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How to Make Candles

Everyone loves candles - they can have a myriad of uses, whether for illumination, spreading scent, setting a mood or decoration. They can make great personalized gifts, as they differ in color, size, scent, shape and more.

Not only that, but they are one of the simplest crafts you can do at home and without blowing a fortune. Children make them at camps, people make them at special events as keepsakes, and they are a great way to spend time with family by making them. You can make them no matter what the weather's like or what's in style.

There are a variety of different candles in existence, including beeswax candles, votives, even soy candles. This HubPage includes the basics on making candles, starting with supplies required and the steps to be taken, and includes links on places to buy materials to make your candle.

Have fun making your candle, and don't stop at one! Try a variety of different shapes and styles and scents; liven your home or office and create something you can enjoy as long as the flame does!

how-to-make-candles

Materials and supplies

  • WAX: You should use wax that is formulated for candle-making. There is “straight” paraffin wax, but that’s hard to use because it’s difficult to control. Additives are also necessary to color or scent straight paraffin wax.

Blended paraffin wax is best; it already has the necessary additives for candle-making. There are different kinds and grades of blended paraffin wax.

You can also candles with soy wax (which is natural and non-toxic, burns longer than paraffin wax and comes in flake form for easier manageability but doesn’t hold fragrance as well).

You can use gel wax, but it doesn’t work well with fragrances and produces air bubbles easily. To get rid of air bubbles, turn the temperature to 200 degrees and keep stirring.

  • COLOR/DYE: It’s true that you can use crayons to color candles, but their constitution clogs the wick and keeps the candle from burning regularly. Use a dye made for candle wax. Usually the colors are very concentrated and will last a while. Also, it's not good to use food coloring because it is water-based and the color won't hold.
  • WICKS: Use pre-tabbed and pre-waxed wicks. Make sure it’s the right size for the size of the candle you want to make; it’s possible to have wicks that are too big or too small. Test it first to make sure it burns right.
  • FRAGRANCE: You will probably need 1-1.5 oz of fragrance oil per pound of wax or else the excess oil will seep from the candle wax. Try buying a sample size of the oil first before investing in a larger bottle that won’t work for your project.
  • MOLDS: Use seamless metal molds and, if desired, wick pins (the wick with a little metal on the bottom to center the wick more easily).
  • KETTLE: Try a Presto Kitchen Kettle. You can get this at a regular hardware or Wal-Mart; you don’t need to go to a specialty store and get an expensive appliance. It is highly recommended that you use only double boilers, which is the safest but also the slowest. Wax has a flash point and can burst into flames once it reaches that point! The flash point is often 290-380 degrees. Make sure whatever you use has a numerical temperature control gauge of some kind… low, medium and high settings are not specific enough for candle-making.
  • THERMOMETER: Use this to check the temperatures while melting the wax; this is important to do. You should be able to get this for less than $5-10. Try using a glass one or one specifically made for candle-making.
  • POUR POT: This is for pouring the melted wax from the kettle to the molds. There are specialty pour pots made specifically for candle-making, but you can also use those glass Pyrex measuring containers or even an old, clean coffee can.
  • SCALE: You need to weight how much wax to put in the kettle. You shouldn’t need too much wax, so a scale that weighs up to 10 pounds should be sufficient. You’ll probably need to break up wax with a
  • HAMMER or something blunt of that sort, then weight the chunks on the scale until you have as much as you’ll need.The Presto Kitchen Kettle holds about eight pounds of wax, but you’ll probably need no more than seven at a time or else the excess will make it difficult to stir it all without spilling.
  • STOVE: You’ll need this for melting the wax, of course.

Using colors and dyes in making candles

Step-by-step guide

1) Melt the wax. Using a thermometer, make sure it stays at around 170-185 degrees. Don't burn yourself! Check that the molds are clean while the wax is melting. If using wick pins, drop one in each mold.

