Spring has sprung! And with it comes horrible thunderstorms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, downed trees and power outages! Prepared as I am with flashlights as well as a Goal Zero Light-A-Life LED Lamp and the Escape 150 Kit to power our laptop computer, cellphones, and a small tv; a nice stock of candles was something on my 'to do' list for the past year. Now, I could have bought a bunch of cheap candles at the store, but what I wanted was a good quality, long lasting candle without funky or cheap fragrances. Dollar store candles burn QUICKLY and last barely 2 hours. I wanted something that would burn for a long time and burn clean. Thus, my reasoning for looking into homemade soy candles. Good quality, but by making them myself I could pay about $1.50 per candle verses the $10-18 a retail store would want.
I didn't follow any recipe or worry about how others make theirs - I simply thought about it, and got creative with what I wanted and how to do it. Someone might have a better idea how to do part of it but I'm thrilled with how they turned out as well as my process and I do plan on doing another dozen the same way next month.
First: I chose cheap canning jars I bought at Walmart. The MainStays brand is made in China. China goods are cheaply made and I'd be nervous about the glass standing up to breakage in the 45 minute water baths or to pressure canning, but for candles? Bring it on. Cheap... and they are not coming into contact with my food.) A box of 12 will set you back about $7. I bought 1/2 pint size this time and will do pint size my next go round. You can use Mason or Ball jars if you have them or ANY glass container. (I have a second candle making post coming soon about reusing candle jars and containers and recycling them).
Second: The wax. Cheap wax burns cheap. It burns FAST. I wanted a decent, clean burning wax that would last many hours and burn bright but burn slow. I also wanted enough wax to make unscented emergency candles as well as homemade scented candles for daily use so a good quality 'scent throwing' soy wax is what I looked for. (Milliard Natural Soy Wax with Soy Based Additives - Superior Scent Throw)
Third: Wicks. Boy did I have to research these. Oh, I found them quick enough, but I had no idea there were so many CHOICES in wicks. I went to Walmart, Michael's and Target on a search for wicks and ended up ordering two different sizes from Amazon - that were pre-cut and pre-inserted in metal disks. I bought a bag of large and a bag of medium. In the end, I used medium for my canning jar candles and I'm very happy with my results. The large were used for the 'recycled' candles I made in larger containers (post coming soon). (Wicks: CandleScience Natural Candle Wick, Medium, 50 piece)
Fourth: OTHER STUFF. These are things I used in making the candles. I sat and stared at the candles and thought about how to put everything together and this is the process I came up with. You can do them however you wish! Basically you are going to melt the wax (double boiler, microwave, up to you!). Pour the wax. Add the wicks. Keep them straight while the candle hardens. Seal and store.
Jars or containers
Wicks and metal disks to help them stand and stay stationary as the candle burns
Hot glue gun
Glass container to melt the wax in or a bowl if you use a double boiler
Nail or screw to punch hole in lid (IF YOU WANT - optional - you'll see in a moment)
|Use the hot glue gun to adhere the metal disk to the bottom of the jar. Thread the wick into a straw for easy placement.|
|Using the straw to put the wick in place on the hot glue dab.|
|I decided to punch a hole in the lid to hold the wicks stationary during setting up.|
|I also swapped out the new, nice lids for some old canning lids I had. No reason to waste the 'new' lids on candles.|
|I simply poured wax flakes into a container and microwaved it until half melted, then stirred until it all melted.|
|I put the lids on with the wick threaded through to hold it in place while the candle hardens.|
|This worked perfectly! The wicks were straight and perfect.|
|After the candle set up I trimmed the wicks down.|
|This is the wicks and soy wax flakes. I bought 10 lbs. I used about half of it. So, just under 5 pounds made just over a dozen (12) candles.|
You might also be interested in;