Homemade Holiday Gifts: Soy Candles and Glycerin Soap

The holiday season is in full swing and I’m sure that I am not the only person stressing out about gifts. One thing I think always impresses are homemade gifts. This is the first of a few homemade gift craft posts we’ll be featuring on My Baking Addiction – a break from the cookies to let out your crafty side!

Our hope is to give you some ideas that are really easy, inexpensive, and creative. These first two gift ideas are fun to make and will definitely impress your friends and family!

Homemade Soy Candles

I found this DIY for soy candles from Ruffled while looking through all of the cute DIY’s on Pinterest. I started with Ball 8 oz Collection Jars.  I really liked the idea of short wide jars for the candlesIt would also be a great idea to go to a thrift store and get a random bunch of jars and glasses in different shapes and sizes.

I found that the soy wax melts and takes fragrance really well and sets up completely in about two hours. Soy wax is also very easy to clean up and will wash out of your clothes in case of accidental spills!

I have already developed an addiction to making these candles and purchased more flakes… everyone I know is getting candles!

For This Craft You Will Need:

  • Glass Jars, whatever size and shape you like
  • Soy wax flakes. a 2lb bag will make 5 8oz candles
  • Candle fragrance, feel free to mix scents
  • Microwave
  • Glass Pyrex Measuring cup or bowl
  • Measuring cups
  • Wicks
  • Scissors
  • Candle dye (optional)
  • Skewers, chopsticks, popsicle sticks or pens/pencils to hold the wick in place

How to Assemble:

  1. Make sure all glasses are clean and dry
  2. Put wicks in jars and stand them up straight with the help of skewers/popsicle sticks/pens…whatever you have handy
  3. Measure flakes out into glass bowl
  4. Microwave and stir about every minute until flakes are completely melted
  5. Now you can add your fragrance oil…5-10 drops (or about an ounce) for every two cups of flakes
  6. Pour slowly into jars, making sure the wick stays standing straight
  7. Let cool for about two hours then cut the wick to about 1/4 inch above the top of the wax
  8. They are finished! Decorate with ribbon, fabric, lace, twine etc…

    The fragrances I chose for the candles were Lavender Vanilla, Cinnamon Vanilla, Lime and Pink Grapefruit. These fragrance oils were all available at craft stores and there are tons of options online if you are looking for a specific scent.

Homemade Glycerin Soap

Our second homemade gift is also useful and unique – glycerin soaps! I found this DIY on the Martha Stewart website and incorporated my own ideas.

I am a vegetarian so I chose to use vegetable glycerin to make mine, but you can use any type of glycerin soap base for this project. Just make sure it is the “melt and mold” kind that comes in blocks.

These are so easy to personalize! Add herbs, spices, oats, vitamins or butters (available where you get the base), dried fruit or flowers, coffee, dyes and a variety of essential fragrance oils. You can use almost anything for the soap mold, although I suggest something bendable like plastic or silicone. (Trust me, you don’t want to learn this the hard way, like I did!)

What You Will Need For This Craft:

  • White Vegetable Glycerin Blocks (available at craft stores or online)
  • Essential oils
  • Soap Add-ins (ground coffee beans, herbs, spices, fruit zest, dried flowers)
  • Vitamins or Butters (optional) such as Shea or Cocoa (these are available at craft stores that sell soap making supplies or you can get them online)
  • Microwave
  • Glass Pyrex bowl or measuring cup
  • Soap molds (plastic cups, tupperware, yogurt cups, ice cube trays, or soap molds in traditional shapes can be purchased)
  • Soap dye (optional)

How To Assemble:

  1. Clean and dry your molds and grease them with Vaseline or vegetable cooking spray
  2. Melt the glycerin in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds (I also melted in cocoa butter during this process)
  3. After completely melted, mix in your fragrance oils, spices, herbs…whatever you have chosen to add
  4. Move quickly, the glycerin starts to set up very fast!
  5. Pour into molds and let sit for about two hours
  6. The soap should gently wiggle out of the molds, wipe of excess Vaseline or spray
  7. Let them air dry for a few more hours then they are ready to wrap and gift!

I made four kinds of soap; Lavender Vanilla (lavender and vanilla essential oils and dried lavender), Lemon (about 2 teaspoons fresh zest per bar), Espresso (about 2 teaspoons ground espresso beans per bar) and Vanilla Cinnamon (just a pinch of cinnamon per bar along with vanilla essential oil). I strongly suggest not using metal tins or cupcake trays (like I did), as the soap was VERY difficult to get out, even though the pans were greased.

We hope you enjoy these gift ideas as much as we do! If you decide to create either of these crafts, or any of the craft projects that we shared with you, please feel free to share your finished product with us on our Facebook page!

