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I love candles!
When it’s fall and winter I just want to light them in every room. I like to keep one lit in my office too. Now that I’m spending more time on the blog and I work from home a couple of days, I’m in the office A LOT. Since I go through so many of them I thought I should learn how to make them.
After some research, I decided that soy candles were the best because they release fewer toxins than paraffin candles. I just recently saw something about coconut wax so I may try that out next. From the reviews, it seemed to be pretty good stuff.
Make your own soy candles
There are 2 main areas you need to worry about when you make your own candles – appearance and scent.
Wax type and container type/size play a big part in the final result. You will choose a wick for your candle based on the type of wax you’re using and the container. Proper wicking really determines how well your scent will throw. Appearance is mainly impacted by the temperature of the wax and container when you pour, and also any color additives used.
Hot throw and cold throw are the 2 indicators of how well your candle smells.
Most of us want our candles to give off some scent when they’re burned but also if they’re not. Hot throw is the scent that is given off when a candle is burning. When a candle is not burning the scent it has is called cold throw. The biggest challenge with candlemaking is striking the right balance so that a candle has both cold and hot throw. The correct wick will go a long way toward having good scent throw. The larger the diameter of your container, the bigger wick you will need. If you’re just starting I would just Google what the best wick is for the container you’re using. It may take some trial and error before you find “the one”.
Let your wax cool and warm your containers a bit before pouring.
This seems to help improve the appearance of the candles and reduces sinking or cracking. Occasionally you’ll still have a crack or other imperfection. This can easily be remedied by applying a heat gun to remelt slightly. You can also add color additives to your candles if you’d like to tint them a certain color. I’ve never colored my soy candles before because I like the natural cream color. If you do add color, thoroughly stir it in so that it’s evenly distributed when the candle cures.
How You Do It
I chose a 12 oz mason jar this time. I’ve used smaller 8 oz jelly jars in the past but I had some of the mason jars left over. Good enough for me.
I was feeling all the feels for fall so I went with a pumpkin spice combo for my scent. There are quite a few places online to buy fragrance oils. I’ve ordered from a few different ones but the oils I chose for this candle came from Nature’s Garden and Lonestar Candle Supply. The general starting point on the amount of fragrance oil to use is 1 oz. of fragrance per 1 lb. (16 oz.) of wax. You can adjust up from there but you shouldn’t go too much above 8%. Your wick tends to clog if there’s too much. If you’re having issues with scent throw try changing the wick instead, going either up or down a size.
Now it’s time to measure out the wax. Always measure your fragrance oils and wax by weight. I bought this cheap digital scale from Amazon and it works great.
You will get about 20 oz. of volume per pound of wax. Since I was going to make one candle and maybe a few tealights I measured out about 16 oz of wax.
I use the double-boiler method to melt my wax. I fill up a large pot partially with water and then set the pouring pitcher containing my wax in it. Attach a thermometer to the pitcher and remove from heat once it hits 185 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add fragrance oil now so that it can bind to the wax. If it cools below 180 degrees it might not and you’ll get poor cold and hot throw. You never want to add your FO at a temp that’s above the flash point. It will just burn out and you’ll get no scent at all. I stuck with the 1 oz/1 lb rule and added pumpkin and cinnamon fragrance oil that measured to 1 oz in total. I maybe did a 3 to 1 ratio of pumpkin to cinnamon. Stir constantly for about 2 minutes to make sure it’s well combined.
If you’re thinking that looks like a candy thermometer, you’d be right. It’s the same except for the marks are not for hardball and softball stage but different types of wax. ?
While I’m waiting for the wax to cool enough to pour I’ll get the jar and wick ready. They sell stickers you can use on the bottom of your wick to attach it to the container but I use my regular hot glue gun. Works like a charm. As for the wick, I use either ECO or CD. Either seems to work fine for my type of wax and containers. On this candle, I went with a slightly smaller ECO 4 but I think I could have wicked up and used a 6.
To keep your wick straight and centered while the wax is cooling you need something to hold it in place. Again, they sell things you can use for this but I’m cheap. I devised my own much cheaper method.
Those are 2 bamboo skewers bound together with a couple of rubber bands. I can get 100 skewers for around $2 and a bag of rubber bands for $1. It only needs to hold the wick straight so there’s no need for anything fancy.
I’ll put the jars or containers in the oven on the warming setting for about 10 or 15 minutes. Once the wax has cooled to around 145 degrees, I’ll pull the containers out of the oven and pour the melted wax into the container. See my fancy wick holder in the picture above? It’s doing its job! Making sure that the temperature difference between the wax and the container isn’t too extreme helps to get a smooth top.
Sometimes you’ll have more melted wax than you can put in your container. These cute little tealight cups are perfect for any overflow.
Once your candle has cooled completely and the wax is hardened, cover it and put it in a cool, dark spot for at least 3 days before lighting. With soy candles, the longer you wait, the better your throw. 2 weeks is good and a few months is even better.
Before you know it, you’ll be lighting your candle and enjoying the cozy glow and amazing scent.
It’s already the 1st of November!! I better get on it if I want some candles ready for Christmas. And I do! Christmas lights and candles are some of my very favorite parts of the season.