How to make scented soy candles quickly & easily. A how-to guide to DIY candle making using pure essential oils.
How to make scented soy candles
I was very excited to receive them but actually forgot about it until a while later.
Spurred on by the excitement of finding a use for my jar collection, one rainy Saturday afternoon I did a bit of Googling of homemade soy candles then got straight to making my own soy candles.
It was pretty straightforward to make soy wax candles at home – melt, pour, leave to set, but what I didn’t realise was that soy wax is a lot easier to work with than paraffin wax, which I’d asked for.
It made nice homemade candles but soy wax makes them a much prettier white colour so that was what I tried next.
Disclaimer: When I originally wrote this post I didn’t know about the potentially harmful health effects of artificial fragrances and fragrance oils (which you will see in some of the original images).
These days, when I make a scented candle I use 100% pure natural essential oils.
Why DIY soy candles?
There are lots of reasons to make your own candles but my top ones are:
- Choose your own candle scent exactly as you like it.
- Make your candles whichever size you like in whichever candle containers you like – a good use for the recycled glass jar collection.
- It’s less expensive than buying fancy candles.
- You can reuse your favourite candle container.
- It’s a more earth-friendly choice to use natural scent rather than artificial fragrance.
- You can control the strength, so if you like a much stronger scent you can make it.
What you need to make your own candles
Obviously, one of the essential ingredients of candle making is candle wax.
Make sure you get pure soy wax flakes and try to get non-GMO if possible.
There are lots of places to buy them online just do a Google or check out my resources below (contains affiliate links).
You will need something to make your candles in.
Glass jars, ceramics and even shells make beautiful homemade candles – just make sure that your item is heat-proof up to high temperatures.
Generally if something is oven-safe then you’re ok.
You can also re-use old candle jars.
How to get the wax out of old candles to reuse them
My homemade candle making started with seriously dead little glass votives that I’d had sitting in a drawer looking like this for years.
I never knew it was an easy task to clean them up like new but after reading a Pinterest tutorial, I was in the know.
The first step is to fill them with boiling water to the top of the jar.
When I told mum about this after I’d done it, she warned that the glass can break if you pour the water straight into the glass jars.
Maybe heating them a little in some warm water would prevent this but mine didn’t break.
Leave the water to cool and the melted wax will set and lift to the top of the water.
Some of mine stayed at the bottom but a little nudge with a fork and they popped right out.
To get rid of the black soot marks I just gave them a little scrub with dishwashing liquid and warm water and a wipe down with paper towel and they were as good as new.
I seriously can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. They were destined for the bin in my mind.
You can use cotton or wooden wicks. I’ve worked with both. It depends on the look you are trying to achieve. For first time candle makers, I would recommend using cotton wicks.
Make sure you’re using 100% pure essential oils. Using artificial fragrance will give you a nice dose of some potentially nasty side-effects that are best avoided.
Glue or tape
This is to hold the wick to the bottom of the container. You can also get a special wick sticker or use glue dots but I don’t think they’re necessary for first timers.
Scissors are to trim wicks. If you’re going to make a lot of candles, get some wick trimmers.
This is for melting the wax in. You can use a pot or I prefer to use a pyrex, microwavable jug and do it in the microwave.
I used a popsicle stick so I wouldn’t have to worry about cleaning it after.
This is to measure how many cups of soy wax flakes.
It’s best to cover your work surface to make clean up a little easier. A big sheet of paper works perfectly.
How to make scented soy candles
Now come the technical parts of how to make soy candles.
Step one – the wicks
First up you have to add the wicks. Measure out the height just by holding it next to your container then add a few centimeters on the bottom and top.
To attach the wicks at the bottom I was very professional.
I used sticky tape. Just fold it around itself to make it double sided then secure it to the bottom of the jar.
Use a skewer to press the wicks down and stick it to the bottom.
You can get fancy little things to hold it there but sticky tape works so I’m not wasting money on something else.
A word of warning though – don’t try using a hot glue gun.
The glue will melt when you add the hot wax and the wick will float up from the bottom (yes I’m telling you this from experience).
Once it’s attached to the bottom you will need something to hold with wick taut and centered.
You can wrap it around a skewer.
My bag clips were the perfect size to fit over the jars so I used them.
Alternatively, if you can get your hands on wood wicks they come with a little weighted stand that will hold the wick in place.
Step two – the wax
For the wax, you’ll need to work out the capacity of your jars then use double the amount of flakes.
For example, if you jars hold 1 cup of liquid then you will need to measure out 2 cups of wax flakes.
Pour them into a heat-proof jug and then microwave for 1 minute. Take them out, give them a stir and microwave again for 1 minute and stir.
