Soy wax is a natural and renewable wax made from soybean oil. It has gained popularity in the candle-making industry due to its many benefits. It is easy to work with and provides an excellent scent throw, making it the perfect choice for making homemade, scented soy candles. Whether you're a candle-making enthusiast or looking to create beautiful candles as homemade gifts, learn how to melt soy wax and what temperature to heat it to with our candle guide.
Benefits of using soy wax
When it comes to learning how to make soy wax candles, soy is a popular choice among crafters and hobbyists alike. Not only is it easy to work with, but it also offers a variety of benefits that make it a great option for creating beautiful and environmentally friendly soy candles as gifts.
One of the main advantages of using soy wax is its eco-friendly nature. Soy wax is derived from soybean oil, which is a renewable resource. Unlike paraffin wax, which is made from petroleum, soy wax is biodegradable and does not release harmful toxins when burned. This makes it a much more sustainable choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Reports also boast how the soy plant grows quicker than it can be harvested.
Another benefit of soy wax is its slow-burning properties. Soy candles tend to have a longer burn time compared to other types of candles, making them a cost-effective option. With a soy candle, you can enjoy the warm ambience and beautiful fragrance for a longer period of time.
It is versatile and works well for container candles. Whether you prefer glass jars, tins, teacups, or tea lights, soy wax easily moulds to fit your desired container. This allows you to get creative and experiment with various shapes and sizes when making your candles.
Supplies needed for melting soy wax
Before you can start making fragrance-free or scented candles, it is important to gather all the necessary supplies for melting soy wax. Here are the essential items you will need:
1. Soy Wax: Choose a high-quality soy wax specifically made for candle making. It is available in different forms, such as flakes or blocks, depending on your preference. Flakes or beads are easier and quicker to melt down because of the lower surface area. A large block of soy wax will take longer to melt down into a full liquid.
2. Double Boiler or Melting Pot: A double boiler is the safest method for melting soy wax, as it provides indirect heat. A wax melter helps to reduce the liquid, and it's important to keep stirring the liquid if you spot any large chunks taking a while to melt. If you don't have a double boiler, you can use a melting pot or a heat-resistant container placed in a larger pot of simmering water.
3. Heat Source: You will need a heat source, such as a stovetop or a portable electric burner, to melt the wax. Make sure you have a medium heat setting to prevent the wax from overheating or scorching. Other options include a microwave, but be careful not to scorch the wax or melt a small weight at high heat. Melt the wax slowly.
4. Thermometer: A thermometer is essential for monitoring the temperature of the wax. It ensures that the wax reaches the optimal pouring temperature, usually between 130°F and 180°F (54°C - 82°C), depending on the type of wax. It's also needed for knowing when the best time is to add colourants and fragrance oils. You can either opt for a stick thermometer to place in the container or a digital laser thermometer.
5. Fragrance Oil: To add scent to your candles, choose a fragrance oil specifically designed for candle making. Make sure to follow the recommended fragrance load for the type of wax you are using. You should check how much and when to add fragrance on the wax manufacturer's instructions. Avoid adding more than the recommended amount, as a wax molecule can only hold so much fragrance. Any extra will be unblended and is a hazard when the candle is lit.
6. Candle Wicks: Select the appropriate wick size for the diameter of your glass containers. It is important to choose high-quality cotton or wood wicks to ensure a clean and even burn. Finding a wick can be a long process, each container type and size can affect what wick should be used. Expect trial and error.
7. Containers: Choose glass jars, tins, or any heat-resistant containers to hold your melted wax. Make sure they are clean and free of any debris. Glass containers must be for candles, choosing a normal glass jar that hasn't undergone heat testing could mean they break and smash when the candle is burning.
With these essential supplies, you are ready to start melting soy wax and embark on your candle-making journey.
Love citrus? Try our Lemongrass & Persian Lime soy candle.
Step-by-step guide to melting soy wax for homemade candles
A double boiler is a classic tool used in candle making to safely melt soy wax. It consists of two pots stacked on top of each other, with the bottom pot filled with water and the top pot used to hold the wax. The indirect heat from the steam produced by the simmering water helps to melt the wax slowly and evenly, without the risk of overheating or scorching.
To set up a double boiler, begin by filling a large pot or saucepan with an inch or two of water. Place a heat-resistant pouring container, such as a heatproof glass measuring cup or a metal pouring pot (recommended), into the pot of water. Make sure the glass containers are stable and won't tip over.
Next, place the pot on the stove over medium heat and allow the water to come to a gentle simmer. Once the water is simmering, add the soy wax to the pouring container. It's important to break the wax into smaller pieces or use soy wax flakes for easier melting.
As the wax begins to melt, use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. The ideal pouring temperature for soy wax is typically between 130°F and 180°F (54°C - 82°C), depending on the specific type of wax being used. Stir the melting wax occasionally to ensure even heat distribution.
Using a double boiler ensures that the wax is melted gently and evenly, resulting in beautiful and high-quality soy wax candles. Remember to always use caution when working with heat and hot wax, and follow all safety guidelines to ensure a successful and safe candle-making experience.
Melting wax in the microwave
The microwave method requires a microwave-safe pouring container. Cut the soy wax into small pieces or use flakes, then place them in the container. Heat in short bursts, stirring between each burst, until fully melted.
It is essential to be cautious with this method, as overheating can cause the wax to burn or catch fire. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature, aiming for the same range as the double boiler method. Once melted, remove carefully from the microwave and pour into clean candle containers, adding fragrance oil and candle wicks.
