Making a Wooden Wick Soy Candle

September 5, 2020

Making a Wooden Wick Soy Candle with Wax Embeds and a Swirly Top

Say what now?  That’s a lot of descriptors, I know, but that’s what this particular candle is.  It’s one of the most popular candles in my shop and I get a lot of  questions about how I make it, even from other candle makers.  So, this tutorial is going to clear all of that up with a 10 minute video link at the bottom!

swirl design and wax shells

Why Wooden Wick Soy Candles?

I Heart Soy Wax

I absolutely love soy wax candles.  There are a lot of reasons why soy wax candles are “better” than paraffin candles, or why soy wax is more eco-friendly than other waxes (here’s a little bit about that if you’re curious).  While I think all of those things are nice, there are really two things that I love most about soy wax candles.

#1 – They smell nice.  I mean, all on their own, absent any fragrance oil, soy wax just smells good to me when it’s warm.  I can’t quite place the scent, or lack of scent…but unlike a burning paraffin candle (which I think has a distinctly gasoliney-petroleumy odor), I think warm soy wax smells kind of sweet!  In my shop there is actually a candle that smells like nothing, called Total Non-Scents, because just burning soy wax is pleasant to me.  Anyone else? 

#2 – They are clean.  How many times have you set your paraffin candle too close to the edge of a table near a wall and had black soot on your wall the next day?  Ew.  The wooden wicks in a soy wax candle will still produce smoke when they burn (because they are, after all, still burning wood), but the wax itself burns clean.  It’s a beautiful thing. 🙂

Wooden Wicks Rock

I use the wooden wicks because I’m bougie like that. 😉 No, actually, I just like the slight crackle you get, and I like the way they access the soy wax.  People don’t often remember that the wax is the fuel of your candle, not the wick.  Your wick just gives your flame access to the fuel.

The wooden wicks I use are from the Wooden Wick Co. (linked below in the materials list) and are patent protected. They require a patent statement on the bottom of each candle and I exercise COMPLIANCE!  If you are going to sell your candles, don’t get yourself sued.  The Wooden Wick Co. wicks that I use are flat with a little booster in the center.  These wicks give you a nice wide flame and burn beautifully.

Wooden wick with booster

Care and Maintenance Matter

As awesome as I think soy wax and wooden wicks are, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that they do require a little bit of extra love.

Soy wax has “memory”, so the first time you burn your candle has a big impact on how your candle will perform the next time.

Similarly, with the wooden wicks, you need to make sure there is sufficient air to reach your wick or the flame will snuff itself out.  Wicks need to be kept trimmed, and one should knock off the burned bits between burn sessions.  Best practice is to turn it upside down over a trashcan to do it.  That way, the burned bits will fall into the trash and not into your candle wax.

If you are someone who lights a candle for 10 minutes to smell it and then blows it out, you will likely be emailing me the next time you try to light it to determine what is wrong with your candle.  It feels silly sometimes to talk about care and maintenance of a candle…I recognize it’s not a pet, I’m just saying that the way you treat it matters.  I have more about this on my FAQ’s page.

With great soy wax wooden wick candles, comes great responsibility;)

Picking Your Soy Wax and Wooden Wicks

I’m going to let the video below do all of the process explanation, but I want the blog post to address a couple of things.

First, this combo of soy wax and wooden wick is what works for me.  I live in Maryland, and my climate may not be the same as yours.  Things like humidity have a large effect on how you candle cools and sets, etc.  If you plan to make any volume of candles, it’s worth getting some smaller packages of wax and testing them out.  The wax I use now is not the first wax I tried.  But for me, it’s the one I think hold the largest amount of fragrance (the “fragrance load”).

Also, you need to pick the right sized wick.  This process can seem a little daunting, but there is a wick selector on the Wooden Wick Co website that is helpful.  They also offer wick sample packs in case you want to do burn tests and decide for yourself.  None of these links for the Wooden Wick co are sponsored and I have no affiliation with them, it’s just the only way to go if you want to make wooden wick candles.  **Note, I tried some of the super-cheap wooden wicks from Amazon when I first started making candles and they were awful.  I ended up needing to double-wick them, re-wick them, and even toss some of them.

