I burn candles all the time, but why buy candles at the store when it’s so easy and fun to make your own? Here’s a handy tutorial on how to make your own candles and save a ton of money in the process.
Why the Wax Matters When You Make Candles
There are some great resources on the internet for candle supplies, such as Candle Science and Nature’s Garden. They sell just about every kind of wax. You probably buy paraffin candles when you purchase them premade. Paraffin comes from petroleum, which has two draw backs: the black soot that forms inside containers and on your walls, and the health issues that come from burning petroleum products.
So what other choices are there? Soy wax is an amazing renewable resource. The wax is inexpensive, doesn’t leave soot, and burns completely. It also lasts quite a while. A single 4 ounce candle (think small jelly jar) will burn 12 or more hours. Another good choice, with a caveat, is palm wax. The caveat is making sure it comes from a responsible source that sustainably harvests and is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a group that works to create Rainforest-safe palm plantations. Palm wax burns cleanly and makes beautiful pillar candles with a slight snowflake pattern on the surface. Both soy and palm have container blends, perfect for your favorite glassware, as well as blends for pillar candles. I love to use canning jars or jars from old candles.
Choose a Wick for Your Candles
Most sites that sell candle making supplies have a wick guide. The material and size of the wick are important for a good solid burn. Measure the size of your container or mold to make sure you are getting the wick you need. While a zinc core wick can be nice for sturdiness, it will also make your candles smoke. Cotton or hemp wicks burn clean and completely.
Choosing a Container or Mold for Candles
This is the fun and easy part! If you are going to make a container candle, choose glassware that can withstand heat without cracking or shattering, such as food jars, both home canning and ones you purchase food in. I love to have a few baby jars around for the leftovers when I melt the wax, so I don’t waste any. For molds, you can purchase molds, or use things you were going to recycle. My favorite thing to use is a Pringles can. It makes a great 3 inch pillar, easily peels off when the candle is cool, and I can still recycle it when I’m done!
Materials for Candles
Wicks in tabs, sized for your container or mold
Containers and molds sized so your wick will rise about an inch above the top edge
Glass bowl or measuring cup
Colors (liquid works best, but you can even use crayons)
Scents (make sure they are candle safe)
Instructions for Making Candles
Measure the wax into your container and pour into the glass bowl or measuring cup. Add just a bit more wax, about 10 percent more, to account for melting.
Melt in the microwave. Start out with 4 or 5 minutes, then add in increments of 2 or 3 minutes, until the wax is completely melted.
Place your molds or containers on a cookie sheet to catch any spills.
Pour a little wax into the bottom of your container and place your wick. Let it set up for a minute or two.
Mix your scent and color into the melted wax, a drop at a time until you achieve your desired results.
Pour into your mold until full.
Using the clips, position the wick in the center of your container. I use one clip to hold the wick straight through the center of the spring and another to hold it upright with the actual clip.
Let the candle cool until no heat can be felt.
For pillars, remove the candle from the mold by loosening it from the sides and pulling it out, or if using a cardboard mold, rip the cardboard.
Trim the wick to about 1/4 inch and enjoy your new candle!
Easy Molds for Votive Candles
I love making votive candles for different holders around my home, including using citronella oil in them for outdoor use. Instead of purchasing molds for these candles, I use bathroom sized disposable cups. They are the perfect size and are recyclable!
It’s rare that I buy candles anymore. It’s so easy and inexpensive to make them that I use it as an excuse for a crafting day. My kids love coming up with new ideas for our candles too, so the whole family can get involved. Take a bit of time with your family and bond over making a few candles!