How to Make Soy Candles

In case you ever wondered what $15 worth of soy wax and 30 minutes in the kitchen will get you…

Maybe I’ve been loving this craft so much because it’s really just cooking.  Except that you don’t eat the finished product.

It all starts with this 5 pound bag of soy wax.

You would be shocked to know how fast we blow through candles around here.  I mean fast.  I think it’s the coziness factor of candles in this rented apartment so far away from  home.

Thanks to all that candle-burning, my collection was looking pretty haggard.

But then (probably thanks to Pinterest), I discovered that making soy candles is really easy.

About a month ago, I had friends over and we experimented with making soy candles in all sorts of sizes and “flavors” (using essential oils).

They all worked great, although they don’t project aroma as much as most commercial candles.  (A little googling tells me that there are special oils you can buy for soy candles.)

(Can you spy the candy corns?  We made a fall-themed night of it.)

Making these candles is particularly easy because soy wax is not nearly as sticky as the wax from paraffin candles.  Soy wax washes right off of everything.

If you google paraffin vs. soy wax, there are lots of people out there who will tell you that soy candles burn cleaner than paraffin, but to me, the biggest advantage is how easy these are to make at home.

Here’s how to make soy wax candles….

First, you need a jar, candle wicks (also found on Amazon), a wooden skewer (or pencil), scissors, and double-sided tape (or glue).

Next, measure a piece of the wick so that it is about 4 inches longer than your jar is tall.  Tie a knot in one end.  Secure the knot to the bottom of the jar with a piece of double-sided tape.  Use a skewer or pencil to push it down and secure it.  I get a bunch of these ready at once, so I can pour the melted wax right in.

(Note: you can also buy fancy wicks with a metal piece for the bottom of the jar
…not necessary, but a little more legit looking.)

Next up, melt the wax.  The soy wax comes in these nice white flakes.

Melt the wax in a pan over medium heat or in a microwave-safe container and on high (it only takes 90 seconds in my microwave).

4 cups of soy wax flakes = 2 cups melted wax.

When it’s all nice and melted, let it cool just a bit.  Then add essential oils to make the wax scented.

Gently pour the warm wax into the prepared jars, leaving about 1 inch of space at the top.

Twist the wick around a skewer and set it on top of the jar so the wick stays centered.

When the wax is cool (about an hour), cut the wick down so about 1 inch of wick remains.

Pretty, aren’t they?

And even nicer once lit…

Wouldn’t these be nice as Christmas gifts?


Homemade Soy Candles
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Inexpensive and surprisingly easy, this "recipe" for soy candles can be easily multiplied to make many candles at once. These make great gifts.
Author:
Recipe type: Candles (not edible)
Serves: 1 16oz. candle, or many smaller candles to equal about 18oz.
Ingredients
  • Clean, dry containers (any combination of sizes that will hold approximately 16 fluid oz. of liquid; i.e; two 8-oz. or one 12-oz. jar and one 4-oz. jar)
  • Candle wicks (I use these)
  • double-sided tape (or, for a more professional look, metal candle wick tabs)
  • 4 cups soy wax flakes (I use these)
  • Essential Oils (15 drops per 4 cups of wax), optional
Instructions
  1. Set the glass containers on a clean, dry dishtowel. Cut a piece of wick for each container that is 4 inches longer than the container is tall. Place a small piece of double-sided tape in the bottom center of each container. Tie a knot at the end of each wick. Press the knot firmly into the double-sided tape to lightly secure it. Leave the free end of the wick hanging over the side of the container.
  2. Fill a sauce pan to the top with soy wax flakes. Place the pan over medium heat. As the wax begins to melt, after about 5 minutes, gently stir it until all of the wax becomes smooth and pourable. (Alternatively, melt the wax in the microwave.)
  3. Remove the wax from the heat and let it cool for about 5 minutes. Add essential oils, if using, and stir to combine.
  4. Pour the wax into prepared jars, leaving 1 inch of space at the top of each jar. Center the free end of the wick in the wax. Twist the wick around a pencil or wooden skewer. Let the wax dry for at least an hour. Cut the wick short so that only about 1 inch remains.
Notes
Soy wax has a much lower melting point than parafin, and comes out easily in hot water and soap. It will wash easily out of pots and pans and out of most fabrics when put through a regular wash cycle. To be safe, I use older dishtowels for this project, but I've never had the wax damage the towels or my cooking tools.