Video Link to Soy Candle Wood Wick Swirly Design Wax Embed Tutorial!

The video will do the rest of the explaining.  No amount of me describing how to get the swirly pattern in the top of your wax is going to do a better job than you watching it happen.  This video is about 10 mins, so I cut out the fluff and sped up as much as I could. 🙂

My decision to put wax embed shells on top was really driven by the process of making soap embeds for soap designs.  I thought “why couldn’t I do that with wax?”  Sure, they burn off after the first use, but that doesn’t make them a waste of time. The impact when you open the lid is worth it!

Materials used for this project are listed below.  Some links are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  If you do, thank you in advance for your support of this blog.

Golden Brands Soy Wax 464:
Wooden wick clips:
Wick stickers:
8oz Candle tins:
Candle dye flakes:
Shell silicone mold:
Nature’s Oil Sun and Sand Fragrance:
Carpenters pliers:


Love, Amanda

I Want A Shell-ter in Place Candle!

The Shop @ A Mandatory Activity

May 24, 2020

Did I Accidentally Start A Company? Maybe.

I’m writing this post a little late, and so I apologize to those dear friends to whom I have not yet shared this news.  COVID-19 and staying at home has affected us all differently, but I am firmly in the camp of people who have been having the weirdest dreams (when I’m actually able to sleep, that is).  One morning, I woke up to realize that I had designed an entire product line in my sleep, and so I accidentally (?) started a company.

Ok, I’m simplifying matters a little bit, and nobody accidentally starts a company.  At some point I did have to get a business license and tax ID number and all of the things that don’t happen by accident, but it’s accidental in that it wasn’t part of the GRAND PLAN.

Ok, I never really had a grand plan.  I had a blog idea and things to share and teach and that was good enough, until quarantine. 

Let Me Welcome You to The Shop @ A Mandatory Activity

Please allow me to introduce you to The Shop @ A Mandatory Activity.  There is now a convenient little shopping link at the top menu bar, and that will take you through to the site if you want to have a look around. 

If you’re just here for the tutorials, that’s totally good.  These are still mandatory activities and nothing is going to change.  As I’m writing this blog post I’m also supposed to be working on a design for my nephew’s birthday card, so my projects have increased, but not shifted!

I’m very proud of my accidental little company, and I’m really enjoying the journey so far, which is why it’s felt so weird not to have shared the news here.  Honestly, I had to take a moment to catch up with initial demand, which was a fantastic problem to have (do NOT mistake that remark for complaining)…I just didn’t expect the initial volume. 

I’ve since restocked everything over the course of the last few weeks of evenings and weekends though….so no worries if you’re actually in the market for some candles or need to order gifts for someone. 😉

Let me talk to you a little bit about the genesis of the idea, and my vision of the future and where this all fits in…

Word Play At Play

While in my strange limbo between sleeplessness and vivid dreaming, I started having a game of word play in my head.  It’s not totally abnormal, but I can usually shake it off.

This whole blog is one giant play on words, and I think my brain does a lot of these shenanigans on its own that don’t make their way to paper or pen or blog or idea.  I blame my Dad, who was the same way.  Dad jokes for me were on a whole other level.

If you read my first blog post, The Blog Post Nobody Will Read, you will know that I started this blog almost in response to his death.  I decided life was too short to be scared to try to do the things that make you happy.  My mandatory activities.  

There are plays on words throughout a lot of my posts, and a warning shot in the “about me” section…I like a good bad pun.  

And I Am A Materials Girl

That header has been in the list of things I’ve been wanting to write about for awhile, so don’t be surprised if it makes its way to a blog post title too…but I need it here right now.

