Thursday, January 17, 2013

Six Homemade Gifts // Gift Four: Soy Candles

I love candles! I enjoy all the various scents, the playfulness of the fire dancing on the wick, the warm glow.

The only problem is that most conventional candles are packed with carcinogens. From the lead based wick to the paraffin wax, candles may not be as friendly as they seem. There are plenty of safe, soy wax candles on the market, but they are definitely more expensive.

So last month I made my own and gifted some for Christmas. It was so easy - just melt and pour! I even experimented with adding essential oils for varied scents. I need more practice with oils. But the scent is subtly there and the candles are still beautiful!

half pint mason jars
lead-free wicks
soy wax flakes
essential oils

Note: I purchased my soy wax and wicks at Michael's craft store. Their 4-lb box of soy was around $22 which I only purchased because I had a 40% coupon. I also used a coupon on the wicks (originally $5ish). You might be able to hunt the internet for some cheaper deals.

I don't have the ability to measure wax by pound, so I just decided to wing it. Based on online research and my guesstimating, one pound yields about 3 half pint jar candles.

1. Prepare jars and wicks. Make sure jars are clean. Secure wicks to the bottom of the jar. You can buy special wick tab adhesive....or just do your own little dab of glue. (I used a tiny bit of hot glue.)

2. You will want to make sure the wick stands up straight. You can buy a little tool for this too. Or you can just do this:

It totally worked and I have a few more bucks still in my bank account. ;)

3. Pour soy wax into a double boiler. Or (continuing the frugal theme) rig a large glass measuring cup over the side of a larger pot.

4. Stir the wax as it melts. I let it set in the double boiler for a minute after melting just to be sure.

5. Remove from heat and stir in essential oils if you choose to use them. I can't yet tell you exactly how much to use because mine didn't turn out as strong as I would like. I read that 20 drops per pound of wax is might depend on the scent as well. Give it a try!

6. Pour the wax...very slowly...into the jars. Go slow to avoid air bubbles.

7. Leave the jars to cool, then trim the wicks and seal them up!

Just so you have an idea of how inexpensive this project can be, here is what I spent:
Wax (4lbs) - $13.99 after coupon
Wicks - $2.54 after coupon
3 Flat jelly jars - $1ea
9 Quilted jelly jars - $0.75ea
Essential oils - ? maybe used $1-$2 worth
TOTAL $28.28

I made nine candles and it looks like I have enough for three more candles. So it the cost was around $2.35/candle! I think that's pretty good for an 8oz soy candle! The cheapest I've seen for purchase is $4. Plus I got the joy of making them. :)