How to Make Candles At Home Safely

how to make candles cover

Candles have lit the world for centuries. Even today during storms and blackouts, they always come in handy. Without candles, unexpected interruption of power supply can literally leave us in the dark.  In some parts of the world, they are still used to provide light. Keeping several candles in strategic places around the house will prep you for that unexpected black out.

For homesteaders, candles can add both swag and a nice smell to your home, which is why candle making is a fun individual project that can be turned into a fun family activity. If you become good at this, there’s even the potential to turn it into a business.

The great thing about these projects is that you don’t need expensive equipment, materials or any advanced skills.

Taking on a DIY candle making project is certainly worth your while and here why.

DIY Candles are easy to make

Who needs complication in this life? Our time is so limited these days and balancing leisure with work and chores can be complicated. In such a fast-paced world, candle making is perfect because it takes very little time and skills to accomplish. All there really is to candle making is melting and pouring wax into a mold of your choice. Candle making is actually easier than baking a cake!

You know what goes into your candle

Most commercial candles are made from cheap inorganic material and chemicals that are harmful to us. Choosing to work with organic wax, scents, and color will certainly improve the quality of your candles. See the section below on candle wax, color and scents.

For example, candles made from paraffin wax release carcinogenic chemicals into the air when burning. Olive oil on the other hand actually purifies the air. The choice here seems pretty obvious to me.

They make great, inexpensive gifts

Spoil your family and friends with candles made with your own two hands. This shows that you have the time and have taken the energy to think and deeply care for them. These days, a gift only takes a few minutes to order. The art of putting thought into a gift has been lost, yet a handmade candle will certainly prove your loved ones different.

Types of Candles

Candles come in different shapes, sizes and scents. These are:

Pillar candles

These do not require a container to hold the wax as they are free standing. The wax used to make these candles needs to melt slowly to ensure that they can stand independently. Both paraffin and beeswax can be used for pillar candles. Most candles sold in stores are pillar candles.

Container candles

Container candles can be made from any type of wax. As their name suggests, they are placed or made using containers, the most common type being mason jars.  They can be made using wax that melts quickly.

Votive candles

Votive candles are made of votive wax, which is a blend of paraffin and soy wax. The main advantage of soy wax is it has a lower melting point than beeswax, and will maintain its shape when molded, hence there is no need for it to be put into a container.  It has the cost benefits of paraffin and the sturdiness of beeswax.

Types of Wax

The main ingredient in making candles is, as you might expect wax. The main types of wax are:

Bees Wax

Beeswax, as can be derived from its name, is made by honeybees.

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin wax is made by a process known dewaxing. In this instance, dewaxing is the removal of light oil lubricating stocks.

Soy Wax

Soy wax is made from soy oil, which in turn comes from the processing of soybeans. The process of making soy wax from oil is known as hydrogenation.

Non-wax Candles

That’s right, not all candles are made of wax.

Vegetable Shortening

Vegetable shortening can be used to make non-wax candles. It is made from the fat in vegetables by a chemical process that makes it into a solid white block. This can be melted and molded into candles.

Lamp Oil

Lamp oil has been used for centuries, it needs no introduction. It doesn’t hurt to stockpile a few bottles for blackouts that could last days or even weeks.

Equipment Needed

You will need the following equipment to make candles.

  • Scissors
  • Thermometer
  • Scale
  • Mittens
  • Tongs
  • Glue gun
  • Old coffee cans
  • Towels
  • Newspaper
  • Double boiler
  • Old pan
  • Matches
  • Apron

This list is not exhaustive and each type of candle has its own requirements.

Safety Precautions

It’s extremely important to follow the safety procedures below when making or using candles. The hot wax and sharp utensils could be a hazard to both you and your home.

  1. Since you will be working with hot liquids and flames, it is important to work in an area far away from other flammable items.
  2. Ensure you wear protective clothing. I like to wear a long sleeve shirt and gloves to ensure that I reduce the possibility of being burned by the hot wax. Wearing shoes is also advisable.
  3. Ensure your hair is protected. Hair is very flammable especially if certain hair products have been used.
  4. If you have a fire extinguisher or a blanket, they could come in handy especially if the wax spills over the stove.
  5. Protect the working surface by placing an old cloth or newspaper over it. Wax stains can be a pain to remove.
  6. Always wear mittens or use a tong when handles candle molds.
  7. When you finish, never forget to put out ALL your candles before going to bed. In the US alone, candles cause an estimated 15,000 house fires, 150 deaths and 1,200 injuries every year.
  8. Ensure that your candles are made a placed on well-balanced surfaces to ensure that they won’t tip or fall over.

