Soy Candles 101: The Complete Guide to DIY

Over the past two years, I have created a successful side business with the Etsy shop portion of my brand, Labrie Designs. I started off selling many different products, one thing led to another, and I ended up landing on soy candles. Through a lot of trial and error, I have come across the best formula for creating soy candles and I am confident that you will also be able to make deliciously scented soy candles after reading this post.

I remember the very first time I ever tried to make soy candles. I thought to myself, “this will be so easy to do and I’ll be able to make a bunch of money from these.” Let’s just say I was wrong in more ways than one with that assumption. I scavenged Pinterest for the best and easiest candle making pins. I recall going onto Amazon and buying a small bag of soy wax, mason jars, some fragrance oil from Michaels, and wicks. I went home, melted my wax, added some pieces of crayon to color my candles and added in the fragrance oil. While my wax cooled a little bit, I hot glued my wick to the bottom of my mason jar. Next, I poured the wax and waited while my candle hardened. One day later, I lit my candle and I couldn’t smell anything. The bloggers led me astray! You don’t even know how angry I was. Candle making was supposed to be so easy– so many people do it after all. How come I couldn’t get it right? I know, it was only my first try, but I am a very impatient person.




Being where I am now with my candle game, it’s hard to look back at those blog posts or even simple video tutorials showing people how to make candles. They make it seem so easy (and it is relatively simple), but they do not go in to nearly enough detail. You are basically being set up to fail. But, fear not! Keep reading to make successful soy candles packed with great scent.

DIY soy candles

First thing’s first…

Are you making these soy candles to sell or for personal usage? If you are going to be selling candles, I suggest that you research on Etsy and local maker groups to make sure that the type of candles you want to make aren’t over saturated and that you will be making something that sets you apart from other candle makers. Now that that’s settled, let’s proceed.

Containers

There are many different options  when it comes to packaging your candles. A lot of people use simple mason jars because of how easy they are to find, their rustic vibe, and portability. If you’re just starting out or this is for personal use, I would definitely suggest using mason jars. Don’t go out and buy professional candle containers if you haven’t had a couple test runs to make sure this is something you want to do.

Now if you want to spice it up, there are a lot of different options for candle containers. You’ll see a lot of makers use ceramic containers, tea cups, different glass jars, tins, etc. To me, the deciding factor of what you want to use is going to be the heat resistance, the size of the container opening, and the aesthetic you are going for.




I’ve used a few different types of containers throughout my selling journey. I started off using 8 ounce mason jars but soon came to see that these didn’t look very professional. Mind you, if I was just making these for myself, it wouldn’t have mattered too much, but that was not my reason for learning candle making. So I set off to find some tins because I saw a lot of people selling those. I first purchased 4 ounce tins from Amazon, but I eventually landed on Candlescience. Candlescience has been my favorite supplier for one and a half years and though I have looked for other sites, none have been able to provide me with convenient shipping and a one stop shop for everything I need. I would highly suggest checking them out. They have many different candle containers to choose from, scents, waxes, wicks, equipment, and even supplies to make reed diffusers.

Back to containers! I moved away from tins after a while and decided to use jars. I slowly expanded my brand to include 4, 8, 12, and 16 ounce jars, as well as amber tumblers. I find that glass jars from suppliers are a better choice than mason jars if you are going to be making a lot of candles. They have different lid colors that you can choose from and everything is pretty affordable anyway.

How to make soy candles

Wax Type

So depending on where you live and what kind of product you’re going for, you can choose from different waxes. Yes, you can choose paraffin over soy, but soy is so much better for the environment and doesn’t produce soot. After accepting that soy is the correct option for you, there are different variations that melt at different temperature points and are good for container candles, pillars, and wax melts. Just read the descriptions on the supplier site that you are using. I always buy this wax when I make container candles because it has a higher melting point which is useful for me since my candles often sit outside in the Florida heat during my craft shows.




Wicks

Wick type is very important! Many of the tutorials I see do not include wick selection in their instructions and this can make or break how well your candle works. You need to measure the diameter of the container you are using, figure out what wax type you have, and determine what wick you need from there. Some sites have wick calculators to make the purchasing process easier on you and trust me, they really do help a lot. I like using this one to help me figure out what wicks to use. You can then use that information to hunt the wicks down on their site or on Amazon.

Making your own soy candles

Fragrance

You don’t have to add a fragrance to your candles. A lot of people don’t, and in some cases it might be best to not add it in. If you want a neutral gift to give, choose not to add in a scent type. Also, no scent means that you can use those candles on your dinner table, so they’ll be used often.

If you do want your candles to be scented, then opt for fragrance oils. Yes, you can use essential oils, but to me it’s not worth it. The cost of adding in enough essential oils to your wax to make it fragrant is going to be quite costly. If you’re selling candles, I can tell you from my experience selling face to face, that customers don’t want to pay the price for organic, essential oil candles. Also, fragrance oils come in scents that you simply can’t replicate with essential oils. You can’t tell me that blueberry muffin oil is found in nature.

I love using the Candlescience fragrance oils, but I have used other companies. Find another reputable company online if you wish. You can find companies that sell so many different scents– even bacon-scented fragrance oil!

