At Christmas time, it is almost mandatory to burn candles to invoke the holiday spirit. During no other holiday do we burn more candles. They add a cozy atmosphere to the home, and are a part of tradition in almost every part of the world. In medieval times it was customary to represent Christ the Lord by a burning candle. Hanukkah is the "feast of lights." Placing lighted candles in the windows at Christmas was brought to America by the Irish. During the English persecution of Ireland, priests hid in woods and caves and were guided to homes to celebrate Mass by a candle burning in the window. Making candles for Christmas is not only fun, it helps us celebrate. This article walks you through the process of making soy candles for Christmas.
Soy candles have many advantages over traditional beeswax and paraffin candles. Let's look at the advantages:
Making Soy Candles
- Soy is cheaper than traditional beeswax or paraffin tapers
- Soy doesn't produce soot.
- Soy wax is made from a renewable source.
- Soy candles do not increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere.
- Soy candles last 50% longer than beeswax or paraffin
- Soy wax cleans easily with soap and water
- Soy candles give off a better fragrance.
Soy candles can be made in three easy steps. Soy comes in both block and flakes. Using flakes is easier as they melt quicker. Here is a list of ingredients:
Working With Soy
- Soy wax, either block or flake
- Pyrex measuring cup - preferably 2 cup capacity
- Cotton wick, readily available, use size suited to container
- 1 ounce of fragrance oil
- Wax dye to color candle
- Glass container - pint size Mason jars work well
- Super glue
Soy is easier and safer to work with than beeswax because it has a lower melting point - generally 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit. The flash point for soy -- the point where it will burst into flame by itself -- is 600 degrees, while wax has a flash point of only 395 degrees, making soy much safer to work with. Let's go step by step:
- Measure out 2 cups of soy flake into the Pyrex cup. The goal is to have 15 ounces of melted soy wax. There are two methods of doing this - either in the microwave or in a double boiler on the stove top. Melt the flakes in a heavy-duty plastic bag placed in boiling water. If using the microwave, watch the soy wax closely and stir it often as it begins to melt.
- When the wax has melted, pour in the fragrance. Add 1 ounce of fragrance to 15 ounces of wax. Be sure that the fragrance is compatible with soy wax. Next add the dye you have chosen.
- Using super glue, affix the wick to the bottom of the glass container. Wicks come with a small metal disk attached at the bottom to facilitate this process. Ensure the wick is long enough to drape over the side of the container.
- Slowly pour in the melted wax with fragrance and dye added. Some people warm the glass container for fear of it breaking from the hot wax. The secret is to pour in the wax slowly. Fill the container to the desired level, and hold the wick in the center of the melted wax until it has hardened sufficiently to keep it there.
- Trim the wick to 5 mm length above the top of the wax. A wick that is too long causes the wax to melt too quickly.
At clean-up time, Soy candle-making equipment can be washed with soap and water.
The process of making soy candles is easy. You will be rewarded with a candle that lasts a long time, is friendly to the environment, and comes from a renewable source. Make some today for the holiday season, and celebrate your own "festival of lights".
Need more holiday craft ideas? Visit our holiday craft section for more great articles!
Alden Smith is an award winning author and regular contributor to DoItYourself.com. He writes on a variety of subjects, and excels in research.