I am often thinking about what kinds of things I’d like to make next, or what I want to learn, or whose birthday is coming up and what I’m going to make or give them.  During the process of putting together this blog, I’ve run into SO many creative people, and creativity inspires creativity.

I’m really happy making cookies and cakes and papercrafts and a handful of other projects, but I also want to continue to learn new things.  

You might call me a materials girl. 🙂  For me, inspiration for something comes from an idea that I then need to think about how to communicate and in which material, OR I have a material in mind and I need to figure out what to do with it. 

Here’s an example.  I found this stupid pillow at CVS last Fall on clearance for $4.  It made me smile and I walked away from it, and by the time I had finished actual shopping, I decided I needed to swing back to the clearance aisle to bring him home.  

Because in my mind, he was a great-looking cookie.  See what I mean?  

CVS owl pillow

(Incidentally, this all happened before I started the blog, but not before I had the idea for the blog…so I will have some footage to share when we get closer to Fall project time!) 

In this case, the material to convert this owl pillow into something to share with friends and family, was to make him into a cookie.  That was the right “material”.

The more materials I learn how to use, the more ideas I am inspired by, and that’s what happened with my shop.

Some of the Products

What I was thinking about, lying in bed, was how difficult this time must be for people who were already unhappy.   I know how fortunate I am to be quarantined with 2 of my favorite people, but I started to feel so sad for those who must feel much more hopeless.

What came to mind was the idea of social distancing, and how I wish I could put some Zing into it for those who really needed some help.  

Suddenly, there was Social Distance-Zing.  A burst of grapefruit and mango to lighten your spirits. The right material for this project was wax.  20-40 hours of aromatherapy… 

I had most of the materials except the fragrance in my candle stash.  I designed the labels and branding myself, put in an order for the fragrance oil and some others I thought might be nice. 

 One of those scents was almond.

And a couple of days later, there was Marzipan-demic.  A nice, warm, nutty fragrance that makes you want to cozy up at home with a good book.

Marzipan-demic candle

Two other pandemic-related candles emerged as well.  Flat-tin the Curve (which was inspired by…you probably guessed it, the candle tins I saw when I was shopping for candle jars online.

And also, Shell-ter in Place, which in my mind was the nautical option.  We can’t go to the beach at the moment…but you can take a vacation with your nose.  This one smells like sun and sand and sunscreen and legit makes me feel like it’s summer.  I got playfull and made little shell embeds for the top, and did a little swirl of color to make some beachy waves before my wax totally dried. 

Shell-ter in Place will be the first candle that I show you guys how to make.  Embeds and all.  Coming soon…

Flat-tin the curve candle
Shell-ter in place candles with open lids

The embeds led to more embeds…and when I started working on my graduation gift set, On A Grad Hoc Basis, and Caps and Grounds…it seemed like a great plan to throw some wax coffee bean embeds on the top of Caps and Grounds.  When you melt the candle, the embed melts and the colorant disperses and turns into kind of a latte color when it cools and solidifies again.

More to Come

So, it’s safe to say that we have some new mandatory acvities, because man is this a lot of fun.  I have been working on my Father’s Day candles this weekend and then I’m halfway through ideas for the Fall fragrances and bubble bars and pumpkin pie soap slices and OMG THERE ARE SO MANY FUN PROJECTS TO BE DONE.  One. At. A. Time. 

I have also been making soap (and made soap cupcakes this weekend which I’m in love with).  If you saw my soap making post and video from last week, you will have seen the first soap that will be for sale in the soap section.  Soap takes 4-6 weeks to cure, so the soap will slowly pop up as it becomes available.

I’ll also get to show you how things are done!  I recorded the soap cupaking making, of course, so there will be more to come.  

More candles, more soap, likely a slight re-org of the blog (Lifestyle to candles and soap? What do you guys think?)

Sorry for the length of this post, but the longer I put it off, the more there was to share, so I’ve ripped off the band-aid now and I can just work on posting updates instead of a whole explanation of what the heck…

For those of you who already knew and have been so super-supportive.  Thank you.  Truly.  I’m trying to be brave and take chances, and follow this journey wherever it’s going, but it’s SO much easier to do when people believe in you.