Scented candles

There’s a huge number of scents available, because you can actually mix and match them. A few suggestions:

Mix #1:

  • One part Lavender
  • One part Spring rain
  • One part Vanilla

Mix #2:

  • One part apple
  • One part grapefruit

Mix #3:

  • 1 part lavender
  • One part baby powder

Mix #4:

  • One part Jasmine
  • One part cherry blossom
  • One part sandalwood
  • One part honey
  • One part vanilla

Mix #5:

  • 2 parts Georgia peach
  • One part spring rain

Feel free to experiment and make your own scents, just make sure you only buy high-quality ingredients.

Colors and Decorations

Most wax will come in standard colors of either white or yellow. Dying your candles will enhance their look. Similar to choosing scents, colors can also be mixed, however you wish.

Adding ribbons and cards to them will turn them from a simple light into a beautiful homemade gift or ornament.

Some materials I suggest you use to decorate are:

  • Glitter
  • Ribbons
  • String
  • Cards
  • Printed pictures

Here is a great video with some great suggestions:

Let’s look at some actual DIY candle projects. Feel free to try your own variations as you gain experience.

beeswax candle

#1. Beeswax candles

When people think of DIY candles, they usually think of beeswax, because before paraffin wax was available, most candles were made from it. It has the advantage of having a nice smelling aroma and burns for an extended period of time.

You may want to know that, as opposed to paraffin candles, beeswax also purifies the air as it, by reducing dust and mold.  Be careful, though, because it’s flammable.  While heating it if it spills onto your hot stove, it could start a fire.

You will need

  • 1 lb. pure beeswax
  • Half pint canning jars (or candle mold)
  • Empty coffee jar
  • Double boiler
  • Number 4 braided wick
  • ½ cup of coconut oil
  • Bamboo skewers

Instructions:

  1. Place the beeswax into a pitcher (such as a coffee can) and place it in a pot. Add just enough water to the pot so that it boils ensuring that none of the water boils over into the pitcher.
  2. Bring water to the boil, and wait until the beeswax
  3. Cut your wicks a few inches longer than your jars. Glue the wick inside your jar and pour a layer of beeswax to hold it in place. Ensure that your wax cools for about 5 minutes before you pour it into the or mold
  4. Once you fill your jar with the wax trim your wick to about ½ an inch
  5. When you first light your candles allow them to burn for about 3 hours so that the top surface can melt. Check if the candle is flickering or smoking too much. If this is the case, cut you wick slightly.

Here is a video that explains making beeswax candles:

 

orange oil map

#2. Orange Oil Lamps

Oranges, as well as other fruits, can be turned into beautiful candles.  This is great when you are out camping and you forgot to bring a torch or lights. This neat trick using olive oil and the orange stem as a wick to give you 6 to 8 hours of light.

You will need

  • Orange
  • Olive oil
  • Lighter

Instructions

  1. Cut your orange in half and carefully separate the fruit from the skin. You need to ensure that the step remains attached to the orange.
  2. Pour olive oil onto both the step and into the orange peel. Allow it to soak for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Use your lighter to light the stem, which acts like a wick in this case. You will need to be patient as it may take up to 1 minute to light.
  4. Note that the stem will last for about 6 to 8 hours at most.

Here is a video of how to do it:

 

#3. Ice Candles

Yes, you read that right; Candles can be made from ice. This is proof that in the candle making world, anything is possible.

You will need

  • Mold (an empty milk carton will suffice)
  • Small pieces of ice (½ inch blocks)
  • Wax
  • Candle
  • Candle scent and color (optional)

Instructions

  1. Ensure the container using is clean and that it’s stable when placed it on the countertop.
  2. Set your candle in the middle of your milk carton.
  3. Melt wax until it is liquid (which happens at about 200F)
  4. Pack your container with ice then pour wax into the container.
  5. After pouring in your wax set it aside to cool for 1 hour.
  6. When the wax is completely cool pour out the melted ice water and cut open the milk carton box.
  7. The result is a beautifully designed candle made from the spaces that have been left by the melted ice.

Watch the video below to find out more about making ice candles

 

#4. French Vanilla Candles

This is one of my favorite DIY candles because of the aroma. I love the smell of coffee as well as vanilla.

