Deborah McLaughlin's Blog
Making your own candles is a fulfilling endeavor to take. You’ll learn about the art of candle-making, get the chance to make something for your home yourself, and reap the rewards once you get to burn it and diffuse whatever (if any) fragrances you choose to use.
Many people are surprised to learn that it isn’t all that hard to make a candle. However, to make one that will burn well and smell nice can be tricky.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through how to make your own candle for your home.
In the times when households weren’t yet powered by electricity, candle-making or “chandlery” wasn’t just a fun skill to have--it was downright useful.
Since the earliest times in recorded history humans have been making candles. First from tallow, or beef fat, and then of beeswax and other animal-produced substances.
Today, however, the most common candle wax base is paraffin, due to it being the cheapest base. As a petroleum byproduct, many people are concerned with potential health risks of paraffin and have elected to use alternatives. The two most common are beeswax and soybean oil.
The wax base you choose is up to you, but you’ll likely find that soy is a good middle ground between quality and price.
Gather your supplies
Once you’ve decided on a wax, you’ll need to think about a few other ingredients--namely your wick, container, and any oils you’d like to add for fragrance. You’ll also need a way to melt the wax, such as a double boiler.
When it comes to wicks, it’s easiest to buy them pre-assembled. However, you can buy a roll of braided rope and tabs to make and cut them yourself. When cutting your wick, leave an inch or two extra so that you can cut the wick to the proper size later on.
In terms of a container you have several options, some of which might be laying around in your house at this very moment. You could reuse an old candle container, use mason jars or coffee cups, and most other heat- and flame-resistant containers. If you plan on making several, buying a pack of candle tins of mason jars online is an economical way to go.
Finally, you’ll need to choose some fragrances if you want your candle to smell like anything. There are hundreds of essential oils to choose from. However, they don’t all go nicely together. It’s best to do a bit of research and find out which oils make good pairs. Some examples: Cedarwood and bergamot, lavender and rosemary, orange and lemongrass.
Making your candle
Put water in the bottom of your double boiler and add roughly ½ lb wax to the top pan. Heat slowly until the wax melts, stirring and chopping up the larger chunks throughout the process.
Once the wax is melted, take your wick and dip the tab into the wax, then carefully press the tab into the bottom of your container. Use a pen or other tool to do this to avoid burning yourself on the wax.
Next, add your essential oils to the double boiler. A pound of wax typically requires only an ounce of oil. Then, stir it for a minute or so to distribute the oil throughout the wax.
Then, pour the wax into your container with one hand. With your other hand, keep the wick held in the center of the container.
Finally, you’ll need to keep the wick in the center of the candle until the wax dries. You can do this by tying or taping the wick to a pen or pencil and resting the pencil on top of the container so that the wick stays in the center.