Homemade Soy Candles with Essential Oils
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These homemade soy candles with essential oils are a safe, healthy and all-natural alternative to store-bought candles. And they make a great homemade gift for Christmas or any other occasion!
I started making my own candles 3 years ago at Christmas when we couldn’t afford to buy gifts for everyone in our family.
I’d wanted to try candle-making for a while, but hadn’t wanted to spend the money on the supplies I needed to get started. But the fact that it was Christmas and I had to spend money on gifts anyway gave me an excuse to finally invest in some candle-making supplies for a fraction of the cost of individual store-bought gifts for everyone on our list.
I decided on soy wax for a few different reasons. First of all, I wanted a natural wax that burned clean and was safe and healthy for my family. This meant paraffin wax was not an option as paraffin is an oil derivative and has been shown to release toxic carcinogens into the air when burned. So my options were pretty much to either use beeswax or soy wax.
While I do love beeswax, I wanted a white candle that I could add fragrance to, similar to the ones you might find at the store. So I settled on soy wax and I’m still using it to this day.
Never buy candles from the store again
The first time I lit one of my homemade candles, I was hooked. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever bought a candle from the store since that day. I quickly started buying larger quantities of wax and making more and more candles.
I realized that buying in bulk was the best way to go because it ended up costing less per candle by purchasing large, 50-lb. boxes of wax. Now I always have a box of wax at home ready to go for whenever I need to whip up a few quick homemade gifts or replace some of the candles from my own collection.
I usually make my candles in repurposed old Mason jars, which I usually get from the local Thrift store for pennies. I also save money on wicks by purchasing lengths of wicking, measuring them out and placing the tabs on the wicks myself, but if you’re just getting started I would recommend just going with the ready-made wicks. They’re pretty affordable as is and make life a lot easier when you’re just starting out.
As for other supplies, I use a 4-lb. pouring pot, a kitchen scale and a meat thermometer, as well as a wooden dowel I bought from the dollar store which has become my designated stir stick for mixing the wax. I always wipe it down with a paper towel while the wax is still hot so that it stays nice and clean. Same goes for the pouring pot.
The most costly part of making these candles is the money spent on essential oils, however I’ve found an amazing company that sells super affordable high-quality essential oils, so all in it only costs me an average of a couple dollars per candle, which is a sliver of the price of similar store-bought candles. Not to mention, using essential oils in candles is a much healthier alternative to the synthetic fragrance oils that are added to most store-bought scented candles.
Fragrance oils vs. essential oils
When I first began making candles at home I did use fragrance oils to scent them. I wanted to mimic the scented candles I used to buy frequently from boutique stores and a from a certain chain of soap and candle stores that resides in malls across North America.
But it didn’t take me long to realize that, as lovely as these fragrance oils make candles smell, they’re anything but natural and they also emit toxic carcinogens into the air when burned. So I started looking for healthier alternatives.
Essential oils were the clear choice as they are 100% pure and natural and they smell amazing! So I began using essential oils in place of fragrance oils in my candles.
The only problem with essential oils is that the scent from essential oils doesn’t “throw” well when burned in candle form, so you have to use a lot of essential oils in order to produce any scent at all. And even then, you don’t get anywhere near the same intensity of fragrance that you get from synthetic fragrance oils.
But essential oils are like, a thousand times safer and healthier than candles scented with fragrance oils.
(Okay, I don’t have the exact stats in front of me. But you get the gist.)
I will admit though, that I do love scented candles (those spicy, warm apple pie, pumpkin spice and fresh evergreen ones that come out around the holidays are some of my faves!) and so I do still scent some of my candles with a little fragrance oil mixed with essential oils. Not all of them (I aim for the 80/20 rule), but I have fragrance oils left over from a couple years ago, so I used some in my latest batch.
I also mix fragrance oils with essential oils in the candles that I sell (I’ve sold at craft fairs and I’m selling some at a pop-up Christmas shop this season), because I know people are looking for delicious-smelling scented candles (plus I can’t afford to be putting hundreds of drop of essential oils in each batch I sell or I’d never make any money!) But I now also mix with essential oils, which I find actually enhances the smell of the essential oils so I’m able to use less fragrance oils and essential oils than I used to.
If you choose to mix fragrance oils and essential oils to get a nicely scented candle, I’ve found I like 2 ounces of fragrance oil for every pound of wax, and about 20 drops of essential oils mixed in.
You could, of course, forgo both the fragrance and the essential oils altogether if you wanted and still get that warm, cozy glow:)
Say no to dyes
One more thing to consider is the dyes that are used in commercially-produced candles. Coloured candles typically use synthetic dyes, and surprise surprise! These dyes also contain toxic carcinogens!
I used dyes in my own candles once when I wanted to make some different coloured candles for the holidays. But after learning about the dangers lurking in these synthetic dyes, I decided never to use them again.
Plus, I really love classic white candles, don’t you? They look much cleaner and classier than coloured candles in my opinion.
Supply list for making soy candles with essential oils
While I could go on all day about the reasons why you should make your own all-natural soy candles with essential oils and no dyes, I’m sure that if you’re here, what you really want is to know how to make them. So let’s get on with it…
First, you’re gonna need a few supplies. I’ve linked to the products and brands I personally use and/or recommend for starting out:
- Soy wax (flakes or pellets)
- Essential oils (I use and recommend Plant Therapy)
- Wicks (either pre-made or cotton wicking by the length plus wick tabs to make your own)
- Wick holders (store-bought or using items from home such as clothespins)
- Jars (Mason jars work great!)
