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Making Soy Candles

February 27, 2013

It's funny - I procrastinate on things I think are going to be extremely messy or difficult but they typically end up being quite easy.  Things like sewing, canning, making soap, knitting and making candles have been continually pushed to the back burner because I thought I'd need a lot of time and/or patience.  So far, not true, and making these candles has been the easiest of them all.

To start you'll need to gather your supplies.  You'll find candle making supplies many places such as local craft stores, or online at soap and candle making sites such as Brambleberry, Amazon, and possibly even Etsy or Ebay.
  • Determine which type of wax you'll use (wax flakes are the easiest to melt).  I choose soy wax flakes because, in general, soy is affordable and has a longer burn time than some of the other waxes.  I found that one pound of wax flakes will fill a pint-size canning jar.
  • You'll need to choose a fragrance if your candles are going to be scented.  There are a tremendous number of combinations or you could get really brave and blend your own!  If your fragrance does not come with a dropper, this is something you'll need to pick up so you can get the correct amount of fragrance.  I used 1 ounce of fragrance oil per pound of wax flakes.
  • Wicks and tabs will be necessary.  You can purchase them pre-cut or cut them to length as needed.  I didn't use a colorant because the scent I chose was Milk & Honey so I thought a white candle seemed appropriate, but if you would like a color other than white you'll need to purchase this.  
  • Heat safe jars would be your next decision.  I used a quart-size canning jar.  
  • Additional items would be a double boiler or something that can mimic a double boiler.  Because it will end up with a wax lining you want the pan or pan alternative to be dedicated to melting wax.  I had a can laying around (which is unusual since most items you buy are now in plastic tubs) so I used that and put it in a pan with water.  It worked great.  You'll need a pourable container for the wax once melted.  Because you'll want a clean pour into the candle jar, it should be something with a pouring spout.  I used a 4 cup pyrex measuring cup that will now be dedicated to wax.  Spoons for stirring, something for propping up the wick (I used popsicle sticks) and potholders and/or gloves make up the last of the necessities.
When cleaning up your tools, you can wipe the wax out/off while the tools are warm.  Using a couple of paper towels you should be able to remove the wax from the double boiler, spoon and pourable container.  If the wax hardens, heat them up again and wipe them clean.


  • Soy Wax Flakes
  • Fragrance Oil(s), optional
  • Dropper (if using the essential oil)
  • Wicks and Tabs
  • Heat Safe Jars (i.e. canning jars, etc.)
  • Double Boiler or something to work as a double boiler (see above)
  • Heat safe pourable container (I used a pyrex measuring cup dedicated to candle wax)
  • Spoons
  • Popsicle sticks, pencils, etc. to hold the wicks in place (I used 2-3 per candle, depeding on how much support it needed)
  • Potholders, gloves, etc. for protection, as needed, from the hot wax
  • **candle color discs if you would like to add a color**

Measure out how much wax you would like to melt.  Add the wax to the double boiler, set over low heat, and allow to slowly melt (do not leave this unattended).

**Never put the wax into a pan over direct heat.  Always use a double boiler.**

While the wax is melting prepare your wicks.  If you have them pre-set in their tabs and pre-cut, you will not need to do anything except have them ready.  If you are cutting the wick and setting them in the tab, do this at this time, measuring your container and cutting larger than your container.

wax is almost melted
wax is transferred to the pyrex measuring cup for mess-free pouring
Once the wax is completely melted, carefully (this is where the potholder and/or gloves will come in) transfer the wax into your pourable container.  If you are adding a fragrance oil, stir it in at this time.  When you first add it, because the oil is cooler than the wax, it makes a film along the bottom of the container.  Once you stir it into the wax the film disintegrates.

Working very quickly, one container at a time, pour a dab of wax in the middle of the container and set your wick in it.  This will hold your wick in place and hardens very quickly.  An alternative would be to dip the tab of the wick in the wax and quickly set it in the container.  Be careful not to drip wax onto your counter.

  **If it's easier for you, you could put a small piece of masking tape on the bottom of the jar (the outside of the jar) so you can quickly see where to place your wick.  Once the candles are hardened, flip the candle over and remove the tape.**

making sure the wick stays in the center of the candle
Once all of your wicks are set, pour the remaining wax into each container, carefully, leaving at least 1/2 inch from the top of the jar.  Your wick may begin to wilt as it becomes hot so using tape, pencils or popsicle sticks prop your wick into place so it continues to set in the center of the candle.

Leave your candles untouched until dry.  They can be carefully moved after about an hour, but should be left to set at least 24 hours before touching the wax.  Trim your wick.

Ta da!  You've made your own candles!

**If you decide to add coloring to your candles, add this with the wax and melt them together.  I used just about 1/4 teaspoon of orange in 1 pound of wax to get this lighter shade of orange.  Use small amounts and add additional if the color isn't dark enough.**

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