Making vegetable wax is ideal for people who prefer organic substances because the wax is biodegradable, nontoxic and extracted from vegtables. Soy wax, which is a soft vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans, is well-known. Other examples of vegetable waxes include carnauba, candelilla and palm. Many plants, shrubs and trees yield waxes that can be extracted and used to make cosmetics, lotions, soaps, balms and candles. All vegetable waxes burn clean with reduced smoke and soot buildup and no pollutants. According to The AgWeek website, waxing also protects fruits and vegetables from losing moisture and helps prevent bruising and mold growth.
Things You'll Need
Fragrance oil (optional)
Buy soybeans in bulk from your local grocery or natural foods store. It generally takes 60 pounds or one bushel of soybeans to make 11 pounds of soybean oil. Soy bean oil becomes more solid and turns into wax when it's hydrogenated.
Crush and press soybeans using a mechanical press to separate the soybean meal from the oil. Bleach must be used to purify and refine the soybean oil.
Put soybeans in a hydrogenating machine. Heat machine up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit before adding soybeans. This begins the hydrogenation of soybeans, which makes the soy wax. The hydrogenation process saturates fats and converts the fatty acids from unsaturated to saturated oil.
Place the soy wax in a pan and turn the stove's heat on medium. When the wax has thoroughly melted, remove the wax from the heat. For soy candles, fragrance oils and dyes can be added to the wax. Pour the soy wax in a jar and carefully position a candlewick in the center. Trim the wick upon initial burning to at least a quarter-inch from the wax.
There are advantages to using soy wax in candlemaking. The candles last longer than other waxes and burn with less heat, which distributes fragrance more evenly. It also produces 90 percent less soot than waxes with paraffin, according to SuperCandleMakingInstructions.com.
Never melt vegetable wax, including soy wax, in anything that doesn't have a numerical temperature gauge because wax could burst into flames once it reaches a flash point. Depending on the wax, the flash point may be between 290 to 380 degrees Fahrenheit.