Have a craft idea you’d love to share? We’d love to mingle with you on Pinterest too!

by Lindsay

I'm Lindsay, the owner of OliveTree Handmade. I love designing and creating re-purposed and vintage inspired jewelry and accessories using vintage pieces and old/unwanted/broken items. Giving new life to something that otherwise wouldn't be used or thrown away.

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28 Responses to “Homemade Holiday Gifts: Soy Candles and Glycerin Soap”

  1. Paula — December 9, 2012 at 9:16 am

    These are wonderful tutorials! Both make great gifts and I’d be tempted to make a few extra to keep at home:)

    • Lindsay — December 14th, 2012 at 10:06 am

      Thanks Paula, I’m definitely keeping one of each :)

  2. Mary Beth Elderton — December 9, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Great ideas! I love to give home made gifts.

  3. I love it! I used to have my own business making soap and candles. It’s so much fun and people really like receiving them as a gift! Love your post today!

  4. Katrina — December 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Wow, I didn’t know soy candles were so easy! Thanks, can’t wait to try these!

    • Lindsay — December 14th, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Thanks! Have fun and share pics!

  5. Melissa Hall — December 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I make soy candles and put together a gift basket with those and other homemade stuff like cookies. I love the Glycerin soap idea. I’ll have to add that to my gift baskets this year or next! Thanks! I used to have a business making and selling soy candles. Now I’ve turned my website into info on how to make them. I love making homemade gifts for Christmas though!

    • Cheryl — December 10th, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      I’m a bit worried that the microwave could set them on fire???? When I’ve looked at instructions before, it always says use a ‘double boiler’ (I haven’t a clue what that is) That’s why I’ve never made soy candles before.. Any advice?

      • Lindsay — December 11th, 2012 at 9:26 am

        Hi Cheryl, you are just melting the wax, the wicks aren’t in there. I think it is completely safe to use the microwave…just be careful with the hot wax!

      • shelby — September 23rd, 2013 at 9:27 pm

        What I use is a electric frying pan set at 200 degree. works great I use a candy thermomiture clipped on the side of the pan. It goes fast and so easy, once melted I use a pyrex measureing cup to pour it into molds.
        I picked up my pan and things I use only for my candles at goodwill.
        Give this a try, you can see whats going on and not worry, you are in totl control. you will love doing this.

  6. Marie — December 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm

    I really want to make the soy candles. Can you share a good site to buy the flakes and wicks. In live your blog and always learn something

    • Lindsay — December 10th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      I recently found a great deal on Ebay but, if you are looking for a smaller amount of flakes, Hobby Lobby sells them online in 2lb bags (and they always have a 40% coupon)!

      • Marie — December 10th, 2012 at 7:48 pm

        Thanks. Great idea

  7. NEW ORLEANS HONEY — December 10, 2012 at 11:43 am


    • Lindsay — December 14th, 2012 at 10:03 am

      I think that any teacher would love to receive a homemade gift!

  8. Cathy @ Noble Pig — December 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Love this idea! Pinning now!!

    • Lindsay — December 14th, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Thanks Cathy!

  9. Michaela — December 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Can you use essential oils to scent the candles or do you have to purchase scents made for candles?

    • Lindsay — December 10th, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Hi Michaela,
      Yes, you can use essential oils to scent your candle wax…usually they are more natural than fragrance made for candles anyways!

  10. Laura — December 11, 2012 at 3:38 am

    I tried making my own candles and had problems with the center caving in once the wax dried completely. Did you have this problem? Do you know of a good solution?

    • Lindsay — December 11th, 2012 at 9:21 am

      Laura, that did happen…I just melted a little more wax and added to the top! I looked up solutions and it said to head the glass jars with a blow dryer first so the wax will cool evenly.

  11. Allison — December 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I was just thinking that I needed to start thinking (ha!) about what I should make for holiday gifts this year. I think these soy candles are adorable and will be perfect! Thanks for the great idea!

  12. Callie — December 11, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Hi, I can’t wait to try these! Could you tell me how much of the soy flakes to measure out for each 8 oz candle? I was going to make each candle individually so I could try out a bunch of different scents, but I’m unsure how much of the soy flakes I’ll need to measure out for each one. Thanks!

    • Lindsay — December 11th, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Hi Callie,
      It seemed like a cup of flakes melted down to about 6 ounces of wax. I would start there and you can always melt a little more to top them off…that way you won’t have too much of one scent!

  13. Tina — December 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I made the soy candles last night and they turned out great. I will be making more over the weekend and giving them to my cousins as gifts. Thank you for the post!

    • Lindsay — December 21st, 2012 at 10:45 pm

      TIna, that’s awesome! So happy you liked them.

  14. Tracy — January 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Oh my goodness, I so can’t wait to try both of these projects! So fun!

  15. jennifer parker — January 24, 2014 at 6:51 am

    I love visiting your blog! This is a great post! Will come back later to pin it.

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