You're here because your curious about making your own homemade soy candles.. or (more likely) you've already tried, and been disappointed with your results!
Although it seems easy as "go on amazon, buy wax and wick, add oils and pour into your favourite mason jar..." we're here to tell you: candle making is far from easy, and is, in fact, a fine art...
Firstly, we feel you!! This is exactly why we started making Candle Making Kits- so folks just like you could see if they liked candle making before buying $400 of supplies!
From finding the best performing soy wax for your goals, to ensuring the wick is matched to your jar diameter- in conjunction with the correct fragrance load for your particular soy wax- it can be overwhelming to keep track of all the math, supplies and variables involved in what SHOULD be a fun creative outlet!
So, let's turn your overwhelm into expression: follow our tips for great results you can replicate, so you can focus on what you enjoy about candle making: whether that's finding the perfect vessel, creating your own fragrance or simply making thoughtful gifts for pals.
With these tips, you'll avoid expensive and time consuming mistakes when making your own homemade Scented soy wax candles- whether the candles are for a side hustle, just a hobby or an event you want to contribute your creativity too.
Please Note: You are responsible for your own candles and results! Please don't sue us, this is a random blog post on the internet and not a substitute for professional advice.
9 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR MAKING SUCCESSFUL SOY CANDLES
1) Supplier Do's and Don'ts
TIP #1: Stick with reputable, local suppliers who sell in small and larger quantities, so you can ramp up your production if your candles are a hit!
We have another entire blog post on this- but for now, take our word for it- you do not want to start your candle making journey with random, discount supplies- or even a candle making kit- purchased from a big box retailer or online marketplace like amazon.
You have so much experimentation and testing to do, you'll need to be able to replicate your test results over and over again to ensure a safe product. A random candle making kit- not from a reputable, candle materials supplier- won't actually tell you what you need to know: WHICH particular wax and wick to use! (Feel free to email us for our Soy Candle Making suggestions!)
Also, if you purchase from amazon, you wont know the manufacturers of the wax, wick or fragrance oil is: which will harm your ability to replicate and scale your results. You 100% need to know where each material is coming from, and who made it!
We have entire blog post about Canadian suppliers here- but we recommend finding your local facebook group of candle makers so you can use the groups existing knowledge to your advantage.
PRO TIP: Want to order unique supplies- such as fragrance oils and jars- from the USA? Set up a consumer cross border account and get supplies shipped to a US address easily and stress free!
2) Take Notes on Everything
Tip #2: Get a dedicated notebook- or spreadsheet- to track your suppliers, costs, math and experiments
This brings us to our second point- which will make all this effort worth it: keep notes. On everything.
All the tips that follow suggest multiple rounds of testing, tweaking and general experiments. You'll also likely have to buy supplies from multiple locations, and once you find the supplies that work for you- you're going to thank yourself for noting everything down!
Don't let the daunting task of starting an excel spreadsheet dissuade you from having fun and expressing yourself with this fun craft! If the idea of a spreadsheet hurt your brain, just get yourself a dedicated notebook- or open a "notes" app in your phone- and keep everything in one place.
You'll thank us later!
3) Start with your vessel (or pick one variable that won't change)
Tip #3: You need to start somewhere, since everything is a variable. We suggest starting with your vessel!
Your candle making journey may be long, complicated and sometimes frustrating.
So- how will you be able to sustain the effort and enthusiasm needed to complete your creative project?
Our personal tip here is: start with a vessel you LOVE, that you're obsessed with!
Since you'll need to rigorously test different waxes, wicks and fragrances- you need a single, unchanging element to start working around. You need to start with at least one aspect of your candle that doesn't change.
Personally, we suggest starting with your vessel, since this has the biggest impact on your results.
Don't agree? Maybe you think the WAX or Fragrance is actually more important than the vessel?
Hear us out.. and this is something candle makers may not tell you outright- but candles are sold as decor pieces.
Candles are part of our home environment, taking up precious room in our personal environments, and they need to match our home aesthetic. Figure out who your end customer is (or, if its just for you, take inspiration from your own home) and pick a vessel you think your customer would gravitate towards.
Because: only once someone has decided to touch and pick up a candle in a store or at a market, will they smell it!
So, fragrance (imho) is secondary to the LOOK of a candle, which will draw people in. That's why we suggest starting with your vessel.
4) Learn the Lingo
Tip #4: Learn the basic terminology of candle making, so you can keep researching and growing your knowledge base!
When we started candle making, we didn't even know where to start. That's why we're here today- telling you all the terms you should get a grip on now, before you start your candle making adventure.
Some basic terms you'll come across on blog posts, supplier websites and in candle making circles- to research in your own time:
- Hot Throw
- Cold Throw
- Burn Test
- Melt Pool
- Sink Holes
- Mushrooming Wick
- Power Burn Test
- Fragrance Load
- Fragrance Accord
- Top Note, Middle Note, Base Notes
- Fragrance (FO) vs Essential Oils (EO) vs Absolutes...
- Make your own "terminology" list in your notebook and keep this list going!
5) Perform this baseline experiment to get started
Tip #5: Pour your first candles without fragrance- to start honing in on the best wax and wick combination for your vessel.
We suggest starting with 2 to 3 waxes and 3 to 4 wick sizes, fragrance free, in your chosen vessel.
