How to Make Soy Candles (A Complete Guide)

Once you learn how to make soy candles, you won’t stop. They’re addictive to make!

Closeup detail of DIY soy candles in white and blue containers on marble table.

Over the years, I’ve made DIY soy candles many times – as gifts for friends, family, and myself. Great Mother’s Day and Christmas gift ideas especially!

The process of making soy candles is actually very easy. It’s one of those things that once you learn, you’ll always make them when you find yourself with some wax and a pretty container to use.

So why do I love DIY soy candles so much? Well, lots of reasons! But here’s a few…

You only need a handful of supplies to complete a number of candles all at once, that you can gift to others or keep for yourself.  You can make scented candles or ones with no scent at all. You can make candles without any color or super colorful ones. And you customize the container to suit your design style.

For all of those reasons, I put together a complete guide for making soy candles that walks you through all the steps and gives you options for variations – like scented vs unscented, colored candles vs uncolored, AND how to get that perfectly smooth candle top you always see from professionals.

DIY soy candles that have just been cut at the wick and are ready to use.

Materials Needed for DIY Soy Candles

*If you’re looking for containers to use, this Etsy shop has come affordable options in a bunch of different colors that are cute (and affordable too).

As another option, you can reuse old container that were once used for candles, by removing the wax and wick. It’s a very simple process, which I outline here: easy planter hack. And for the containers you don’t end up using, you can turn them into planters.

Step by step process for how to make soy candles

How To Make Soy Candles

1. Add water to a large pot (just a few inches of water is fine). Then, turn on the stove to medium heat.

Next, pour soy wax flakes into the pouring pot and then place the pouring pot into the larger pot of water – double boiler style.

2. As the wax starts melting, stir it with a wooden spoon.

Stir every so often until all the flakes have melted completely and the melted wax is transparent.

*Once the wax is transparent, you can add color if desired. I didn’t add color to mine, so I didn’t include it in the steps. But I did explain exactly how you can add color below in the ‘how to add color to soy candles’ section right below the steps.

3. Remove from heat and let the wax cool for 5-10 minutes. The ideal temperature is 130-140, if you have a candy thermometer available to check the temperature.

4. Now, if you want to make your candle scented, pour in the scent you’d like to use and stir. But again, make sure the wax has been removed from the heat before adding scent because otherwise, the scent may evaporate form the wax.

I used essential oils, but you can also use fragrance oils (which you will not need as much of to produce a noticeable scent). 

Need a starting point? 15 drops of fragrance oil or 20 drops of essential oil is a good start to make one scented small to medium size candle. But a more precise rule of thumb for fragrance is one ounce for every pound of wax.

FYI – It will smell more potent in melted wax than it will in your completed burning candle.

5. While you are waiting for the wax to cool, add a wick and metal tab to each container. If necessary, assemble the two pieces, but the ones I have linked come pre-assembled to make it easy!

I like to dip a tiny bit of melted wax onto the metal tab and then place it in the center of the container. The melted wax hold it in place, so it will stand up on its own.

You can also use a dab of hot glue instead of the melted wax, if you prefer. Or as another option, some candle wick kits (like this one) come with little stickers for the tabs that you can use to attach them to the container.

6. Next, pour the wax into each container, avoiding the wick if possible. And wait for the wax to set up completely (12-24 hours) before moving or handling at all. I usually let my candles set up overnight.

As the wax starts to set, it will get less and less transparent, until it’s fully opaque.

7. Once fully hardened / set, it’s almost ready to use. First, you have to trim the wick down to 1/4 inch.

You’ll want to continue to trim it to this length every time you light it for safety and even burning.

Homemade candles shown overhead on marble surface

How to Get Perfectly Smooth Candle Tops

Ever wondered what the trick is for getting perfectly smooth candle tops every time? Here’s what I learned after the first few times I made soy candles (which is why one of my original batches in the white and blue containers have a few imperfections on top – I hadn’t learned this part yet)…

Use a heat gun, specifically, I’d recommend an embossing heat gun! That’s bc its small and doesn’t blow the heat around as much as some of the others.

Once your candle has set up for 24 hours, if there are any cracks or craters on the top surface, turn on your embossing heat gun and in a circular motion around the entire candle, not just the spot with the imperfections.

