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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

Materials

  • 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!