About a month ago, Kim and I ventured into the giddy world of candle making. So much fun, as it takes me back to primary school, when we used sand and old cardboard milk carton to pour molten wax into, to make candles. So during this post, I am going to show you the process of making soy wax candles.
Kim bought a kit on-line which consisted of 2kg of soy wax, about 50 wicks and metal thingies and some colour discs. We had saved lots of salsa jars which were just perfect for holding our candles. Nothing quite like reusing stuff that most people would probably throw away or hopefully recycle.
We chose soy wax as it was more eco-friendly than paraffin, however we realise that it is not as eco-friendly as bees wax. Bees wax was just too expensive, so we opted for soy. Instructions came with the kit, however here is how Kim made them (click to enlarge any photo).
Firstly she crimped the wick onto the metal thing, and each metal thing had a sticker on the bottom to keep it from moving when the wax was poured in.
We then poked holes through some ice-cream sticks and threaded the wicks through them and placed them in the jars.
Kim then got out the wax,
Placed about a litre in volume pressed down into a pyrex jug,
Then zapped it in the microwave for between 1 – 2 minutes, or until it melted and went yellow. Note that once melted we got about 500ml of liquid wax.
Then she took the jug out of the microwave, and whilst hot we broke a colour disk,
and stirred it into the melted wax. We didn’t need to put it back in the microwave as there was enough existing heat to do the job.
It looked very dark in colour, but the instructions said it would lighten when it cooled.
Gently, she poured it in, making sure that she did not disturb the wick.
Kim poured it up to the lip of the jar, so that the wax had a well to melt into when lit.
We filled up 8 salsa jars in this manner, and let them cool overnight. Do not touch them, or you will disturb the wax and the wick.
Once solid, I trimmed the wicks. Note the little dip around the wick. This is because the wick soaks up some of the wax, but it is not an issue as when you light them, it soon melts and fixes this up.
As always, Kim got very artistic and glued a butterfly on each jar. I think they look very pretty.
I suppose the question you are all asking is do they work? Well, categorically, yes they do. We lit them for a party and they burned down about an 2.5cm (an inch) in 6 hours. They burn with a nice even fame, with minimal flickering and no smoke or smell. Quite lovely really. At least making soy wax candles is natural, unlike paraffin which is made from oil.
Well done Kim!
Update November 2015: Since I wrote this post Kim now sells the soy wax, candle supplies, and equipment over at Little Green Workshops. Check out her comprehensive range of soy candle kits as well!