Soy candles are the modern day, "earth-friendly" candle. If you are considering learning how to make soy candles, the first place to start is learning a little about what soy wax is and where it comes from.
Soy candles use a fine wax that comes from the soybean. The oil is extracted from the soybean flakes and is partially-hydrogenated. Soybeans can be grown in several parts of the country, but the primary states that harvest soybeans are Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana. Soybean wax is a wax like any other, but this high quality type of wax has a reputation for burning cleaner and smoother than the more traditional wax used in candle making called paraffin wax. Where a traditional paraffin candle burns black soot, the soybean candle burns white soot. There is no escaping soot in candles, but neither white soot or black soot have been proved to be harmful to humans and black soot can also get on your home furnishings. This is particularly noticeable when blowing out candles.
There is little difference in learning how to make soy candles versa traditional paraffin candles. Since all candles contain some amount of wax (even gel candles), it makes sense that the creation process is very similar.
How to Make Soy Candles, Step-by-step
Prepare your mold and wick just as you would for a standard paraffin wax candle.
Melt your wax in a double boiler (or substitute) to approximately 160 degrees (plus or minus a few degrees). It is important to note that soy wax typically has a lower melting point than paraffin; however, this can be increased depending on the addition of any additives. This means that it is important to obtain your soy wax from a trusted source. Because soy wax is not regulated, there is an unfortunate lack of consistency from one manufacturer to the next. Another interesting point is that many people that do not know how to make soy candles do not realize that the wax can burn just as easily as a standard paraffin candle. An interesting note about soy wax is that, unlike paraffin, it can actually be melted safely in a microwave oven. This is not something that is recommended starting out with but it is worth testing as you become more experienced.
If you are planning on using scent and color you will need to know how to make soy candles with dye and fragrance oils. After the wax has been melted to its proper temperature, simply remove it from the heating source and add your coloring dye and fragrance oils. Care should be taken here to ensure that you are using additives that are compatible with the soy wax that you are using. The supplier should be able to provide compatibility information here. Other than that, the same basic rules apply to soy candles as paraffin candles here too. You want to avoid over-scinging. A little fragrance oil goes a long way; adding too much will adversely affect the burning performance of your candle. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 oz of fragrance oil (FO) for 1 pound of wax. The real trick here is to start with a little less, and test. Once you have the exact proportions, note them down so you can come back to them next time.
Pour your wax into your mold and set aside to cool. Cooling time can vary, but around 5 hours is a good starting point. Using a refrigerator can speed this process immensely.