 

Comments

  1. says

    You just reminding me that I got a bag of wax for Christmas last year and never used it. It’s not soy but I’ll use it up and then get onto the soy. I’ve heard that the fumes are better for you (sounds wrong but you know what I mean) than parrafin. What beautiful little presents!

        • Teresa says

          Actually, crayons aren’t a good idea. They’re made with pigment and tend to clog your wick, which often results in either a prematurely doused flame or a candle that doesn’t want to burn at all.

        • Stephanie says

          Actually you really don’t want to use crayons either because not only do crayons ave a bad pigment they tend to ball back up in the candle and leave a beautiful candle looking pretty ghetto. Go to the craft store and buy the coloring designed specifically for soy candles otherwise you may end up with an unhappy finish to your candle

  2. says

    Gorgeous! I should check out the craft stores here and see if I can find any soy wax. I’m burning through a bonkers amount of tea lights right now (over 100 per week – it’s freaking dark and cold here!) and it would be fun to try something home made. Thanks for posting the ‘recipe’!
    Katie (The Muffin Myth) recently posted..what’s good around the web!My Profile

  3. Gretchen says

    Hi whats the burn time of these candles ? I’m wanting to make some in little liquor glasses for table decorations for my daughters wedding. Tea lights have a 7 hour burn time , I wonder how this recipe compares ? Thanks .

    • says

      Hi Gretchen. The burn time certainly varies based on the size of the candle. From what I have read from people who have done a side-by-side comparison, the soy candles burn longer. This would make sense to me because they burn at a lower temperature so the wax melts more slowly (the wax never gets hot enough to burn you like traditional candles). Anectodally, I would certainly say that it’s true – the soy candles seem to burn for a very long time.

  4. says

    I LOVE Soy candles. I am a crafter / interior decorator and just moved into a new retail space. I would really like to make a bunch of soy candles to sell in the new shop. This looks so easy I am going to start making them ASAP! Thanks for the How-To!

    • says

      Lisa – great idea! I highly recommend making them for your shop. I make them all the time now for my home, but you could easily do many at a time!

  5. cathymckay says

    Can’t wait to start them as well, I can never have enough candles around the house, they are so calming and smell great.

  6. Diane says

    Have you ever tried making fancy ones, that maybe have drippings down the side or anything like that. I guess you could only do that if they were pillar candles or votives not in a jar?

    • says

      Hi Diane – I haven’t tried that, but I’d love to hear how it goes if you give it a shot. Making pillar candles though is a bit more complicated, and I have yet to try it with soy wax.

    • Stephanie says

      Diane yes it is possible to do the layers if your referring to like a cafe mocha – you would do brown hues with a white or creamy colored top on it. You would have to do smaller batches and depending on your scent of choice you would need to add color and scent each layer letting it cool completely before adding the next layer. You don’t have to wit for a pillar candle project to do layers glass containers work great to

  7. Danielle says

    Does the wax have a flashpoint? I’ve read on some instruction pages you should use a thermometer so it doesn’t get too hot.

    • Eve says

      For Soy Wax the temp should be no higher than 180 degrees and if your using essential oils add at the temp of 100 degrees, for every pound of wax you can use up to 1 1/2 oz. I’m getting ready to make my second batch of soy wax candles, still learning here and found some interesting things about certain types of essential oils that we should NOT use. Also whatever you do, do not use zinc wicks they really don’t work well with soy wax, i use soy wicks you can get these at ur local craft store.

      HTH’s

  8. Amy says

    Very nice tutorial! This may be a dumb question, but did you prime your wick with the wax before hand at all?
    Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Amy – not a dumb question at all – actually sounds like a question of someone who has experience with this. In a couple years of making candles just the way I’ve shown in this tutorial, I’ve never primed the wicks I use. It hasn’t seemed to make any difference for me. Please chime in though if you have advice for those who would like to take that step!

  9. Tara says

    Hi
    I was just wondering is it 15 drops to 4 cups essential oils when melted to 2 cups or is the weight for 4 cups melted?? Just wondering and if you use a microwave how long should you put it in for? Can you burn the soy wax?

    Thank you

    • says

      Hi Tara – great questions. It’s 15 drops essential oil to 2 cups melted soy wax – this is an approximation, so don’t worry if you add a bit more or less. Microwaving the soy wax should be done carefully in short increments. Because microwaves all function at varying heats, there’s no way to know exactly how long it will take. Keep a close eye on it and take the wax out and give it a good stir every 30 seconds or so. It will quickly go from solid to liquid form, so pull it out right when it turns to liquid. (I actually don’t know if you can burn the wax (good question!), but the possibility of that is another good reason to make sure you pull it out as soon as it turns to liquid.)