There are endless types of soy waxes- including soy/ coconut blends, and soy/paraffin blends- which are engineered to perform differently from one another.
Depending on what you're aiming for- whether it's goof hot throw, best adhesion, or smooth tops- start off by testing 2 to 3 different soy waxes that are known to have your desired end qualities.
Perform an initial "baseline" experiment as follows: pour 2-3 candles PER WAX, in your desired container (following the manufacturers instructions for melt temperatures and pour times). Then perform your burn tests by using different wicks in each different wax and this way, you'll have a good baseline "experiment" to start with!
P.S: Our budget and time saving suggestion for you is: pour your first candles WITHOUT fragrance.
Now- hear us out. Fragrances change how waxes cool, cure and visibly look on the surface. Fragrances will change the burn rate, whether or not the wax adheres to the vessel or not- amongst many other things.
SO, in order to find a wax you LIKE to work with- that creates a candle with a safe and stable Burn Rate- you should get an idea of its baseline burn rate and visual results. To do so, pour two or three candles, in each of your soy waxes, without a fragrance! Only then perform your burn tests!
6) Fragrance Basics: Accords & Mathematics
Pro Top #6: Learn fragrance/ perfumery basics- and then use online candle calculators to do the rest!
We'd bet good money that many of you are here because the real reason you want to make candles is.. you want to make the best smelling soy candles than all the candles you already buy and burn!
So, before you start buying random essential oils online- we suggest closing those tabs, and focusing on growing your "lingo" or terminology list first!
We won't go into how to create your own fragrance in this blog post (it would be way too long!!) so we will just say: you need to have a basic understanding of how fragrances are created, before you start your candle making journey.
Some fragrances burn best in soy, some fragrant materials (like essential oils) shouldn't be burnt at all. Some fragrances are a blend of three or more "notes", each of which could in themselves also be blends (making an "accord").
P.S: If all of this sounds like gibberish to you- feel free to attend one of our Candle Making workshops- or simply google "perfumery basics" to start your fragrance-creation journey!
Once you've mastered perfumery basics, and have made your first accord- it's time to do the math!
Your wax (which hopefully you narrowed down in Tip 5), will have a "fragrance load": a percentage of fragrance it can safely handle before the cured candle starts to "sweat".
Why do you need to ensure you use the correct amount of F.O?
Well, too little fragrance won't emit any odour when the candle is burnt (meaning disappointed customers!), and too much fragrance may be a fire hazard.
So- research your particular waxes fragrance load, read your suppliers specs online and then use an online fragrance/ candle calculator to ensure you're using the correct amount of fragrance oil for your particular wax and vessel volume (see why it's so important to pin down your vessel and wax?)
Confused?! We were too! That's why we made this fun & beginner-friendly Scented Soy Candle Making kit- we did the math for you!! We use 7.5ml of fragrance oil per 4 oz of wax included in our kit.
7) Test Everything (& test again)
Pro Tip #7: ABT: Always. Be. Testing
So- if you've followed our tips, you've got your handy notebook out, you've performed some initial experiments to get a baseline burn time for your particular wax and vessel- now it's all about ensuring you've got the CORRECT WICK for your particular wax & fragrance combo!
Yes- you need to test ALL fragrances, in multiple wick sizes. You may have the same vessel, same wax- but your candle will burn differently depending on your particular fragrance!!
You should know what a "burn test" is from Tip #3: Learn the Lingo. But just in case you missed it- your candle should form a full melt pool at 1hr, and a melt pool that's around 1/4" deep at 2 hrs.
Feel overwhelmed? Your SO close to making the perfect candle! Just keep testing, you'll get there!
8) Don't be proud: invest in a heat gun
Tip #8: We all need a heat gun eventually.
We'll keep this tip short and sweet!
There comes a time in every candle makers journey where the hard work has finally paid off- you have finally made the perfect candle!
You've nailed down a wax you love, with fragrances you're obsessed with (that don't give you a headache)- and the burn tests are coming up great every time, with perfect melt pools at the 1hr, 2hr and 3hr mark!
But there's just ONE small issue: your candles are ugly babies. You've wrapped your jars in foil- heated them- cooled them- wiped them down- spaced them apart or huddled them next to a heater- and STILL, you're getting inexplicable sink holes, cracks or valleys.
Sweetie, we've all been there! Just buy that darn heat gun and accept that in life, there are things we cannot change (but we sure can re-do candle tops quickly with a heat gun!)
9) Test Your DIY Soy Candle Again
Tip #9: Repeat Tip #7!!
Yip- we loved this tip so much we included it twice!
Although creating your own homemade scented soy candles is fun - and can (and should) be a fun creative outlet... let's get real- they're also hella dangerous: candles are movable, flammable objects!!
It's vital- for both your safety and that of others- that you only make and sell (or give away) SAFE candles, that don't turn to molten lava after just an hour of burn time!! Or that don't tunnel (which will lead to disappointment and precious wasted materials).
So- whatever you do- always perform one last test to ensure your candle burns correctly, without too much wick mushrooming, in different environments. If it smells good- and looks even better- well, then we've done our jobs!!
Let us know in the comments below if you found these candle making tips helpful- and what else you'd like to see on our DIY blog- or subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know about now blog posts on DIY topics like candle making.