Candles are surprisingly simple – and immensely satisfying – to make at home. A lovely way to celebrate Mabon (the Autumn Equinox) this week; you can see me making them in my IG TV. The process of melting the wax, stirring in the scent and hand pouring each candle is so therapeutic, not to mention making your kitchen smell delicious. For candle containers, you can fill everyday objects, from recycled jam jars to thrifted enamel mugs. A little initial outlay on wicks, soy wax (I use eco Moldmaster wax) and candle fragrance oil (I’ve linked the company I’ve used in the past but there are lots of other options) is worth the investment when you can gift your hand poured candles for Christmas for a fraction of the price – and a lot more thoughtfulness – than your average high street candle. It’s the perfect craft for this time of year too, so slow down and embrace that creative flow.
Soy wax is an effective, sustainable source that is easy to use and less expensive than beeswax. An added benefit is that soy wax is vegan too and is a far more sustainable resource made naturally from soya beans – and it doesn’t release any nasty chemicals when burnt, so you don’t have to worry about emissions. What’s more, it burns far more efficiently and throws scent more widely than paraffin candles, so your candle will not only burn longer but it will scent your rooms more effectively too! You don’t need any specialist equipment – everyday kitchen items are sufficient unless you’re going into production! I use an old pan and have an old, chipped Pyrex jug dedicated to candle-making, plus a thermometer that I used to use for making fudge at Christmas. You can buy jam jars in bulk from the likes of Wilko, or simply save up old jars and containers to repurpose them. The great thing is, they can be re-filled over and over again once you know how – you could even ask gift recipients to return their jars for a refill. Here’s how to make soy wax candles – you will need:
Jar or container
Soy wax flakes
Candle fragrance oil
Large jug (for melting the wax)
Small jug (for measuring the candle fragrance oil)
Palette knife (for stirring)
1) First of all, collect all your materials and equipment so that everything is all ready to go and your receptacles are prepped. Measure everything out: take the jar or receptacle you want to pour your candle into and fill it with water up to the height you want to pour your candle to. Weigh the amount so you know how much wax to use. Weigh the corresponding amount of wax into the large jug and set aside.
2) Calculate the amount of candle fragrance oil you need – I use 8%: if your receptacle holds 200g, you will need 16ml candle fragrance oil. Measure the fragrance oil into a small jug and set aside.
3) Prepare your receptacle by sticking your wick to the base, pressing it firmly into the middle.
4) Fill your pan with a few centimetres of water and place your jug of wax in the pan so that the bottom few centimetres of the jug are under water. Place the pan on the hob over a low-medium heat and bring the water to a gentle simmer.
5) Stir the wax to ensure an even distribution of heat in the jug. Gradually it will start to turn to liquid. Keep an eye on the temperature at this point.
6) Once your wax reaches 65 degrees Celsius it is ready for fragrance oil! Turn off the heat and carefully remove the jug from the pan (watch the bottom for drips). Place it on a heat-proof surface and slowly pour in your fragrance oil. Stir continually for two minutes to ensure the fragrance is evenly distributed.
7) Now you’re ready to pour: slowly and steadily pour the wax from the jug into the prepared receptacle. The wick will fall to one side – you want it to be central, so either hold it until it starts to set (it should hold itself in place quite quickly) or use the knife to prop it against – or even a peg or fancy wick centrer!
8) Leave the candle to set: it will turn from a clear yellowy liquid to white solid. Even if it looks set, don’t move it for a good few hours as it can still be liquid inside.
9) Set aside to cure for at least a week before burning for best results. When you’re ready to use (or gift) the candles, simply trim the wick to 0.5 centimetres with a sharp pair of scissors.