Go around and around, while trying to avoid the wick as much as possible, until the top surface has melted and then let it set back up. Should take less than an hour and then you’ll have a smooth candle top.

You can see how smooth the candles look with this trick, in the candle in the tan pottery vessel.

How to Add Color to Soy Candles

If you’d like to add color to your soy candles, you’ll want to purchase dye blocks or liquid dyes for candles. Dye blocks generally produce more vibrant or darker colors and liquid dyed usually produce pastel / lighter shades for soy wax candles.

Either way, you’ll add in the color once the soy wax has completely melted, before you add any scent. Make sure to stir the color in thoroughly.

Can I use crayons to color soy wax?

No! Basically, crayons have stuff in them that doesn’t make it good for adding to candles. Essentially, they don’t burn well. So don’t add crayon wax for color.

Should I use a candle wick centering device?

You can, but you don’t have to. A wick centering device can definitely help keep your wick stay, well, in the center. Haha. It’s not required though. So, it’s kind of up to you.

I don’t usually use one, personally. But some candle wick kits actually come with one, like this, so if you have one, use it. If you don’t, don’t.

What should I do with leftover soy wax?

If you have any smaller, additional candles (or even tea-lights) that you’d like to make, they’re great for using up leftover soy wax that is still in it’s melted state.

You can also wait for it to harden back up and use a couple small chunks in a oil burner / wax warmer if you have one (assuming your wax has been scented).

Otherwise, I just leave the remaining wax in the same container I first melted it in and reuse it again next time I’m ready to make candles. So easy!

Homemade candle in East Fork Pottery container on dining room table.

Small homemade candles in striped and polka dot containers.

Holding homemade candle in hand against white background.

Homemade candles on a marble surface in small blue and white containers/

The Complete Guide to Making Soy Candles

Over the years, I've made DIY soy candles many times - as gifts for friends, family, and myself. Great Mother's Day and Christmas gift ideas especially!
The process of making soy candles is actually very easy. But there are specific you'll want to know before you get started.
So, I put together a complete guide for making soy candles that walks you through all the steps and gives you options for variations - like scented candles vs unscented, colored candles vs uncolored, AND how to get that perfectly smooth candle top you always see from professionals.
Total Time30 mins
Keyword: candle making, candles, diy, gifts, mother's day, soy candles
Author: Brittni

Ingredients

  • small decorative containers*
  • soy wax flakes 1 lb bag for up to nine small votives
  • candle wicks with metal tabs OR natural candle wicks
  • fragrance oils or essential oils if scenting your candles
  • wooden spoon for mixing
  • candy thermometer / something to read wax temperature optional
  • pouring pot or other heat safe container
  • larger regular pot for boiling water

Instructions

  • Add water to a large pot (just a few inches of water is fine). Then, turn on the stove to medium heat.
  • Next, pour soy wax flakes into the pouring pot and then place the pouring pot into the larger pot of water - double boiler style.
  • As the wax starts melting, stir it with a wooden spoon.
  • Stir every so often until all the flakes have melted completely and the melted wax is transparent.
    *Once the wax is transparent, you can add color if desired. I didn't add color to mine, so I didn't include it in the steps. But I did explain exactly how you can add color below in the 'how to add color to soy candles' section right below the steps.
  • Remove from heat and let the wax cool for 5-10 minutes. The ideal temperature is 130-140, if you have a candy thermometer available to check the temperature.
  • Now, if you want to make your candle scented, pour in the scent you'd like to use and stir. But again, make sure the wax has been removed from the heat before adding scent because otherwise, the scent may evaporate form the wax.
    I used essential oils, but you can also use fragrance oils (which you will not need as much of to produce a noticeable scent).
    Need a starting point? 15 drops of fragrance oil or 20 drops of essential oil is a good start to make one scented small to medium size candle. But a more precise rule of thumb for fragrance is one ounce for every pound of wax.
    FYI - It will smell more potent in melted wax than it will in your completed burning candle.
  • While you are waiting for the wax to cool, add a wick and metal tab to each container. If necessary, assemble the two pieces, but the ones I have linked come pre-assembled to make it easy!
    I like to dip a tiny bit of melted wax onto the metal tab and then place it in the center of the container. The melted wax hold it in place, so it will stand up on its own.
    You can also use a dab of hot glue instead of the melted wax, if you prefer. Or as another option, some candle wick kits (like this one) come with little stickers for the tabs that you can use to attach them to the container.
  • Next, pour the wax into each container, avoiding the wick if possible. And wait for the wax to set up completely (12-24 hours) before moving or handling at all. I usually let my candles set up overnight.
    As the wax starts to set, it will get less and less transparent, until it's fully opaque.
  • Once fully hardened / set, it's almost ready to use. First, you have to trim the wick down to 1/4 inch. You'll want to continue to trim it to this length every time you light it for safety and even burning.

