ART CLASS DAY 10: SOY CANDLE MAKING

During the course of this project, I’ve found that art & craft classes have a habit of being cancelled at the last minute for a few different reasons – usually due to low turn out (yes, even in San Francisco), but also sometimes because the instructor is sick, etc. A few weeks back, Brit & Co cancelled their glass etching class (boo), which I was SUPER excited about learning (etching glass sounds awesome, right?). Usually I try to find another class for the same day/time, but it can be tricky.

In this case, I scrambled to find another art class for the next night and stumbled upon the very cool Urban Bazaar, which is located near Golden Gate Park. Hurrah for happy accidents! Urban Bazaar is an adorable little store that sells local crafts (including some of my favorites I discovered when helping out the CreativeLive Craft Show last year). After the shop closes, they put up a few tables and invite crafters to share their skills with the world.

So, I signed up for Candle Making 101 and had a lot of fun practicing making soy candles (I’d tried this before on my own years ago and it was great to have a refresher with a pro). The instructor Joy, of Lighten Up Shoppe (located in the East Bay) was great – she dropped a lot of candle-making foo on the small class.

Keep reading for a quick tutorial on making your own candles.

HOW TO: MAKE YOUR OWN SOY CANDLES

Joy shared some serious candle-making tips during the class and I wanted to share them with all of you. Making your own candles is super easy – here’s the steps:

  1. Heat the soy wax to 170-180 degrees (use your wax manufacturer’s recommendation) a double broiler comes in handy to melt the wax, but you can also melt the flakes in a microwave. Let the wax cool a bit (to approx. 140 degrees) before moving to the next step.Making candles with clothespins!
  2. Stick the wick to the bottom of the jar with the sticky dot and feed the wick through a clothespin balanced on the lip of the jar (Joy’s excellent recommendation!) – if you slip it between the metal coil of the spring of the pin, it holds the wicks really well. I guess you could also wrap it around a pencil or chopstick to hold it from the top too (the goal is to keep the wick straight and centered)
  3. Pour wax into jar – pour slowly and evenly and avoid splashing! Then add the essential oils. Feel free to combine oils for scents we used a full dropper, you might want to play around with how much for your wax/oil combo — then stir and let sit for at least a minute. You can also add rose petals, mint or other herbs for additional smell or decoration at this point.
  4.  Let cool – check your wicks to make sure they are still in the center, then leave them alone until the wax turns solid/opaque (white). Once it’s cooled/solidified, you can pull the clothespin out, trim the wick and put the lid on. Wait at least 24 hours before burning.

Candles in the store are expensive, but you can purchase soy candle-making supplies online – all you need is soy wax flakes, clean-burning wicks with anchors, some 4 ounce Mason Jars, a roll of sticky dots, and your favorite essential oils. You can also add color, although I prefer the plain-Jane white candles we made in class. (note: referral links).

My analytical mind was churning in class – making your own candles is way cheaper than buying them, especially if you love having candles going like I do. My quick math using the links above shows you could spend $80 on materials and make 25 candles (which is approx. $3.25 a piece – or far cheaper than I’ve ever seen at the store!). Plus if you already have jars sitting around, it dramatically lowers this cost to only $2 a candle.

Author

jeska

Jeska Dzwigalski Kittenbrink is a curious & creative generalist, aspiring hand letterer, community manager, mom, cupcake baker, cocktail blogger (Geeks with Drinks) and all around bon vivant. Former day jobs: Second Life, Wikia, Coffee & Power, High Fidelity, CreativeLive. Current day job: Freedome