Are You Ready to Ignite Your Soy Candle Making Desire?
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!
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.
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 my favorite blends of fragrance and more in the Simple Living Library with printables for candle making!
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 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.
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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.