Feedspot Top 75 Happiness Blogs! ME!!

February 25, 2020

Today It's the Blog, Not Just the Content, That Makes Me Happy

Thank you to Feedspot to featuring my blog on the Feedspot Top 75 Happiness Blogs and Websites to Follow in 2020#41, woot!  I use Feedspot to help me organize all of the blogs and websites I think are cool…and I trust them to direct me to new ones that I will also like.  So I am THRILLED to have made this list and to be in such good company!  

You see that glow on my cheeks in the pic above? I’m going to start calling that “the Feedspot glow” (can I trademark that?)  I started this blog with the intention of sharing the things I do that make me happy, and to hopefully help my readers do the same.  If I inspire you to try a project or cookie design that you might not have considered before, that’s a win.  If I even just entertain you because you like watching OTHER people do those things, that’s a win.  I enjoy it too, I have watched hour long videos of people organizing their craft rooms, because I like to see what ideas other people have, and that’s one reason I love the blogoshere so much.  There are SO many people, and SO many ideas, it’s just the best.  

Today’s lesson for yours truly, is that while the blogging experience itself has been tech heavy with a gigantic learning curve, I can add it to my list of things that make me happy.

So thank you to Feedspot for the shout out, and thank you for those of you who have elected to come on this journey with me. I’m grateful for the love, for the shout outs, for the shares, for the comments, and for the encouragement! 

Working on some fun St. Patty’s Day cookies, so come back soon for those. 🙂


Valentine’s Day Napkin Fold and Placecards

February 12, 2020

Valentine's Day Napkin Fold and Placecards

Do you love love?  Why not add a little extra love into your place settings for Valentine’s Day? 
This year, we are having a small gathering of friends over for Valentine’s Day dinner, so I wanted to make a special table preparation with a fun and simple napkin fold and placecard.

The placecard design is a manipulated Lori Whitlock box card design, purchased from her website here:
You can see when you open the link, the original card design has an XOXO on the back of the truck, and I removed that and made space instead for the names of our guest.  Finally, the design gets miniaturized, assembled, and multiplied!

Construction on these guys wasn’t too bad.  The first one took the longest, somewhere around 10 minutes, but the remaining 5 I did much faster and I think I was finished with those in about 30 mins total.  Video tutorial for adjusting the box card into a placecard, and for assembly is available here:


Finally, I wanted to do a fun napkin fold for the table.  In my opinion, napkin folding is an under-utilized entertainment art form. 🙂  Guests tend to be really impressed, and it typically doesn’t take that much time.  I did a really simple heart napkin fold, which comes together in just under a minute (although the video tutorial is a little longer than that because I stopped to explain, etc.).  It’s a quick watch, and I mostly managed to keep my head out of the way while filming 🙂 

Items used in this project are linked for you below. 
AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. If you order through these links I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. If you do use the links below, thank you in advance for your support of this blog! 
Cricut machine (if you are new to Cricut, you will want the bundle so you get all the tools and mats and goodies!) 
Cricut paper: The red paper and the black wheel paper are both Cricut cardstock, available here.
The silver paper for the bumper and tail lights is Cricut pearl paper, available here.
The red sparkle paper used for the license plate holder is Cricut shimmer paper, available here.
The Cricut black pen 0.4mm was used to write the names on the placecards.
Pick up stick for tiny paper pieces.
My favorite glue used for almost all of my projects.
Cats Eye chalk ink.
Red bling used for tail lights / Clear bling used for rear view mirrors.

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! Thanks for joining me today, and until I see you again, do what makes you happy.

Love, Amanda

I'm Amanda, and I put the AMANDA in A MANDAtory Activity (and I like a good bad pun). This blog is a focused on baking and crafting for gatherings and gifts! I LOVE making things a little extra special and I love sharing those ideas with you. Have a look around, or read more here.


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