Whichever method you choose, follow all precautions and never leave melting wax unattended. Ensure a safe and enjoyable candle-making experience by using the appropriate heat source and carefully monitoring the temperature.
Using a wax melter
A wax melter is a convenient and efficient tool for melting soy wax and creating beautiful scented candles whether that's watermelon or something sweet like a cookie scent. If you're crafting at home or for gifts with friends you won't need to splash out on one of these. But if you want a more sophisticated operation, they are very handy.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use a wax melter for melting soy wax:
1. Set up your wax melter: Place the wax melter on a stable table or counter, ensuring it's near an electric outlet. Plug in the melter and make sure it's turned on. Follow the guide from the manufacturer, i.e. if the lip should be on or off during the heating process.
2. Adjust the temperature: Most wax melters come with temperature control and timer settings. Adjust the temperature based on the type of wax you're using. For soy wax, a medium heat setting usually works well. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for specific guidance.
3. Add the wax: Place solid soy wax pieces or chunks into the pot of the wax melter. Be sure to leave some room at the top as the wax will expand when melted. Also make sure you have enough in there too, too little wax can cause it to overheat very quickly and scorch the bottom of the container.
4. Monitor the wax: As the wax begins to heat up, keep a close eye on it. Stir occasionally with a heat-resistant utensil to ensure even melting and to prevent any hot spots.
5. Fully melt the wax: Allow the wax to melt completely, ensuring there are no solid chunks left. This process may take some time depending on the amount of wax used and the power of the melter.
6. Pour or use the spigot: Once the wax has melted, you can either pour it directly into candle containers or use the spigot (if your melter has one) for easy dispensing. Be careful not to spill or splash hot wax.
Spice up your decor with our Goji Berry & Blood Orange soy candle
Adding fragrance oil and candle colourants
Once the wax has reached the desired temperature, it is ready to be used for candle making.
Carefully remove the pouring container from the double boiler, taking care to avoid any contact with the hot water. For scented soy candles, measure accurately the candle fragrance oil amount you need for how many homemade candles you're making.
Always use fragrances specifically curated for candles.
Candle dyes melt more easily the hotter the wax is, so it's easier to add dye chips or liquid colourant after you take it off the heat. Stir evenly until the dye is fully incorporated. To see how bold or deep the shade is, you can allow a few drops of wax to dry on a white kitchen paper towel.
For adding fragrance, always follow the instructions from the manufacturer and oil maker. Pour the melted wax into clean and heat-resistant candle jars. In most cases, fragrance oils are added at a lower temperature, so wait patiently before adding them in. Ensure it's evenly distributed and stir evenly, as any unmixed fragrance oil can be a fire hazard.
Measuring soy wax - how much do you need for candles?
When it comes to making soy wax candles, it's important to measure the right amount of wax for melting. To determine the size of the candle jars and the amount of wax needed, you can use a simple ratio of double the size of the container to the weight of soy wax flakes.
For example, if you have 10-ounce container jars, you'll need approximately 20 ounces of soy wax flakes for each. This ratio ensures that the melted wax will fill the container properly, leaving room for any additions such as fragrance oil or dyes.
Exact measurements are not necessary when it comes to melting soy wax, making it a fun and easy process. Simply use a kitchen scale or a measuring cup to determine the weight of the soy wax flakes needed based on the size of your container candles.
You can also use a soy wax calculator found online to work out how much wax and fragrance oil you need.
What temperature does candle wax melt?
Different types of candle wax have varying melting temperatures. The melting point of candle wax depends on the specific wax type being used. Here are the melting temperatures for commonly used candle waxes:
1. Soy Wax: Soy wax is a popular choice among candle makers due to its natural ingredients and clean burning qualities. Soy wax has a relatively low melting point, typically melting between 110°F and 130°F (43°C and 54°C).
2. Paraffin candles: Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum and is commonly used in candle making. It has a higher melting point compared to soy wax, typically melting between 120°F and 150°F (49°C and 65°C).
3. Beeswax candles: Beeswax is a natural wax produced by bees. It has a high melting point, typically melting between 144°F and 147°F (62°C and 64°C).
4. Gel Wax: Gel wax is a transparent and rubbery wax that allows for unique candle creations. It has a higher melting point than other waxes, typically melting between 160°F and 200°F (71°C and 93°C).
Using a heat gun or hair dryer
Sometimes, making container candles at home you come across some issues. It may be the wick fell down and is buried after drying, or the surface of your cured candle is blotchy, uneven and has holes. Soy wax can often lead to uneven tops, it's just part of the process. But if you want to make them look nicer and cleaner, you can use a gentle amount of heat to re-melt the top couple of centimetres.
Heat guns are devices you can use, as well as a hair dryer at home. Although heat guns are easier to control as they have a more direct airflow.
To start, make sure the candle is cool and not lit. Carefully wipe away any debris or excess wax from the surface. Next, set your heat gun or hair dryer to high heat.
Hold the heat gun or hair dryer about 6-8 inches above the candle, focusing on the problem area. Move the device around in a circular motion, evenly distributing the heat. As the wax melts, gently prodding any unmelted wax can help it liquefy and blend with the rest.
Continue this process until the small layer of candle wax has melted completely and evenly. Take care not to overheat the wax, as it can become too hot and pose a safety risk. When happy, leave the candle aside on a level surface to dry.
Looking for the perfect soy candle gift for someone special? Our gift sets are ready-made to save you the trouble.