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How To Make Candles: Our Guide to DIY Candle Making

how to make candles

It’s hard to be against candles. Whether it’s a pumpkin spice candle, deeper scents like leather and tobacco, or a simple flickering light on a cool fall evening—there’s likely a candle out there for everyone.

If you’re starting your own candle-making business, figuring out what kind of candles to make and sell is one of the most fun—and perhaps at times difficult—parts of the job. There are many different fragrances, waxes, and accents (like pressed flowers) to choose from, and this process can take a lot of thought and creative energy. Still, making candles at home can be fairly simple, as long as you plan carefully and use the right tools—and your candle-loving customers will appreciate your additions to their home décor.

This guide on how to make candles will help you start your journey selling homemade candles.

Materials you will need to make candles

Here’s an overview of the supplies you’ll need to make homemade container candles:

  • Wax. Candle wax typically comes in wax shavings or wax flakes, which can be purchased in bulk online or from your local craft store. Paraffin wax and natural waxes like beeswax and soy wax are all popular choices.
  • Wicks. Every candle needs a wick. Wicks are typically made of paper, cotton, zinc, or wood.
  • Fragrance oils. Scented candles get their fragrance from essential oils or fragrance oils, which are added to the melted wax during the candle-making process.
  • Spatula. A heat-proof spatula for stirring wax will ensure an even melt.
  • Heat-proof container. Mason jars, glass jars, or even tin cans make excellent candle containers. The larger the container, the larger your candle will be.
  • Double boiler. Double boilers are kitchen tools that evenly distribute stovetop heat for controlled warming—and they’re perfect for melting wax. You can use a store-bought double boiler or make one by placing a metal bowl on top of a pot with a small amount of water in the bottom.
  • Thermometer. Use a candy thermometer, a digital infrared thermometer, or a deep-fry thermometer to measure the temperature of your wax.
  • Popsicle sticks or pencils. To stabilize the wick during the curing process, you will need Popsicle sticks, pencils, chopsticks, or other lightweight, straight objects.
  • Paper towels. Don’t get wax on all of your kitchen towels! Paper towels are ideal for cleaning up wax drips.

How to make candles

  1. Prep containers and supplies
  2. Measure the wax
  3. Melt the wax
  4. Add your fragrances
  5. Place the wick
  6. Stabilize the wick
  7. Pour the wax
  8. Clean up
  9. Wait for the candle to cure
  10. Enjoy your candle

Making candles at home requires a few specialized items, some planning, and a little bit of time—but it’s simpler than you might think. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the candle-making process.

1. Prep containers and supplies

You can purchase votive holders or specific candle jars from a craft store, but empty Mason jars or even tin cans will also work. Just make sure you like the look of the vessel—most poured candles cannot be transferred out of their container prior to burning.

Make sure that your candle containers are clean and dry, and place them on a flat surface. Keep your wicks, fragrance oils, and Popsicle sticks, chopsticks, or other wick holders nearby.

2. Measure the wax

Measure your wax by pouring wax flakes or wax shavings into your candle containers, which act as your candle molds. Because shavings take up more space than melted wax, use approximately two candle containers worth of flakes per candle.

3. Melt the wax

Pour your wax shavings or flakes into your double boiler and slowly warm the wax, using your spatula to carefully stir the melting wax and catch any bits that rise up the edges of the pot.

Paraffin wax melts at around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, soy wax melts at approximately 124 degrees Fahrenheit, and beeswax melts at around 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Use your candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.

4. Add your fragrances

If you are making scented candles, now is the time to get creative. You can use single-note fragrances (like bergamot, mandarin, or rosemary) with one scent, pre-blended fragrance oils (like sea breeze or apple pie), or make your own combinations (like rose patchouli or lavender sage).

Some fragrance oils are specifically designed for candle making. For these, follow the instructions on the packaging. If you are using essential oils, add 30 to 40 drops of oil per eight ounce candle. Add the oils slowly and stir with your spatula.

5. Place the wick

Place one wick in each candle container. Seal the wick to the center bottom of the jar by placing a drop of wax (or a drop of Super Glue) on the bottom of the wick and letting it dry on the bottom of the jar. For an even burn, make sure the base of the wick is centered in the container.

6. Stabilize the wick

Before you pour the wax, place two Popsicle sticks across the top of the jar, sandwiching the wick between them. This will keep the wick upright as the wax hardens. You can also use chopsticks, pencils, or even butter knives—just be careful not to drip too much wax on them in the process.

7. Pour the wax

Carefully pour the wax, filling the candle container to just below the top of the rim. Pour slowly to minimize air bubbles.

8. Clean up

Dried wax can be tricky to clean up. Wipe up any melted wax drips on your work surface or the outside of the candle mold with paper towels. Hot water can be used to clean up hardened wax spills.

9. Wait for your candle to cure

Soy candles will harden to room temperature in about four hours and completely cure in three to four days. Paraffin wax candles cure faster (in about two days), and beeswax candles take up to 10 days to cure completely. Once the candle is dry, you can remove the chopsticks and trim your wick.

If your candle has dried with pockmarks or indentations in the surface—typically caused by air bubbles rising during the drying process—warm a little bit more wax and add a thin layer on top.

10. Enjoy your candle

Light ’em up and let ’em burn! Candles make great gifts or online store items, and are a cost-effective way to achieve a beautifully lit, aromatherapy-infused home.

How to make candles FAQ

How do you make homemade candles?

Candle-making requires three key steps:

1. Melt your wax.
2. Pour it in a jar with a wick.
3. Let it set.

You can also get creative with scented oils, colorful layers, or decorative add-ins.

What ingredients do you need to make a candle?

All candles require three items:

1. Wax
2. A candle mold or container
3. A wick

Tools like a double boiler, Popsicle sticks, and candy thermometer also come in handy.

Is it cheaper to make your own candles?

Yes. While fancy scented candles can cost over $100 for an eight ounce pour, a pound of soy wax flakes (enough for three, eight ounce candles) can cost between $2 and $10. Many fragrance oils also retail for under $10.

How do I make my candles smell stronger?

The secret to powerfully scented candles is the oil. If essential oils aren’t producing the scent you’re looking for, try a specially formatted fragrance oil. These are made specifically for candles and are designed to project a stronger scent when burned.

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