Candle Making with Soy Wax

Layered Soy Wax CandleMy first soy candle came out very nicely too. I had fewer problems with doing a layered one this time, in part because of what I learned doing the first one and in part because the soy wax acted differently than the paraffin.

This time I was more patient and really let a hard top form before I poured the next layer. The consistency of the soy wax is different from paraffin. It’s a little softer so it took longer to get that hard top. So what I did was separate the wax and color it and then let it sit until it was time to pour. I needed to heat it up again as it had started to harden, but that didn’t take long. Clean up was faster and easier with this wax too.

One lingering question I’ve had is how much wax will be needed for what I’m making. I measured out 2 cups of the soy wax flakes and it filled the container as you see. It’s a jar 2 ½” diameter to a height of 2 ½”. I found instructions later that say to pour water into the container you are going to use and measure it. Add ¼ cup of more and you’ll have the right amount of wax. I imagine this will work with a mold too.

Another difference I noticed was that I didn’t need to do a second pour. No well developed in this candle so the finished top is perfect. The only down side of soy wax is you can only use it in containers. No doubt due to the more soft quality of the finished product

This one is going to be my first gift to a friend. I wonder who is going to get it…….It’s a secret!

Photo note: The candle is pictured with a pitcher created by Malcolm Davis.

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More Candle Making Clean Up Ideas

On my last project, the layered pillar candle, I experimented with some other clean up ideas. The idea of putting the tools in a warm oven from my post, Tips From a Candle Making Beginner, worked really well. In the meantime, I’d burnt down one of my first candles, the little one in the votive holder. I put that holder in with the tools and the excess candle wax came out nicely. If you like to recycle like me, then you can save the bits of wax that come out for future projects.

Now, the votive holder wasn’t completely clean so I used mold cleaner solution in it. That got rid of the leftover film on the glass and it’s ready to use again. After the heating, the wick tab popped off easily.

The mold cleaner worked well with the mold, just remember something they don’t tell you – the hole is open in the bottom! So be careful when you swish the cleaner around in it so you don’t spill it all over. It is a chemical so be careful.

And while I’m talking about being careful, always keep safety foremost in your mind. As you get more experience you may start to move faster and forget to be careful. Never leave your melted wax unattended. When you lift it out of the lower pot of boiling water, be careful about drips of water. You don’t want water in your wax, pouring pitcher or on your hand. And if you should get splashed with hot wax, put your hand under cool water, not cold. And basic as it sounds, if you put your tools in the warm oven to clean them, don’t forget they are there! It takes awhile for all the wax to melt out so don’t walk off and leave them. They will be pretty hot when you take them out so use pot holders.

With a little eye to safety and these basic procedures, you can make some extraordinary candles. When you do, leave a comment and tell us about it!

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Pillar Candle Making

Layered Pillar CandleHere’s my first pillar candle made in a hexagonal mold. It came out great, although not exactly as planned. I used premium candle wax and the wick that came with the mold.

What you see took about a pound of candle wax. Be prepared for some physical work when you break the block of wax into small pieces. A hammer and screwdriver worked for me, but it did take some effort.

Now what worked:

  • I used mold release in the mold before pouring. The finished pillar candle slid out just as promised.
  • I used the sealing material that came with the mold to seal the wick at the bottom of the mold. No leaking occurred.
  • The top color came out a dark purple like what I wanted. I was surprised how much dye it took though. The sections it comes in look dark, but when combined with the candle wax, dilute a lot. To test the color I dropped a little on a piece of wax paper. Near the end I dropped it on a piece of white paper so the color showed better.

