Homemade Soy Candles with Essential Oils


* This article contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my Affiliate Disclosure.

 

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! #homemadesoycandles #soywaxcandles #soywax #homemadecandleswithessentialoils #diycandles 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. 

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! #homemadesoycandles #soywaxcandles #soywax #homemadecandleswithessentialoils #diycandles

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.

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! #homemadesoycandles #soywaxcandles #soywax #homemadecandleswithessentialoils #diycandles

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…

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! #homemadesoycandles #soywaxcandles #soywax #homemadecandleswithessentialoils #diycandles

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! 

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! #homemadesoycandles #soywaxcandles #soywax #homemadecandleswithessentialoils #diycandles

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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42 Comments

  1. Josie Concannon

    Hi,

    Thank you soo much for providing this information. I did my first lot of candles the other day and could not understand why they didn’t smell of anything. Now i know why as i only put about 10 drops of essential oils in!

    Thank you! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Rachel Stevenson

    I make my own ‘essential oil’ by warming 1 cup of my favorite carrier oil (my current favorite cheapest is Costco Avacado Oil) in a small crock pot. I add whatever spices I want: coffee grounds, Orange Peel, Vanilla Pods, Fir Needles from my small living christmas tree, nutmeg, you name it. I bring it to just under a boil and turn it down to simmer an hour or two. I then store in a glass container, I currently use my husbands old wine bottles. My family says my candles smell like cookies!
    I also get dried twigs from a tree outside and light my candles with those. It is cheap and gives it a fun rustic look!:)

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Really!? And they actually throw scent? I’m gonna have to try this!

      Reply
  3. Suzanne Martin

    Hi Anna,
    I noticed you said you buy soy wax in 50# bags. Would you be able to send me a link to where I can purchase in bulk? Thanks so much for the great tutorial!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Suzanne,

      It looks like the wax that I normally use is currently unavailable on Amazon, but this one is rated as the number 1 best seller and is comparable to the brand I use, AND it comes in a 50-lb. box:) Here’s the link: https://amzn.to/2YgKdRS

      Reply
  4. Cindy

    Is there another soy wax that you recommend? The link is a discontinued product. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Cindy,

      Thanks for letting me know! For wax, most any pure soy wax will do. But I’ve also used CandleScience soy wax and like their products.

      Reply
  5. Sarah B

    A great resource, thank you for posting as I really want to try my hand at making my own candles. I tried at sign up for access to your resource library but I haven’t been sent a confirmation email yet and I’ve now tried 3 times in the last 5 days.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Sarah! Sorry to hear you’re having trouble accessing the resource library. I will email you directly with details as it looks like you signed up a while ago, which is why you’re not getting a confirmation email now. Please check your inbox for an email from me with instructions:)

      Reply
  6. Mumtaz

    This was very helpful Anna, thank you for this piece. I tried making beeswax candles with essential oils which was not only costly but really quite difficult and the smell was not amazing as beeswax doesn’t work that well with essential oils plus finding the right wick was so difficult. Hopefully I might try with soy wax see if that fares any better.

    Reply
  7. Samantha Sunshine

    Hello
    I was wondering what the absolute max is of essential oil that I can add? For a strong smelling candle? Is it dangerous to add more than a teaspoon per pound of wax? What would happen?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Samantha,
      I don’t know that there’s a maximum as far as safety is concerned. It’s just that it starts to get very expensive the more essential oils you add and the scent doesn’t become much more potent. I’ve tried up to about 125 to 150 drops but I didn’t notice a huge difference adding the extra 25 to 50 drops so I’d rather conserve my oils:)

      Reply
    • Tina Griffin

      I have wasted so much money trying to get my Candles to smell. I use 444 soy wax and I’ve spent tons on variety of essential and fragrance oils. The wax burns beautifully, but no scent. I’ve tried every melting temp from 185-130. Added oil at temps from 180-120. I’ve tried making 1 single candle to making 3 8 ounce which averages out to 1 pound of melted wax to 1ounce of oil. I either get a perfectly burning candle with no scent or a candle that catches fire if I add more oil for stronger scent throw. I don’t know what else to do??‍♀️??

