So you walk into your favorite department store, or maybe it’s Bath and Body Works, and the smell hits you. Vanilla, rose, baked goods, cinnamon and pretty much every kind of fruit and flower you can think of. But you realize that it’s actually the candle isle that smells so good!
But $25-$30 is way too much money to spend on a regular basis. Since when have soy candles become such expensive, luxury items?! So why not save a boat load and have a stock of great homemade gifts to whip out whenever you need them by simply learning how to make soy candles that look and smell amazing?
Today I’m going to show you exactly that, how to make diy soy candles that are both colored and delightfully scented. They smell absolutely amazing when using your favorite candle fragrance oil! They’re also pretty similar to the make-up of your favorite popular brands, namely Yankee Candle.
But is this your first time making a soy candle? Don’t worry, everything you need is right here on this page. But keep an eye out for our next few posts, as this month we’ll be tackling everything you need to know about candle making!
We’ll be dishing all the gossip about scenting and coloring your wax in much more detail, as well as post dedicated to the ins and outs of wicking for candles (including how to make use of gorgeous, crackling wooden wicks). You’ll find all the upcoming posts in our homemade candles section over the next few weeks.
Watch How To Make Soy Candles
Before we begin, watch a short video on how to make a jar candle.
What You Will Need For Soy Candle Making
Notes on wicks: Keep in mind that candle wicks come in different sizes, and the size you’ll need will depend on the diameter of your jar. We’ve used an Eco size 12 with a large size stabilizer.
Generally, jars with a diameter of between 25-65mm will need between an ECO1-ECO4. Our jar was particularly large, so we needed such a big wick! Experiment to find which wick you’ll need, or keep an eye out for our in-depth look at wicking in the coming weeks for more information.
Finding The Volume Of Your Jar
Before I come onto how much soy wax we’ll need, I thought I’d just say something about this particular type of wax. Soy wax is very soft, which means it is totally unsuitable for a free standing candle made from a mold. If this is what you’re looking for, you can take a look at our post on using paraffin wax to make interesting shaped candles.
You’re probably asking yourself ‘how much wax will I need’, but this will depend on your chosen container. There is a simple algorithm to work this out, but first fill your container with water up to where you want your wax, remembering to keep enough head space for the wick (take a look at the picture below, the space left will be plenty of room for our wick).
Empty the water out into a measuring cylinder or jug and record the measurement. I will be working in milliliters and grams, as the algorithm works best when using metric units. You can always convert them back to good old tablespoons and ounces after. The usable volume of my jar was 650mls, which is about the size of a large Yankee Candle jar.
Now, water pretty much weighs the same as its volume, so I must multiply the measurement of the water by 0.85 (the special modifier for the difference in weight between water and liquid soy wax). For me, this equaled 552.5g, which is exactly how much soy wax I’ll need to weigh out! But it’s always good to use a little more, just to be safe. I rounded mine to the nearest 10, and melted 560g.
Volume x 0.85 = Weight needed in soy wax
650mls x 0.85 = 552.5g
Note that multiplying your water volume by 0.85 is specific to soy wax, and will not work with paraffin.
Making The Soy Wax Candle
Step 1 Connect your candle wick to your stabilizer. Then, using either a hot glue gun or a bit of melted wax, affix your wick and stabilizer to the bottom of your jar so it doesn’t go anywhere. Not sticking the stabilizer in place isn’t a deal breaker, but when you come to pour in the wax you’ll kick yourself if you don’t.
Step 2 Now we need to melt the wax and we need to do this relatively slowly, as soy wax can catch fire if not melted properly. You can do this by making use of a double boiler (bain marie). Place a pan half-filled with water on the stove and place a Pyrex/heatproof or metal mixing bowl on top so that it sits on the pan and isn’t submerged in the water.
Turn on the stove to a medium heat. You can preboil the water first to speed things up, but it should only be simmering when your bowl is sitting on top. You can then pour your flakes into the bowl, stirring occasionally with a whisk or spoon. Although a whisk is good to use, as candle wax doesn’t build up as much as it does on a spoon.
Be careful not to actually whisk this, as you’ll be adding too much air to our wax (which results in air bubbles in the finished product).
Step 3 Once the wax has fully melted we can mix in the color! Make sure your wax is between 170-180F (82C), but no hotter. Check this with your thermometer gun. If your dye flakes do not melt, turn up the heat a bit. If you’re using block candle dye, then smash it up a bit first so that when you add it to the wax it will melt more quickly.
The amount of coloring you need will vary depending on the size of your jar and the type of dye you’re using, so experiment and add a little at a time. You can test your color but letting a few drops from your spoon fall onto a bit of baking paper/parchment. Just watch your temps while doing this and remember to keep it below 180F (unless your dye just won’t melt).
Keep in mind that soy wax does not color as well as your traditional paraffin wax. For a lovely pastel color, be very conservative with your dye. If it feel like you’re fighting a battle trying to color your candle, and you’ve used lots of dye and you’re still not seeing much color, you’re probably using a dye that is unsuitable for soy wax.
Step 4 Bring the temperature of your wax down to between 150F-160F. This is an important step, as our candle fragrance oil will evaporate very quickly at temperatures above this.
Once your wax is a suitable temperature, stir in your fragrance so that it is fully distributed. We’ve used Mystic Moment’s gorgeous vanilla fragrance oil, but you can use any brand that you can get your hands on.
To find out how much candle fragrance oil you will need, work out 1/10 (or 10%) of the total weight of your wax. Just divide whatever weight, in grams, you calculated by 10 and that’s the amount in mls you’ll need of your fragrance oil. I’ll be using 55mls, as my original weight was 552.5 (I rounded to 550 before calculating).
If you find the fragrance too strong, when you next make soy candles try a lower percentage of between 7-9%. If you’d like it stronger, then try 11 or 12%. I strongly advise not to add any more than 12% as you’ll reduce the overall integrity and stability of the wax, leading to poorly made candles.
Step 5 Returning to your jar, thread the wick through a wick holder/around the pencil so that your wick is centered for when you pour in your wax. Once it’s stable, go ahead and pour in your wax. This is an important step not to miss, as without it your candles can burn unevenly, burn too slowly or too quickly.
Step 6 Allow your candles to cool then, trim the wick with a pair of scissors. I recommend waiting a few days before you burn or gift them, but you can use this time to adorn your candles with beautiful ribbon, labels, tags and other gorgeous decorations to impress your family, friends and giftees!
I actually made a few to give you some decoration inspiration! The pink one at the front was made with cherry fragrance oil and a little red dye, the other with a lovely almond fragrance and no dye at all.
I found the smell of them together was absolutely gorgeous, almost like a cherry and almond tart. So, I whipped up a bit more and made a two tier ‘Bakewell Tart’ soy candle with a random jelly jar I found in my recycling!
And there you have it, how to make soy candles that smell amazing and would normally set you back as much as $30. Although it might seem a bit of an investment to pick up the candlemaking supplies and ingredients to be able to do this craft, but long term you’re saving loads of your hard earned cash on birthday gifts and home decor! It just makes sense to do it yourself! There’s also nothing stopping you from selling them for $30 a piece.
But you have to tell me about your experience with candlemaking? Do you already know how to make soy candles? What’s your favorite dye to use, or fragrance? Do you make them to gift, or to sell? What are some of your soy candle making horror stories? Drop me a comment below, I love to read what you guys think!