Soy wax is more affordable than beeswax and it is still a natural/organic kind of wax but it is more complex to work with: getting the perfect pour is tricky and it is one of the hardest to aromatize due to it’s own strong smell.
Since It is not recommended the use of paraffin due to it’s toxicity and beeswax is much more expensive, the use of soy wax became the logical choice for most of us! The thing is for those of us who have played with candle making in the past, this new material it is not as simple to work with as paraffin! Also, if it is your first time creating your own candles, you will find it hard too, because it has a list of steps that you must follow if you want to achieve perfection 😉
First of all you will need to choose the type of Soy wax and this is this is important. I love the microwave kind, it makes it easy for me to put it on the microwave and melt it in a couple of minutes mess-free! If you are more of a “stove top melt” kind of person, you will need a dedicated pot to melt the wax + a bigger pot with water to broil to create a double boiler. The pot that has the wax on it will need to be dedicated for this exclusively from now on (opposite of what happens when you microwave with a pyrex measurement cup that you can wash and re use with whatever else you need!), and you need to be extremely PATIENT and stir constantly until the wax is melted to avoid burning the wax.
Different brands tend to have different needs, but this recipe I’ve found to be the most universal as a rule for soy candle making:
Melting point: you will need to put your hands in a cooking thermometer because soy wax is really delicate and you will need to reach specific temperatures to ensure a smooth/flawless finish. You need to melt your wax and let it reach 175-180 degrees (approx. 80 degrees Celsius for people reading from other countries). If you melt your wax without reaching this point and rush to pour it, it will sunk and it will not be smooth in the top. Trust me on this one: you need it to reach the 175 degrees. Make sure the temperature never goes higher than 190, (again 180 is the perfect point), otherwise your wax will burn. Depending the temperatures (too cool or too hot) it can create sinkholes next to the wick, detachment from the container walls, bubbles or a white uneven coating on the top among other issues.
Color: this is a tricky one, since it depends on the intensity and type of dye you are using. Also depends on the temperature of your candle, so the color stays vibrant. Once the soy wax is around 175 degrees, you can start adding your dye. It is recommended to use as much as you like but 3 drops of candle dye per lb. tends to do the trick just fine. You may have to experiment with your dyes or even if you use crayons or wax dye, it may need to be grated and melted with the wax to integrate.
Fragrance: for me this was always the trickiest point. Soy wax already has a type of strong smell that is hard to miss, and it can be hard to make your candle smell just like you want it having this strong base smell. Now, we already know that our soy wax needs to reach a minimum temperature of 175 degrees, so it is important that once you have it at that temperature, you stir to make sure all the components are integrated, and let it cool until reaches 160-165 degrees (around 70 Celsius) before adding the fragrance. This is important because if it is too hot it may burn the fragrance all together and will not smell nice as you hoped for. If you add it when is too cool then it may not integrate well and it could generate weird color spots. How much to add? this is the worst for me!! I tend to add 20 drops per 2 cups of unmelted soy wax, mostly because of the strong soy smell this wax already has, but you can check this detailed explanation from candlescience where they tell everything about proportions and brands.
Pouring: Once you added the dye (optional of course) and the scent, you will need to stir until the wax reaches the perfect pouring temperature of 140-145 (around 60 Celsius) to pour it. This is extremely important, since you will need to let it cool a bit if you look to have perfect looking candles, but still need to stir to make sure it’s components are perfectly blended. Depending on your soy wax, you may even need to go further and wait until the wax is around 130 degrees before pouring to make sure it sits properly so you will need to experiment a bit with this part. Also the wick (cotton, wooden, etc.) can make a difference, but you can check and see. This temperature will make it almost perfect every time, the final touch will depend on your components and sometimes room temperature!
- Do not use a fan near your melted wax, this makes the wax to dry and cool in an uneven way and it does not help to make flawless finish.
- Do not over heat, remember it is important not to burn the wax
- Cold room temperatures help to lower the wax temperature sooner, so keep that on mind when melting and working with dye and aroma.
- If you buy microwave ready soy wax, you can easily use glass measurement cups and clean well after to keep using, avoiding extra steps.
- It is tempting to use candle wicks without the metal sustainer tab, but that does not result well most of the times and it may ruin your hard work.
- Make sure your wick is secured to the bottom of the container, you can buy candle wick stickers (recommended for simple reuse of the container after done) or use a drop of hot glue gun for disposable containers.
- Do not underestimate the value of the wick centering device to help you achieve perfect candles every time.
- You can use almost anything as a container for your candle, but if you use glass, make sure it is heat resistant!