2) Add dye slowly; you can always add more but you can't retract it once it's gone in. Stir the dye with a wire wisk in the wax for at least two minutes so the wax and dye can bind.

3) Add fragrance oil and also stir for at least two minutes. Use the wisk and stir well to evenly distribute the fragrance. The wax temperature should be between 165-185 degrees when adding the oil; if it's not hot enough the fragrance won't bind to the wax and if it's too hot the fragrance will burn off.

4) Use a pour pot or glass/metal measuring cup (something with a little point around the edge to facilitate neat pouring) fill the molds to the top. (You should warm the pot or cup a little so the wax won't stick to it.) Also heat the molds to about 150 degrees so "drag lines" won't appear on the sides of the candle when you're done. along the sides of your votives once they are finished.

If you have leftover wax, use it for a second pour and turn the heat down or off while the candles cool.

5) If don't use wick pins, wait for a thin skin to appear on the top of your wax as it cools, the push and center the wick in the candle until it reaches the bottom Hold it there until it's stable.

6) If your candle is large, make relief holes about 45 minutes after your first pour so any air bubbles can be released.

7) Since wax recedes and condenses when it cools, you'll need to pour more wax over the candles. Heat up the leftover wax to about 10 degrees hotter than the first pour so the waxes bind. Stir it again and fill each mold to the top.

8) Wait and hour and a half after the second pour to take the candle out of the mold. Try putting it in a fridge first for about five minutes if you have a hard time. If you used a wick pin you can pull the candle out by the wick.

Hooray! You've made candles!

Candles in a jar

If you're going to put your candle in a jar, make sure the jar is heated when you pour the wax in. Keep the wax at 170 degrees and make the candle in the same manner as the basic candle.

Note: When the wax dries it tends to pull the wick away from the center as it shrinks. Thus, drill a hole in a popsicle stick, thread the wick through, secure the wick with a clothespin and set it on top of the jar so the wick will stay straight as the wax sets. Remember to poke relief holes!

The beeswax candle

The Beeswax Candle: Beeswax is one of the oldest materials used for making candles. They are clean-burning and have a pleasant, sweet scent.

You'll need

  • Some Beeswax sheets (at DiscountCandle.com, for instance, beeswax sheets are 8" width x 16" length x 1/16" thick and cost about $3.60 each)

  • Primed wick

  • A sharp knife

  • A cutting board

    1. Roll out the beeswax sheet on the cutting board.

    2. Cut enough wick so it is about two inches longer than the width of your beeswax sheet.

    3. Place the wick along the edge of the beeswax sheet and fold the sheet about 1/8" over the wick. Press down on the sheet so the wax completely

    surrounds the wick.

    4. Start rolling the wax up into a cylinder, but don't wreck the honeycomb pattern on the wax. Roll slowly keep it straight.

    5. Once you have reached the end of the sheet, press down on the exposed edge so the candle won't come undone.

    6. Pick which end to be the "top" and trim the wick down to approximately ½". Remove the exposed wick completely from the other end.

    All done!

Freedom Candle

A patriotic candle that's actually not too hard to make.

You'll make this the same way as the basic candle, only you'll be slanting the mold to get the various colors in the candle. Use dyes to color white or vanilla wax to get red and blue wax. Also, glue a wick pin to the bottom of the mold with hot glue so it won't move when you're pouring wax in.

Pour red wax (heated to 170 degrees) into a 3" x 3.5" round pillar mold and hold it at a slant (you might want to use a box or something to lean it on). Let it sit long enough for the wax not to pull from the side of the mold when upright. Poke a relief hole.

Next turn the mold 180, slant at an equal angle as the red was poured at and pour the blue (heated to 167 degrees) over the red. Poke another relief hole after the blue has firmed up.

Finally pour white wax over both the red and the blue.

You should be able to just slide the candle from the mold after it has set.

