Words of late artist Frank Howell...I totally relate!

"There are few days off and no retirement from this entanglement of knowledge, passion and vision that will be molded and converted into creative expression. There are no guarantees of acceptance, understanding or reward, but...the noise inside the mind never ceases. I will paint today, tonight and for as many tomorrows as I am given..." Words of the late artist Frank Howell...

Monday, March 10, 2014

Making Soy Candles- Part One

I finally found the time to do this project!  I have been collecting unusual containers that I thought would make pretty candles for a long time now, so the anticipation has been building.

Why Soy wax?

Soy is a natural, clean burning wax.  It doesn't throw off harmful toxins as do some conventional candles.  It is cooler burning, burns longer and doesn't make soot.  It is also easy to work with as a craft...clean-up with soap and water.  Do not pour it down the drain though, as it is still wax, and will clog your drain.  


Scents- Hobby Lobby actually had the scents on clearance last week, so I bought everything they had left...at $1.79 a bottle, I couldn't pass it up.  They are wonderfully luscious scents...Strawberry, Mulberry, Wild Berry, Cappuccino, Gingerbread & Maple Syrup, and Maple.  I think scents are sort of seasonal, so they are probably about to stock the more summery ones, such as lemon, orange, and such.  I think I can get away with the berry ones for spring...will probably save the coffee and baked goods ones until fall.  These are the scents that are sold especially for candle making purposes.  You can also use certain essential oils, which are quite a bit more expensive.  I have some essential oils that I will be trying also as I experiment, but today, I will be using Wild Berry.

Soy Candle Wax-  I am using ArtMinds Soy Candle Wax, sold at Michaels.  It came in a 4 lb. package.  I also purchased 100% Natural Soy Wax by Candle Wiz at Hobby Lobby, which came in a 2 lb. package.  Since this is my first attempt at making soy candles, I do not yet have a favorite...Today, I am using the ArtMinds brand.  They both appear to be very similar- bags of flakes that need to be melted.  

Wicks- Soy wicks by ArtMinds.  I purchased the ones with the tabs already attached, 3 1/2" in length.  They need to be taller than the container by about 1 inch.  This will give you room to trim when it is finished.

Melting Container- You will also need a container in which to melt the wax.  There are several different ways to do this, but I am using the microwave method.  I will use a large Pyrex measuring cup with pour spout.  

Stirring Stick or Spoon-  I am using large wooden sticks that I had in my studio.  It needs to be something that you can just throw away, as each time you stir, the wood (spoon or stick) will absorb some of the scent, and you don't want to re-use the stick in another scented mix.

Sticks to Hold Wick Stable- You can use many different things-  Popsicle sticks, skewers, clothespins...Just needs to hold the wick stable while it cools to keep it in place.

Potholder or Pot Handle Holder-  As I learned during the process, the Pyrex handle gets very hot...I had these pot handle covers that helped tremendously.  Use a potholder if you don't have these.

Paper Towels-  Keep them handy...just in case you have a spill.  

Getting set up to work-

Tip:  I have found it helpful to cut the name of the scent from the packaging and tape it around the little scent bottle.  I used a Sharpie pen before (when making soap) and it just wiped off...now I'm guessing what is actually in those bottles.

Get your supplies together and ready to work.  You will have to work quickly once your pour the melted wax, so you need everything within reach.  

First, get your wicks ready to put into the container.  I am using prepared wicks that are for soy candles.  I don't know if it actually makes a difference or not, but for now, since I am still learning and experimenting, I'm going with the soy ones.  

I used my Scotch adhesive gun to apply a little adhesive to the bottom of each tab.  If you don't have one of these guns, you can use sticky dots (available in scrap booking supplies section of craft store) or a bit of candle wax.  I have not actually tried any of the other methods, but my method worked fine.  It just needs to be strong enough to hold the wick in place when the hot wax if poured in.


Now, use a liquid measuring cup to figure out the volume of each individual candle holder. Fill the candle holder with water (up to about 1/2" from the top), then pour the water into the measuring cup.  This helps in estimating how many flakes to use.  The one shown here is going to be a 2 1/4 oz. candle.  

Measure out your flakes into the microwave safe container that you will be using...I'm using my Pyrex cup.  Start microwaving the flakes on high, stirring every 30 seconds with wooden stick. 24 ounces took about two minutes to completely melt in my microwave.  It will turn clear and look like water when ready.  It is VERY HOT at this point.  Use a potholder to remove it from microwave oven.

Add scent of your choice.  Again, I am experimenting, and I have found many different opinions while researching about how much scent to use.  I do like a strong smelling candle scent, so I am using a little more than 1/3 bottle in 24 ounces of candle wax.  I don't now how many drops it was...was sort of hard to keep count.  I will determine when they are finished if I need to adjust my amount.   Stir to incorporate scent, and it's ready to pour.

Notes jotted down on box during research...

Pour into containers and fill to within 1/2" of the top.  Working quickly, you will now use the sticks to hold the wick into position.  

Now that I've got them poured and wicks held in place...it's time to wait.  This is the hardest part.  I don't like to wait.   My research tells me that they will be set enough to move in a couple of hours, and ready to use in twenty four hours.  As I've been editing pics and writing, an hour or so has passed.  Here's what they look like now.

I also read that there will sometimes be a little "dip" in the center around the wick that I will need to fill in with more melted wax.  That remains to be seen...so far, no dip.  

Tomorrow, on Making Soy Candles- Part Two, I will show you the final results and some pretty packaging options if you would like to give some as gifts.

As always, thank you for spending a few minutes with me.  I've enjoyed it!


P.S.  As you all know, I'm new at this blogging thing...and now, I'm attempting to "link up" with a party over at Linda's Coastal Charm blog.  I hope I've done this correctly!



  1. Do you remember what temp you poured at?

    1. I never actually checked the temp. I just poured when everything was completely melted. Good luck!

  2. Do you remember what temp you poured at?