How to make amazing natural soy candles easily and inexpensively in 10 minutes or less!
^^Click to watch the tutorial video (turn your volume up) ^^
I wanted to try to make some candles at home, but really didn't know anything about them. I mean besides the fact that they are made of wax and have a wick that burns and smells nice. I've made soap and skincare before, including lotion bars and lip balms, so it didn't seem like it would be much different.
I started with beeswax, but it's really expensive and has to be mixed with coconut oil to get a good, even burn. If you just use straight beeswax, it will probably "tunnel," or, burn just a little around the wick all the way down. Beeswax is really dense.
Next up was to try soy wax.
At around 1/3 the price of beeswax, this seemed a much better idea. Soy is also natural, and after reading the entire internet, I found a perfect one that doesn't burn any black smoke, melts so easily in the microwave, and is consistent.
I watched a couple videos online and gosh it seemed to be such a big and complicated production. They probably are a lot more accurate, but honestly I don't feel like making more effort than I need to.
They used a double boiler, scale, thermometers, and had a lot of "you have to try several before you find what works"...well I tried several and found a way with specific products from different manufacturers that makes this easy, fool-proof, perfect every time, and no need to weigh or take temperatures or even use a double boiler. Ridiculously little mess and perfect candles. It's like winning a lottery!
You will need a few items, and buying in semi-bulk is way less expensive than just buying a small amount. But if you love candles and you have friends who would love them for gifts, the semi-bulk will probably go faster than you think!
Here is a list of what you'll need... Aside from the scents, I put the exact items I bought and used in my Amazon Storefront Affiliate List "Candle Supplies" so you can get everything or just what you need in one place, rather than have to click on every single link if you need everything: https://www.amazon.com/shop/happinessinyourlife
Note: not all wax, wicks, tins, or wick stickers are the same! Many are garbage. If you would like to try different ones, please do, but this super phenomenally easy method was a lot of trial and error with different ones, and the ones that I link here are literally PERFECT every time. They are not even the most expensive ones available, which is nice!
Soy Wax - The best Soy wax in the world is Freedom Wax from American Soy Organics. They have a website but for orders under 10 lbs, it actually costs less to get it from Amazon. A 10 lb bag will make approximately 52 four ounce candles. This wax comes in a giant ziploc in a cardboard box. It's in the form of small beads, which makes melting super easy and there's no preparation required.
This soy wax is clean burning, meaning there is no black soot on the tins or in the air. I checked my house air filter after burning a bunch and there was no soot there, either.
I think soot happens from (cheaper) paraffin wax which I don't want to be breathing in my home. Soot happens. LOL. Not with Soy wax!
American Soy Organics Freedom Soy Wax On Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Gsjmr8
Tins - For this recipe, each batch will make a perfect three total candles; 2 of the 4 oz tins plus 1 of the 2 oz. These tins are just gorgeous and could also be used for storing small items, or even tea or incense. Because they are metal and the candles burn all the way down, you can reuse them for making more candles. If you make candles in glass jars, you cannot reuse the jars because the glass could shatter if it has been compromised by the heat even in one tiny area.
4 oz tins: https://amzn.to/30NtBFW and
2 oz tins: https://amzn.to/2ZnPWJX
You could also just make the 2 oz ones if you don't want to have so many tins and wicks. Then you would only buy the smaller wicks and each batch will make 5 of the 2 oz candles.
Wicks, Tabs, wick holders, and wick stickers - You can buy wick in a roll and then the metal wick tabs separately and attach tabs to sections of wick, but buying them already made really doesn't cost much more and is so much easier and faster. Wick stickers stick the metal wick holder to the floor of the tin and hold it in place when you pour the wax so it doesn't float up and make your candle useless. Wick holders are basically bars made of metal or popsicle sticks with a hole in them that you put the wick through to hold it straight while the wax dries. Wick holders can be reused many, many times. Wicks have to be the right thickness for the containers, otherwise they could burn too hot or not hot enough and make your candle go up in smoke or not burn hardly at all. Using a cheap wick can ruin your whole candle.
These wicks work perfectly every time for the tins and wax that I've also linked.
