Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How to make soy candles~Great Guest Post

I love this post. This was originally posted by my friend Krista on couponfreestuff.com. But she graciously shared it with me so I can pass the great information on to my loyal readers. Get crafty and enjoy! Remember to always craft at your own risk!

Krista has been making soy candles for a little over 10 years now. Wow, time flies when you're having fun. At one time I used to make and take them to craft fairs and home parties but she has just became so busy that it isn't possible anymore.  She still makes them but just when someone (friends and family) requests them now.  She makes jar candles, votives, tea lights, pillars, floaters and car fresheners.  She has done centerpieces, gift baskets and even shower favors.  My favorite thing is making candles in baby food jars in the scent of baby powder and tying them up with pastel ribbons.  They go over great at baby showers.  Wedding showers I have done wine and champagne glass favors in the wedding colors as well. Great ideas for you to do for showers!

Krista says: I started making my own candles when I realized just how much I was spending on Yankee candles as I was addicted.  My husband bought me a Yankee candle for my birthday about 10 years ago.  It was one of the big ones with 3 layers of different apple scents.  This candle cost 30$!!  But I thought, Oh well, it's Yankee.  I lit the candle as soon as I opened the gift and let it sit on my dining room table.  About 4 hours later I went by the candle it had gone out and the wick had melted down into the wax. 

It was so buried, I could not retrieve it.  I took the candle to the Hallmark store where my hubby bought it and was quickly told, they do not refund or exchange candles for any reason.  So I had a candle that my husband spent 30$ on that I could not even light.   I went to Michael's and bought some wicks and some glass jars.  I went home and chipped the wax out of the Yankee candle and remelted it in an old pot. ( would not recommend this again unless you are going to throw the pot out).

I hot glued the wicks into the jars and re poured the wax into them so I could at least enjoy what he paid for.  And my passion was born.  I had recently heard a lot of buzz about soy candles and started to investigate.  I quickly found some supply companies, spent a small fortune at first to get started and after trial and error and l a lot of sweat and tears, I had my recipe down pat!!

Now, unless you know you are going to make huge quantities of candles for yourself or gifts etc  or are going to sell them, I suggest starting out small.  It is definitely more cost effective to buy in bulk, but why waste money if you are not sure this is something you are going to keep up with.  I, myself, even though I don't sell as much anymore, still keep a huge supply of everything on hand as it is cheaper to make my own  for my own home because we go through a lot of candles.  especially the Odor eliminator candles( which are my fave and have a cherry scent and even get rid of cigarette odor).  DID YOU KNOW SOY CANDLES ARE NON-CARCINOGENS!!  every other wax has cancer causing agents in them, the worst offender is GEL candles, I do not allow these in my home  ever!!  as the gel  burns and evaporates, it never quite loses its gel quality and adheres to the nasal membranes and lungs like a leach.  Soy candles burn cooler and even if you stick your finger into a pool of liquid wax as its burning, it will not burn you.  Soy wax can be cleaned out of carpet with hot water and soap.  Try that with paraffin wax.

Ok, here is what you will need to get started making your first few candles....
Remember I am starting you off small. Later in the post, I will tell you where to get your supplies.

Buy about 1 pound of soy wax flakes
1 or 2  one oz liquid colors ( I would start with 1-2 just to see)
1 bag of wicks ( now depending on the size candles you are going to make, will determine what wicks to buy.)  if you are going to make small glass ware candles  use CD 12 or CD 14
if you are making them the size of jelly jars, use CD14 or CD16   if you are using glassware that has more than a 3-4 in diameter across, use CD 22
Glue gun
Scent oil.  Now this gets tricky.  I would decide on 2 scents you like and buy the small 4 oz size bottles.
a melting pot ( again buy the small one until you are sure)
and old pan
a old metal spoon
and old glass or ceramic plate you will never use again except for candle making.
 food scale


Plug in glue gun
Fill your old pan about a 1/3 of the way up with water and put on medium heat to start boiling.
I suggest starting off with small glassware at first just til you get the feel for it because unfortunately most candle making is trial and error.
put about  2-3 oz of wax into the melting pot then put melting pot into water pan ( acts like a double boiler) while the wax is melting,  use a dab of hot glue on the bottom of the wick then press into place centered in the glassware.  be careful, hot glue is just that, HOT!

