Candles are a great way to add ambiance to a space without going overboard on decorations.
Infusing a room with delicious aromas and the romantic glow of a flickering wick does not always come cheap, though.
Anything larger than a tea-light will usually cost a pretty penny. Some can run upwards of $35!
All the more reason to learn how to make candles yourself.
Aside from being a fun craft activity, making your own candles is a great way to experiment and create gifts for friends and family.
Follow this guide for how to make a candle, and in no time at all, you will have your very own collection of beautiful candles.
How to Make Candles: What You Will Need
- Paraffin wax, soy wax, or beeswax
- Heat-proof candle containers
- Candle wicks
- Essential oils (optional)
- Glass container
- Saucepan or pot
- Candy or candle thermometer
- Oil-based dye (optional)
- Access to a stove
Before running to the store, there are a few other things that you need to consider as well!
Any heat-resistant container can usually be used as a candle container; however, the diameter of that container will determine the sort of wick you use.
The wider the container, the thicker the wick will need to be to melt the wax and maintain an even burn. However, adding scents and dyes to the wax will also change how well the wick burns.
Experiment with different wick sizes to figure out which works best for you.
Generally, if the diameter is 9cm or larger (or the container is an oval shape), double wicking is a good idea.
There are several types of wax out there for making candles. The three listed above are the most common, and great for beginners to play around with.
Paraffin is common and cheap and retains color and scents well. It can be a pain to clean up and will potentially irritate sensitive noses, but will re-melt easily.
Soy is popular, eco-friendly, easy to clean up, and burns a little slower than other types of wax. It holds color and scents almost as well as paraffin.
The process for how to make soy candles is not all that different from paraffin candles.
Beeswax is natural and has wonderful air-purifying properties, and has its own natural scent – but it doesn’t hold added scents or color nearly as well as paraffin and soy.
Beeswax is the type of wax you want to use if all-natural candles are your desire.
The Process of Candle Making
Once you have got a workspace prepared and all the supplies, you are good to go!
If the wax is not already in flakes or shavings, chop it up into small chunks for an easy and quick melt. Toss these flakes into the glass container.
Now, the safest way to melt wax is the double boiling method.
(Note: Whatever container you are melting the wax in either needs to cover the saucepan so that it traps the heat beneath it, or be half-way submerged in the boiling water.)
Fill the saucepan half-way with water and pop it on the stove. Over this pot, place the heat-proof glass container.
Set the water to boil. Stir the wax gently, and once it is half liquid, stick the thermometer in to keep track of the temperature.
Paraffin, soy, and beeswax have slightly different melt temperatures.
The waxes should be kept in ranges between 122 – 140°F (paraffin wax), 170 – 180°F (soy wax), and 145 – 175°F (beeswax).
Keep an eye on the wax. Once it is melted completely, move onto step two!
Add any scents or colors you fancy.
The quantity of each that you add is entirely up to your own tastes. Learning how to make scented candles is a quick and easy way to brighten up your home without paying an arm and a leg for half a dozen candles.
It is important to note that food dye won’t work in candles, as they are water-based and won’t mix with the wax. You can, however, use crayons. No, it’s true! Chop up a crayon and melt it in with the wax.
Set the wicks.
Dip the wick base in the melted wax, and use this to adhere the wick to the center of the container.
Stabilize the wicks however you want – popsicle sticks with a hole in the middle are easy to make yourself – and set the containers aside.
(If you are wondering how to make a candle wick, the process is a bit longer than making a candle, as it involves letting the twine soak in a borax solution before letting it dry for at least 24 hours, and then coating the whole thing in wax.)
Pour in the wax and set the candles aside to set for at least 24 hours.
Once that is done, trim the wick down to about a ¼ inch.
And that is it! Candles are fun and easy to make.
Here’s a video showing how to make scented candles.
You can experiment will all sorts of colors and scents, save quite a few bucks, and have a stock of ready-to-go gifts for friends and family. (Unless you decide to keep them for yourself!)
Do you have any tips on how to make homemade candles?