Wick set for 4 oz tins: https://amzn.to/3EcR5D2
Wick Set for 2 oz tins (make sure to select "thick"): https://amzn.to/3nsVdIl
Scent - You can use candle scents, fragrances, or essential oils. Essential oils will probably be the most expensive, and you have to do a little research on which ones are too flammable for candle use, ones that are not really safe to breathe in, and ones that shouldn't be used at all. If you don't feel like researching but still want something natural,
1. https://www.naturesgardencandles.com has a ton of great scents for candles that can also be used for soaps or lotions. If you like fruity or bakery scents, they have so many amazing ones. This is where I get my Pumpkin Walnut Biscotti from, and it is incredible.
2. https://www.candlescience.com also has a fantastic variety of scents and scent blends that are clean burning and natural, based on essential oils. They have really good earthy and floral scents. I love their Orange Blossom.
3. https://www.brambleberry.com is a great store on the West Coast of the USA that also has a great variety of scents and essential oils. I love their Coconut and use it for soaps, too.
4. https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com has the best variety of real essential oils as well as written descriptions for each about what they smell like and safety information. Their prices are fantastic for essential oils, and the quality is amazing.
*****DO NOT USE water based scents, extracts, or fragrances EVER. Water and wax do not mix. If you use water based scents or extracts, you can have candles that literally blow up. *****
Microwave - Mine is 20 years old. If yours is younger than that, your cooking time may be less than mine.
Measuring Cups - Pyrex. Only Pyrex. You'll need for sure one 4 cup one and if you're extra lazy like me, use a 2 cup one to use as a scoop instead of measuring out 2 cups into your 4 cup one.
4 cup: https://amzn.to/3GhH4Gp
2 cup: https://amzn.to/3b6IANd
Measuring Spoons - Metal with the measurements engraved are best. If the measurements are printed on, they may wipe off. Not the end of the world, but sometimes it's difficult to tell what's 1/3 teaspoon versus 1/4. https://amzn.to/2ZqzCrJ
Parchment Paper - You can get a giant 2 pack of rolls from Costco if you have a membership. Or if you don't have Costco, you can get a smaller roll here on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3vE8OAa
Silicon Spatula - I LOVE the small green one. It's perfect to stir as well as to scrape out the wax. If you have a big spatula, it may be too wide and sloppy to navigate the last bit of wax into the jars. https://amzn.to/3GixGSP
1. Take your 2 cup pyrex pitcher and scoop one full 2 cup scoop of the soy beads and pour them into your 4 cup pyrex pitcher.
2. Microwave for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Watch the first time you do it. Your microwave may be hotter or not as hot as mine. You want the wax to be almost all melted except for a little cloudy at the bottom. If you overheat your wax, it can turn yellow. If you really overheat it, it can be too hot to add scent or to pour.
3. While you're microwaving, lay out a layer of parchment paper over your work surface. Wax may drip and it's so much easier to toss a piece of parchment paper than to clean wax up. Next, stick your wicks onto the wick stickers and on to the bottom center of each tin. Place your wick holder over the wick and look to make sure it's pretty straight and pretty much in the center. Line the tins up where they will be easy to pour in the wax.
4. When the wax has melted, use an oven mitt or pot holder to take your pitcher out of the microwave and set it down on your workspace parchment paper. Take your little spatula and SLOWLY stir the wax, making sure any cloudiness at the bottom melts.
5. Measure out 2 tablespoons TOTAL of all scent you're going to add. You can do all one scent, or half one, half another, or mix up a few for a total of 2 tablespoons. Pour each spoonful into your pitcher, again slowly to make sure you won't splash.
6. Mix the scent into the hot wax with your spatula, stirring extra slowly to avoid making any bubbles. You will be able to see the wavy lines of the scents at first. Stir for around a minute. Again, do NOT use any water based or alcohol based oils or extracts for scent because it won't mix right and could also cause your candle to blow up. To be safest, use scents that are specifically made for use with candles.
7. Put your oven mitt back on and pour each candle. You can pour a little in each one and go back and add more, or pour 1, 2, and 3 straight through. Leave a little room at the top, a half inch or so, so that the container will hold heat and allow your candle to burn evenly. Overfilled is worse than under filled. This recipe will make 3 perfect candles (two 4 oz and one 2 oz).