      Reply
      • Anna Sakawsky

        Hi Tina,

        That’s strange that you can’t get them to smell… I could see if you were only using essential oils, the scent just doesn’t throw well with essential oils so they’re very mild. However, I’ve never had a problem when using fragrance oils. Are you using fragrance oils that are specifically meant for candles and cosmetics? I use fragrance oils from a company called Voyageur Soap & Candle Co. Here’s their website if you’d like to check them out: https://www.voyageursoapandcandle.com/

        Reply
  8. Aileen

    I’m just getting into candle making and this was so helpful, thanks so much for all the tips.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      My pleasure:)

      Reply
      • Danielle

        Thanks for this! What kinds of ratios do you use when mixing fragrance and essential oils? Are certain fragrances more popular or better for starting out?

        Reply
        • Tish Painter

          Well, Anna recommends using 100 drops of essential oils per pound of wax. So, if you want to blend your own scents, then I would recommend thinking about which scent you want to stand out a little more and do a 60/40 ratio– or you may want to divide them equally for a balanced scent combination. I would start with a 1/2 pound of wax and 50 drops of your favorite scents for starters, or follow her blends listed and maybe you will find your favorite there? The ones she has listed are her most popular ones so far.
          Enjoy!

          Reply
          • Kayla Rhode

            Hi, this really did help. I just have some questions! I started making soy candles. I’m struggling on getting a strong scent. I have 8 oz jars and 4 oz. I make each at a time. Verses a big batch. What would you suggest on how much essential oil to use per 8 oz and 4 oz to get the best results?

          • Tish Painter

            Well, if you use only 8 oz of wax (1/2 pound) to make 2 small (4 oz) candles or one larger candle, then I suggest starting with 50 drops of essential oil. That would be the best place to start based on Anna’s recipe. Scents can be a very personal thing and everyone has their own perception of what is a strong smell. If this is not enough, then you can increase the drops until you have the strength you desire.
            If you only want one small candle using 1/4 pound (4 oz) of wax then perhaps start at 25 drops and work up (or down) from there. These are just some guidelines to start and then you can proceed with what appeals most to you and then you will have your own personal recipe for your needs.
            Good luck with your small batches of candles!

  9. Gigi

    Hi! I’d using fragrance oils, how much would you use per lb?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      I would stick with no more than 2 oz. of fragrance oils per pound of soy wax. Some sources recommend 1 oz. per pound, but I like mine scented a little stronger. Any more than that and you risk having “oily” candles as the ratio of fragrance oil to soy wax can be too high. But feel free to experiment! I have added up to 4 oz of fragrance oils per pound before. But I did find the tops a bit oily once cooled.

      Reply
  10. Kelly

    How did you attach the labels!

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Kelly,

      I use these sticky Kraft paper labels for mine, but you can also use paper and glue: https://amzn.to/2XStO76

      Reply
  11. Tammy Hutchins

    I’m just starting to research this topic. I want pretty colored candles but understand not using the dyes. I am wondering about the powdered food coloring they use in macaroons or even freeze dried berry powder. Would that work? Yes, I’m more of a baker but dip my hands in many crafts. Just looking for alternatives. This isn’t necessarily the brand I would use but an example with more information than the one I would use. https://www.amazon.com/Americolor-Powder-Food-Color-Black/dp/B006ZCPFPW

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Tammy,

      I don’t have experience working with powders like that so I can’t say for sure how they would turn out but it’s definitely worth a try!

      Reply
      • Aychelel

        Hi! Would lemongrass essential oil and vanilla essential oil work together? Trying to decide what to buy. Thanks!

        Reply
        • Anna Sakawsky

          I don’t see why not! You never know until you try:)

          Reply
  12. Jacqueline Roth

    I was wondering how many tsp/TBL spoons 100 drops of essential oil would be. Thank You

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Jacqueline!

