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Candle Making Tips For Beginners

Homemade Soy Candles in Mason Jars
Homemade Soy Candles

I am very much a beginner at candle making, but this week I made my first soy candles. It’s actually much easier than I was expecting. If you’ve been curious about making your own candle but have felt intimidated by the process, don’t worry because I took one for the team. So in this blog post, I’m going to let you know how easy candle making can be, even if you’re a beginner!

The first thing I want to do is to give you a list of the materials that you will need to make your candle. I have links to all of the items below.

Bag of Soy Flakes for candle making
The bag of soy flakes
Soy flakes in a glass container for melting

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materials needed

10 lb bag of soy wax flakes

Cotton Wicks (included with bag of soy wax flakes, above)

Pyrex 4 cup measuring, glass

Infrared thermometer gun

Set of essential oils

Cordless hot glue gun

8 oz mason jars 

There are basically three main options of wax for making your candles. Soy, paraffin and beeswax. Beeswax is not the best choice for a few reasons, but the main reason you don’t want to use beeswax for your candles is the price. It is the most expensive option, and the more the bee population decreases, the rarer, and thus more expensive, it becomes.

I would also recommend staying away from paraffin wax. I was shocked to learn that paraffin wax is residue leftover from oil refining. It actually gives off chemicals when you burn it and leaves much more soot than soy wax.

TIP:  This leaves us with soy wax, which is what I highly recommend you use this to make these candles. Soy burns clean, contains nothing artificial, is non-toxic and burns longer than the other waxes because it burns at a cooler temperature.

I’m going to go over the steps for making these candles and some more tips that I learned when making them.

 Instructions

1.        Measure out 4 cups of soy wax flakes into a large Pyrex measuring cup or bowl. You can also use a double-boiler, but since I used the Pyrex and the microwave, I will give you instructions for using them.

2.      Get two 8-oz mason jars ready by making sure they are completely dry. Make sure there is no moisture in them so that you don’t have any trouble with the wax melting evenly.

Clear glass jars for candles
Glass jars that I used for the soy candles (approx equivalent of two 8-oz jars)

3.      Place your wick in the center of your jar. You will need one wick for a candle that has an opening of 3 inches or less. For every extra inch, you will need one more wick. For example, a 4 inch opening will need 2 wicks and a 5 inch opening will need 3 wicks.

pencil centering a wick for the candle wax
This is the wick being kept in the center of container by a pencil

TIP:  Take your hot glue gun and put a dot of it on the metal end of the wick so that it stays in place. Put the wick into the middle of the mason jar. TIP: The easiest way to make sure that your wick stays in the middle of the candle is to take a chop stick or a pen or pencil and lay it across the opening of the jar. Take a little piece of tape and tape the wick to the middle to hold it in place.

4.     Place the glass bowl into the microwave for 1 minute, and then take out and stir it with a fork. Microwave for another minute and repeat for a total of 3 minutes. After this, microwave for 30 second intervals, stirring each time until the wax is completely melted and there are no clumps. Check the temperature of the wax and when it reaches a temp of 180-185 degrees F, it is time to add whatever essential oils you choose. TIP:  Adding fragrance oil at too low of a temperature may prevent the fragrance oil from disbursing and binding uniformly in the melted wax.

5.      For your two 8-oz candles, use 1-2 tsp of essential oil. You can use one scent or mix any that you choose. I used 1 tsp each of cinnamon and orange, and the fragrance was not too strong. Some websites will tell you 40 drops, some will tell you even higher amounts of the fragrance oil, but I felt that 1 tsp per candle was plenty. You should just experiment by starting with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon and add more if you like.  TIP: If you use stronger scents like cinnamon, orange, eucalyptus, pine or even lavender, your candle will be scented stronger and longer than floral scents such as gardenia or rose. TIP:  After your candles completely cool, cover them with the lids to the mason jars when not using them to keep the scent stronger for a longer period of time.

cinnamon and sweet orange essential oils
Cinnamon & sweet orange essential oils

 6.      Mix the essential oil into the melted wax with the fork you were using. As previously mentioned, you can add as much as you’d like – my measurements are the suggested amounts.

TIP: While your wax is melting, put your mason jars onto a cookie sheet and place it into a preheated oven with a temperature of approximately 120-160 degrees F. Take them out carefully with pot-holders as soon as they get hot and pour your wax into the hot jars. This will prevent the wax from pulling away from the edges of the glass as it cools.