- Glue gun (for sticking wicks to jars)
- Pouring pot plus sauce pan to use as double boiler
- Digital kitchen scale
- Wooden spoon or dowel for mixing
- Kitchen thermometer
- Fragrance oils (I almost feel guilty including these here since I preach all-natural everything all the time. But hey, ya gotta live a little too. And if you’re like me and LOVE scented candles fragrance oils, you may as well make your own. At least this way you can add beneficial essential oils, omit dyes, know that your wax is all-natural and control the amount of fragrance oil you add).
- Labels (these are optional, but they help you to remember which oils are in which candles and they look great for gifting).
*** I’ve got some free printable labels for soy candles available under the “Labels” section of my Free Resource Library.
You can also grab a copy of my FREE Guide to Candle-Making with Soy Wax & Essential Oils from the “Homesteading & Self-Sufficiency” section of the resource library. Sign up to gain access and download your freebie so you’ll have everything you need to make soy candles at your fingertips!
How to Make Soy Candles With Essential Oils
1. Prepare your jars.
If repurposing old jars, make sure they’re clean and dry.
2. Measure out your wax.
I recommend weighing wax with a digital kitchen scale.Tare the pouring pot first (tare just means hit the “tare” or “weight reset” button with your empty pot on the scale so that the scale doesn’t count the weight of the pot itself). Reset the scale to 0, then fill with wax until you’ve reached your desired weight.
*Note: Even though I use a 4-pound pot, I usually make my candles in two-pound batches so I can do a wider variety of scents. Two pounds of wax will fill approximately four or five 8-oz Mason jars (jam jars or half-pints) or 8 to10 4-oz jelly jars.
3. Melt wax in pouring pot or double boiler on the stove.
Never heat up a pouring pot directly on the stove top. Always fill another pot with about an inch or two of water and place pouring pot in the pot. Melt wax on high until wax has completely liquified. Use a kitchen thermometer to check the temperature of the wax. For best results, allow it to reach 180ºF and then take it off the heat and allow it to cool a bit before adding your essential oils.
4. While wax is cooling, prepare your wicks.
Centre and glue wicks to the inside bottom of jars using a glue gun. Place wick holders (or clothespins) across the tops of jars to keep wicks upright and centred.
5. Allow wax to cool to roughly 130ºF.
Once cooled, add your essential oils. You’ll want to add about 100 drops of essential oils for every pound of wax. Yes, you read that right. I told you you need to use a lot! Mix in essential oils using a wooden spoon or mixing tool. (If you’re adding fragrance oils, now is the time to add those in too).
6. Pour wax slowly into prepared jars.
Allow to cool completely before moving the jars (sort of like leaving the jars to cool on the countertop after canning). Trim wicks to desired length, put custom labels on your jars and voilà! C’est fini!
Enjoy your candles, whether you’re giving them away or burning them yourself at home:)
Essential Oil Combinations for Soy Wax Candles
Candle-making is by-and-large an exact science. The creativity lies in coming up with different essential oil combinations to use in your homemade candles.
The following are some of my favourite essential oil combinations that I use in my own homemade candles. Feel free to follow these recipes or create your own combinations!
1. Lemon & Lavender
I like blending 3 parts lavender and one part lemon, so 75 drops of lavender and 25 drops of lemon. But you could do it the other way around if you’d like a more “lemony” scented candle. I also like to add bergamot and/or vetiver essential oil to this combo.
2. Orange & Cinnamon
I usually mix equal parts orange and cinnamon bark essential oils, but I also like to add clove, nutmeg or ginger to this combo for a warm, “holiday” scented candle.
3. Rosemary & Cedarwood
This is a new favourite of mine. I really like the combo of rosemary and spruce or fir needle as I find it woodsy and manly. But I’ve recently discovered cedarwood essential oil and it’s one of my new all-time favourites. You can also mix a combination or rosemary, cedar wood and spruce or fir. These are all earthy, woodsy scents and they make a great combo if you’re looking for a more rugged, “manly” candle.
I’ve also started playing around with adding vanilla to my candles. Plant Therapy sells vanilla essential oil, which is what I use in mine. But it’s more like vanilla extract, so it doesn’t blend quite the same way.
You need to make sure it’s really well blended into your wax before pouring so it doesn’t “gather” at the bottom of your candle. But the vanilla does make the candles smell amazing. You could even try this with plain old vanilla extract that you have in your kitchen!
Of course, the possibilities are endless when it comes to essential oil combinations, so feel free to play around with different scents. If you’re not sure how certain oils will smell together, open the bottle of the oils you’re thinking of using a hold them all together and smell them in the bottles together.
And of course, if you come up with some unique and delicious scent combinations, this homestead mama wants to know about them! Comment below, share on Instagram and tag me @thehouseandhomestead or post your recipes and any photos of your candles to our Facebook page!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your printable labels and a copy of the Complete Guide to Candle-Making from my Free Resource Library!
I’ve included more in-depth information on candle-making as well as a trouble-shooting guide for common problems and printable labels to use on your own homemade candles.
Wishing you homemade, homegrown, homestead happiness 🙂
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