What didn’t work:

  • I wanted to make a three layered pillar candle. The instructions I got said to wait until the first layer was cool with a pretty hard top before adding the next. I didn’t wait quite long enough and poured a little too fast so the first and second layers blended a little. Actually when I took it out at the end I’m not unhappy with how it came out. It’s sort of a gradient. But next time I’ll wait for the first layer to harden more. The third layer was better.
  • When I poured the second layer, I poured it using a can that I kept the wax melted in. The instructions suggested separating the wax into cans so they could be different colors. For the third layer I poured from the pouring pitcher which worked out much better. That wax was also a little cooler than layer two.
  • Pillar Candle TopThe top of the candle didn’t come out very well. I poured the last layer better, but still too fast so I got bubbles on the top. I also didn’t save enough wax for the final pour so it didn’t mix well. It’s tricky because you have to have enough but if you have too much it will spill down the sides of the candle and make it hard to get out of the mold.

Pillar CandleOverall I’m really happy with my first pillar candle and look forward to improving my technique. It’s ready to display now. Just don’t look to closely at the top! But then it will look better after the first time I burn it, won’t it??!??!?

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Tips From a Candle Making Beginner

OK! I made my first candles in containers and I learned a couple things not mentioned in the book.

#1. The wax melts slowly if you put it in the double boiler in large chunks. My first time, the wax got too hot so I had to turn off the heat and wait for it to cool down to pouring temperature. The next time I put smaller pieces in and it was a lot easier and faster.

#2. I learned when gluing the wick to the bottom of the container, the glue sets up really fast! So be careful where you place it when you first set it in.

#3. The instructions in the book said you have the option of heating your container before pouring the wax. I placed the wick then heated the container in my oven and when I got it out the wick had melted slightly (it was pre-waxed) and so it came out of the tab. I got it back in but it was tricky there for a minute. The next one I didn’t heat and it turned out just as well.

#4. After making the candles, I was left with the question of how to clean up. A quick Internet search gave me this suggestion: Line an old cookie sheet with 3-4 layers of paper towel. Put your pots upside down on the towels and put them in the oven on the keep warm setting for about 5 minutes. The wax will melt off onto the towels. Then take them out and wipe with a clean paper towel while they are still warm. Be careful when you take them out that they may be hot to the touch. Once cleaned, you’re ready to go for the next project.

    Stay tuned for more tips!

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    How Much Does It Cost To Do Candle Making?

    Candle making start up costs are really not very high. You need some basic tools but once you’ve bought them all you need to buy from then on are the candle supplies.

    Here is a list of the basic tools you’ll need and what they cost me at a local Maryland craft store.

    • Pouring pot: $16.99
    • Mini glue gun: $2.59
    • Thermometer: $7.99

    You will also need a double boiler if you want to do anything other than soy wax which can be melted directly in your pouring pot. I was lucky and had a very old double boiler I had saved for…now I know why! You may be able to pick one up very cheaply at a yard sale. New ones can cost from $14 to $50 depending on where you get it and its quality. You don’t really need a high quality one for candle making. What you do need is one where the water in the lower pot will not splash into the upper one when you melt the wax.

    Another option is to create one yourself by putting a smaller pot into a larger one. Sarah Johnston, the author of The Secrets to Successful Candle Making, gives some instructions on how to make one yourself so you can save that cost easily.

    Other miscellaneous things that you’ll need and most likely will have around the house include:

    • Pencils – for securing the top of the wick to keep it straight
    • Bic pen – the barrel is used to keep the wick straight when you hot glue it inside a container
    • Scissors – to trim excess wick
    • Hammer and screwdriver/chisel – to break apart a block of candle wax
    • Paper towels – to clean up spills
    • Stirrer – to stir in scent and color. I used a chopstick. A wooden spoon, dowel or a pencil would work as well.
    • Packing paper or plastic bag – to protect your work space
    • Notepad – to take notes on what you did so you can repeat it

    After that you’ll need the actual candle supplies. Here’s what I bought so I could try a number of different candles:

    • Soy wax, one pound: $5.99
    • Premium wax, one pound: $3.99
    • Lilac wax with wicks (what I used for the candles pictures on this site): $5.99
    • Dye block ½ oz: $1.49
    • Lavender scent 1.2 oz: $2.99
    • Hexagon mold: $19.99
    • Mold sealer: $3.99
    • Mold release: $10.99
    • Mold cleaner 8 oz: $9.99

    So there you have it and you see it doesn’t have to be expensive. I bought a few more candle supplies than you would need to get started mostly because I knew I’d want to make a variety of candles. And remember from my previous post, you can start much less expensively if you get a kit.