7.      Pour the wax evenly and carefully between your jars. TIPS:  Put some newspaper or a paper grocery store bag under the jars before you pour, in case you spill. Also, when you are finished using your glass bowl for the wax, thoroughly wipe it out with paper towels, while it is still melted, and throw them away. Definitely do not wash the bowl with the melted wax down your drain or you will mess up your garbage disposal and pipes. If the wax has started to harden, just pop the bowl back into the microwave for a few seconds until it is melted again. Once you have wiped all of the wax out of the bowl and off the fork, you can wash them with hot soap and water and they will be as good as new. Remember that this wax is just made with soy, so even if you had some residue left over that you didn’t notice, it is completely non-toxic and won’t hurt you.

hot melted soy wax poured into jars
Hot melted soy wax poured into jars

8.     Let your candles cool until the wax hardens. You will know when this happens because the wax will turn from a yellowish liquid (looking exactly like vegetable oil) to a while, milky solid. After they have cooled, trim the wick to ¼ inch above the surface of the wax.

3 homemade soy candles in jars
Homemade soy candles cooled in jars

 9.      Cover your candles with lids, if possible, and set the aside to cure for at least one week before you burn them.

TIP: For the first burn, allow pool of wax to extend to outside rim of jar to set its “memory.” Each time you burn the candle, it will remember to burn out to the rim. Rule of thumb: Burn one hour for every inch of your candle’s diameter, but no longer than 4 hours at a time. Make sure to let your candle cool completely before replacing the lid or you will end up with smoky looking glass.

ALTERATIONS: 

  • If you would like to add any color to your candle, I recommend using soy dye chips/flakes. I will add a link with the other materials links. If you decide to add color, add it when you add the fragrance. If adding color without using fragrance, add it to your wax when it is 180-185 degrees F

  • If you want to try layering the colors in your candle, you will need to do the melting process separately for each color you’re using. Follow the above instructions for adding color, and pour the amount of the first layer into your jar and let it cool. Then add the next color.

     

  • If you would like to add things like dried flowers, small shells or dried orange peel, make sure that these things are very small. Remember that they will burn as your candle burns, so you wouldn’t want a big flower or piece of orange peel catching fire and creating a big flame. It could be a fire hazard and I can’t imagine it would smell very nice. To add them, pour your wax into the jar ¼ inch below where you want the top of your finished candle to be. Let it cool most of the way, so that the wax has become opaque. Then melt more wax to the same temperature as the first time (approx. 180 degrees F) and pour it into the jar on top of the cooled wax. Add the flowers or whatever you want to add into the top layer of melted wax, and you can use the fork or a toothpick to push them under the surface of the wax.

cost effective

 The 10 pound bag of soy wax flakes I purchased was approximately $39.00. This bag will make approximately 26 8-oz candles, which would make the approximate cost of each candle $1.50 for the cost of wax. Add to that whatever you spend on fragrance oil and jars, and you can see that these make a beautiful and inexpensive gift.

container suggestions

In these instructions, I refer to 8 oz mason jars as the container for the candle, however, you can use any glass or metal jars or containers. You can even use ceramic bowls or cups. If you go back and watch the second YouTube video that I made entitled “Rustic Themes”, you can watch the tutorial on making color tinted jars, and this would be a beautiful container for your candle.

gift suggestions

These will make amazing gifts any time of year, and with the holidays coming, they are a great hostess gift for gatherings that you are invited to. If you go back to my blog post entitled “Just Because Gifts For Friends”, you can see that they would make a great gift for one of those. They will also make great Christmas gifts for teachers, neighbors, co-workers, friends, coaches and so many more. Before giving them, you could wrap some twine around the neck of the jar a few times and tie a bow, or you could use a ribbon and tie a bow with that instead

I hope you enjoyed learning about making these soy candles, because even if you are a beginner, you can see that these are fun and easy to make. If you prefer learning by watching videos, next week my tutorial “Making Candles for Gifts” will be available on my YouTube channel, and when it is up, I will include the link here.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. If you enjoyed the content in this post, please share it with your friends by clicking one of the social media buttons below. Have a great weekend and I hope you find something to celebrate!

xoxo Teresa

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