How to Make Your Own Candles

Making your own candles is a fun way to add a custom decoration to your home.  You can adjust the colors so that they go with your décor and add a favorite fragrance that the candle will emit as it burns. Or you can skip the added flair and keep it simple, opting for an unobtrusive twinkle.  Once you have a few pieces of equipment and a few supplies, the process of making candles is pretty simple.

Step 1

Gather your supplies.

  • Coffee can or wax melting pot
  • Large pan for boiling water
  • Glass jars (8 oz. jelly jars work well for this)
  • Candle wax
  • Wicks (appropriate for the wax and size jar you are using)
  • Chopsticks (unsplit)
  • Fragrance (optional)
  • Wax color or crayons
  • Straw
  • Hot glue
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie sheet

Step 2

Prepare the jars for the wax.  Make sure that the jars are clean and dry.  Lay a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set up the jars on top. Take the wick and slide it into the straw, then pinch the straw to hold onto the wick.  Add a dab of hot glue to the bottom of the metal disc on the bottom of the wick and then, using the straw, press the wick into the exact center of the bottom of the jar.  This will allow the candle to burn evenly.  Remove the straw.

Step 3

Slide the wick between the chopsticks and then lay the chopsticks across the mouth of the jar to make sure the wick stays straight up and down as you pour the wax into the jar.  You can also use store bought wick bars to hold the wicks straight.  Another method for holding the wick is to wrap it around a pencil and lay the pencil across the top of the jar.

Step 4

Place the jars into the oven at 150 degrees F.  By gently heating the jars before pouring in the wax you can avoid getting places in the jar where the wax separates from the glass and looks wet. You want to use the low temperature so that the glass will heat up without the wick melting.  If you are only making one or two candles you can skip the oven and use a heat gun to heat up the glass instead.

Step 5

You can either approximate how much wax you will need using this container calculator, or you can estimate about 6.8 ounces of wax per jar if you are using 8 ounce jelly jars.  Melt the wax in a coffee can or wax melting pot that has been set into a large pan of boiling water.  Be patient when melting the wax, stirring gently with a wooden stir stick or spoon.  Once the wax is melted you can add a fragrance according to package directions.  If you want to use crayons to color the wax then you will need to add in a small piece at a time and let it melt so that you can see what color you are going to get.  If you want a darker color just add more crayon.

Step 6

Remove the jars from the oven.  Push the jars close together using oven mitts.  Keeping the jars close together will allow the wax to cool more slowly, which will produce a better end product.  Pour the wax slowly into the prepared jar or jars. Since the process is a fairly labor intensive one, it makes sense to make several candles at once. These candles will make excellent gifts.  Make sure not to over fill the candles, and keep a little extra wax in case you need to top off any of the jars after the wax starts to cool.  To encourage the wax to cool more slowly, try wrapping a towel around the jars or try putting them back into the cardboard box they came in.  Be careful not to knock the wick out of center or spill any of the melted wax.  If your room is pretty cool you may want to poke a hole in the top skin of wax near the wick, which will allow the heat to escape without causing any air bubbles.

Step 7

Allow the candles to cool until they are completely set. Typically, letting them cool overnight is best.  Trim the wick to about ½ inch above the wax surface.  You can add the lid to your candles at this point if you have them.  Allow the candles to cure for a few days before burning.

Now that you know how to make your own candles you can keep your eyes open for pretty bowls, vases or other vessels that can be made into a candle.  Many molds are also sold online or in craft stores that will allow you to make pillar candles, votives and other types of candles.

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