Now candle making is not an exact science , I don't care what anyone says, There are so many variations that you cannot even calculate them all.  altitude, gas or electric stoves  etc.

Most candle making books and websites will tell you that each wax has to be brought to a certain temp and use a thermometer blah blah blah.. In ten years, I have never used one and won't start now.

When the wax is completely melted, take it off the heat.  it works best to sit the pot on a hot pad or trivet.  your ready to add your scent.  the general rule is to use 1 oz of scent for every 3oz of wax.  I use an old shot glass for this.  some scents are normally stronger than others like vanilla is a much lighter scent than say, apple, so you may have to use just a tad bit more of a lighter scent.  Be careful though until you have some experience under your belt.  the scent is an OIL. and if you use too much in a small candle especially, when you light the wick and the wax gets liquid , the excess oil can float on top and burn.  I always suggest for the first few candles you make, never leave them unattended, & do not place anywhere that something is above them such as a cabinet.

Don't be freaked out if it does ignite ( even after 10 years, it has happened to me, especially when I let the hubby help out and he goes scent crazy)  simply  pour a glass of water over the candle. 
One thing to remember with soy candles, less is more!! Soy wax automatically holds and releases scent better than any other wax.  If you find that you have not scented your  candle enough, just add a little extra the next time.  Don't expect perfect candles when you're just starting, heck don't expect perfect candles every time even when you have been doing it for ten years lol.

Now it is time to add color.  The liquid color is the easiest to work with.  you only have to add a drop at a time as it can become dark quickly.  if you are using a color such as red, add a drop , stir, and let a drop from the spoon dry on the ceramic plate and see what the color is.  if it is not what you are looking for then add another drop and so on.

When you have the scent and color where you want it, you are ready to pour.  if the wick is way too long in the glass, simply trim it with scissors but make sure you leave at least a half inch above the glass, as a beginner maybe leave an inch.  pour your wax slowly as the other hand holds the wick so that it won't fall into the wax.  do not fill the glass all the way to the rim , leave a little breathing room.  Now you can buy wick holders on line or in stores but I always improvised at first.  I used a pen or pencil laying across the top of the glass to steady and center the wick.  make sure it is in a place on your counter where no one will bump it or try to move it.  If the wick dries crooked, it stays crooked.

Drying time varies with the size of the candle but if you are making a small one with 3 oz of wax, general rule is about 3 hours for complete setting. You do not want to move a candle until it is all the way dry.

As you get more adept at candle making, you can experiment.  I mix scents, layer candles etc.
If you are going to layer, make sure each layer is completely dry before adding the next.

I hope you have as much fun making candles as I do  and below is a list of retailers and websites to help you out!!  HAVE FUN!

 I use a lot of canning jars like jelly jars, Biglots has these but usually seasonal so check at local grocery and ACE hardware stores  I even get them at yard sales.

Michaels   I suggest the store as the website does not offer much.  Micheal's is great for small glassware and usually has coupons in their ads.

Lone star candle supply    below I will post individual links for the different supplies

soy wax  this soy 135 is the best and easiest to work with

CD wicks  this is a sampler pack of different sizes.and they come with the wick pins attached

liquid dyes  start out with 1 oz bottle til you try them

fragrance oil  again start off with the 4oz bottles til you try them

Glassware, I suggest using old candle glass you may have around the house or getting some from yard sales or thrift stores while you are practicing.  cheap is always better to make mistakes with.

After you have gotten a little more practiced and decide you want to venture in to molds etc,  just drop me an email and I would be glad to help.  officegirl70@yahoo.com

Leave me a comment and telling me what you like to do when you get crafty! I usually do small Mother's Day projects. What do you do?

Couponfreestuff( Krista Lafave) and Dina Demarest of My UnEntitled Life is in no way liable for any mishaps that may occur from candle making.  You are starting a new craft at your own risk.  There are always dangers involved when using fire, hot wax etc. I suggest using the utmost care at all times and to remove any distractions while you are crafting.  Keep lit candles away from children, pets and anything flammable.  Do not leave burning candles unattended ever.  This post is for informational intent only.  I am in no way affiliated with Yankee and the opinions expressed in this post are based solely on my experience.  It is not meant to deter or deflect anything from yankee company.