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How to Make Soy Wax Candles?

Beijing Dongke started making candles in 2010.Find everything you need to make soy wax candles here.

Why soy wax?

Soy would be considered a vegan wax, where it does not derive from a living insect or animal. It’s made from renewable soybeans, and US-grown soy has a strong sustainable footprint.Soy produces 90% less soot than paraffin wax, and does not emit chemicals like toluene, benzene, methyl ethyl ketone, or naphthalene. It burns clean, doesn’t have an aroma on its own like beeswax, and won’t leave black soot on the walls or upholstery. Soy wax is less costly than beeswax to produce and is water soluble, which makes cleanup a breeze.
Soy is an affordable and beginner-friendly wax. With natural ingredients/products in high demand, soy is familiar to the market and well sought out.While fragrance tends to be more subtle in a soy candle, it still holds scent well and produces less soot than other wax types. Features to look for in soy wax would be a high fragrance load capability (10%+), good glass adhesion, and a strong cold and hot throw.

Choosing your candle container

Soy burns hot, so your container needs to withstand high temperatures. Glass, ceramic, and metal are all suitable for candle making. Glass with a heavier bottom and even walls will hold in heat and likely give you better adhesion because it will cool evenly. Plastic is not recommended, as it can melt and release chemicals into the air, or cause a fire. Wood and raw clay containers such as terra cotta are too porous and would not be suitable for candles. 

Choosing your candle wicks

Wood wicks, cotton core wicks, and paper core wicks all work well for soy container candles. Use the manufacturer’s suggestions for the size, and then test it to make sure it burns well.

Make sure your wick has a tab at the bottom, or a clip if using wood wicks, that can be adhered to the bottom of your container. For wood wicks, this is all you’ll need; the wick clip holds it upright and centered. For cotton and paper wicks, a bow tie wick centering device is my favorite because it fits several containers and can also be used with a double wick.

Melting soy wax

I recommend either a double boiler or a wax melter. Melters can overheat your wax, so it needs to be able to regulate the temperature and have an auto shut-off safety feature. Do not heat the wax directly in a pan and do not exceed 200° F for soy, or it will yellow.

Adding fragrance to candle

How much you add varies based on preference and density of the oil. Some oils (like those containing vanilla) can be stronger than others. It’s a good rule of thumb to start around 6%, or 1 oz. of fragrance per 16 oz./1 lb. of wax. Most wax manufacturers have a recommended fragrance load of 6-8% with a max of 10-12%.

Citrus and some herbal oils, particularly those primarily made of essential oils, have a lighter density and therefore may burn off too quickly or the fragrance itself may smell “off.” Try adding these oils at a lower temperature and/or blending with a higher-density oil. Most fragrances with vanillin/vanilla will be easier to work with due to their high density. Make sure you’re using oils made for candle making and not perfume or cologne, which contain flammable ingredients like alcohol and dipropylene glycol. 

As for what temperature to add fragrance, refer to the manufacturer’s recommendation. You want to bring the wax to a higher temperature than just the melt point to ensure the wax molecules have fully expanded. That way each fragrance molecule will be fully encapsulated and trapped within the wax. Most fragrances should be added between 175-185° F. Make sure your wax has been removed from the heat source before adding fragrance oils.

Pour Wax

Once the wax has begun to cool and it’s starting to look a little cloudy, it’s time to pour your candles. If you pour the wax when it’s too hot, it can separate from the sides of your container. This isn’t a huge deal, but it will look better if you let it cool.

Carefully pour the wax into the jars, about 1/4 inch from where you want the top to be. You’ll do a second pour after it cools to fill it the rest of the way and add any decoration to the top.

Let It Cool

Let the candles cool completely. This will take a few hours, depending on the size of your jars.

You may notice that the tops of the candles have some holes and uneven spots, but don’t worry. We’re going to do a second pour after this one cools and hardens, so save a little bit of scented wax in your measuring cup.

Let It Cure

Scented candles need to cure for a minimum of three days in order to give off maximum scent when you burn them (known as “hot throw” in the candle making world).

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