You will need

  • Old teacups or bowls
  • Candle wax (I like to use soy in this case)
  • Candle Wicks
  • Vanilla beans
  • Coffee beans

Instructions

  1. Melt your wax in a double boiler or microwave.
  2. Glue your candlewick to the bottom of the bowl or teacup. You can also choose to hold it in place while you pour a thin layer of wax to hold it in place.
  3. Add some coffee and vanilla beans to every 1 inch of wax you add. Stir them so that they’re evenly distributed
  4. If I do decide to use a jar I normally decorate it with ribbons or printed, custom notes and glue this to the jar.

You can also make a freestanding candle by pouring the wax into a candle mold instead of a jar.

 

#5. Cocktail candles

These candles look lovely around the bar area and are a great gift. You can make them look like cocktails or any other shape for that matter.

You will need

  • Candle wax
  • Double boiler
  • Candle color dye
  • Candle scent (Use whatever scent you want, I chose vanilla as an example)
  • Candlewick
  • Chopstick
  • Cocktail umbrella

Instructions

  1. Melt your wax in a double boiler or microwave.
  2. Add a candle dye color of your choice and mix. Add a scent of your choice to this mix and pour into your cocktail glass.
  3. Glue your candlewick to the bottom of the glass.
  4. Place a chopstick across the rim of the glass and tie your wick to this to hold it in place while you pour your wax.
  5. Make several colors according to the type of drink you are trying to depict.

Here is a video below demonstrating how this is made

Another interesting type is the beer glass candle:

 

pumpkin candle pic

#6. Pumpkin candles

Pumpkin candles smell great. Apart from the fact that you can make them out of any type of natural wax, this will give your home a unique and welcoming smell. This can also be a wonderful homemade gift.  It’s worth mentioning that candles have been placed inside pumpkins for events like Halloween. Making the candle inside the pumpkin smell like one is a bonus.

You will need

Instructions

  1. Glue the wick to the bottom of the jar using a hot glue gun.
  2. Melt the candle wax in either a metal can or an empty coffee can.
  3. Pour about 1 inch of wax to the bottom of your jar then sprinkle a generous amount of pumpkin spice to this and mix. Let it dry for about 30 minutes to hold your wick in place.
  4. Pour the rest of your melted wax and mix with pumpkin spice. Leave about ½ an inch of wick for lighting.
  5. Once the candle hardens, sprinkle some extra pumpkin spice on the top of the surface of the candle for extra aroma.
  6. Decorate the outside of the jar in any way that you want. You can also put the candle inside a pumpkin or make a freestanding version using a mold.

Here is a video that demonstrates how these  are made:

 

#7. Olive oil candles

Olive oil candles are very practical for blackouts, or to keep in your emergency bag. They are easy to make, though olive oil could be somewhat expensive depending what brand you use. A cheap alternative is lamp oil. While you would expect oil to produce smoke when burning olive oil does not.

You can also add in candle scents of your choice.

You will need

  • Glass Jar (Squatty style half-pint)
  • Olive oil
  • Lantern or 2 Wick
  • Paper clips

Instructions

  1. Cut your wick a few inches long and tie the paper clip tightly around it. You will want to make sure that your wick does not fall into the oil as this could lead to a fire. While securing your wick is of utmost importance, ensure that you can still pull your wick through the wire to extend the burning length of the burning section when the need
  2. Bend the wire and make a hook that will attach to the jar. I like tying a piece of string around the rim of the jar to ensure my hook is tightly secured (for safety reasons).
  3. Add olive oil to the jar leaving about 0.4 inches (or 1 centimeter) above where you hook is tied for burning. Making the wick too long will prevent it from properly soaking up the oil, which will stop your candle from burning.

Here is a video explaining how to make these candles.

#8. Crayon candles

If you need an excuse to get rid of your preschooler’s crayons then this would be a good one. Instead of your kids wreaking havoc on your walls, why not direct their talent towards candle making?  I am sure your kids will find this project interesting too.

Ingredients

  • Old crayons (lying around the house)
  • Glass
  • Paper cups
  • Wick
  • Knife
  • Microwave
  • Candle mold

Instructions

  1. Peel of the paper from the outside of your crayons by either soaking them in water or with a sharp knife.
  2. Fill a paper cup with wax and microwave for 1 minutes to get the wax soft. Use a stick to mix the wax and then return it to the microwave for 30 seconds or until it is fully melted.
  3. Break the crayons into pieces. Fill the cup with the broken crayon pieces and place it back in the microwave.
  4. Microwave the contents of the cup for 2 minutes, and stir every 30 seconds until you have an even color. Use one crayon per color you would like to make. Pour the first layer of wax into the mold and let it to dry for 30 seconds.
  5. You can make a multi-coloured candles by pouring different color on top of each other. Make sure each layer dries for at least 30 minutes before you pour the next.