  10. Jennifer says

    My candles once they have dried leave like a wet spot on the sides of the jars. Maybe like the soy contracted or something, if that is possible. Also, my soy wax doesn’t smell a lot when I scent it! Should I use vybar?

    • says

      Hi Jennifer – try letting your wax cool down before you pour it into jars. If the wax is very hot, it sometimes contracts when it cools and leave little air spaces on the sides. It’s worth experimenting with what you use to scent the candles – soy definitely doesn’t hold as much scent as commercial/paraffin candles.

    • Stephanie says

      Jennifer you might have simply overheated your soy wax if its not retaining the scent you put in, try keeping an eye on your temp and it should fix your scent issue. As for your wet spots on sides of jar sounds like you just need to let your soy cool more and evenly. I stir mine constantly but slowly until it reaches pour temp.

  11. Karen says

    Hi ….I’m wondering how/when to add scented wax beads rather than essential oils…that’s the route I chose to go. Also, I thought I read somewhere that wicks come in different sizes depending on the diameter of the jar or container you’re using for your candle? Is this true?

    • says

      Hi Karen – I’ve never used scented wax beads, so I’m afraid I can’t offer any help on this. When to add them might vary depending on their size, so see if there are any instructions specific to the beads you purchased. Some wicks do have recommendations for certain diameter jars and even for the type of candle (soy vs. paraffin vs. other types of wax), so it’s worth reading the label and buying wicks that will work for your size jar. I’ve never had any trouble using a standard sized wick for all my jars, but I’m never using jars that are more than 4 inches in diameter or so.

    • Stephanie says

      Karen I’m curious how your candles with the scented beads turned out? I tried that once and the beads didnt melt into my soy wax. It wass if the two couldn’t blend. Please let me know how that turns out.

  12. Nilofer says

    Hi
    Can I make multiple wick candles of soy wax? What type of wicks must I use for a six or eight wick candle? And how much gap or distance must I leave between each wick?

  13. Gail says

    Hi! Thanks for the tutorial! I have tried to make a few candles with 464 Golden Foods Soy Wax. They turn out look nice once they cool, and then I burn them. Once I blow out the wicks (still trying to find the right sized wick for the jar sizes), and let the wax cool, I come back to…a dry pit. That is the only way I can describe it. Every single candle after burning (whether the wick has been to large or to small), has become a dry pit. Not extremely attractive. Is this normal for Soy Candles? Or am I doing something utterly wrong? (I have been heating the wax to 165/170 and then adding the scent in, and pouring the candles at about 115/120) Thank you for any help!

  14. Mary says

    Joanne, Eco Soya pillar blend absolutely will work for container candles. Be advised, a second pour will probably be required, so make sure to leave enough wax (about 1/4 cup, depending on the size of the jar.) Soy wax HAS to be heated to 185F so that the little molecules will break down and let the scent combine. Als0, before you put your scent in, try mixing 1 tbsp of Crisco into the wax before adding scent. Add scent around 120F. Stir, stir, stir! Pour after 2 minutes of stirring. S-L-O-W-L-Y

  15. says

    Tried microwaving paraffin wax after reading your tutorial. Did not go as well as yours looked. I kept have large chunks of paraffin but was too afraid to melt it all the way (140 grams for 4 minutes of high power..) Perhaps I will try again later but it is definitely a huge time saver.

    BTW – We’re using a soy wax/paraffin blend which gives superior scent throw compared to pure soy wax. If your looking for the methodology, should melt the paraffin first then blend with the soy wax.

    • says

      Hi Winston – thanks for your note and comments. I’ve only used a microwave for soy wax – I actually wouldn’t recommend the microwave for paraffin or for a blend as the heating time will likely be different.

  16. Dottie says

    Hi,
    I am wondering if you can advise me , do I need to let my soywax tarts prove for four or five days before burning? I find that I don’t get much burn from them once made, and just read that you have to leave then for the scents to melt into the wax,
    I use fragrance oil rather than essential oils. what are the differences there?
    Thanks in advance.

  17. says

    Hi Jess! Thats an awesome tutorial there. I’ve been in love with soy candles since they started to get popular in Korea but never thought that I would end up making these myself.
    Thanks for the contribution to the candle-loving community!
    Sally recently posted..How to care for your candles My Profile

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