Notes

How to Get Perfectly Smooth Candle Tops

Ever wondered what the trick is for getting perfectly smooth candle tops every time? Here's what I learned after the first few times I made soy candles (which is why one of my original batches in the white and blue containers have a few imperfections on top - I hadn't learned this part yet)...
Use a heat gun, specifically, I'd recommend an embossing heat gun! That's bc its small and doesn't blow the heat around as much as some of the others.
Once your candle has set up for 24 hours, if there are any cracks or craters on the top surface, turn on your embossing heat gun and in a circular motion around the entire candle, not just the spot with the imperfections.
Go around and around, while trying to avoid the wick as much as possible, until the top surface has melted and then let it set back up. Should take less than an hour and then you'll have a smooth candle top.
You can see how smooth the candles look with this trick, in the candle in the tan pottery vessel.

How to Add Color to Soy Candles

If you'd like to add color to your soy candles, you'll want to purchase dye blocks or liquid dyes for candles. Dye blocks generally produce more vibrant or darker colors and liquid dyed usually produce pastel / lighter shades for soy wax candles.
Either way, you'll add in the color once the soy wax has completely melted, before you add any scent. Make sure to stir the color in thoroughly.

Can I use crayons to color soy wax?

No! Basically, crayons have stuff in them that doesn't make it good for adding to candles. Essentially, they don't burn well. So don't add crayon wax for color.

Should I use a candle wick centering device?

You can, but you don't have to. A wick centering device can definitely help keep your wick stay, well, in the center. Haha. It's not required though. So, it's kind of up to you.
I don't usually use one, personally. But some candle wick kits actually come with one, like this, so if you have one, use it. If you don't, don't.

What should I do with leftover soy wax?

If you have any smaller, additional candles (or even tea-lights) that you'd like to make, they're great for using up leftover soy wax that is still in it's melted state.
You can also wait for it to harden back up and use a couple small chunks in a oil burner / wax warmer if you have one (assuming your wax has been scented).
Otherwise, I just leave the remaining wax in the same container I first melted it in and reuse it again next time I'm ready to make candles. So easy!
Tried this recipe?Mention @paperandstitch or tag #paperandstitch!

Photography Sarah Eddy + Brittni Mehlhoff 

Hope this soy candle tutorial was helpful for you, but as always, if you have any questions, please let me know. I often update posts with new info as questions come in.

And let me know what you think too! Have I convinced to make some soy candles yet?

46 comments | Click here to reply

Oooo how lovely! I might try some of these this weekend. I love candles and am completely out of household pretties! Did you get many bubbles or a dip in the middle as it cooled? Wondering if I need to leave some wax aside to top up after?

Rachel Ward

That’s a good question, Rachel. Yes – I would definitely leave some wax in the pouring pot just in case there is a dip in the candle, cracks, etc. I was moving my wicks around a lot during the pictures (after the wax had been poured), so there was a little bit of unevenness. Pouring a little bit of wax over the top (be sure to cover the entire to make sure it spreads evenly) before you cut the wick down to size would fix any problem like that.

Brittni

Super cute! I’ve only made candles from one of those kid crafts kits probably 20 years ago. I like that these are soy…now that I know more about cheap candles, it’s worth paying a little extra for your health! These would be perfect to make and keep on hand for birthday gifts.

Caitlin | teaspoon

These would make great birthday gifts, Caitlin. I’m planning to make a few more, when I find more containers that I like, so I have something for last minute thank you gifts. But I do know a few people with upcoming birthdays. Maybe I’ll make some for them too. Clearly, I’m addicted to candle making now.

Brittni

I LOVE this idea! totally worth a cute DIY night with friends or for gifts or for my own house.