      While I’ve never measured it out myself, from the research I’ve done, 100 drops of essential oils equals approximately one teaspoon.

      Reply
  13. Melissa

    I was wondering if you could tell me where you get your fragrance oils at..like a link if possible..also I’m just getting into this and was wondering since u sell ur candles what do you charge ?

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Melissa,

      I actually get my fragrance oils from a local company close to where I live here in BC. It’s called Voyageur Soap & Candle Co. So I’m not sure where all they ship to, but here is the link: https://www.voyageursoapandcandle.com/

      As for what I charge, I had some candles for sale at a Christmas pop-up shop this past year and she had them on sale for $18. I got 60% of that, so $12. I think $18 was a bit high. I might have gone $16 for the 8oz candles and $10 for the 4oz if it were just me. I’m also in Canada if that matters! Hope that helps:)

      Reply
      • JackieT

        Just made these candles for the first time! It was fun and relaxing! Something to keep you zen during these difficult times. A little comforting light and soothing smell. I used Frasier Fir essential oil. ??

        Reply
        • Anna Sakawsky

          Yes! I love getting into little projects like this in stressful times. It really helps to refocus attention on something calming and productive at the same time.

          Reply
  14. Melia

    This was a great tutorial, thank you!! I was wondering, though, is it possible to add the oil individually to each jar if you want to do different scents? Some friends and I want to try this, but we all have different scent preferences.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Melia,

      Yes you could probably add the individual oils to each candle and maybe just gently stir them in with a toothpick. Just be careful not to stir them too quickly as this can cause the wax to splash up on the jar and can introduce air bubbles which might affect how smooth your finished candle is. And of course you’ll want to add a lot less. I would probably add maybe 20 to 25 drops of essential oils per 8oz candle. The alternative would be to make one batch of candles with specific oils and pour one for everyone and then do another batch, etc. so that each person has one of each different scent to take home. I hope this helps! Let me know how they turn out:)

      Reply
        • Tish Painter

          The link to Anna’s Free Resource Library is at the end of the article, highlighted in red.
          Follow the instructions and then you will get an email with the password to access the information in the library.
          Enjoy!

          Reply
    • Shona

      I am extremely new this and with all the research I have done I definitely want to go for the natural candles to make where could I connect with you more.

      Also was wondering if there are any more essential oils mixes you could recommend for my first collection please

      Reply
      • Anna Sakawsky

        Hi Shona,

        If you sign up for my Free Resource Library, there is a printable candle-making guide under the “Homesteading & Self-Sufficiency Resources” section that walks you through the candle-making process and has a bunch of recipes for essential oil combinations. It’s also got lots of great troubleshooting tricks and tips. PLUS, if you sign up for the Free Resource Library, you’ll get on my email list and will get to connect with me every week when I send out new content! (You can also reply to my emails and chat me anytime:) Heres the link to sign up: https://thehouseandhomestead.com/resource-library/

        Reply
  15. Asha shah

    Useful tutorial ,was searching.
    Thanks

    Reply
  16. Robyn

    A great tutorial! Can’t wait to try making them.

    Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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While we may not have control over most things in life, this is one area where we have complete control, and that's a good and comforting feeling.
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Sometimes when I look at our pantry full of home-canned food, even I find it hard to believe that I started canning just six years ago.

But while I’m 100% confident when it comes to canning food nowadays, I definitely didn’t start out that way.

When I canned my first batch of applesauce, I was so afraid that it would make my baby daughter sick that I refused to feed her a single spoonful, and I ate the rest with my fingers crossed that I’d live to tell the tale!

Then came my first batch of green beans. I hid around the corner as the pressure canner hissed and rattled, afraid it would blow up my kitchen. And after all was said and done, I was so scared to eat the beans that I had lovingly grown from seed and preserved that I ended up tossing every single jar in the garbage. Talk about a waste of food! (Not to mention time and effort).

After A LOT of time spent researching, learning and honing my canning skills, I now can HUNDREDS of jars of food each year, and I do so with absolute confidence knowing that each and every jar is safe to eat.

