Making homemade candles can be a satisfying and creative project. As you become comfortable with the basics, you can learn more and more techniques for making eye-catching and useful candles at home. Candles make lovely and practical home decor items as well as thoughtful gifts.
Supplies Needed for Candle Making
Before you undertake your first project, make sure that you have all the candle making supplies you will need within reach. Here's what you'll need to make a basic, molded candle:
- Candle wax (soy, paraffin, or beeswax will all work)
- Candle wick suitable for the size and design of the mold
- Candle mold
- Mold release spray
- Chopstick, pencil, or popsicle stick
- Double boiler
- Sharp knife
- Candle fragrance or essential oil (optional)
- Candle dye (optional)
Candle molds come in a variety of styles and shapes. For beginners, a simple candle such as a pillar is the perfect project to start off with. Some molds include a wick pin, while others require the use of a tabbed wick. To figure out just what type of wick you need, consult the chart at Rustic Escentuals which breaks it all down into an easy-to-read format.
If you're planning to use scent and color, start out with a small amount of each. Candle fragrance and essential oils can be very strong, so it's best to just use a little and add more if necessary. With candle dye, adding a little at a time will help you reach the exact shade you want.
Steps to Make a Homemade Candle
Once you've got your supplies handy you're ready to start making a candle. The following instructions will work with just about any type of basic, molded candle, including pillars and votives. If you've chosen a more advanced candle mold, such as a shaped candle, follow the directions that come with the mold for best results.
- Measure your wax. The mold should come with a label or instructions letting you know how much you'll need, but if not, just take your best estimate. If you use too much it can be reused in another project, and if you use too little you can always melt some more to finish the current candle. Cut the wax into rouch chunks.
- Set up the double boiler by putting some water in the bottom half and inserting the top half. Place the double boiler on the stove and bring the water to a simmer.
- While the water is heating up, prepare the mold. Spray lightly with mold release spray, then attach the wick to the bottom. Keep the wick standing straight by wrapping the top around a chopstick or pencil and laying the stick across the top of the mold.
- Place the wax chunks in the top half of the double boiler and allow them to melt. Try to avoid stirring as much as possible, since stirring will add unwanted air bubbles to the wax.
- When the wax is completely melted, add a few drops of scent and your candle dye, if using. Continue adding more scent and color if needed until you reach your desired fragrance and shade. Stir gently to combine well.
- Slowly and carefully, pour the wax into your prepared mold. Fill it almost to the top, leaving about half an inch headspace.
- Allow the candle to cool for a few hours. You'll notice that there will be a well created around the wick while the candle cools. To fill this well, remelt any leftover wax (or melt some fresh wax) and pour it into the well until the top of the candle is level.
- Allow the candle to cool completely. Remove the candle from the mold by turning it upside down and lightly tapping the bottom. If the candle doesn't slide out, place the mold in the freezer for ten minutes and try again.
- Trim the candle wick to 1/4-inch. You can smooth any rough edges with the back of a hot metal spoon, or use a vegetable peeler around the top edge for a slightly bevelled look.
You candle is now ready to use!
Candle Making Safety
Candle making can be lots of fun, especially when you start experimenting with different styles and techniques. There are a few safety tips to keep in mind, however:
- Always check candle fragrances, essential oils, and dyes to make sure that they are safe for use in candle making. Some of these supplies can be highly flammable and unsafe for candles.
- Never leave your wax unattended in the double boiler. Scorched wax can cause a fire, and it smells awful.
- Stir and pour melted wax slowly and evenly. The wax is very hot, and splashes can burn your hands or ruin countertops.
- Make sure the finished candle is completely cool before unmolding to avoid spilling liquid wax. The mold should be cool to the touch.
More Homemade Candle Projects
There are lots of different candles you can make, from sculpted and shaped designs to gel candles. Here are some more ideas for candle projects that you might enjoy:
Experiment with Candle Making
Making homemade candles can be very rewarding. Not only do you get to express your creativity by using a variety of colors, shapes, and scents, you can also play around with different techniques you can employ to create truly unique designs. Once you get the hang of the basics, there are really no limits to the candles you can create at home! Make lots of candles for your own use and to give as gifts. If you find you really enjoy making candles, you can even start selling your handmade creations.