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Ahhh, candles. Who doesn’t love the silky, fragrant aromas – the subtle hints of violet and lavender wafting through the air, making sweet love to your olfactory system as the candle wick burns and the flame carves its way deeper, deeper into the body of the artisanal candle made of…sheep fat?!
Well, that got weird fast – let’s be honest, that sentence was uncomfortable for everyone involved. But yes, it’s true: those scented candles we all know and love can have a pretty violent history, one that most definitely isn’t vegan.
Did you know that most candles are made of beeswax taken from unwilling bee colonies, or tallow, a substance derived from sheep and cow fat? In days gone by, even oil from the head of sperm whales went into candles! (1, 2, 3)
Yes, you read that right: sperm whales.
Thankfully, trading spermaceti (the waxy substance found inside the heads of the aforementioned whales that went into candle production) has been banned since 1981, but there’s still plenty for plant-based practitioners to be worried about in the 21st century.
However, vegan candle lovers can still get their flickering-flame-fix in the form of violence-free soy candles – or better yet, you can save money and have fun making your own with a soy candle making kit.
In this article we’re going to walk you through the soy candle making process from A-to-Beeswax and fill you in on what we think is the best soy candle making kit on the market. So, sit back, relax, read on, and imagine how good that candle’s going to smell.
What are soy candles made of?
Instead of beeswax, soy candles are made from soy wax, a saturated fat made by processing soybean oil. Soy wax manufacturers heat up the soybean oil to very high temperatures and then mix it with hydrogen to convert the fats from soybean oil into the saturated fats that make up the wax.
These saturated fats have a higher melting point than the oil, which allows the wax to stay solid at room temperature. While it’s best to avoid saturated fats in your food, it turns out they’re pretty useful for candle making!
Soy candles usually have some form of container around them, like a mason jar, as soy wax melts at a lower temperature than other wax types. In order to maintain a higher melting point and have the candle retain its shape without a container, manufacturers will sometimes add other ingredients, such as paraffin, to their products.
Although paraffin is essentially vegan, it’s toxic to humans. Some candle makers will even add beeswax or tallow, which aren’t vegan, so you have to be very careful when buying pre-made candles. Just another reason to make your own!
What are the benefits of soy candles?
Besides being made of vegan candle wax, soy candles offer a number of benefits over paraffin candles, the most common vegan candle alternative. Paraffin wax is made from petroleum by-products, which means that when you burn it in a candle it releases the same harmful chemicals contained in oil into the air, harming your lungs and the environment.
In contrast, soy candles are all natural and don’t release any harmful combustion products. They are also 100% biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about polluting the environment when your candle is done.
But get this: soy candles also burn up to 50% longer than their paraffin pals, meaning you get a longer lasting candle and more bang for your buck on top of it all.
How do I make soy candles?
The process of making a soy candle is pretty straightforward. First, you melt soy wax in a pitcher. Then you add fragrances to the hot wax and stir them in to make the body of the candle.
While the wax cools a little, you attach a wick to the bottom of your container. After that you pour the wax mixture into the container and once it’s full you cut off the excess wick.
Leave your candle to cool overnight and by morning you’ll have a fresh new candle waiting to be enjoyed. Easy!
What should I look for in a candle making kit?
The majority of soy candle starter kits come with a variation on the following items:
- Soy wax flakes
- Candle containers
- Saucepan/melting pot
- Pouring pitcher
- Wooden sticks/wick bars
While most of the candle making kits we’re going to review have at least the bare essentials, not all of them come with everything on that list. Some kits won’t give you dyes, while others will give you dyes but no pots, containers, or thermometers.
The types and amounts of dyes, fragrances, and containers also vary between different sets: certain kits only have glass containers, while others have metal ones.
Some kits, like the Generalwax.com – Soy Professional Candle Making Kit even give you three different types of glass containers to choose from! Given all this information to wade through, the decision of which kit to choose will largely come down to four things:
- What items you already have
- Variety of fragrances and dyes
- What kind of candles you want to make
Obviously, kits that have more items included will tend to come at a higher cost, so if you already have some of the materials you may want to go for one of the kits that skips out on those.
However, if you’re new to candle making we’d recommended you purchase an all-inclusive set just to make sure that everything is well suited for the materials you’ll be using and works well together.
Most of your choice will be up to your personal preference regarding what types of candles you want to make: do you want candles in glass containers, or do you prefer metal ones? What sorts of fragrances would you like to start out with? Do you want dyed candles, or is white ok?
Some kits come with more fragrances and dyes than others, and each kit contains different fragrances, so you’ll have to decide how important these are to you and which types you want.
Luckily, these sorts of creative decisions are what make candle making fun, and no matter what kit you start with you can always buy different fragrances, containers, and dyes if you decide you want to make a different style of candle later on. Like any other creative hobby, the sky’s the limit once you get started!