More sources

  • CandleHelp
    Numerous resources, tutorials and references for making candles the best way possible. Tips include recycling old candles and choosing wicks. The detailed lessons feature multiple accompanying images and are categorized into beginning, intermediate a
  • Candle Cauldron
    The site might not have a high-quality layout but it's helpful in that there are forums, chats and classifieds for learning from other candle makers. There are also pricing and selling guides, FAQs and troubleshooting.
  • Candle Crafts at Makingfriends.com
    Lots of candle craft and project ideas as well as downloads. Crafts including making candle holders with beads and decorating for the holidays. There are also links to other child’s crafts.
  • How to Make Shot Glass Candles - wikiHow
    A great way to use your old shot glasses! This WikiHow page shows step-by-step instructions on how to make candles from shot glasses with a helpful image for each step. There are also links for making other unique candles like glow-in-the-dark ones.
  • Candlewic.com
    Supplying materials for candle-making since 1972, this site offers a variety of professional supplies from waxes to oils, molds, wicks, additives and bases. The site features sales and has a catalog.
  • Cajun's Candle Making Supplies and How-To
    This colorful website features its own supplies, including waxes, molds and fragrances, and also offers how-to information on making a variety of candles, including votives, soy candles and pillar candles.
  • Moon Glow Candle Supplies - Wholesale
    A natural-themed site with projects, kits, supplies and unusual additives like glitter. Based in South Dakota, the site specializes in bath and body products, special occasion candles for weddings and candle holders.
  • Yankee Candle Company
    Yankee Candle Company has over 30 years of candle-making experience. The ultimate candle company, Yankee specializes in rich and varied scents and classy gifts for holidays and weddings. There are numerous candle accessories and themes available on t
  • 100 Candles
    Basically everything you need for candles, making candles, candle containers and more. A totally legitimate website for a variety of candles that can be shipped at discount prices, they welcome testimonials and feedback.

Comments

Hulusoywax on July 23, 2020:

Oh and my blog at https://biogreenecs.co.uk/

Hulusoywax on July 08, 2020:

Very good guide. Much better than my effort in my blog. You can see it here https://hulushop.co.uk/

Laurinzoscott from Kanab, Utah on March 21, 2020:

Very informative and since I love candle maybe I Will make MY own

Noah Isaac on November 02, 2018:

Hi Glassvisage!! Amazing video, was wondering if you could write one for us :D CandlesTonight makes hollow candles (Wax Luminaries). Check us out at https://candlestonight.com/pages/about

rthorat136@gmail.com on September 22, 2014:

hi,

very useful site i tried making one candle :( disappointed because of white marks m getting in the candles...... can you please help me for that....

making-candles on December 30, 2012:

I enjoyed your hub. You have a lot of great information on making candles.

http://ehowtomakecandlesathome.com

jdevilliersbuz on December 06, 2011:

Very nice hub! I'm also a big candle hobbiest.

Please have a look at my site

http://howtomakescentedpillarfloatingbeeswaxcandle...

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on February 01, 2011:

Absolutely stellar hub on making candles! I have longed to learn how to make my own candles and now I have great, informative directions. I am excited to try this!

A great big thanks and rated up and awesome. :)

kay on November 10, 2010:

I WOULD TO MAKES CANDLES, BUT I DON'T KNOW IF I CAN DO IT OR NOT. I LOVE CANDLE AND BURN THEM ALL THE TINE, THEY SNELL SO GOOD. THANKS K

John Chen on October 15, 2010:

Wow!...All candles looking very beautiful...

I really love to use these kind of beautiful candles for special occasion...

Niphaphone on September 08, 2010:

I love csndles "lao girl"

Janice on June 14, 2010:

Wow - you have created a wonderful resource here to help people get some ideas on how to make candles.

Planning ahead is very important - if candles are your passion, then it is a hobby for all year round. Thanks for all the great information!

