Friday, November 16

Soy Candles DIY

I've heard nothing but good things about soy candles. I hear they're clean burning and have air purifying effects on your home. I have no idea if that's true of course, but I like them regardless. And thanks to my brother's wonderfully creative girlfriend, I recently learned how to make my own!

It's really pretty simple, but after a lot of experimenting, I've got it down to a sort of science.

Here's what you'll need: 
Soy wax flakes, scented oils, a glass measuring cup, wicks (and wick clips if needed) of your choosing, wax adhesive, an assortment of candle holders, jars, and so forth
Not pictured: a plastic spoon, scissors, pot holder, paper towel

The wax is reasonably inexpensive. I got a 4 lbs. box at Michael's that was $20 regular price, but used a 50% off coupon and got it for $10 {score!}. They also sell 2 lbs. packages at Hobby Lobby for $10 regular price. I've never used wax blocks, and I'm sure it's doable, but would be more labor intensive and the melting time would be different.

The oils are the most costly, primarily because it takes a good amount of oil to really make the candle smell good, but if you can find a big bottle and use a coupon, it's not so bad. There are 3 different oils pictured above: a little bottle of peppermint, a little bottle of vanilla, and a big bottle of cinnamon. I got the cinnamon on clearance at Hobby Lobby for a steal at $5. I like the peppermint a lot because it's a stronger smell than the vanilla, so it doesn't necessarily take as much oil. BUT, I suggest trying a few different kinds to see what you like!

Start by preparing your candle holders and jars. I've used an assortment of containers, but what I have pictured includes a set of tea light holders from IKEA, a few votive holders from Target, a large mason jar, and a small mason jar. I love the look of making candles IN candle holders, and so far they've burned really, really well. I love the mason jar look too; it all depends on your taste. They also sell candle molds, but I have not used those myself.

They sell a variety of wicks in craft stores, but just be sure to read the packaging. The wick pictured above is made for soy candles and works really well. The packaging states that it burns candles 2.5 - 3" in diameter, so pay attention to that. I've also used wood wicks, but again, read the packaging. You may need to double the wood wicks (if they do not come doubled already) before securing them in the wick clips; and be aware, the wood wicks burn differently than traditional.
  • Step 1: Apply a small, pea sized amount of wax adhesive to the bottom of the wick clip, and press the wick securely onto the bottom center of your container, making sure that it is pretty well stuck. This will keep the wick from moving around when you pour in the wax. {note: if you are using wood wicks, trim them to your desired height before placing them into containers}
  • Step 2: Measure out about 2 cups of wax flakes. The wax will halve itself when it melts {2 cups solid = 1 cup melted}. 

  • Step 3: Microwave wax flakes for about 2.5 minutes; some chunks of wax may still be floating around your measuring cup, but that's okay, they'll melt. Use a plastic spoon to stir the wax until all the chunks melt.
  • Step 4: Measure out a spoonful of whichever oil you're using and mix it into the melted wax. Stir the wax well, and check that you can smell the oil. If it isn't strong enough, add more oil a half-spoonful at a time.
  • Step 5: Pour your melted wax into your container(s) being careful not to drown the wick. Like I said, 2 cups of solid wax yields 1 cup of melted wax. Obviously it depends on your container, but it took 2 cups of melted wax {4 cups solid} to fill my large mason jar, 1 cup of melted wax to fill 2 small mason jars, 1 cup of melted wax to fill all 3 tea light holders, and 1 cup of melted wax to fill my votive holders.

  • Step 6: Pound candle holders onto your counter {or other hard surface} in a downward motion. This will help force any air bubbles in the wax to the surface. Skipping this step can result in an uneven surface once the candle solidifies {you can see this on the finished photos of the gold votive holder even though I swear I did this step... gives it some handmade charm, I say!}. 
  • Step 7: Allow wax to harden. I am perpetually impatient, so I always stick my candles in the fridge or freezer. Just make sure that they are sitting on a level surface and that the wicks are centered and upright. The wicks in my votive holders were leaning a bit, so I sandwiched them between 2 plastic knives to hold them in place. 
  • Step 8: Trim your wicks. Traditional wicks can be trimmed to about 1/4" once the candles have hardened {wood wicks should be trimmed before placing them in the container, as they are more difficult to cut cleanly}.
Light & enjoy! Below, you can see a small mason jar candle with a traditional (non-soy) wick, a red votive holder using a soy wick, and a gold votive holder using a wood wick. See how differently the wood wick burns? The non-soy wick works okay, but definitely does not burn as effectively as the soy wick.

They smell so good and are so easy to whip up! These would look great on a Thanksgiving table, or around the house as decor. And I love that the containers are reusable. :) When the wax burns all the way down, pop the wick clip out, clean the bottom, and pour a new candle!

If you make some candles of your own, drop me a link in the comments! I'd love to see!
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  1. Yay!! This is fantastic. Your photos turned out beautifully. I'm bookmarking to try this.

    P.S. Don't you just love those craft store coupons. :)

  2. I know that you could never know this, seeing how we just met and all, but candles are my soft spot!
    I love having the warm aroma permeating my entire home! And a tutorial on how to make your own soy candles is just what I was looking for! Wonderful tutorial - I'm going to be trying it ASAP for both myself and christmas gifts!

    tiana of l'esthetique

  3. I adore these candles - I think they would look so cute made in mason jars on my window sill :)

  4. How much wax did you use total for all those candles?

    1. Hi Jessica :)) 
      In "Step 5" I list how much wax it took for each kind of candle holder, but for the candles pictured, it took 10 cups of unmelted wax flakes. I had a 4 lb. box from Michaels and I would estimate that these candles took up about 2/3 of it... Hope that helps! 

  5. Hi Monica, I'm Nicole... I love these!

    Did you use essential oils??



    1. Hi Nicole! Thanks so much for the sweet compliment. :)
      I am pretty sure they are essential oils! They are stocked with the candle making and soap making supplies in craft stores (Michaels & Hobby Lobby). Just don't use oils meant for reed diffusers; anything that says "DO NOT BURN" is a no-no! ;)

  6. I just made a lavender tincture and am wondering how much I should add to the candles since it is not as fragrant as an essential oil.

    1. Hi Devan! I am honestly not sure; I don't have any experience with tinctures. But if it's less fragrant than oils, I would definitely add more to achieve the same level of scent. I would start with the amount I recommend in the post, then gradually add to your preference. Smell the melted wax as you add, but know that it is somewhat less fragrant once the wax hardens. :) I hope that helped! I'd love to hear how your candles turn out!

  7. I also make my own candles and another great money saving idea is to reuse wax from old candles. Theres always a little wax left in each candle always save and reuse. Melt together colors appropriately. Also have friends and family save theres for you and you will also get lots and lots of holders. You can con them into this easily by making them a candle in return and before you know what even happened u will have more wax and candle holders than u can imagine for free. Now all there is to purchase is the oils and wick. wha-la very cheap candles and usually much better than store bought ones.
    Tracie Smith


Thank you so much for your interest in my post! I'd love to hear your thoughts. :)

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