Today I am sharing with you the simplest, sustainable gift idea for this Christmas: natural soya wax candles.
Many candles use paraffin, a wax derived from petroleum. When burned it releases fumes that can be harmful for our health and the environment.
Therefore, we will create the base of our candle using soy wax, a natural wax derived from soy, which is also fully biodegradable. 100% pure soy wax can even be used as a hand cream making the candle a 2-1 sustainable gift!
Soy wax can be bought from your favourite soap & crafts supplier, and it can be often found in big 2 KG bags, which is perfect to offset any use of plastic packaging that might come with it.
Some lovely suppliers, such as The Soapery UK, also often agree to ship in paper, if you request this specifically by emailing them in advance.
To make 1 medium, 100 ml candle you will need:
- 80 grams soy wax
- 1 pre-waxed candle wick
- 1 piece of tape or superglue
- 1 100 ml reused heat proof glass jar or tin
- 1 scale
- 1 stainless steel saucepan
- 1 pyrex glass or stainless steel pitcher
- 1 tablespoon
- (optional) 1 candy thermometer or laser thermometer
- (optional) decoration for your candle such as cinnamon sticks, dried herbs or flowers, dried oranges, anis stars
- (optional) essential oils to scent your candle
For your candle container you can upcycle dessert jars, yogurt glass pots, jam jars etc.
Ideally, you need a container with a wide mouth so that you have room for more decoration, but not too large and shallow so that the candle can last for longer. For example, I like to reuse jars I have used during my past workshops. As this is going to be a Christmas present, have saved the lid of the jar so I can close the candle and bring it with me when I travel back home for Christmas.
Ok let’s get started.
Step 1: Melting the wax
First, we will measure the soy wax on the scale. We will then add a few inches of water into our saucepan, place the pitcher inside the saucepan and bring to simmer.
We will stir occasionally and let the wax melt until it has reached 180°F/82°C. If you are using a fragrance, this is the perfect temperature for the wax to bind with your fragrance. If you are using essential oils, let the wax cool down to 130°F/54°C before adding them in. This temperature will be hot enough for the wax to still be melted, but it will not burn off the essential oils, which are very volatile by nature.
Once the temperature has reached 180°F/82°C, remove the jug from the saucepan and let the wax cool down for a few minutes until it reaches 130°F/54°C.
Step 2: Preparing the container and adding the essential oils
While we wait for the wax to cool down, we can tape the bottom of the wick to the base of the candle by applying a small layer of super glue, or by adding a small piece of tape to the edges of the wick’s base. Help yourself with a pen to stick the base well.
We will then need something to keep the wick centered and to prevent it from moving when we pour the melted wax into our container. I normally reuse plastic clips, which I am sure, most of us already have laying around the kitchen. I then leave the clip open and gently tape the edge so to close it without snapping the wick. If you want, you can also place a chopstick/pencil horizontally on the container, and tie the wick to the chopstick/pencil with a thread or some tape.
Next, we are going to measure our essential oils. The amount of fragrance to use to scent a candle is normally about 6% of your wax amount. For our 80 grams wax it will be about 5 ml total essential oils.
For this candle, I chose a blend of sweet orange, lavender, cinnamon and cedarwood. It makes the perfect calming Christmassy scent, perfect for both men and women!
Once you add the essential oils to the melted wax at the correct temperature (130°F/54°C), stir very well to make sure that there are no random patches of
undissolved essential oil, which could cause the fire to ignite in different spots of the candle.
Step 3: Pouring the wax into the container and decorating your candle
Pour the melted wax into your container and let harden. If you want, you can add some decoration to your candle. For example, you could use some natural dried oranges, cinnamon sticks, dried rose petals, calendula petals, lavender buds, anise stars and so
on. If you add any decoration, make sure to place it not too close to the wick. Once you light the wick, if any decoration is too close, it will burn off.
If you add the decoration when the wax is still very liquid, this will sink in. If you want any decoration to stick out from your candle, you need to wait until you can feel that the wax
has hardened but it’s still soft enough. At this stage, your wax should already have turned white.
That’s it! Wasn’t it super fun and easy?
We got to upcycle an old jar container, use 100% natural ingredients and make a heart-
warming, handmade, sustainable and zero waste Christmas gift.
About Marta / Bottega Zero Waste
Marta Tarallo is the founder of Bottega Zero Waste. Her journey towards zero waste
began for simple reasons: the need to control what she was putting on her skin and being conscious of the volume of waste that her wellbeing routine was producing.
Starting with simple lifestyle adjustments before launching Bottega Zero Waste, Marta shares recipes and tutorials and holds workshops to educate others on how to lead a zero waste lifestyle.
Learn more about how she can help you guide you through your sustainable and zero waste journey here: bottegazerowaste. You can also find her on Instagram @bottegazerowaste, Youtube and other social media platforms.