A Guide to Making Soy Candles at Home

By Erica Loop in Thinking Sustainably

Are you looking for a new DIY project to tackle? Making soy candles is an easy, environmentally friendly way to warm your space and accent your home. Whether you're on par with the most Pinteresting crafter out there or this is your first foray into DIY soy candles, you've totally got this! Read on to learn more about soy, its uses, and how to create your own candles.

Soy Versus Other Types of Wax

Why use soy to craft your handmade candles? Soy comes with plenty of advantages over other types of wax. But before you dig deep into the pros, you may want to start with the basics.

If you're new to candle making, you may think of soy as something that you eat. While UCSF Health notes that soy is a common ingredient in many foods, from tempeh to tofu, it's also commonly used in candles. Much like the soy you eat, the soy in your candles is a plant-based alternative to animal options. For vegans or anyone who doesn't feel comfortable using animal-based products, such as tallow or lanolin, soy is an excellent option.

Apart from being plant-based, soy is sometimes seen as a safer alternative to other types of wax. While some proponents of soy wax believe that it's less toxic than petroleum-based products, such as paraffin, the National Candle Association reports that there are no peer-reviewed scientific studies showing that paraffin is harmful to humans. Additionally, a study published in Candle Science & Testing found that all commonly used candle waxes burn cleanly and safely.

However, if you still have concerns, or if you choose to only use animal-free ingredients, soy wax is a great option for candles.

homemade candle

Why Make DIY Candles?

With entire websites and stores devoted to candles, why make your own? There's absolutely nothing wrong with buying candles from your favorite shop, but a DIY approach puts you in the driver's seat. You have complete control over what goes into the candle—and what doesn't. This means that, if you're not into paraffin products, you can stick with soy selections.

Not only does a DIY approach provide you complete control over what goes into the mix, but it's also eco-friendly. Instead of buying a new candle with its own holder, you can upcycle everyday items and reuse them as part of your project. From old glass jars to metal cans, there are plenty of everyday items you can use.

Steps to Make Your Own Soy Candle

Now that you've made the decision to make your own soy candles, it's time to gather the items you'll need:

  • Soy wax flakes
  • Reused glass jars, metal cans, or another heat-safe holder
  • Candle wick
  • Scissors
  • Double-sided tape
  • A double boiler or microwave-safe bowl
  • A candle thermometer
  • A wooden spoon
  • Essential or fragrance oils (optional)
  • A pencil

Soy wax flakes shrink when heated, so what may seem like the perfect amount of flakes to fill your upcycled jam jar with could end up filling only half as much as you really need. Divide the amount of flakes in half to get an approximate measurement of melted liquid wax.

Before you melt your flakes of wax, you'll need to measure the wick. Make sure you have enough length to let it sit at the bottom of the container and reach over the top. Cut the wick for each jar, can, or other holder you plan on filling. Place the cut wick next to its container for now or tape it to the interior bottom.

Next, spoon the soy flakes into a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl. With the double-boiler method, heat the bowl or pot that contains your soy flakes over another heat-safe bowl or pot of bowling water. This prevents the wax-filled bowl from burning. If you don't have a double boiler, don't know how to use one, or don't feel comfortable with this cooking method, go ahead and microwave the wax.

There's no magic cook time for soy wax. The quantity of flakes, the heat of your stove or microwave, and the bowl or dish you cook the wax in all affect the overall melting time. Therefore, you'll want a thermometer handy to measure the wax's temperature. Ideally, you'll want to heat it to between 170 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir the wax with the wooden spoon often as it melts. If you use the microwave, heat the wax in 30-second increments, stirring in between.

If you'd like to scent your soy candles, wait for the wax to cool down slightly. For this part, there's no all-in-one fragrance oil measurement to use, so it's best to start with only a few drops. Depending on how mild or strong you want the scent to be, gradually add only a drop or two more at a time until you get the scent strength you'd like.

With scented, melted wax in hand, pour the soy into the first container. If you didn't tape the wick down, pour a small amount of wax in and let it harden into an anchor for the wick. Then, have someone help you to hold the wick as you carefully pour the wax. Because the hot wax could potentially burn you or your helper, this is not an ideal job for children to assist with. Take it slow as you fill the container.

Wrap the top of the wick around the pencil to keep it straight and out of the wax, and let the wax harden overnight. Once the wax is completely solid, you can remove the pencil and trim the wick.

candle project

Making soy candles is an easy, artsy activity for crafters of all levels. Decorate your home with the finished product, use the candles to create a sweetly scented space, or gift these homemade gems to your friends and family!

Check out other craft projects on the DIY Naturally board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!

Image Sources: Pixabay | Pexels | Pexels

The views and opinions expressed in any guest post featured on our site are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of Tom's of Maine.

Why It's Good

With this soy wax project, you can upcycle everyday items and turn them into cute candles. You'll unleash your artsy side as you light up your home with homemade decor!