Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Soy Tea Cup Candles - Tutorial
I would like to start including more tutorials on my blog. Some by me, some by guests. If you have a project that you would like to write about, I am happy to feature it here. Leave me a comment and I will contact you...
I have been wanting to make soy candles for a long time. They are really easy to make container candles. And since I love to drink tea (and most other hot beverages) I thought tea cups would make the perfect container. While you can find vintage tea cups at antique shops, I prefer to buy mine at the thrift store. They usually don't have saucers, which I don't need, and the price is right.
I don't like to rely on products made from petroleum, and since paraffin candles are petroleum based, I had been looking for an alternative. Soy candles are made with wax that is made from soy beans. Soy wax is a sustainable product that can be made as long as soybeans can be grown, which benefits farmers. They also last twice as long as paraffin candles. However, many makers of soy candles claim that they are soot free, which is false. While properly made soy candles do not emit black soot they can emit white soot. This soot is comparable to households soots produced by toasters and cooking oil, and are not believed to be dangerous to our health the way that soot from diesel, coal, and gasoline are. Soy wax is a soft wax which is best used in containers, or as tealight or tart candles. It is difficult to make a 100% soy (or beeswax for that matter) pillar or votive candles, although I have seen soy blend wax for votives. Most freestanding candles have been mixed with paraffin in some ratio. There is said to be no scientific evidence that paraffin wax is harmful to your health. It is a personal choice which one you use. Check out this article for more info on paraffin vs soy wax.
To get started making soy candles I bought a one pound container of microwaveable soy wax flakes for containers, from the company called Yaley. I bought this at Micheal's in Canada, and it cost something like $11, which is a lot more than it costs on the Yaley site (which is in the US, so the prices need to adjusted accordingly). On their site, a 25 lb. box of the same wax is $53.75 US. I was able to make three small container votives and two tea cup candles with one pound of wax. I also bought scent and wicks from Michael's. I bought the wrong wicks... for some reason it is not best to use metal centered wicks with soy wax. I ended up going to the dollar store where I got metal-less wicks, 7 for $1.50. They burn well, but are a lot more expensive than just buying wicking in a larger quantity. Yaley has medium wicking at the special price of $10 a bag, which gives me 230 wicks! I won't get into prices but I did find a Canadian source for soy wax candle making supplies called Canwax. I plan to order all my supplies from them in the future....
Making Soy Tea Cup Candles
You will need:
Soy Wax Flakes
Microwaveable container or double boiler
Skewer of some sort to keep wicks straight
1) Wash and dry your containers. They should be room temperature when you fill them with wax.
2) The best burning wicks to use with soy wax do not have wire in the middle of the wick. They can have a metal disc at the bottom of the wick, but it is not necessary. You can secure your wick in the middle of the container with a drop of wax, but it will move again once you fill the container.
3) Melt the wax in a microwaveable container in your microwave according to package instructions. You can also use a double boiler on a stove top. You will need a thermometer to check the temp. My wax was best at 180 degrees F.
4) You can add scent at this point, which comes in a block that looks like wax. Use according to your instructions. I grated mine before adding so it would melt well. I didn't use coloring but I believe you could add that at this point.
5) Hold your wick while pouring in the wax. When you let go, it may shift. I bent my wicks around a BBQ skewer so I could position them.
6) Let your candles cool and harden. I noticed that my candles in clear containers kept some "wet" looking spots. I guess this is the nature of the wax, as the Yaley site just introduced a wax that doesn't tend to do this. It didn't seem to be a problem in the tea cups. You can get cracks when the wax dries, which you can minimize by using a BBQ lighter flame, carefully so as not to light the wick, on the surface of the wax. I didn't have a lot of cracking since I was working in a room temp environment. I think you get more cracks when working in a cold place.
Have you made these candles? Have a tip to share? Leave a comment. I am very pleased with my candles and will be making many more for gifts and my own home...