8. Get some paper towels and wipe out your pyrex pitcher while it's still warm. Also wipe off the spatula. While they are warm, it's SO easy to wipe them out. After they cool, the wax will turn into a solid and will be more difficult to clean. I think it's best to have a dedicated set of equipment just for candle making that you don't also use for any food anymore.
9. Allow your candles to sit undisturbed until they are totally cooled. A few hours is fine. Once cooled, remove the wick holders and cut the wicks with scissors to around 1/4" to 1/2 inch long above the wax line. If your wick is too long it will make too big of a flame. If your wick is cut too short, it may burn out and make the whole candle garbage. (If that happens, you can scoop all the wax out and re-melt it and make a new one)
10. You're supposed to let your candles "cure" for a few days. If you have the patience to do that, it's probably best to do it. I've burned mine the next day and nothing bad happened to me. I use the lid as a stand to make a little space buffer between my table and the bottom of the tin. The first time you burn your candle, let it burn at least long enough that the entire top is melted all the way to the sides. That way, it will burn down evenly. If your wick gets a little long after your first burn, trim or snap off a little of the end to make it right around 1/4" long again.
If you get the whole lot of stuff, you'll have enough for around 50 candles and it will cost around $2 per candle. Compare that to what natural soy candles cost anywhere and wowzee wowow you will save a lot of money if you are a candle lover like me. If you have minimal crafty skills, this will be the easiest thing you've ever done. If you have a lot of people to buy gifts for, you could make a whole bunch and keep them in a cupboard for when you need them. I don't think wax goes bad for years. I wouldn't say this is one to do with small children because even though it's super easy, you're also working with hot wax in a wide open measuring cup.
So far, my favorites are varied. I just recently discovered CandleScience and am going to get a few more scents. Their site also has a lot of great descriptions on their scents and reviews from people that are sometimes very flattering and sometimes not so much. That shows that they don't delete bad reviews and a high amount of confidence in their products.
Nature's Garden pumpkin ones are so good. I have made soaps with them before and made a pumpkin spice candle using their pumpkin scent (it's called Pumpkin Walnut Biscotti) plus essential oils of cinnamon and nutmeg from New Directions Aromatics. I used mostly the pumpkin scent and then just a few drops each of the essential oils.
You can also combine essential oils with fragrances. Like 1 tablespoon lavender essential oil with 1 tablespoon coconut fragrance or vanilla fragrance. Or more or less, depending on how you like it.
I think for me, this is so nice. It doesn't feel stressful at all and it's not some big production with a big clean up afterwards. Just wipe out the pyrex and spatula and toss a piece of parchment paper. The house smells amazing when you make them, and they turn out so perfectly that it's really rewarding for the small amount of time and effort spent making them. It's fun.
If you get the 10 lb size bag of wax, two sizes of tins, both wick sets, the cost is around $90. That is the cost to make right around 50 candles, plus you'll need to buy fragrances and/or essential oils if you don't have any. And measuring cups, spoons, spatula, parchment paper if you don't have those.
But as far as investment versus payoff, I've seen 4 oz natural soy candles going for upwards of $15 each!
This could even be something you might want to start as a hobby business and sell at farmer's markets or local shops. Amazon also has a variety of caution/warning stickers that I think are legally required for candles for sale to be stuck onto the bottom of the candle. But those don't even cost much already-made per sticker.
Or just something fun and easy for yourself and friends and family gifts. I've given a bunch to friends, and everyone says they are their favorite candles :)
I hope you love your homemade candles, and please do let me know if you do in the comments! Also if you've found any scents that are AMAZING, please let me know that, too. I love trying new stuff.
Disclosure: The Amazon links I've posted are affiliate links, meaning I receive an affiliate fee for every purchase.
The scent sites are not affiliate links. I receive nothing from them, but they have the best products that I have found and I've been ordering from Nature's Garden and New Directions Aromatics for over 10 years for my soap and lotion making. Great products, great customer service, reliable, and consistent.
Candle Safety is the same for any other candle. Never leave a candle burning unattended and do not leave a candle burning on or under flammable surfaces.