How much fragrance oil you need will depend on the wax type you are buying and how many ounces of wax fit in you containers. Remember that just because a container is 4 ounces doesn’t mean that you’ll be melting 4 ounces of wax to fill it. You’ll probably need less. The formula I like to use is 2 ounces of fragrance oil per pound of wax ( or .125 ounces of fragrance oil per ounce of wax for highest fragrance concentration). For example, lets say your container held 4 ounces of wax, you would need .5 ounces of fragrance oil for one candle. It’s important to do the sent calculations to ensure that your candle produces enough hot throw when it is lit.

how to make soy candles

Miscellaneous Supplies

Ok, I know it may be a lot of information so far, but stay with me– this is the last of my information before my example tutorial. So along with all the aforementioned supplies, you will also need the following: a digital scale, a thermometer, wax pitcher or large glass measuring cup, oven mitts, wick tabs, labels, a heat proof stirring apparatus, and clothes pins. Some of these might sound a bit strange so let me explain.

Digital Scale – You will definitely need a scale. No questions asked– you need it to measure out your wax and fragrance oil. The only way you would not need this is if you were making unscented candles, in which case you just need to melt enough wax to fill your containers.

Thermometer – Purchase a thermometer for yourself. They’re only $8 and this will be instrumental in making candles. Without it, you will not be able to pour in the fragrance oil at the right time and your wax may overheat or your oil will not incorporate well.

Wax Pitcher – Starting out, I would recommend that you use a big, 4 cup glass measuring cup. If you want to make a lot of candles or are planning to make candles often, go ahead and purchase a metal pitcher for yourself. You can buy these on Amazon or on your candle supplier site. You’ll also need oven mitts to handle your pitcher so that you don’t burn yourself. Do not forget to buy or set aside a wooden spoon or spatula for mixing your melted oil. You cannot reuse this for cooking.




Wick Tabs – Not everyone recommends using these, but I definitely do. A lot of candle making tutorials will say to melt your wax, pour a little bit at the bottom of your container, let it set, and place your wick into the slightly hardened wax. I feel like that is not very secure and since I am selling my candles, I use wick tabs. They’re basically foam stickers that you place on the bottom of your container and apply your pre-tabbed wick to. Trust me, it’s very hard to remove these and I’ve never seen one melt off when my candles are down to the end.

Labels – You don’t need to buy labels, but if you’re selling your candles or giving them as gifts, you will want to decorate them in some way. Labels are one of the only ways you can do that. I personally buy 2 inch round labels from Avery. They’re awesome because you can access their site and print out personalized labels from your printer. They’ll actually even print them for you and send them if you prefer that. I buy mine on Amazon. If you’re selling your candles, also purchase warning labels for the bottom of your candles. Those will be available on the supplier sites, or you can do like me and buy small labels and print the same information onto them. I like doing this because I also put my site on the bottom of the label.

how to make diy soy candles

It’s time… 

Now you know about everything you need to buy to make candles. It does seem like a lot, but none of the products are terribly expensive. Let’s proceed to the fun of candle making.




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How to Make Your Very Own Soy Candles

Since materials will differ depending on whether you’re using making candles to sell or if you’re planning on making a small batch of candles, I am going to proceed to the instructions which are universal. Remember to review the rest of this post to see what you’ll need to purchase before getting to this point. 

Instructions

  1. Calculate how much wax you will need for the amount of candles you are making. Next, take out your scale and place your pitcher onto the scale. Pour the amount of soy wax that you will need into the pitcher.
  2. If you are using a metal pitcher, place this on the stove top on medium low heat and let the wax melt fully. If you are using a large, glass measuring cup, you can microwave your wax in 2 minute increments until melted. Be sure to stay with your wax and supervise it while it is melting. It should not be smoking.
  3. While your wax is melting, calculate how much fragrance oil you will need for your wax. Remember, I like to do 2 ounces of fragrance oil per pound of wax, or .125 ounces of fragrance oil per ounce of soy wax. Place a small bowl on your scale and pour your fragrance oil into the bowl. Set this aside.
  4. Place your thermometer in the pitcher or measuring cup and continue heating until the wax comes to a temperature of 185 degrees. Take your wax away from the heating source.
  5. Pour your fragrance oil into your soy wax and mix it slowly with your stirring apparatus. I like to stir the wax in clockwise for twenty rotations and then counterclockwise for 20 rotations.
  6. Set your wax aside and place your thermometer into the pitcher. You want it to reach 135 degrees.
  7. While you wait for your wax to cool to the desired temperature, take out your selected containers. Make sure they are all wiped clean of any dust particles. Place your pre-tabbed wicks onto your wick stickers and adhere this to the bottom of your container.
  8. Now that your wax has reached the desired temperature, slowly pour your wax into your prepared containers. Place your clothes pins through the wick like the picture above and set your candles aside. Do not touch the candles until they are completely cool to the touch.
  9. At this point, you can remove the clothes pins and trim your wicks to about .25 inches long. Place your lid on your candles and adhere labels if you wish.
  10. Let your candles cure for a few days before burning. If you burn your candles right away you will find that they will not be that fragrant. The longer they sit, the better.

soy candles

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That’s it! All the steps you need to make soy candles at home. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. If you think I should cover anything else, let me know and I will make a post about it!

Enjoyed this DIY? Check out how to make your very own lip scrub!

*This post utilized affiliated links through Amazon.




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