 

soy candle

#9. Soy Candles

Soy candles are perfect to make because they’re not sticky and they can easily be washed off surfaces. This is not the case with the commercial paraffin candles. Soy wax is similar to olive oil as it burns clean does not produce much smoke.

You can use soy as an ingredient for all sorts of candles of different shapes, sizes, colors and styles.

To demonstrate how to make soy candles we will simply, melt soy wax into mason jars.

You will need

  • Mason jars
  • Wick
  • Soy candle wax
  • Scent and color (if so desired)

Instructions

  1. Cut your wick making it 2 inches taller than your jar so that it is long enough not to fall back into the hot wax.
  2. Melt your soy candle wax in your double boiler or microwave. I prefer using a microwave because it takes less than 2 minutes to melt the wax.
  3. Let your wax cool for 5 minutes before you add any color or scent.
  4. Before you pour the wax, ensure that your wick is out of the way. Fill your jar adding different colored layers if desired.
  5. Let the candle cool for 1 to 2 hours before lighting. I like to decorate the outside of my jar to suit the occasion or personalize it to make a perfect gift.

The eye-opening video below will help you better understand the process:

 

#10. Floating Citronella candles

Not only do these candles look great, they play an essential function in the summer in repelling bugs and mosquitos.

You will need

Instructions

  1. Add water to your jar or bowl. Pour lemongrass, citronella oil and hazel into the water and stir.
  2. You can make your own floating candle by following the recipe below.
  3. Melt paraffin wax until it is a liquid.
  4. Attach the wick using a wick sticker to allow it to detach easily from the bottom of the tart mold.
  5. Pour the wax into tart molds.
  6. Leave overnight and carefully remove from mold
  7. Since your candles will be outdoors, ensure your flame burns inside the glass so it is not put out by the wind.

Here is a video below showing you how to make these floating candles:

 

#11. Seashell candles

Seashells are not only beautiful but they make excellent candle-holders. Instead of using a jar for your candles use seashells to enhance the beauty and décor of your home.

You will need

  • Seashells
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Double boiler
  • Wax
  • Wick

Instructions

  1. Clean your seashells by making a weak bleach solution and soaking them in it for 1 hour. Remove your seashells from the water and leave them in the sun to dry for 30 minutes.
  2. Stick your wick to the bottom of the seashell while your wax melts using the double boiler.
  3. Let the wax cool down for 5 minutes and add scent and color if necessary.
  4. Pour the wax into the seashell leaving ½ inch of the wick to light.
  5. Let the wax completely cool off before first use.

 

#12. Survival Candles

These candles are great because they are protected from the wind to a certain degree, perfect for when you have an emergency outside and it’s windy.

You will need

  • Paraffin wax with a high melting point
  • Silicon spray (Mold release)
  • Candle mold
  • Bucket of water
  • Oven mittens
  • Tongs
  • Candle dye (If required)

Instructions

  1. Fill a metal bucket with water.
  2. Melt the candle wax in the double boiler and pour into the mold
  3. Immerse your mold in water making sure no water enters the mold. This can be done by keeping the water level below that of the mold. You can keep your mold stead in the water by placing a heavy dinner plate over it. Make sure to hold the mold with a tong while wearing mittens because it’s very hot.
  4. Let it cool for about 30 minutes and lift out of the water.
  5. Let it cool for another hour. Check to see that at least half of the walls of the candles have hardened before attempting to remove it from the mold.
  6. Using a vegetable peeler level the top of your candle
  7. Place any other smaller pillar or votive candle inside the hurricane walls.

Here is a video showing you how:

 

#13. Cinnamon Sticks Candles

Another nice smelling and great looking candle can be made from cinnamon sticks.

You will need

  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Candle mold
  • Wick
  • Scent and color if desired
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors

Instructions

  1. Using either, soy, paraffin or beeswax mold a candle into a mold using any of the methods described in this article.
  2. Using a glue gun to glue your cinnamon sticks to the side of the candles.
  3. Cut the sticks so that they are the same length as your candle.
  4. You can use a string or ribbon to attach a card or note to your candle.

Here is a great video explaining how this is done:

 

#14. (last but not least…) Candles from Leftover Fat

Check out Kendra’s step-by-step article.

 

Did you ever make your own candles? Share a link or even a photo using the comments box below.

how to make candles pinterest

1 Comment

  1. I used to love making candles as a child. I would love to begin doing it again; we just don’t burn candles very often. However, NO candle smells as good as a homemade candle! Or, at least that’s what I think 🙂

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