I have a little bit of a craft obsession. I’m not what you’d consider good at it but I still love cracking out the scissors and glue, colouring in, fabric, stitching, paper, painting – yes I would thrive as a kindy teacher in the craft section (because they all have a special section for crafting right?)
For my Birthday last year, strange one that I am, I asked for some wax and wicks to make my own candles. I was very excited to receive them but actually forgot about it until a few weeks ago (my Birthday is in 3 weeks so that was nearly a whole year). Spurred on by the excitement of finding a use for my jar collection, one rainy Saturday afternoon I did a bit of Googling of how to make scented soy candles then got straight to candle making.
It was pretty straightforward – melt, pour, leave to set, but what I didn’t realise was that soy wax is a lot easier to work with than parafin wax, which I’d asked for. It made nice candles but soy wax makes them a much prettier white colour.
I remembered pinning Inquiring Chef’s tutorial on how to make scented soy candles a little while ago and after a bit of research, I placed an order at Natural Candle supplies and patiently waited for my wax and scents to arrive. Then I saw the Young House Love Winter Pinterest Challenge. It’s not sponsored by Pinterest but a group of bloggers issue a challenge to anyone who wants to accept, to recreate something they ‘pinned’ with their own spin.
My challenge was set – make my own soy candles.
I doubled the challenge and started with seriously dead little glass votives that I have had sitting in a drawer looking like this for years. I never knew it was an easy task to clean them up like new but after reading this tutorial that I found via Pinterest, I was in the know.
The first step is to fill them with boiling water. When I told mum about this after I’d done it, she warned that the glass can break if you pour the water straight into the glass jars. Maybe heating them a little in some warm water would prevent this but mine didn’t break.
You leave the water to cool and the wax should lift to the top of the water. Some of mine stayed at the bottom but a little nudge with a fork and they popped right out.
To get rid of the black soot marks I just gave them a little scrub with dishwashing liquid and warm water and they were as good as new. I seriously can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner. They were destined for the bin in my mind.
Now come the technical parts. You don’t have to re-use old candles, you can use whatever you like – old jars, a little pot, tea cups – anything that you could microwave safely I’d say would be fine.
First up you have to add the wicks. Measure out the height just by holding it next to your container then add a few centimeters on the bottom and top. To attach the wicks at the bottom I was very professional. I used sticky tape. Just fold it around itself to make it double sided then secure it to the bottom of the jar.
Use a skewer to press the wicks down and stick it to the bottom. You can get fancy little things to hold it there but sticky tape works so I’m not wasting money on something else. A word of warning though – don’t try using a hot glue gun. The glue will melt when you add the hot wax and the wick will float up from the bottom (yes I’m telling you this from experience).
Once it’s attached to the bottom you will need something to hold with wick taut and centered. You can wrap it around a skewer. My bag clips were the perfect size to fit over the jars so I used them.
For the wax, you’ll need to work out the capacity of your jars then use double the amount of flakes. For example, if you jars hold 1 cup of liquid then you will need to measure out 2 cups of wax flakes.
Pour them into a heat-proof jug and then microwave for 1 minute. Take them out, give them a stir and microwave again for 1 minute and stir. If they’re not melted then continue the microwave-stir 20 seconds a time until all the flakes have melted. Make sure you use an oven glove to take the jug out because it gets mighty hot – safety first!
If you want to add a scent to your candles now is the time. You can buy special essential oils made especially for candles and they’ll work much better than normal oils (again trust me on that one). This time I went with classic French vanilla. Make sure you use rubber gloves when adding the oil. I’m not sure why but it says avoid contact with skin so I though it was better to be safe than sorry.
Once you’ve stirred in your fragrance, pour the wax into your containers then leave them to set for at least 12 hours.
You will notice that some of mine have little cracks. That is because I wanted them to set quickly so I could write this post. I popped them in the fridge when they were nowhere near set so I’m guessing the bits around the outside set first then the inside sank a little as it set. The moral of the story – be patient.
Mum and I were out Birthday shopping yesterday, while the candles were in the fridge and what did we find? Wick trimmers! I think it was meant to be. After I’d been telling mum all about my candle making she very kindly bought me a pair. If you don’t have any, you can just use scissors to cut the wick down.
Then it’s time to marvel at your perfect little creation. I was marvelling even more after an afternoon of shopping. I saw a candle nearly exactly the same as this for $19 in one store and in others, bigger versions were selling for more than $50. I’m thinking maybe I should go into business.
They make a lovely gift especially considering you can tailor the container and ‘flavour’ to suit the person you’re giving them to. Happy candle making!
What about you? What would you make a candle in and what’s your favourite candle scent?
How to make scented soy candles
Adapted from Inquiring Chef
You will need:
If you are using old candles, pour the boiling water into the old containers and leave to cool.
Remove the wax floating on the top.
Use dishwashing liquid and hot water to clean up any excess wax or soot.
Dry the glass containers.
Cut small pieces of sticky tape and fold to make double-sided tape then place in the middle of the bottom of each jar.
Cut the wicks so that about 4cm comes out the top of the jar.
Use a skewer to press them into the sticky tape so they stick to the bottom.
Place a skewer over the top and wrap the wick to hold it up in the middle.
Measure out the soy wax flakes (you will need double the amount – eg if your candle is 1 cup capacity, you will need 2 cups of soy wax flakes).
Place the flakes in a heat-proof jug and microwave for 1 minutes.
Remove and stir then microwave for 1 minute again then stir.
If there are still solid flakes, microwave for 20 seconds at a time until dissolved.
Add the fragrance oil, stir and then pour the wax into the jars.
Make sure the the wicks are in the centre then leave the wax to set for 12 hours.
Trim the wicks to 1 inch.