Nowadays I cringe when I see bad and even downright DANGEROUS canning advice floating around on the Internet (and sadly there’s A LOT of it out there). Because the last thing you want when you’re canning homegrown and/or homemade food for your family is to make them sick… or worse!

Luckily, canning food is 100% safe so long as you know the few simple rules you need to follow.

If you’re ready to start canning your own food at home so that you always have a pantry stocked with healthy, delicious and SAFE home-canned food to feed your family, ai’m hosting a free webinar this Saturday, July 24th where I’ll be teaching you the 6 simple rules for safe home canning, as well as how to safely tweak and adapt canning recipes, and even how you can take a favourite family recipe and make it safe to can.

Click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead to save your seat and bring any canning questions you have! I hope to see you there 🙂
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You may know him from his popular YouTube channel, @thejustinrhodesshow or like me, you may have first discovered him from his 2018 feature-length documentary, The Great American Farm Tour. Or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to have met him in person at one of the Homesteaders Of America conferences. Either way, odds are if you’ve been part of the modern homesteading world for any length of time, you’ve probably come across Justin Rhodes and his family before. And if you haven’t, then I'm thrilled to be the one to introduce you to the man of the hour!

A self-proclaimed "apron-wearing, permaculture chicken ninja-master," Justin opens up his permaculture homestead to almost one million people every week through his YouTube channel and inspires people to live a more sustainable and abundant life through homesteading, and specifically, through implementing permaculture principles and practices to their own homesteads in order to work smarter, not harder and produce more with less input.

He sat down with me for the permaculture issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine to talk more about his own personal philosophy and approach to homesteading, work and life in general, and to help break down the principles of permaculture into practical steps and concrete examples that anybody can understand and use to lessen their own workload while increasing their yields, and to bring a little bit of permaculture to their own homesteads, no matter how big or small.

Check out the video version of my interview with Justin on YouTube (link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://youtu.be/Ip2ymf9q_J8 to watch), OR read the full print interview with Justin, plus get access to even more exclusive content by subscribing to Modern Homesteading Magazine! Link in bio or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/magazine to subscribe for free and get the latest issue delivered straight to your inbox!
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Have you ever gleaned food before??⁠

If you're not familiar with gleaning, it's basically the act of harvesting and collecting excess or unwanted crops so that they don’t go to waste. Historically, gleaning was actually considered a human right in parts of Europe and the middle east. In fact, the right to glean was even written into the Old Testament!⁠

It was common practice to leave the excess crops in the field for the poor and peasant class to come glean, and in 18th century England it was the legal right of those without enough land of their own to grow food, to glean the fields of local farms after the majority of the crops were harvested. Similar laws existed in France too at the time.⁠

Nowadays an estimated 96 BILLION pounds of food is left in the fields and wasted before it even gets a chance to make it to market. And up to 50% of fruits and vegetables are discarded for being “ugly” or imperfect looking.⁠

Luckily gleaning is making a comeback in communities across North America and the world, and community food recovery programs are popping up all over to facilitate the process. ⁠

Every summer our family teams up with one of our local food organizations (@lushvalley) to glean unwanted food from around our community. Farmers and private owners will call to say they have crops that they need help harvesting, or a fruit tree or a grapevine that's dropping fruit that they don't want, and then a team will come out to glean it. In the end, the gleaners keep a portion of the food, the owner keeps a portion (if they want it) and the rest goes to local food banks and to those in the community who need it most. ⁠

This is just one of the ways we like to help our community and get a little free food for ourselves without having to grow it on our property. ⁠

To learn more about gleaning and about the other ways to get free organic food (without having to grow it yourself), click the link in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/3-ways-to-get-free-organic-food/
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I remember being so nervous when I canned my very first batch of applesauce...⁠

It was the first thing I ever canned at home, and I was sure I was going to get botulism and die if I ate it, or worse, that I would feed it to my 6-month old daughter and she would get botulism and die and my life would be over. ⁠

