So you have some soy candle recipes and now it’s time to purchase soy wax, wicks, jars, fragrance oils and dye.
I will tell you, if you can do without the dye and just go with the natural creamy color of the soy wax, it will save you a good deal of time and hassle trying to get the right colors for each fragrance. Besides that, candles with more dye in them may need a hotter wick, so you’ll have to do thorough testing. I know of a couple popular soy candle companies that don’t use color.
But colors are nice, just something to think about.
What Kind of Soy Wax to Use?
This can vary. Because shipping is high for wax, I have always used the supplier closest to me, Candlesoylutions, thankfully only 45min. away so I can go pick my supplies up if the gas is going to be less than the shipping charges. The wax I use is called Enchanted Lites and I highly recommend it. I have tried one other brand, Ecosoya Xcel, but it just didn’t do it for me for my container candles. I had all sorts of problems with the way it cooled and separated from the jar, so since then, I’ve just stuck with Enchanted Lites soy wax for my votive wax and container wax.
Soy wax quality and performance will vary from company to company, so I suggest getting samples of different types before settling on one. If you have a candle supply company close to you though, you may want to just get used to working with whatever brand they carry unless it just does not perform well. Sometimes it just takes time to get used to working with the wax. I’ve read many great reviews about the Ecosoya Xcel, so obviously it works well for others.
Testing Wick Sizes
Next you need to find some wicks for testing. This is the hardest part of soy candle making, but the most important! You don’t want a customer, family and friends, or yourself, burning an unsafe candle. You also want to be sure you are making the best for them (and you).
Finding the right size wick depends on the size of jar you are using, type of fragrance oil and amount of fragrance oil and dye. I can’t tell you exactly what size wick to use for different sizes of jars or containers, but I can give you a good starting point from my own testing. Climate and elevation can also affect how your candles burn, so what works for me here in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, may not work for you. So you must test!
Here are some wick sizes to start you out. You should buy some a bit smaller and some a bit larger also to test with for each size.
- 4oz jelly jars : CD 12 or HTP 104
- 8oz square Mason Jars: CD 16 or 18, or HTP 105
- 16oz square Mason Jars: CD 16 or 18, or HTP 105
I used to use the HTP wicks which seemed to work best out of all the other wicks I had tried, but still could not keep them from mushrooming and I knew there had to be a wick out there that didn’t mushroom much. Then I found the CD wicks! I fell in love. So I really suggest you start with the CD wicks and see how they work for you. Bitter Creek Candle Supply has a pack where you get 5 of each of all 12 sizes for $9.00.
Fragrance oils will also vary from company to company. Fragrance oils are the most expensive part of the soy candle, usually costing around $1.00 per oz give or take, if you buy by the pound, and more per oz if you buy in smaller amounts. You’ll most likely use from 1 to 1.5 oz per lb of wax. So it’s important to make sure you start with quality oils that will throw well. There’s nothing more disappointing than buying a bunch of oils and then finding out they don’t throw well!
So the first thing is to find a good supplier that is known for oils that throw well in soy and are not diluted. I will list a few fragrance oil suppliers below that I’ve had good experiences with their candle fragrance oils, you can also click here to view a list of fragrances I personally liked from each supplier:
- Candle Cocoon– Excellent throw in the oils I’ve tried. They sell unique fragrance blends as well as some traditional ones. I’ve fallen in love with quite a few of the samples I’ve tried. They do cost more, but you can use less since they are highly concentrated. Their oils are definitely high quality for soy candle making and worth it! You can order 1 ounce samples to try which I highly recommend!
- Candlesoylutions– I’ve gotten most of my oils from them since they are only 45min. away. I’ve had great experience with most of their oils I’ve tried and they are specifically made for soy candle making. They are an excellent company to deal with too!
- Bramble Berry– I’ve used a few of their oils and have bought small amounts of their essential oils to try out. Bramble berry is an excellent company and the fragrance oils I’ve tried had great scent throw in my soy candles. I never really got to experiment with the essential oils in the candles, but I will soon and post my thoughts on the website. They do smell wonderful in the bottle though!
Now I suggest buying just a few sample size oils to start with for your testing. Maybe just start with 2-4 fragrances.
Choose which size container you want to start testing. For this example I will use an 8oz square Mason jar. So I would make 2 candles which would use 1lb of wax. See How To Make Soy Jar Candles for the recipe. Then just choose 2 different sizes of wicks to test. Once your candles are cool, make sure to wait at least 2 days before you test them, but it is advised that waiting a week or two is best. Some fragrances need the longer cure time to give off the best fragrance throw. I know it’s hard, but you want to make sure they are cured enough so you’ll get accurate results.
Make sure you label both candles so you know what size wick is in each as well as the type of wax and fragrance. Remember, if one size wick doesn’t burn well right off the bat, you can stop testing that one and remelt the wax and try a different wick.
Time To Test….
So, now you’re ready to start testing! I always enjoyed testing the candles, especially if I was testing a new fragrance.
Test one candle at a time so you can gauge the scent throw while it’s burning.
Take out a note pad and write down the 2 candles you are testing, fragrance and wick size. Under each, write amount of fragrance used, amount of dye and what time you started burning them and then the end time for that session. Remember, you should only burn for 5 hours straight at the most or else the wick will get too long. You may even need to stop at around 4 hours.
Next you want to write down the size of the melt pool before you stop the burn session. So write down how deep the melt pool is and if it went all the way to the edge at the end of the burn time.
Then you’ll want to write down how strong or weak the candle smelled. Maybe on a scale from 1-5.
After each session is done, put out the candle, let it cool completely before trimming the wick and starting another testing session.
Like I said before, if a candle is not doing well right off the bat(smoking, mushrooming way too much, no scent throw at all after an hour) make sure to make note of it, and then you can stop testing and remelt the wax so you can try another wick. If the melt pool is not deep enough (1/4 inch-1/2inch) or hasn’t melted to the edge after a couple test sessions, then you can also melt it down and try a bigger wick.
If you do melt a candle back down to try again, you do not need to heat it much. Just heat it until it is melted enough to pour into another jar.
If the melt pool is too deep, the wick is smoking or mushrooming too much, then you need to try a smaller wick (provided the smoking isn’t due to being in a drafty area).
That’s it! Hopefully you will have great success in testing your soy candles, and as always, if you have any questions, please feel free to post a comment or contact me by email!