How To Make Soy Candles
As the world becomes more environmentally conscience people are searching for “greener” solutions to their everyday activities and favorite hobbies. Soy candles are the “green” answer for the candle maker. They are made from natural “earth-friendly” materials which make them the environmentally friendly option for candle making at home, but there’s another advantage to soy candles many people are not initially aware of. A pleasant surprise awaits the candle maker that decides to learn how to make soy candles. True they are produced from more environmentally friendly materials than the other waxes, but on top of that, they burn cleaner (less soot) and longer (about 50% longer than common paraffin wax).
Other advantages to learning how to make soy candles include the facts that they tend to distribute scents easier than their alternatives and that soy wax itself is much simpler to clean up after accidental spills than the other candle waxes. All you need is a little soap and water. The down side of soy candles is that they tend to be a little more expensive than paraffin but many candle makers that have ventured into this realm end up finding that they in fact prefer soy, despite the additional cost.
Soy wax is a type of vegetable based wax that is made from soybeans. The oil is extracted from the soybean flakes and then hydrogenated to make the wax. The majority of the world’s soybeans are grown in the United States in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana. People often say they prefer soy based wax candles to paraffin wax candles because they burn more “cleanly.” In a way, this is true, though there is no real way around the fact that all candles emit at least some soot. Soy based candles are considered to have a cleaner burn because the soot they emit is white, and the soot that paraffin candles emit is black – while it does not make much difference in the end, because neither type of soot will hurt you. It is really just that the white soot is less noticeable and looks cleaner than the smudges black soot can leave.
The only thing that is really different about making soy candles than paraffin candles is the type of wax used. As you advance in candle making at home and learn how to make soy candles you quickly discover that the same techniques and equipment can be used for both soy and paraffin but soy actually offers you an additional choice for heating methods. That’s right! Unlike the alternative waxes, soy can actually be heated over direct heat. Don’t worry though if you prefer to use your double boiler instead. Soy wax melts fine with the same double-boiler you would use with your paraffin wax. If you are unfamiliar with what a double boiler is it basically features a smaller pot that is placed inside a larger pot (filled with boiling water) and then put on the stove to heat. The wax goes inside the smaller pot, and then it should be heated to 150 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Be careful not to let the soy wax get too hot, or it could burn. Even slight overheating can give it an unattractive yellowish cast that you most likely want to avoid.
How To Make Soy Candles with Dyes and Scents
Once the wax is fully melted, then you can add any dyes you have in order to create the color you would like the candle to have. Then you can go ahead and remove the wax from the heat and add the fragrance, if you’re making a scented candle. For every one pound of soy wax you have, you can use 1.12 ounces of fragrance oil. If the fragrance concentration is too high, it may bleed through the candle, so pay careful attention to how much you add. You can then pour the wax into the mold to cool. Be careful not to pour the wax at too low of a temperature or the candle could crack. The wax should be between 95 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit at this point. As you continue to learn how to make soy candles you will discover that you do not want to try to cool the candle faster by submerging it in water or anything, either, as this can also cause the candle to crack. Let it cool naturally.
Candle making at home requires practice, patience, and care. Although the process for making soy candles is basically the same as it is for other wax types, there are a couple of differences. Since soy wax is a softer wax, it is not well suited to all types of candles. For instance, soy wax does not work well when you are trying to make novelty candles, tapers or pillar candles. You can use it for floating candles, however, if the diameter is more than 3 inches. Experiment with your soy wax and you will find what works best for you and your needs!