I love this line–“I wasn’t sure how much to use, so I poured in the whole bottle.” haha I think this is the best part of the whole post. I will definitely be trying this at home 🙂

Elizabeth

Haha. Sometimes a girl just has to wing it when it comes to how much essential oil to use. They smelled really good though. 🙂

Brittni

Love those jars! I made a bunch of candles last winter, but I found when I lit them they burned a tunnel straight down rather then melting all the way across edge to edge. From much research, I learned I need a fatter wick for the jar size. And now this post inspired me to actually go get them and make some more 🙂

Lauren

Interesting Lauren. I hadn’t heard of that issue, but good to know that the fatter wick solves that problem. Happy to hear that this post inspired you.

Brittni

These turned out SO great, Britt!!! I’m getting ready to do some candle making myself, so I’m glad to see your successful venture as motivation! 😉

Kelly @ Studio DIY

Awesome, Kel. Text me if you need help troubleshooting anything in the candle-making process. Although, you probably already know the drill for this stuff.

Brittni

Love love love!! Can’t wait to try:) These are adorable! xoxo Katie

Katie Cook

Thanks Katie. Definitely give them a try. They’re really fun to make.

Brittni

Love this idea!

Kristin

The canisters are adorable! I just love candles!

Stacia

Thank you Kristin and Stacia! I’m kind of a candle fiend at the moment.

Brittni

I tried to make candles this winter and they cooled down weirdly and were really concave in the center by the wick – I just couldn’t give them away in that state
Allison from http://www.mercuteify.com

Allison

Hmm…did you wait for the wax to cool down before pouring, Allison? That could be the problem.

Brittni

These are so beautiful! Such a simple and yet personal gift to give. I’m so looking forward to making these myself. Thanks for sharing the tips!

Hope

Thanks Hope!

Brittni

How do you clean the pouring pot after the wax has been poured into the containers?

Carolyn Kesler

Hi Carolyn. Pour any extra wax into a paper cup while it’s still liquid and then wipe out the pouring pot with a cloth or paper towel. You can keep the paper cup filled with wax too and melt it down again for the next time you make candles (after you peel the wax from the paper cup of course).

Brittni

Love the idea of how you used this anthropologie spice jars!

Ana

I just love the idea of scented soy candles!!!!!!

Christina

Thanks Ana and Christina.

Brittni

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I love this project I’ve always wanted to try making my own candles. Thank you for showing how easy it is. Where did you get the coconut scent and is there a brand you prefer? Is there other scents you have tried?

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The scent I used can be found at craft stores, right next to all of the candle making supplies. I haven’t experimented enough to have a favorite brand just yet. But I’ll let you know if I come across one I would highly recommend.

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This is awesome!!! I have always wanted to make my own candles. Serious…and those pots…so cool. Would be awesome to take old purchased candle jars and refill them this way 🙂

Megan Gilger

Thanks Megan! They’re so easy. You should definitely give it a try.

Brittni

How many ounces does one pound of wax chips make?

Danielle B

Hi Danielle. I wasn’t measuring precisely when I made these because I had so many containers to fill and they were’t being filled to the brim (because of the lids). That said, if you were measuring in a liquid measuring cup, the solid soy wax flakes will roughly melt down to half when it becomes a liquid. So, if you measured out 6 cups of soy wax flakes (in a liquid measuring cup) and then melted it, it would measure in at about 3 cups when melted. Hope that helps.

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There is a video on the website of http://www.candlescience.com. You do not have to use their products – but I have learned from my “scenting” mistakes. The main one being – you can actually use too much scented oil and the pool of wax can catch fire and a ring of flame appears. I experienced this thinking – oh – more scented oil =’s a stronger scented candle. I use 1 oz. of scent to 5 cups of soy flakes which is the equivalent to about 3 cups of liquid (melted) wax. The website above has is great tutorial. I also melt my soy wax flakes in the microwave. I’ve been making the candles for about 3 years now. Love shopping for containers!

I love using teacups and saucers as gifts!

Judy

Thanks for the tip, Judy. I had no idea. Will definitely try that scent ratio next time.

Brittni

Been scared to make investment, but think homemade candles will be holiday gifts this year! Thanks so much for sharing!!

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These looking amazing and seem really straight forward to make. I’m so going to get my DIY on this weekend and try to whip up a batch of candles.

Rigel

What options are there for fragrances? I’m not a fan of coconut but idk if it’s possible to get any essential oil to replace it?

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