As a mom, there is approximately a 105 percent chance that you have received a candle as a gift from a child, friend, family member, or partner. And, if you’re being honest, you’ve probably regifted some of those candles when you needed a last-minute teacher or housewarming present. Some may see candles as impersonal jars of scented wax. But, like it or not, they’ve become a type of social currency, allowing people to meet societal expectations of gift-giving with minimal thought or effort. (And let’s face it: Those “rules” are dumb anyway and almost exclusively apply to things expected of or from women. But we digress.)
Maybe you want to take things one step further and make your own candles. Everyone else is picking up these crafty hobbies lately — why not join them? Whether you’re curious about how to make candles to sell, give as gifts, or simply for your own use, here’s what you need to know about how to make candles at home.
DIY Candles: From Scratch or a Kit?
Once you’ve decided to make candles at home, you have to choose between learning how to make candles from scratch or with a candle-making kit. Your needs and your budget will obviously be a factor in your decision. But you’ll also have to decide whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend project or to start some sort of candle-making operation out of your house.
If this is something you’d like to try for the first time — but aren’t likely to make a regular hobby — consider a kit. It’s probably a better value (not to mention easier) than having to buy all the supplies individually. But maybe you’re all-in on candles and know you’ll be scaling up production. In that case, it’s more cost effective to buy the raw materials, find a candle-making recipe, and skip the kit. Sound like you? Here’s what to know about making candles at home, from scratch.
Find a Candle-Making Recipe
Maybe your only previous candle-making experience was on a family trip to Colonial Williamsburg when you were eight. If so, you may have gotten the impression that there is one single recipe for making candles. Or that you need some type of animal fat to get the job done. Thankfully, in 2021, that’s no longer the case.
Now, we have the option of making scented candles — possibly with essential oils — or unscented, in any color we want. We can make them out of soy, beeswax, or other waxes (including crayons). Or skip the wax entirely and make gel candles. They can come in jars or be free-standing pillar candles. There’s a lot of candle-making content out there, so you’ll probably find a recipe to fit your needs. Here are a few to get you started.
How to Make a Candle Wick
Many candle-making recipes include instructions on how to make a candlewick. But if that’s not the case, here’s a video tutorial:
And if you’d prefer written-out instructions, this article from Sew Historically provides three different techniques.
How to Make Scented Candles
There are so many different recipes out there for making scented candles — most of which involve essential oils. Here is a basic introduction:
This video gets into more detail, including the science behind making candles with have a good scent throw (that’s candle-talk for filling your space with the aroma):
FYI, it is also possible to make scented candles without essential oil. (Yes, as in the bottles of essential oil someone from high school has tried to sell you over Facebook while assuring you is definitely not a pyramid scheme.) To do this, use other fragrant things you have around your house, like spices, dried herbs, and flower petals.
How to Make Soy Candles
This is a thorough tutorial to walk you through the steps of making your own soy candles at home.
How to Make Candles With Beeswax
Beeswax is one of the most popular waxes for making candles. Why? It’s natural and versatile, working well for jar candles, pillar candles, votives, and others.
How to Make Candles With Other Types of Wax
Many of the candle recipes out there use beeswax, soy wax, or a combination of the two. However, there are other options out there, including paraffin wax:
And granulated wax:
(Don’t these remind you of those jars of colored sand swirled sand we used to make in school and at summer camp?)
How to Make Candles With Crayons
If you have a box full of bits and pieces of old crayons no one wants to use anymore, this might be the way to go.
How to Make Candles Without Wax
Don’t want to use wax? Not a problem. There are plenty of wax-free or no-wax candle recipes out there, like this one.
How to Make Gel Candles
Remember a few years ago — maybe the late ‘90s or early 2000s — when scented gel candles were all the rage? You can make those at home, too.
How to Make Pillar Candles
For everyday purposes, jar candles work perfectly. But if you want to use your candles in a decorative display (especially around the holidays), pillar candles are the way to go. You might even have an unopened box of pillar candle holders you got as a wedding gift that you can finally put to use.
Are there candle alternatives?
If you’re looking to make a candle that is outside of the box, try these alternatives to make your own waxy creation. Going to the store won’t be necessary! Here are a few household items you can use to light up the dark. To get started, all you need is a wick.
- Stick of butter
- A block of cheese
- Lip balm
- Orange peels
- Shoe polish
Is making candles profitable?
Are you thinking about selling your beautiful waxy creations? It isn’t an expensive hobby, but it can be a lucrative business. Homemade candles can sell anywhere between $10 to $25. Not only are they super easy to make at home, but candle manufacturing is nearly a three-billion-dollar industry. The key is to keep your overhead costs low and use quality equipment, to avoid spending money fixing broken tools.
What is the best ingredient for candles?
When making a quality candle, it’s best to stick with natural products. For example, soy, bees, and coconut wax are excellent options for candle making. Make sure the products you buy say 100 percent because some companies mix their wax with paraffin, which is a cheaper product. The wick you use should also be pure cotton or hemp and not have any metal in it.
Candle Making Supplies
Before you cannonball into the world of candle making, you’re going to need all the proper tools. But remember, candle making is a messy business, so before grabbing any wax, get cleaning supplies like wipes, paper towels, gloves, and newspapers first. Other important supplies include:
- Candle Wax
- Candle Molds
- Candle dye
- Essential Oils
- A stove or hotplate
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