Make soy candles: anyone can do it

Candles date back to biblical times. For hundreds of years they were the only source of light in people’s homes, the earliest of which were made from tallow. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that paraffin replaced this.

A hundred years later, electricity replaced candles, leaving them relegated to other roles such as decoration for festive occasions, due to the calm and sanctity that they evoke in religious ceremonies and the general atmosphere of warmth, relaxation and even romance.

The biggest innovation in the candle industry today is the replacement of the “paraffin” based candle with a natural wax alternative. The soy candles we make burn cleanly, release no toxins into the air, and produce no soot or smoke. Because they burn cooler and longer (25-50% longer) they allow the fragrance to be released into the air over a longer period of time. This natural and environmentally friendly wax is biodegradable and all containers can be washed in hot soapy water for reuse. An added bonus to this disposable society.

Soy candles are very easy to make when you have simple instructions to follow.

1. Choose the right container for your candle. Container wax can only be used on heat resistant glassware as it adheres to glass. Calculate the amount of wax you will use.

The wax can be melted in a double boiler or as a rice cooker. The easiest way is to heat and melt half of the wax, then let the heat of the container melt the rest.

2. While the wax is melting, prepare your containers by selecting the wick you will use, the fragrance and the color. The best thing to do is try to make a wax that is unscented and uncolored first, so you can get your technique right.

3. You can use a thermometer, but it’s not really necessary. Wicks can be glued by dipping the wick in the wax or by using the double-sided wick stickers.

4. Room temperature can affect the finish of your candles, so make sure it’s not too hot or too cold.

5. Remember, don’t go overboard with the fragrance. 30ml/450ml is enough. The best way to use the concentrated colors is to grate them on a cheese rack. It is much easier to darken a wax color than it is to lighten it, so be careful.

6. The wax is ready to pour when the container is cool to the touch or when the wax begins to cloud. If you find that it has hardened too much, reheat it slightly or place the container in hot water.

7. It is recommended that you leave your candles for 24 hours to cool down and settle. More time is needed if large or multi-wick containers are used. If you’re having trouble, go to our troubleshooting and tips for suggestions.

Selection of your containers

Since soy candles are in jars, the most important decision after your wax is your jars. There is an endless variety you can choose from. Once you get the candle making bug, all the containers will look very different. Half the fun is finding new and interesting jars.

There are numerous jar suppliers in Victoria and on the interstate, so get catalogs from all of them, compare sizes, prices, minimum orders and payment terms. Easy to do with internet access. (Suppliers, listed)

Buying through mason jar suppliers means that all the hard work has been done for you in selecting the right glass for your candles.

However, if you want to get your own, here are some tips:

A good candle holder should be wide enough in diameter so that it can be easily lit and extinguished. This also means that the fragrance will be better even if the candle is not burning.

Lidded jars retain fragrance longer and prevent dust and dirt from falling into the candle. Do not blow out a candle by putting the lid on.

Don’t use fine glassware like champagne flutes for candles. They may look great, but they are not made to withstand high temperatures. And since glass is quite thin, they also retain a lot of heat, making them too hot to handle and prone to cracking.

Metal containers have become very popular as travel tins because they are unbreakable. Remember to get cans that have no seams. Some with gaskets can leak when the wax is hot. Dangerous when you are pouring and dangerous to your customers if they leak when burning. In addition to waxing the entire surface it sits on, they can also become a fire hazard. If you’re not sure, test it by filling it with water and letting it sit for a couple of days.

Ceramics are popular for highlights or a table centerpiece, as they can match the d├ęcor.

Jars that have a wide neck and a narrow base can cause problems when the candle is running low. Since the base is narrower, it means the wick is closer to the sides. This will result in a very hot pot and a pot that is normally fine can become prone to cracking due to excessive heat.

Cutlery is popular for special events like anniversaries.

If you are unsure about the suitability of a candle, try it out before offering it to any customer.

Soy wax has made candle making so easy that anyone can do it. Give it a try, it’s so much fun.

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