Something happened to me after I turned thirty. The smell of all the good candles and plug-ins that I would get as gifts from my students would give me a headache. Every single time. We had a garage sale this summer and I sold countless numbers of Partylite and Yankee candles - since they were pretty useless in our house now with my new found reaction to the chemicals in them. After the garage sale my husband posed the question, "So, what are we going to do when the power goes out?"
In steps pinterest. I found a link
to a "recipe" to make your own soy survival candles. It sounded pretty easy, so I gathered the materials needed (thanks Amazon), and got started.
The original post shows Mason Jars, but he also advices that you can use old glass jars - so for a few weeks we saved old jelly, sauce, and salad dressing jars.
I soaked the jars in hot water hoping that would help with the label removal process. The jelly jars were the WORST. We ended up not using them. The spaghetti sauce jars cleaned up nicely, but ended up being a pain later in the process when we tried to attach the wicks to the bottom. (The bottom wasn't flat). The best two jars were from salsa and our salad dressing. Cleaned up nicely and had a nice flat bottom to attach the wick tabs to.
Here's what we needed: soy flakes, wicks (I read the comments on the original blog post and learned that you should use a thicker wick for a wider mouth jar and a thinner wick for a skinner mouth), wick tabs, and wick stickers (the original blog did not suggest these, but I found them to be helpful in keeping the wick tabs down on the jar as your pour the wax). I choose to order a spool of wicks, because my jars were of varying heights. All of this was found very easily on Amazon.
After reviewing the directions I realized there were no real measurements. I love measurements. Anyway, I just put some soy flakes into the the pot (that I got at Good Will specifically for making non-food items), and placed it on top of the boiling water (making a double boiler). I also pulled some of our Mason Jars out to use, because I ditched the jelly jars after I could clean them off enough. In the comments it was suggested that you warm the jars in the oven prior to pouring hot wax into them. Our stove top gets pretty warm, so I just made sure to place the glass jars near the pots and they warmed up just fine and we didn't have any cracked glass incidents.
Then you wait for the wax to melt. It didn't take that long and here it is almost finished. The product melts down a lot, so you may think you have too many flakes, but you don't. I ended up doing this process three times to get enough wax for my jars.
Once it's melted you'll want to pour the wax into a pouring container. (I used a large Pyrex glass measuring jar.) From there, slowly pour the wax into your prepared jars. (There are no pictures of the preparation of the jars - basically, thread the wicks into the wick tabs, stick them on the bottom of the jar, and trim the wicks to fit the jar size.) The spaghetti jars were a pain during this process because even with the wick stickers the wick tabs did not stick. I taped pencils to the top of the wicks to help keep them centered. At this point I thought it might be fun to see if I could handle a "real" scent - so I added 4 drops of Vanilla essential oil to the littlest Mason Jar. This candle will be kept out and not stored away for emergencies. When you have to have candles burning for light, it's best not to use scented candles.
Then you wait. This is what they looked like last night before I went to bed, about an hour after we poured the wax in. They hardened up nicely - and even the two with the tricky wicks seemed to be okay. (We'll see how they end up burning.)
The next morning I trimmed the wicks down to 1/4 of an inch, placed the scented one in our bathroom, and put the lids on the others. The plan is to add a book of matches to each so that we're always prepared for a power outage (at least for light)!
All in all this was a surprisingly easy project. I now know which kinds of jars to save and which to just recycle (or use for some other storage). The cost per candle is about $1.50 each - not bad for high quality soy candles - much cheaper than what you would buy them for in a store.
In the future we might like to try to make candles from bees wax, but I've read that it's a pain to clean up - unlike the soy wax which washed away easily.
Labels: make it, on a budget, prepare