How To Make Your Own Candles

How To Make Your Own Candles
Beeswax Candles Hand-Rolled Honeycomb

Beeswax Candles Hand-Rolled Honeycomb

Candles will bring a relaxing light to almost any setting, from longs baths to family dinners to quiet evenings at home. But if you’re burning paraffin candles you might be bringing more than a friendly atmosphere to your dinner party – paraffin, which is derived from petroleum, releases toxic VOCs when burned and can contribute to allergies and poor indoor air quality. So if you love candles but want to avoid damaging paraffin, why not try making your own? It’s a great way to get the scent and the look you want, and makes a great craft project for adults and kids alike.

A basic container candle

If you’ve never worked with wax before, container candles are a good place to start. When you follow these easy steps you’ll end up with a unique, beautifully scented candle you can use anywhere.

What you’ll need:

  • Wax – look in craft stores or at online candle-making sites to find non-toxic soy, vegetable, or beeswax.
  • Glass jars
  • Essential oils – oils like lavender, cinnamon, and eucalyptus can be used to create beautiful smelling candles that will fill the room with your favorite scent when burned.
  • Dyes – candle supply stores will usually sell dyes either as a liquid or in meltable blocks to be mixed with the wax.
  • A double boiler and thermometer
  • Wicks – look for wicks made from natural fibers that are free of dangerous metals like lead; also make sure the wicks have a tab on the bottom so they can be attached easily.
  • Hot glue
  • Straws
  • Clothespins

What to do:

1. Get your containers ready. Slide the straw over the wick to make it easier to handle, then glue the wick tab to the bottom of your container and remove the straw. Use the clothespin to keep the wick taut and upright by clipping it on the wick and lying it lengthwise over the top of your container. If you’ve got a larger container, try wrapping the wick around a pencil laid across the opening to keep the wick standing straight.

2. Melt the wax. I’ve tried several methods, and have always found the double boiler to be the most reliable. It can take awhile, but it’s worth it to make sure you get the right temperature safely. The temperature you need will depend on the type of wax you buy, so make sure you pay attention to the directions that come with your wax and use a thermometer to get it exactly right.

3. Add color and scent. Always add color last so you’ll know what it looks like once all the additives are in.

4. Pre-heat the container. Heat your glass containers in an oven to 150° – it will help the wax cool evenly.

5. Fill the container. Carefully pour wax to the desired level in your container, being sure to leave room for the wick and lid.

6. Refill uneven spots. As the wax cools it will likely sink in places, so once your candle is cooled you’ll have to reheat your wax and add more to fill in sunken areas.

7. Trim the wick. Cut the wick to ¼ inch.

8. Enjoy!

Homemade votives

Another easy homemade candle, votives are great practice for new candle makers – you can work on perfecting small batches and test out a variety of colors and scents.

What you’ll need:

  • Wax appropriate for stand-alone candles
  • Dyes/scents of your choice
  • Tabbed wicks
  • Votive molds
  • Vegetable oil
  • Double boiler and thermometer

What to do:

1. Prepare the mold. Coating the inside of your mold with a light layer of vegetable oil will make it easy to remove the cooled candles.

2. Melt the wax. Prepare the wax as discussed above.

3. Pour. Fill votive molds to the top with melted wax.

4. Insert wicks. Because you’ll be removing the candle from the mold, you should wait until after you’ve poured the wax to insert the wick. You’ll want it to be cool enough to support the wick but still hot enough for the tab to move easily through the wax – with a little bit of practice you’ll easily find the right temperature. Once you feel it settle to the bottom of the mold, you can continue to straighten the wick as the wax cools.

5. Re-pour. As with the container candles, after the wax in the mold has cooled you will likely need to pour in new wax to fill in sunken spots.

6. Remove from the mold. If you’re having trouble getting the candles out, try popping them in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier.


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