Haitham Al-Ubaidi on April 30, 2010:

Great post. Detailed enough for the beginner to have a go and not off putting at all. I own a scented candle company, Busy Bee Candles (http://www.busybeecandles.co.uk) and have to give you a big thumbs up. Candle making is a fascinating topic with as much variation as your imagination can throw at it. Once you start making candles, it's hard to stop. I must say that my preference is for soy wax, so nice to work with. Keep having fun guys.

Loveofnight Anderson from Baltimore, Maryland on April 12, 2010:

awesome hub, i find this quite fascinating.....thx

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on February 21, 2010:

Thank you, Dawn!

kre8iv4u from Florida beaches on February 15, 2010:

I have a small candle making business and I have to applaud you for this hub. It is very informative and educational. Great read and great pics.

Thanks for this hub!!

Dawn

You can see some pics of some of my candles at:

http://tinyurl.com/yj84vdl

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on December 11, 2009:

Thank you guys!

Make Candles At Home on December 09, 2009:

Not many people realize how simple and enjoyable candle making really is. Those who never tried will never know. It does not take a lot of time or experience to come up with amazing results that can boost yoy creativity confidence. I do recommend this hobby to everyone!

Thank you Glassvisage for one of the best hub on candle making!

highwaystar on November 11, 2009:

You're hug is on fire!

poopy poop on September 26, 2009:

this HUB is garbage

Renee Hanlon from Michigan on September 21, 2009:

Very nice hub! I wanted to learn how to make candles - I'll be bookmarking this.

ledimi on September 08, 2009:

cool very interesting

SEO Expert Kerala from KERALA on July 23, 2009:

Wow..now that is a great HUB. Informative, educational and well laid out, comparing to my hubb 'Tips for Making Scented Candles - Special Aromatherapy Candles'

https://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-make-Scented-Candl...

Marianne G from Florida on June 05, 2009:

I absolutely love candles and I often give them as gifts as well. I have really never thought about making them at home until now. Thanks for the information, as I will have to try some of your ideas.

flameless on May 28, 2009:

what about making flameless candles do you know how

if you need to know more about flameless candles try

https://hubpages.com/art/flameless-candles

MomK from Rural Arkansas on December 31, 2008:

Thank you! You seem to really know your hobby! I loved the pictures you posted. Keep 'em coming.

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on December 29, 2008:

Thank you Chris and RGraf. See how fun crafts can be? :)

Rebecca Graf from Wisconsin on December 29, 2008:

This is an excellent resource. I was hoping to find time this next year to learn to make candles. I'm bookmarking this site.

Chris on December 21, 2008:

Gotta say i clicked on this just cause i was bored but it really was a good read, will never use it lol but it was still tickly for my brain hehe

glassvisage (author) from Northern California on December 16, 2008:

Thanks everyone! Scott, I didn't even consider that there would be different health and safety issues with different kinds of wax! Good idea

Scott Mandrake from Alberta, Canada on December 14, 2008:

As a fellow candle maker, I applaude your content here. You coverered just about everything. Perhaps you could do an article specifically on the different health and safety issues related to each type of wax.

Scott

topstuff on December 14, 2008:

This is really a cool hub in every angle.

funnebone from Philadelphia Pa on March 06, 2008:

Wow..now that is a HUB. Informative, educational and well laid out. I almost feel dirty for just being here......Great job

Cindy Lietz from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on March 05, 2008:

Some of my best memories as a kid, were making candles with my mom in the 70's. You know, the sand candles, the candles with the ice cubes in them, the orange, the brown, the avocado candles. Reading this hub makes me want to pull out all my candle making stuff again. Thank you for the great hub!

C.S.Alexis from NW Indiana on February 20, 2008:

Nice job here. I am proud of you.

Krista 07 from Europe on December 04, 2007:

Excellente!!!!

Anna May Wong on November 09, 2007:

Love your site ! I did it I made them !

stubbs from London on October 26, 2007:

great very detailed hub. good stuff!

Mark Knowles on October 24, 2007:

Wow, what a great hub, you really know your stuff.

perfumer from California on October 23, 2007:

Great info glassvisage!