What are the best candle making kits on the market?
So, you’ve got a pretty good idea of what a soy candle is and how to make one – now what? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of the six best vegan candle making kits out there to help you decide.
Let’s get started!
Generalwax – Soy Professional Candle Making Kit
This set from Generalwax is by far the most comprehensive kit we’ve found on the market.
Complete with melting pot, pouring pitcher, wicks, wood sticks, wood bars, thermometer, three different dyes (golden honey, lavender, black), three different fragrances (vanilla extract, lavender, night magic), and three different types of glass containers (oh my!), this kit has more than enough included to get you started with making your own candles. All in all, you’ll be able to make 22 candles with this set.
Unfortunately, some customers reported that their kits were damaged during shipping or were missing instructions or wicks upon arrival. However, this is a danger with shipping any fragile items and contacting the manufacturer should help you get a replacement quickly and easily.
Another downside is that the dark-tinted glass containers are only good for one use as their tinted coating peels off after being used. Fortunately, the glasses are still usable – they just won’t maintain their tint and will become clear glasses after the coating is removed.
If you’re ordering this as a gift for someone, make sure it arrives a good amount of time in advance so you can check to make sure everything is in order and you can hide the contents slip.
If you want to get creative and experiment with different fragrances, glasses, and dyes, this kit might suit you well. The generous amount of included items makes for many possible combinations and lots of fun crafting your perfect candle. On the other hand, if you’re someone who is more interested in a straightforward candle, this set might be overkill.
- Everything you need to get started
- Large variety of items means you can get creative
- Makes a whopping 22 candles
- Breakages have been reported during shipping
- Tinted film on the dark glasses peels after use
Candlewic Soy Candle Making Kit
The Candlewic kit is one of the more unique offerings on our list: it is one of only two sets to feature tin containers instead of glass ones. This is a very popular kit and customers love it for its high quality and great value.
This set comes with everything you need to get started. Even though it doesn’t have a separate mixing pot and pouring pitcher, the provided pitcher can be used to melt the wax as well, which will help those who are short on space.
Instead of using wooden sticks to hold your wicks in place while you pour, this set comes with three metal reusable bow-tie clips, which means you don’t have to worry as much about restocking your wick straighteners if you start making candles very frequently.
The Candlewic soy candle making kit gives you enough materials to make 12 candles. Not as much as the Generalwax’s Professional Kit reviewed above, but still a great value that will give you a good introduction to the craft.
Unfortunately, a lot of customers complain of damaged or missing materials with this kit. The most frequent complaints are broken thermometers, dented tins, and less soy wax than advertised. One customer even received a bag of soy wax stuffed with paper towels!
However, customers that received their sets intact and without any missing items were very satisfied with this kit, so it’s a bit of a coin toss as to what your experience will be. All in all, this is a great kit if you’re looking for a comprehensive set at a great price. Just be sure to check all the contents before using.
- Everything you need to get started
- Metal bow-tie wick straighteners
- A few reports of poor shipping procedures
General Wax & Candle Company Soy Essentials Candle Making Kit
When General Wax & Candle Company named this the “essentials” kit, they meant it. This is a very bare-bones kit that only gives you what you absolutely need to start making candles.
The major downside of this set is that it only includes one bag of wax, one fragrance, and no dye, so if you’re someone who wants to experiment, this is not the kit for you.
However, if you’re unsure if you’ll like candle making, this may be a great choice since it gives a very straightforward introduction to the craft. No frills in this kit – just the bare essentials. This kit also only produces six candles, which ranks pretty low as far as quantity goes.
Once again, missing and damaged items is the main complaint from customers. Those who received their order without issue were very satisfied, though. The fact that this kit is so bare-bones may be a con for some, but others may enjoy its simplicity and functionality.
- Easy to follow instructions
- Perfect starter kit for those who don’t want a huge initial investment
- No dye included
- Just one fragrance shipped
- Only makes 6 candles
- Some packing issues, but seller is quick to rectify problems
Virginia Candle Supply Soy Wax Candle Making Kit
Virginia Candle Supply’s offering is the only kit on this list that doesn’t include containers, which is a little weird for a set of this nature.
The main feature of this kit is a big ol’ bag of soy wax – 10 pounds that is, which is enough for 10 16 oz candles or 20 8 oz candles. That’s second only to Generalwax’s set, so if you want to make candles (and lots of ‘em), and you already have some materials, you should definitely consider this set.
This set also comes with three different types of dye and five different fragrances, so if you want to test out different scents, this set will probably work well for you.
Remember, though, if you order this kit you’re going to need to find containers elsewhere because it doesn’t come with any. It also doesn’t include any mixing or pouring pitchers or wick straighteners, so this set is aimed more at someone with a bit of experience behind them.