I used a paddle pop stick for the stirring.
If they’re not melted then continue the microwave-stir 20 seconds a time until all the flakes have melted. Make sure you use an oven glove to take the jug out because it gets mighty hot – safety first!
If you don’t want to use a microwave or don’t have one, then a double boiler is the next easiest way to do it.
Put your heatproof bowl or jug into a large pot and pour enough water in the pot so you have a few inches of water come up the sides.
Heat until it starts to bubble then leave at a simmer until the wax melts.
I’ve also discovered using a coffee pot with a handle.
I have one dedicated to candle making so I just leave leftover wax in it.
It also means you can pour wax more easily.
Step three – scent the candles
How to choose your essential oils for homemade candles
When it comes to choosing your essential oils for your candle it can help to know a little of the science stuff.
Don’t worry it’s not too technical. In basic terms, include an oil from each of these families Top notes, Middle notes and Base notes.
Top note essential oils
These are the first oils you will smell when you smell a candle and they dissipate into the air first.
They’re also usually the less expensive of the oils. Just remember this is the smell you’ll get most when you sniff the candle before lighting it.
Here are some essential oils that are part of the Top Note family:
- Basil (Top – Middle)
- Bergamot (Top – Middle)
- Clary Sage (Top – Middle)
- Lemongrass (Top – Middle)
- Neroli (Top – Middle)
- Tea Tree (Top – Middle)
Middle note essential oils
These oils are a bit of a softer scent and give the creation the heart. You might not smell it at first but once the top note starts to evaporate their scent will come through.
Some middle note essential oils:
- Black Pepper
- Juniper Berry
- Melissa (Middle – Top)
Base Note essential oils
Essential oils that are categorised as base notes last a long time and evaporate very slowly.
They slow down the evaporation of the other oils in the scent mix too so are good to create a more lingering scent.
Some base note essential oils:
- Cinnamon (Can be top, middle or base)
- Neroli (Can be top, middle or base)
- Ylang Ylang (Base – Middle)
How to create your blend
My personal recommendation is to write down your favorite essential oils from each of the top, middle and base note lists and then start mixing until you get a scent that you like.
Make sure you do an initial sniff, a sniff a few minutes later and then again about 15 minutes later. This will give you the full profile of top, base and middle notes.
Alternatively, there are a lot of resources out there on the emotional benefits of essential oils so if there is a particular emotional benefit you are after, for example, calming then search for ‘calming essential oils’ and create a combination that you like from there.
Make sure you keep track of how many drops you add of each as you add them.
I also recommend using ceramic or glass container for mixing the oils as plastic can absorb the scent.
Once you’ve stirred in your fragrance, pour the wax into your containers (almost to the top of the container) then leave them to set for at least 12 hours.
You will notice that some of mine have little cracks. That is because I wanted them to set quickly so I could write this post.
I popped them in the fridge when they were nowhere near set so I’m guessing the bits around the outside set first then the inside sank a little as it set.
The moral of the story – be patient.
Then it’s time to marvel at your perfect little creation. I was marvelling even more after an afternoon of shopping.
I saw a candle nearly exactly the same as this for $19 in one store and in others, bigger versions were selling for more than $50. I’m thinking maybe I should go into business.
How to make scented soy candles – video
They make a lovely gift especially considering you can tailor the container and ‘flavour’ to suit the person you’re giving them to.
Happy candle making!
What about you? What would you make a candle in and what’s your favourite candle scent?
- Glass jars or old candles in jars
- Boiling water
- Candle wicks
- Soy wax flakes
- Essential oils
- Sticky tape
- If you are using old candles, pour the boiling water into the old containers and leave to cool.
- Remove the wax floating on the top.
- Use dishwashing liquid and hot water to clean up any excess wax or soot.
- Dry the glass containers.
- Cut small pieces of sticky tape and fold to make double-sided tape then place in the middle of the bottom of each jar.
- Cut the wicks so that about 4cm comes out the top of the jar.
- Use a skewer to press them into the sticky tape so they stick to the bottom.
- Place a skewer over the top and wrap the wick to hold it up in the middle.
- Measure out the soy wax flakes (you will need double the amount - eg if your candle is 1 cup capacity, you will need 2 cups of soy wax flakes).
- Place the flakes in a heat-proof jug and microwave for 1 minutes.
- Remove and stir then microwave for 1 minute again then stir.
- If there are still solid flakes, microwave for 20 seconds at a time until dissolved.
- Add the fragrance oil, stir and then pour the wax into the jars.
- Make sure the the wicks are in the centre then leave the wax to set for 12 hours.
- Trim the wicks to 1 inch.
Please exercise extreme caution when working with hot wax.
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