This might sound a little crazy for a seasoned canner who knows what they’re doing, but it’s a legitimate fear for new home canners who don’t yet understand the process. ⁠

In the end I did eat it myself, and lived to tell the tale! But I was too scared to feed it to Evelyn until about a year later when I was confident in what I was doing.⁠

Nowadays we can hundreds of jars of food every year, both with our water bath canner and our pressure canner. But if you're just starting out, water bath canning is the way to go. It's easy, it doesn't require a lot of special equipment, and there are sooo many foods that can be water bath canned and preserved for the winter!⁠

Jams, jellies, pickles, pie fillings, sauces and salsas, fruits and fruit butters... The possibilities aren't exactly endless, but there are enough recipes to keep you going for a long time without ever getting bored.⁠

Now is the time to learn how to can if you haven't yet! I'll be opening the doors to my canning course next week, but in the meantime, click the ink in my bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/water-bath-canning-beginners/ to get started!
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🧺 I've heard some horror stories about homemade laundry detergent.

Many people claim that homemade laundry detergents are either bad for your clothes, bad for your washing machine, or both. I’ve read many articles that claim homemade laundry soaps and detergents either don’t work (ie. leave clothes looking and smelling dirty), have discoloured people’s clothes (leaving whites yellow and colours looking dull), or left soap residue in the fibres of clothes. Some say it even ruined their washing machines, specifically front loaders and HE washing machines.

Not to mention the many online sources that claim that if your washing machine goes on the fritz during your warranty period and you’ve been using homemade laundry detergent, your warranty will be void.

On top of all of that, borax -a common ingredient used in homemade laundry detergent- has been called into question for safety reasons, as it can be toxic and even deadly if ingested or used indicated on skin.

It's enough to scare you away from ever trying to make your own laundry detergent at home 😱

However, I’ve been making and using homemade laundry detergent for about 2½ years now, and not only have I never had a problem with the recipe that I use, our clothes are as clean as ever, and our brand new (as of three years ago) Electrolux-brand HE front loader washing machine still runs perfectly well and has no built up soap residue.

Since we started making our own, we’ve easily saved a few hundred dollars on store-bought laundry detergent, which is honestly the biggest reason why we make our own at home.

I've been getting requests from readers for a homemade laundry detergent recipe for years now, but I wanted to find one that I was happy with before sharing. I can say with full confidence that I am very happy with the recipe I'm sharing with you today, but I can only say what has worked for me and my family. I implore you to do some research on the pros and cons of homemade detergent before making your own.

That being said, if you do decide to make your own, this is a great recipe! Link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-laundry-detergent-recipe/
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I sent a pretty vulnerable email out to my readers last weekend…

(Post 1/2)

I admitted that I spent my Sunday morning “crying in my coffee” because I feel like I’m really struggling in the garden this year; Moreso than any other year.

Our beans have been decimated multiple times by pill bugs (they even outsmarted my Diatomaceous Earth AND peppermint oil applications by resorting to eating the bean sprouts underground before they even had a chance to sprout!). Our cucumbers and squash are growing at a snail’s pace, and I’m still troubleshooting to figure out why. We’ve just overcome blossom end rot on our zucchinis and have yet to even taste one (normally they’re big enough to beat someone over the head with already). And I suspect the heatwave put a stop to our broccoli production, because we’ve got big leafy plants with no offshoots, and heads that were smaller than my fist this year.

We’ve had more plants eaten and ravaged by soil problems, disease and extreme temperature fluctuations than we’ve ever had before. The weeds were worse than they’ve ever been this spring (we finally got those under control with a lot of cardboard and mulch), and we’ve yet to really see a decent harvest from any of our vegetable crops.

BUT, the challenges we’ve faced this year have forced me to grow as a gardener, try new and innovative ways of dealing with problems, learn more about soil health, how to fix the issues we’re dealing with now and how to hopefully prevent these issues from being a problem in the future.