    Now it’s time to make another candle. I want to do a molded one next. Pictures to come!

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    Welcome to Candle Making DIY

    Candle Making

    Have you ever wanted to try candle making yourself? You’d be surprised how many people do and how easy it is to make your own candles. You just need a few things to start:

    • Basic instructions
    • Some tools and
    • Candle Making Supplies

    Pictured above are my first two attempts and I have to say they came out very well and burn nicely! I’ve never done this before so I decided to start with an ebook called The Secrets to Successful Candle Making. It gave me all the information I needed to get started. I gathered the suggested materials I already had at home and then one trip to the craft store for the candle making supplies and I was ready to go.

    Container candles are the easiest to start with so that’s what I did. I found special candle wax in the craft store that had everything already prepared: the wax, color and scent and even the wicks were included. All I had to do was melt the wax in a double boiler, hot glue the wick to the bottom of the container and secure it to a pencil across the top to keep it straight. Then when the candle wax was at the right temperature, I transferred it to a pouring pot and then poured it slowly into the container. The hardest part was waiting for it to cool so I could top it off and then burn it!

    Along the way I learned some things that I’ll pass along in future posts so come back soon. If you want to subscribe to my newsletter or RSS feed, I’ll keep you up to date. I’ll share more complex techniques to make really unique candles as I try them myself. If you have any tips or experiences, please share them in the comments area. We can learn from each other.

    Now is the perfect time to start candle making as the holidays are coming.  People already know they will be getting a handmade gift this year as I perfect my candle making skills! Why don’t you join me in the fun?

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    Candle Making Kits: the Easy Way to Get Started

    Candle Making KitOne of the easiest and fool-proof ways to get started is with a candle making kit. For the cost of the pouring pot alone you can get the pouring pot plus the candle making supplies needed to make your first few candles.

    This kit is available through for $16.95 and will have you on your way in no time at all! Included are the pouring pot, a thermometer, one pound of wax, 3 votive cups, 9 wick assemblies, color and scent.

    Click here to see this Candle Making Kit.

    Complete Soy Candle KitAnother popular kit is the soy candle making kit. (More on the benefits of soy wax in a future post.) These kits are typically a little more expensive and do not include the pouring pot. Many people prefer working with soy, however, for a number of reasons. Soy wax is more environmentally friendly, soy candles burn longer than paraffin and you don’t need a double boiler. You can melt the wax directly on your heat source (usually your stove.)

    This soy candle making kit at Amazon ($22.99) is a good starting place. It contains: 1 Bag of Soy Wax, 1 oz. of a fragrance of your choice (there is a drop down menu with a lot to choose from!), 1/2 oz. of Candle Color Dye, 2 glass containers, 2 wicks, 2 Wick Stickers, and complete instructions.

    Click here for the Complete Soy Candle Starter Kit.

    Soy Candle Making KitIf you want a larger Soy Candle Making Kit ($49.99), this one includes: Instructional DVD, Instruction Sheet, Soy Wax, Jars, Pre-Tabbed Wicks, Drinking Straw, Drilled Wooden Wick Bars, Stirring Stick, Red, Yellow & Blue Dye Blocks, Scent, Burning Instruction Labels.

    Click here for the Soy Candle Making Kit.

    You can get the Pouring Pot also from Amazon for $9.99 (cheaper than at a craft store) and melt the wax directly in it.

    So there you have it. Some options to get started the easy way with a candle making kit.

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