Candle Scent Quiz!!
What else do you need to make candles?
You truly can use a variety of options for candle containers. Take stock of your pantry for containers like mason jars. Or visit your local antique shop for teacups and other unique containers. I personally love these 4-ounce amber glass jars with lids and metal candle tins.
Sometimes I find colorful ramekins in the thrifty Spot section at Target. And when I’m feeling very creative I make lemon bowl candles as seen in the top left corner of the photo above.
Candle Pouring Pitcher – A Must Have!
This one always seems to throw people off. What is a candle pouring pitcher? It’s a big pitcher to safely melt wax in and pour it out. Can you melt wax in a pot on the stove? Sure, but that’s pretty messy and it’s really difficult to pour the wax evenly.
A candle pouring pitcher has a spout and a handle that stays cool. Which makes pouring candles a breeze. This is the candle pouring pitcher I use, it holds up to four pounds of wax. See it in the bottom right corner of the photo above.
Related: Pressed Flower Mason Jar Candles
Soy Candle Making Tips:
I’ll be honest the first time I made candles was stressful. Worrying about burning the wax, getting the wicks in the center of each container, and adding the scents at the right temperature – is a lot to handle!
But, you know what? They turned out great! And I was hooked from the start on soy candle making.
So, here’s a few tips to help your soy candle making be less stressful from the get-go. And once you get the hang of it, you’ll be hooked on making candles too!
What temperature do you pour soy wax?
When making candles the temperature of the wax is one of the most important steps to achieve professional candle results. Therefore you will need a thermometer to measure the temperature often. I recently switched to a new no-touch infrared thermometer. It’s very fast, always accurate, and doesn’t require any clean-up since I don’t have to place it in the wax.
Another option is one with a clip like this, it will clip inside your candle making pitcher, keeping your hands free. If you don’t have one you could use a candy thermometer, but you may not want to make candy with it after.
Overall soy wax should be poured anywhere between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep in mind, soy wax can be quite sensitive to temperature as it is a softer wax than the typical paraffin. Do not heat it above 200 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid burning and discoloration. I prefer to heat to 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
What’s the best temperature to add essential oils to soy wax?
Fragrance oils for candle making come with flashpoints listed on the labels. Essential oils do not! Which can make it difficult for figuring out what temperature to add essential oils to soy wax.
In my experience, if you add essential oils at a temperature above 125 degrees Fahrenheit the scent does not blend well. I see the best results by adding essential oils at 120 degrees Fahrenheit with a two-minute stir.
How much wax do you need for a candle?
The answer to that requires a bit of math. So get your calculator, just kidding. We’ve got this!
We’ve made candle making easy with a candle wax calculator. No matter what candle vessel you choose our candle wax calculator can tell you exactly how much candle wax you’ll need! It even takes the amount of fragrance or candle dye being added to the wax. This means you can count on a good melt pool and no wasted materials!
Just remember, when measuring soy wax flakes use a digital kitchen scale to get an exact measurement. Otherwise, you’ll be left with too much wax or not enough to fill your containers.
How to Make Candles for Beginners
Now that we covered the most asked questions about candle making and where to find candle making supplies, it’s time to make your first candles!!
To keep things as simple as possible, we’re going to start with a basic candle recipe. It’s one I’ve used time and time again with great success! This beginner candle recipe will make 4 average-sized candles.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 amber glass 4 oz jars
- 1 lb soy wax flakes
- 4 medium wood wicks and clips
- 4 glue dots or wick tab stickers
- candle making pitcher
- kitchen scale
- infrared thermometer
- 1.5-ounces natural fragrance oil or more essential oils (see tips above)
Instructions to make candles:
1. Insert a wood wick into metal clips. For a louder crackling sound, double up the wood wicks. The add a glue dot to the base of the metal clip. Place it in the center base of one glass jar. Repeat for all four until you have 4 jars with wicks inserted and set aside.
2. Next, fill a large saucepan with about 2 inches of water and place it on the stove to heat. Measure 1 pound of soy wax flakes with a digital kitchen scale.
3. Pour measured wax into a candle pitcher and set it inside the large saucepan. Whisk often and heat on low heat, up to a simmer at most, until melted using the double boiler method. Heat up to 185 degrees Fahrenheit and check often with a no-touch infrared thermometer.
4. Remove from heat immediately to avoid wax from becoming too hot. Insert a candle thermometer and allow the wax to cool to 120°F to 125°F before adding essential oils or just below the flashpoint of a natural fragrance oil.
5. Once the wax has cooled to the correct temperature add fragrance and whisk for 2 minutes to thoroughly combine. Carefully pour the scented soy wax into prepared jars. Let cool for 1 hour or more until the wax is hard and white before cutting wicks to an inch or so.
Wait for 3 days before burning candles for the best scent throw. Candle Science even recommends 1-2 weeks of preferred curing time, for natural waxes such as soy and coconut. Although, they agree 3 days is the minimum curing time for candles.
