Candle Making for Vegans

Vegans love candles. Their flickering glow mimics the fire that burns in the vegan's heart to keep animals safe from any harm. Unfortunately, many commercially made candles include ingredients made from animals or their byproducts. Candles that you find at the store may not be vegan-friendly.

Vegans have two choices. They can go to an organic foods store and pay an exorbitant premium to buy candles made to their exacting specifications-and remember, for many vegans that means no beeswax-or they can make their candles at home.

Making vegan candles is the simpler and cheaper solution. Like the solutions to many other vegan dilemmas, the vegan candle starts with soy.

Soy wax, which until very recently was nearly impossible to find, is now widely available. Make sure that the soy wax you buy is completely made from soy-you don't want any animal byproducts to sneak their way into your candle by way esoteric additives. Keep in mind that many wax dyes are made from animal products and steel yourself for the probability that your candle will be plain white. (If you find vegan dye for your wax, more power to you.)

You should also look for a vegan fragrance oil. This shouldn't be difficult because most natural candle makers use 100% plant oils for fragrance. But always check the label to be sure that you know what you have. Look for unbleached cotton wicks.

After you've gathered your ingredients, it's time for the easy part. Making candles. Vegan candles can be made in practically any style, but, for the purposes of this article, we'll be making a colonial style vegan candle.

Place your soy wax in a deep, narrow coffee can. About a pound of wax will do. Attach your wick to a washer and drop the wick, washer-first, into the melted wax. Pull the wick out and make sure that it is covered with wax. Repeat until it is. Once covered, the candle will start collecting wax and become larger. Dip the growing candle into the soy wax repeatedly, pausing briefly after each dip to keep the wax moving, until you have a candle of the size that you desire. Finally, light your candle without guilt. 

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Learning how to make soy candles requires a little more work than other wax candles, but it's worth it because you can make these candles into any shape, add detail and they are completely hand-decorated.

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