Sunday, August 28, 2011

Soy Candles in an Upcycled Jar

As promised, I have part two of my tutorial for making soy candles in upcycled jars to share with you.  If you missed my recent post on all of the benefits of soy vs. other candle waxes or part one of this tutorial please be sure to take a look before you begin. And the disclaimer:  I am a crafter who loves to play with trash, I am not a expert candle maker so please do your research before attempting to make your own candles :)

When I first started to experiment with different ways to incorporate upcycling in the candle making process, this is what my set up looked liked: 

This make shift double boiler set up worked and is fine if you're making a few candles for yourself or friends. Each of the tin cans is intended to hold a different scent wax.  I've since ditched the double boiler setup and opted for the microwave.  SO much easier!  We'll still use the individual cans when it comes time to add scent, but the wax will be melted in a larger quantities in the microwave first.

Now that you've gathered all of your supplies listed in Part 1 of this tutorial we are ready to begin:

1.  Grab all of your upcycled containers and start attaching the wick/tab assembly (be sure to read the wick instructions for choosing the right size) to the inside of your containers.  You can use hot glue to do this or glue dots work pretty great, too! If you have a tall jar that is too narrow to reach inside to secure the wick, I found a wooden skewer works well.

2.  Start melting your wax:  Simply fill your glass measuring cup (you could use a glass bowl, however, the cup comes ready to pour without making a mess) and pop it in the microwave.  "Cook" it at 50% power at two minute intervals, stirring each time.  It usually only takes me 4-5 minutes to melt a completely packed 4 cup measure.  NOTE:  Do not be tempted to melt it quicker by microwaving on full power.  Soy has a low melting point and therefore flash point (the point at which your wax could ignite).  My soy wax is about 150 degrees when it comes out of the microwave, different sources quote the flash point between 395 and 500.

3.  If you don't intend to add scent to your candles, skip down to #5.  If you do plan to add essential oils you'll want to start dividing up your melted wax into your tin cans.  Keep in mind that you'll need to add 1 oz. of scent to each 16 oz of wax so measuring out by the pound might be easiest.  Fill enough cans for all the scents that you intend to use and let them cool.

4. When the wax cools to about 100/110 degrees add the essential oils.  You don't want to add it when your wax is too hot or it will burn off some of the oils and weaken the scent of your candles.

5. When your wax starts to look grainy (at about 95 degrees) start pouring the wax into your containers.  If your wicks haven't been pre-dipped in wax you'll need to center them and keep them from falling back into the melted wax.  Toothpicks and skewers work well for me:

6.  Now just wait for your candles to cool, I like to leave them overnight for safe measure.  If there are any imperfections in the tops of the candles you can heat it up with hair dryer and let it cool again.

7.  Clean up is a cinch with soy wax.  Just use some hot soapy water to clean everything out.  Just be sure to dump any large amounts of wax in the trash, don't pour it down the drain.  Then you can snip your wicks down to 1/4" - 1/2" and you're ready to enjoy! 

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