You Might Also Like:
- Candle Care Instructions
- DIY Peach Soap In A Tin
- Your Next DIY Candle Project
- DIY Coffee Scrub
- Pressed Leaf Candle Pillars Tutorial
Are you ready to begin more soy candle making now? Browse my candle making recipes here. Have more questions? Pop one in the comment box for me below!
Farley, P. (2016) Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes: 100+ of the best aromatherapy blends for home, health, and family. CreateSpace. Charleston, SC.
Knight, L and Levin, A. (2001). Candles and incense as potential sources of indoor air pollution: market analysis and literature review. Environmental Protection Agency. Research Triangle Park, NC: Report EPA-600/R-01-001.
Powers, J. (Sept 2007). Common Air Fresheners Contain Chemicals That May Affect Human Reproductive Development. New York, NY: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Stuart, A. (2016) Go Lo Tox. New South Wales, Australia.
I would love to start making these candles, but, where are the instructions?
Lucia, happy to hear that, candles are so much fun to make! Next to the last photo in the article is a link to all our candle making recipes. You can also find them by going to the top menu: Natural Living and selecting candlemaking from the drop down.
Thank you so much for this wonderful insight! Can’t wait to get started! I was wondering about how well the glue dots hold when the wick is low. In a video, someone mentioned to make sure the glue heat was high heat resistant because because the burning wick can tip and burn through thin glass and be a fire hazard. Was wondering your thoughts and experience? Thank you so much for being so helpful
The glue dot is only helpful when placing the wick. Once you pour melted wax around it and the wax hardens, it holds the wick in place not the glue dot.
Thank you for this great information. I am now ready and looking forward to start making candles.
Awe, that’s great news! Have fun!
Nice information, I love scented candles! I would like to make one myself one day.
Thanks, Anna you should really make some candles! It’s so much fun and you’ll always gifts on hand if you do…
Forgot to ask, whats the best place to get good mason jars for these candles?
You can find mason jars at any hobby store even Target. If you watch the spot area in the front of Target you’ll find a lot of pretty mason jars and ramekins for candle making. But, I typically order mine by the dozen from Amazon.
If I have a pot that has a pouring spout, is it okay to put the pot of wax on direct heat? Also, if I wanted to try using vanilla extract, would that work well?
Hannah, I guess you could try, but I would heat it on a very low temperature and stir the wax often to avoid burning. You can use vanilla extract but the scent won’t be as strong or last as long as a vanilla oil.
My candles tunnel and dont burn wax across what am I doing wrong
Ana, I came across this problem last year. This happens when the wick used is too small and the flame does not sufficiently melt the whole surface of the candle. I’ve come across this more often when using wood wicks. It’s important to get the size of the wood wick right for your container it cause several other problems too.
Love this tutorial and can’t wait to try it. I had a question though, in your instructions it says to remove from heat immediately. Do you remove it once it’s all melted or at a certain temperature? Thank you!
Thanks Katie, you remove the candle wax from the heat once it’s all melted.
This looks like a great candle to make when starting out. Could the same mix be used to make wax melts rather than the candles? Thanks
Yes, it can! We have a candle melt tutorial as well under the candle making tab.
I’ve started making candle with differing success after following your instructions. I am using soy wax, wood wicks and essential oils. When I let the candle cool they sometime sink in the middle around the wick but i can’t work out why? Can you help? Thank you
Would you add colour wax and how much At same time as fragrance 1oz per pound of wax?
Joanne, for tips on adding color to candle see our recent article – https://www.lifenreflection.com/candle-making-kit/
Hi! I found your website and blogs to be very insightful! But I do have a question for clarity on soy wax candle making. You suggest four 4oz jars, 1lb wax and 1.5oz essential oils. But if we are converting ounces to drops, that is around 150 drops per jar(according to another site). Is this correct? Is there a more specific recipe? This will be my 1st attempt but that seems like way too much scent for a single candle.
Yes, that is correct. Essential oils have a great cold scent throw but a poor hot scent throw. So if you want your candle to smell strong when lit you will need that amount. And depending on the jar you select for your candles you may need to reduce the wax by 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce total to allow for a melt pool.
how long are these candles potent for? if i make them a month or two in advance and then give them as a gift will they still smell as strongly as the would after a two/three week cultivation period?
Hello! So I’m wanting to make 5 9oz candles. My fragrance load is 6.25% per pound of wax. How do I determine how many ounces to use? Would it be 1ounce if fragrance oil? I’m overthinking this!!! Please help! Thank you!
Amanda, if you use our fragrance oil calculator it will give you the answer of 2.80 ounces of fragrance oil needed to achieve 6.23%.
This calculator and the wax calculator dont seem to be working. When clicking on the link it’s a blank page. 🙁
We are working on a new solution.
I read your article and I like to ask you, I made for a first time two candles soy wax, cotton wick, add essential oil and some flowers. I had the same result as Joane above, in the middle near the wick the wax is sinking. I didn’t use colour only what I mentioned above. Thank you very much!
Koralia, that sounds lovely! It’s likely the wick may have shifted or you used wax that needs a second pour. You can remedy it by melting the top layer of wax with heat gun for a smooth top.