Saturday, November 4, 2017

DIY: Soy Wax Candles

Candles are a great craft for Autumn. They're an awesome option for a handmade holiday gift. They're also fun to burn during winter months, and they look lovely as table decorations during Thanksgiving dinner! Soy wax candles are relatively quick to make, and inexpensive.




collage has everything you need to get started making candles. We carry a variety of glassware that is suitable for soy wax candles. We also carry a variety of wick sizes. And, in addition to soy wax, collage also carries beeswax for your candle making needs. We often get questions about candlemaking at collage: how to add scents, what's the difference between different waxes, and more. We thought we would devote a post to help with all of these great questions! 

Click the jump below to read more!


Supplies:
* Microwave
* 1 lb bag of soy wax
* Glass jar: we used these cute, mason lidded jars which come in a couple different sizes. We used the small, 200 mL size
* Wick, medium size, #2/0 (The wick collage sells is a square braid, cotton wick.) 
* Wick tab
* Glue dots
* 2 toothpicks and a rubberband


Steps: 
1. Gather supplies. (Not pictured in above photo: wick tabs, microwave, and newspaper)
2. Prepare your work surface (you'll want to lay down old newspapers or papers, because inevitably you will spill some wax somewhere). And prepare your candles: cut your wick down, so that it is just longer than the height of your jar. We cut the wick down to 4 inches. Insert the wick into the wick tab, and squeeze on the part of the wick tab that protrudes, so that the metal pinches the wick.
3. Place a glue dot on the bottom of the wick tab, and stick it to roughly the center point inside the jar.
4. Create wick holders out of toothpicks or craft picks, placing two together, and wrapping a rubber band around one end. Use this to clamp the wick taut, and hold it in the center. This holder will rest on the rim of your jar.  (You can also rest a long skewer or dowel on the jar, and tape the wick to this, or wrap the wick around it.) You're done with prep work of the jars–if you're making more than one candle, prepare the candles all at once.
5. Melt your wax. We used the microwave. We poured in about 16 oz of dry soy wax into a glass jar, and melted it in the microwave at 20 second intervals, on the regular setting. It took about 90 seconds to get all of the wax melted. You may be surprised how much the wax melts down: our 16 oz dry soy wax was just a perfect amount to fill our 8-ish oz jars when the wax was melted. Note: the jar will be very hot when you take it out of the microwave: you'll want to use an oven mitt.
6. If there are any stubborn flakes of soy wax, you can stir your wax with a toothpick to get everything melted. Once everything is melted, carefully pour the wax into your candle jar.
7. You'll notice the wax change from yellow to white. It will take about 30 minutes for the wax to solidify on the outside and become white again.
8. Trim your wick to about 1/4".
9. Enjoy your new candles!




Notes:
* Wait at least 24 hours before you burn your candle.

* If you would like to add scent, we recommend essential oils! collage does not carry essential oils, but there are places nearby collage, such as New Seasons Market and Alberta Co-op Grocery, which do carry them. It takes a fair amount of oil to scent a candle, click here for more info. You want to add the oil when the wax is hot, but not so hot that the oils evaporate.

* When melting your wax in the microwave, be sure to keep an eye on it. It may take more or less time than 90 seconds, depending on the microwave. Be sure to use microwave-safe containers (avoid plastic and anything with metal).

* If you don't have a microwave, that's ok! You can also use a double broiler method and your stove top. This entails one saucepan full of water, and the glass jar in the pan, surrounded by water. You will want to allow the jar to heat up with the water, instead of submerging it suddenly in the hot water (the latter will most likely cause the glass to break).

* We had a 1 lb bag of soy wax, and were able to make almost exactly 3 candles that were approximately 8 oz.

* Customers often ask about the different types of wax available. Many of the candles that you see in stores are made from paraffin wax (especially the ones which smell strongly), and if the candle is NOT paraffin wax, it pretty much will always state what it is, either soy wax or beeswax.  Paraffin wax is white, or colorless, and is derived from petroleum, coal, or oil shale. collage doesn't sell paraffin wax, but we do sell beeswax and soy wax!

* Soy wax is a vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans. Soywax is a sustainable product and eco-friendly! Beeswax on the other hand, as you probably know, is a precious wax produced by honeybees. It's secreted on the glands of the abdomen of the worker bee, in the form of small scales. The bees discard the wax in or at the hive, where it's used to create the honeycomb cells for honey storage. It takes approximately 1100 of the honey bees' scales to make one gram of wax!


*If you are making a larger candle, you will need either a larger wick, or multiple wicks, and maybe both of these things, and you may need to experiment with the right size wick for a certain jar.

* To avoid "tunneling" (burning down the center of the candle, with hard ridges on the edge) carefully push down the sides of the wax while it is still soft, so that the candle will burn more evenly. Also, let the candle burn for longer periods, allowing the wax at the edges of the candle to burn.

For more ideas regarding handmade holiday gifts, check out some of our other DIYs, including: these keychains, or these clay dishes, or this petite macrame plant hanger