That said, the lack of containers and pots also means that there’s nothing breakable in this set and there have been no complaints from customers about missing or broken items. Win for Virginia Candle Supply on that front!
- Lots of soy wax – enough for 10 to 20 candles
- Good variety of fragrances and dyes
- All items included are high quality
- Can’t really be classified as a true starter kit as some essentials are missing
CraftZee Complete DIY Candle Making Kit
This DIY candle making kit from CraftZee is the only one on our list that has square containers, which makes it pretty unique. It also has the biggest variety of dyes, four to be exact, so if trying out different colors is important to you, this could be a good choice.
Unfortunately, despite the variety, this kit doesn’t give you much opportunity to make use of it. The set only includes enough materials to make four candles, which is the lowest quantity on our list. Think twice about this one if you want to make a lot of candles…or order more wax along with it.
Even though it doesn’t come with much wax, each candle you make can be a different color and fragrance, so this could be a good set if you’re not sure what types of candles you like best and want to try out a few different styles. You can always stock up on more wax, dye, containers, and fragrances later on.
The tins and melting pots are very small and it seems this set may be designed for kids. Like most other kits on our list, some customers received incomplete sets or sets with broken materials, which is unfortunate.
- Lots of dyes and fragrances to play around with
- Step-by-step instructions are perfect for beginners
- Great quality throughout
- Customer service is excellent
- Only enough wax for 4 candles
Burning Wick Candles Candle Making Kit
Burning Wick Candles has a great offering for you if you’re interested in trying out different color and scent combinations.
This kit has five different fragrances and three different dyes, but unlike Virginia Candle Supply’s offering it also comes with everything you need to make candles – pots and containers included! This is a great scented candle making kit for those who want to get creative.
This kit also gives you a pretty good amount of soy wax – enough for about 12 candles. While it’s not the most we’ve seen, it ain’t half bad either.
The standout feature of this product is definitely its customer service. The customer service representatives are friendly and responsive, always happy to answer any questions you may have about candle making or the kit itself – they even offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee!
Even though there were some complaints of missing or broken items, the great customer service means that you shouldn’t have any trouble getting replacements if this happens to you. Other customers have complained that the dye blocks are smaller than advertised and that the wick sometimes burns incorrectly, ruining the candle, so this is something to be aware of.
Still, this is an excellent set overall and makes for a good introduction to candle making because of its wide variety of ingredients.
- Good variety of dyes and fragrances
- Instructions are straightforward and ideal for beginners
- Everything you need to get started
- Great customer service
- Makes a respectable 12 candles
- Comprehensive set makes a great gift
- Dyes blocks seem smaller than advertised
- Wicks can be temperamental
Our Choice For Best Candle Making Kit
Although all of these kits are great choices, our favorite overall was the Burning Wick Candles Candle Making Kit. This kit is fantastic value and has a great variety of dyes and fragrances that you can have fun trying out. To top it off, their customer service is top notch; they’re happy to answer any and all questions you may have.
Their 100% satisfaction guarantee really takes the cake, meaning that if you run into any of the problems that we’ve run into with the other sets, like broken or missing parts, they’ll take care of you. This type of customer service is great for peace of mind, and for this reason we give it a resounding recommendation for anyone looking to get into candle making.
A very close second, however, has to go to CraftZee’s Complete DIY Candle Making Kit. Apart from the rather stingy amount of wax supplied with the kit, it really is a fantastic bundle. To be honest, you won’t go too far wrong with whichever one you choose.
Whether you’re a candle casual or connoisseur, soy candles are a great vegan alternative to traditional beeswax or paraffin candles. Not only are they produced violence-free, but they’re a greener option to boot. Any of these six sets will be enough to get you started on your soy candle journey.
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Now all you need to do is plan to set aside an afternoon to make some aromatic treats. Happy smelling!
About The Author:
Phil Grossman is a lifestyle, real estate, and culture writer based out of New York.
A polyglot who speaks French, German, Spanish, a bit of Japanese, and a little Norwegian, Phil likes to put his love for language to good use both through traveling and writing in his second language: music. An experienced composer, Phil teaches and writes both electronic music and music for media.
Phil has been interviewed on the TODAY Show and featured on CBS 2 News, Anderson Cooper 360, and in the Journal News for his work as an education activist. Passionate about many different societal and institutional issues, Phil has shifted his current focus towards veganism and environmentalism.
- PETA | What’s wrong with beeswax? | https://www.peta.org/about-peta/faq/whats-wrong-with-beeswax/
- Science Direct | Tallow | https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/tallow
- The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica | Spermaceti | https://www.britannica.com/topic/spermaceti