They’ve also made me grateful for what is working and for the crops that have produced. Many nearby farmers and gardeners lost their berry crops in the heatwave this year, but miraculously our strawberries, raspberries and blueberries are doing better this year than even before. Our herbs have done great and will provide us with more than we need for the year. Our peas were slow to start but did well in the end, basil and greens are going strong and we’ve got the most beautiful echinacea flowers in bloom right now from seeds we planted last year.

We also have our own compost for the first time ever.

(Continued in comments).
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*** CONTEST CLOSED ***

Congratulations to our winner @suzi.mayhem !!! Check your DMs for a message from me on how to claim your prize!

🍀Are you feeling lucky???

Because it’s time for a GIVEAWAY!!!

To celebrate Modern Homesteading Magazine’s upcoming two-year milestone, and in appreciation of our current sponsor @planttherapy (my favourite essential oils company in the world), we’re giving away a one-year membership level subscription to Modern Homesteading Magazine, which includes unlimited access to our entire digital library of issues, PLUS a 7&7 Set of essential oils from Plant Therapy.

To enter:

✨Like this post
✨Make sure you’re following @thehouseandhomestead and @planttherapy
✨Tag as many friends as you like below who might also be interested in this giveaway (every person you tag = an entry to win!)
✨Share this post to your IG Stories for a bonus entry!

You know the drill 😉

Contest ends Wednesday, July 14th at midnight PST. Winner will be announced on July 15th.

In the meantime, if you haven’t yet subscribed (for free) to receive new issues of Modern Homesteading Magazine straight to your inbox, head to the link in my bio to subscribe OR become a member and get access to all past issues right away! (If you win and you’re already a member, you can either choose to get your next year free once your membership is up for renewal, or you can gift your membership to a loved one:)

And if you wanna get your hands on the 7&7 Set (or any other Plant Therapy set), now is the time because right now you can save 20% on all Plant Therapy sets for a very limited time. Just enter code SETS20 at checkout OR enter code HOMESTEAD to get 10% off everything else site wide!

Links in bio @thehouseandhomestead to check out all of the above ☺️

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favour!
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🍒 July is synonymous with cherries, and that means CHERRY PIE!!!

But there’s only so much cherry pie one can eat on hot summer days. So instead, why not preserve some cherry pie filling to enjoy all year long!

This recipe for cherry pie filling includes full waterbath canning instructions so you can have your pie and eat it too, at any time of year!

Recipe link in bio @thehouseandhomestead or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/can-homemade-cherry-pie-filling/

Summer pie season (and canning season) has officially arrived 😉
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🍔 It took me 33 years to try making my own hamburgers from scratch.

I know, I know… I preach about making everything from scratch, and burger patties are like, entry level.

But if I’m being really honest, I never liked homemade burgers patties growing up. They were always dry and flavourless. My mom would bulk hers up with breads crumbs and huge chunks of onion, hardly any seasoning and then she’d cook them until they were charred and very well done. So when I grew up I found a grocery store brand that I liked and we always just bought those, along with some store-bought buns and called it good.

But as I started making my own mayo and BBQ sauce and pickles and relish and started topping our burgers with homegrown tomatoes and lettuce, I just couldn’t come to terms with the fact that I was using store-bought buns and patties.

Now, don’t get me wrong: we use store-bought burgers as they’re good in a pinch, but we’ve also perfected our homemade burger game, from the patties to the buns to the condiments and everything else in between!

The secret to our homemade patties is using grass fed beef and BACON. And no extra filler, other than seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and Worcestershire sauce).

But what really makes these next level are freshly made homemade hamburger buns! There is nothing like homemade bread of any kind, and hamburger buns are no exception. Plus they’re quicker and easier than you might think to whip together!

Click the link in my bio to get the full recipes for both my homemade Beef & Bacon Burger Patties AND my Homemade Hamburger Buns. You’ll also find links to my Homemade Mayo and Homemade Rhubarbecue Sauce to top your burgers with:)

To BBQ season! And to replacing store-bought everything, one simple recipe at a time;)
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