how to make soy candles | paired with vietti barbera d’asti

creating, drinks, wine, winter

the blog

I am most likely channeling almost everyone’s thoughts right now, when I say that I seriously can’t believe Christmas is less than three days away.  I tried my best, under the circumstances, to finish making and packaging gifts much earlier in the month, but it just didn’t happen.  I did, however, manage to sneak in a day off, summon a friend’s assistance, and make some last-minute, handmade gifts this afternoon.  I might be late sending them out, but I will get some points for crafting my own gifts, even if I have to give out the points, myself!  It simply feels good to give a handmade gift, and many times, it is far less expensive than purchasing a similar gift in the store.

Strolling the aisles of Whole Foods a couple weeks back, I fell in love with this beautifully packaged, naturally dyed, sugared fig-scented candle.  The sweet, rich, spiced fruit scent literally stopped me in my tracks.  And so did the price.  $20 for a ten-ounce soy wax candle.  Ouch!  I didn’t need it that much.  Instead of forking out the bills, I settled on heating up some spiced cider later that evening to abate my desire for a holiday-scented house, curled up with my computer, and ordered the supplies necessary to create my own soy wax container candles.

I honed my candle-making skills last year at a class held at Moondance Botanicals here in Denver.  The shop is absolutely adorable, boasts handmade bath and body products, and hosts classes ranging from candle-making to aromatherapy to soap-crafting.  Throughout the past year, I salvaged jars, glasses, and containers for candle-making.  After purchasing the necessary supplies, I ended up spending less than $4 per candle.  True story.  And I used clean-burning, non-GMO soy wax flakes.  Beat that, over-priced fig candle, made by someone I don’t even know!  #knowyourmaker

Materials Needed:

  • various glass containers {I find many of mine at the Goodwill or a local thrift shop, or I simply save jam, pickle, and relish jars}
  • soy wax flakes {I use EcoSoya Container Blend}
  • cotton wicks
  • essential oils {I purchase mine in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs}
  • Bic pen {the barrel assists in wick placement}
  • hot glue gun
  • seamless aluminum pouring pitcher
  • saucepan
  • digital thermometer
  • water


  1. Fill a seamless, aluminum pouring pitcher with soy wax flakes.  I use a 3-quart pitcher and fill it with about a pound of wax.  I am able to make four or five 4-ounce candles using this amount.  Don’t get too precise here:  just melt the wax and if you don’t use all of it, let it cool and use it again another time.
  2. Heat your glue gun.
  3. Pour about an inch or two of water into a large saucepan and place the pitcher into the saucepan.  Let the water simmer, allowing the wax to fully melt, in a double boiler fashion.
  4. While you are waiting for the wax to melt, prepare your containers.  Thread the wicks through the “barrel” of a Bic pen {or something similar}, so that you can accurately place the wick base into the container.
  5. Dot a bit of hot glue onto the wick base and press firmly, placing the base in the center of the container.
  6. Once the wax has fully melted, remove the pitcher from heat, and add your essential oil or fragrance oil.  I usually add my oils between 130 and 150 degrees.  I find the best scent “throw” results at this temperature range.  I use about one and a half ounces of essential oil per one pound of wax.
  7. Pour the wax into the containers.  Many sources state that the wax adheres better to preheated containers.  I haven’t tried doing this, and so far, I haven’t had any challenges with non-adherence.
  8. Steady and center the wicks by placing chopsticks or pencils atop the containers, so that the wicks have a steady surface upon which to lean.  Wait for the wax to fully cool.
  9. Once the candles are cool {I wait overnight}, trim the wicks to 1/4″ thickness.
  10. Now you’re ready to burn, baby, burn!  Burn for four hour intervals, at max.  Keep the wick trimmed to 1/4″ at all times to lengthen the burn time.

Making soy wax container candles is incredibly easy and is a thoughtful, classy gift.  I keep a ready stash at all times, so I have a memorable, handcrafted gift for any occasion.  My dear friend, Yvonne, came over this afternoon, and we made nine candles for Christmas gifts.  We also collaborated on a rose + sea salt bath soak, vanilla + lavender sugar scrub, peppermint shea butter lip balm, and a batch of rosemary + mint cold-pressed soap.  More to come on those endeavors!  Cheers to a thrifty, creative, DIY Christmas!  Next candle-making session, I might try these embellishments…


And, of course, we had something delicious to sip on, to get those creative juices flowing!  What to imbibe when candle-making on a chilly, snowy afternoon?  Something red and Italian, like a Barbera.  Tasted and paired this afternoon…

Vietti, “Scarrone,” Barbera d’Alba, 2009

Breaking it down:  Vietti makes some of THE most delicious wines from the northwestern corner of Italy, the Piemonte.  Their expressions of Barbera, Nebbiolo, and Arneis are benchmarks for quality and uniqueness.  This wine sources its grapes from Castiglione, specifically from the Scarrone vineyard, and is fermented in stainless steel tanks for two weeks.  It is aged in French oak barrels for 14 months and is bottled unfiltered.  Only a little under 800 cases were made.

  • On the eyes – deep ruby and purple.
  • On the nose – concentrated ripe black cherries, spiced vanilla, faint licorice, and dried herbs.
  • On the palate – dry, with bright, mouth-watering acidity, lush tannins; ripe, black cherry notes reaffirm the nose and suggest baking spices, complemented by rich plum; medium tannins, with a lingering finish.
  • On the table – perfect with sharper cheeses, poultry, pasta with browned butter and mushrooms, and roasted game.
  • On the ears – unintentionally paired with Neon Indian’s “The Blindside Kiss” from their album, “Era Extraña.”  The CD was in the player and sounded just about right at the moment.  This particularly dreamy, fuzzy, synthpop-influenced track was a perfect backdrop for today’s adventures.  Every time I listen to a synth-driven track from this album, I decide to hang on to my under-explored Alesis A6 Andromeda keyboard.  I’ll try figuring that thing out one day…

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!  Did you decide to make most or some of your gifts this holiday season?  Do you think it’s worth it?  Did you give up and just pour yourself a glass?  If so, what did you pour?  Signing off to enjoy some peace and quiet here at the house, before the craziness ensues at the restaurant this Tuesday night.  Just might have to pack some bubbles to celebrate making it through the 450 covers on the books…


  1. stevesteese says:

    I loved coming home to a candle making session….magical!! Nice choice on the Vietti Scarrone and great work on the wreath! Merry Christmas!!!

  2. […] a batch of this rose salt bath soak in late December with my friend, Yvonne, the same day we made candles and other goodies for our families’ Christmas gifts.  After testing out our recipe, I […]

  3. Gorgeous blog! Thank you for the soy candle making class, I’m sure your friends were delighted with their pressie- much nicer than socks or soap. 🙂

    • You are welcome! The candles were well received, for sure. And they are so simple to make! …All I can think of right now is the winter weather in this post, though – it is sweltering right now! 😉 Did you make any candles?

      • Not yet, I only read your post today. I’m new to wordpress, I just transferred over from blogger. I live in Australia and it’s freezing here. Mind you, our idea of freezing is about 18 degrees, looks slightly more frigid in your christmas photos! 🙂 I will make the candles soon, the ones in the shop are so expensive. xx

      • Ahhhh! Makes sense to me now. 😉 I transferred from Blogger about a year ago and love WP. It is easy to post, and the community is great! Enjoy the cold for me {it was 97 F today…eeek!}. Yep, I no longer buy the candles in stores. They are way overpriced – I just save jars all year long and make my own. It is great fun, and you always have a gift on hand! XO!

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