How to Make a Soy Candle with Essential Oils

Whether you want to create a customised home scent for yourself or are looking for your next home crafting project to make thoughtful gifts for friends and family, candle making can be a lot of fun. We absolutely love natural waxes and fragrances, so this post is focused on using soy wax and essential oils, which are better for your health and the environment. 

Many conventional scented candles use paraffin wax which produces more soot when burnt than soy wax and it is derived from crude oil that is a non-renewable resource. Artificially created from chemical compounds, fragrance oils are widely available for candle making, but though these synthetic fragrances are strong smelling and cost effective, they do not possess the same health benefits as essential oils.

Essential oils are naturally derived compounds, extracted from plants via distillation or cold-pressing. The result is a highly potent scent that, depending on the plant, can have numerous therapeutic and medicinal benefits. Examples of essential oils used frequently in aromatherapy include lavender and chamomile for relaxation, peppermint and eucalyptus for sinus congestion, bergamot and jasmine for reducing anxiety and many more. 

Making a Soy Candle at Home

Let’s look at how to make a soy candle for a wonderful long-lasting clean burn.

Here’s what you will need:

  • A container for your candle (perhaps a jam jar, old teacup or a small ceramic pot)

  • Soy wax flakes (enough to fill your container twice)

  • Essential oils (experiment with whatever scents you enjoy)

  • Cotton or hemp wicks (avoid those with a metallic core as these can create harmful residue)

  • Glue dots or heat resistant glue for sticking the base of the wick down (and something to hold the wick upright - chopsticks, pegs or pencils will do)

  • A double boiler or simply a small saucepan and a glass bowl 

  • Wooden spoon for mixing 

Instructions:

  1. Ensure your jars are clean and dry. If you are going to label your jars, we would suggest leaving this to the end so that the heat from the melted wax doesn’t interfere with them. Stick your wick to the bottom of the jar, taking care to place it centrally so that the candle will burn evenly. Keep the wick straight.

  2. For the soy wax, you can either weigh out the amount you need for your container(s) using digital kitchen scales or you can estimate the amount by filling your container with wax flakes, leaving a couple of centimetres at the top, and repeating once more. Because the solid wax flakes will melt down to approximately half their original volume, you should get a pretty good measure using this method

  3. Place your measured wax flakes in a double boiler or use a saucepan that is slightly smaller than your glass bowl so that the bowl doesn’t sit on the bottom but rests on the rim of the pan. Add an inch or so of water to the pan and bring to a simmer until all the wax has melted.

  4. Set the glass bowl aside and allow to cool slightly before adding in your essential oils. This helps the candle to set evenly, as a rapid temperature change can create air bubbles and shrinkage. It also stops the scent from the essential oils evaporating before the candle is ready for use. 

  5. When the wax has cooled to around 60°C but is still liquid, you can mix in your essential oils. To get a noticeable scent when you burn your candle, you will want to add about 100 drops of essential oils to every 500g of wax. Therefore, a standard 220g jam jar which will have approximately 200g of wax (allowing for room at the top), will require 40 drops of essential oils. 

  6. With your essential oils well mixed into the soy wax, it’s time to pour! Being careful to keep the wick upright, slowly pour the wax into the jar(s) and allow to set in-situ for 24 hours and you have got yourself a beautiful scented candle!

Upon first using your handmade candle, trim the wick down to about 5mm so that the flame doesn’t flicker out of control as this will shorten the lifespan of your candle and can cause a sootier burn. We also suggest that you light your candle for 2 hours upon the first burn or until the top layer of wax melts completely. A short initial burn will create a memory ring, causing tunnelling for the life of the candle where wax around the edges of the container will never fully melt. 

Essential Oil Combinations for Candles

With an array of health benefits, both mental and physical, essential oils can be combined to create beautiful scent combinations. Here are some of our favourite essential oil combinations for your homemade soy wax candles using balanced combinations of top, middle and base notes: 

  • Relaxing spa experience - Rosemary, Eucalyptus and Lemon Verbena

  • Stress busting - Frankincense, Patchouli and Mandarin 

  • Concentration and focus - Orange, Lemongrass and Cedarwood 

  • Positive attitude - Vetiver, Bergamot and Grapefruit

  • Bath time bliss - Jasmine, Neroli and Rose Geranium

  • Outdoor bug repellent - Citronella, Peppermint and Tea Tree

Our hand poured signature scented candle uses lavender and rose geranium essential oils which are celebrated for their mood enhancing benefits. With a 40 hour burn time, zero artificial additives and an ECO cotton candle wick, you could just save yourself the mess of making a candle and let us do it for you!

Thanks for reading. Stay posted for future “how to” articles, industry topic discussions and the latest interior design trends.