Candle Making for Beginners: the complete guide

DIY & CRAFTS | CRAFT & HOBBY IDEAS

Making your own candles is incredibly fun and a great craft and hobby!  You can make candles for yourself and as gifts for others too! Here is all you need to know about candle making for beginners!

 

Candles are wonderful things to have and use in your home. They add light and warmth to any room and space. They can make your home smell wonderful, and they can add a wonderful cosy feeling to your home too.

But candles can be pretty expensive to buy.  Therefore you may want to consider starting a hobby and craft making your own candles. 

One of the great things about candle making is that it is one of the easiest crafts and hobbies you can start.  Candle making requires little or no prior knowledge, and isn’t complicated at all to learn.

Supplies to make candles are also readily available from so many places. You can even buy a complete candle making kit with everything ready sourced. Supplies are fairly inexpensive too to purchase for candle making.

If you love candles you have probably thought about making your own candles at some point.  When you make your own candles you can choose your own scents, use your own selected containers, and so much more.

Here is my complete guide to everything you need to know about candle making for beginners!

3 white candles in glass containers.

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Candle making for beginners.

 

Supplies you Need for Making your own Candles

Candle Wax

To make your own candles the most important supply and ingredient is candle wax.  There are a few different waxes that you can choose for your candles.

One of the most popular waxes to use today is soy wax.  It has a longer burn time than other waxes, and is easy to work with too. It is also one of the cleanest and most environmental waxes to choose to work with, as it derives from vegetable oil. Soy wax usually comes in flakes or pellets that can be melted down.

The cheapest wax to use is paraffin wax.  This used to be the most popular wax to use for candle making.  If you are using paraffin wax make sure it states that it is for candle making.

Gel wax is another choice of wax to use for candle making.  Gel has a slow and non-toxic burn, but it does not hold fragrance as well as the other candle waxes.

There is also beeswax for candles, which create a very unique looking and smelling candle.

When you decide to make your own candles, make a decision as to which type of wax you will use.  You can of course experiment with different types of waxes, until you find the one you like the best.

Candle Wicks

There are also different types of candle wicks that you can use for your candles. The traditional cord type candle wicks are pre-waxed and very easy to work with and use.  They can easily be cut to the size you need.

Wood wicks give a long, clean burn and have a lovely unique and sophisticated look to them. They are perfect to use for unique looking candle gifts.

Containers

You can make candles in pretty much any container, as long as it is heatproof, as you will be pouring hot wax into it.

You can use glass jars, metal containers (such as tins), pottery containers, and so much more.  You can even use tea cups for a unique candle!

Whatever container you use, make sure it is clean and dry before you use it.  Water droplets can repel wax, so make sure that if you wash a container first before use, it is thoroughly dried before your pour wax into it.

Fragrance

You can buy fragrances especially for candle making.  You can also use aromatherapy oils in candle making.

Dyes

You can buy special liquid color dyes for candle making.  You can also buy blocks of colored dye wax that are melted down together with the candle wax you are using.

You don’t need to dye your candle wax at all. Many people choose to do so especially when making a certain kind of candle.

Other Candle Making Supplies you may Need

You may choose to purchase a special candle making thermometer. Wax can easily harden on anything you place it in, so a special candle making thermometer that will only be used for candle making is preferred. This will ensure the wax is reaching the required temperature when being melted. 

To stir the wax as it is melting, it is best to use a wooden implement. Wax will quickly stick to and harden on something like metal. You can use a wooden skewer or even a wooden chopstick for this.

To melt candle wax you will need to use a pot or container to melt the wax in. There are special metal candle wax melting pitchers that you can purchase. You can also use a glass pyrex jug, glass heatproof mixing bowl, or other container. Just make sure it is heatproof.

You can also buy a special wax melter for candle making. This is an electric device that will melt a large amount of wax in no time at all. This is perfect if you are making numerous candles and want to speed up the process.

To heat the water that you will place the container to melt the wax into, a saucepan is the ideal thing to use.

Where to buy Candle Making Supplies

Amazon has a large collection of candle making supplies.  You can check many of them out here.  

You can also buy candle making supplies from other online stores such as Etsy. See their collections here.

Stores such as Michael’s also sell candle making supplies. Any craft supply store should have candle making supplies in abundance.

Buy a Complete Candle Making Kit

Rather than purchasing lots of separate candle making supplies, you may want to buy a complete kit that comes with everything that you need to make your own candles.

Amazon has an enormous amount of candle making kits available. See them here.

Etsy also has some wonderful candle making kits.  You can see them here.

 

Prepare your Work Space Correctly for Candle Making

Making candles isn’t the messiest craft you can do, but melted wax can splash and stain the area you are working in.  It is also hot, so you need to take appropriate safety steps too.

You may want to cover the work space you are using to make candles with newspaper, parchment paper or wax paper, or even plastic sheeting.  This will ensure that any spilt wax or wax drips do not stick to certain surfaces.

Usually if you spill any melted wax it can be easily removed when hard and dry, but you should still prepare your work space area just in case.

 

How to Learn How to Make your own Candles

You Tube is a great resource, which easy to follow videos for making your own candles. Just search for candle making on YouTube.

I have several posts that show you how to make some great candles:

Copper Cap Candle DIY Instructions

Cozy Coffee Candle DIY Instructions

Tin Can Candle DIY Instructions

Tea Cup Candle DIY Instructions

Citronella Outdoor Candle DIY Instructions

There are also numerous books you can purchase all about candle making.  Amazon has the best selection of books on candle making. 

 

Lit candle on wooden table.

 

The Techniques for Making Candles

All candle making follows the same techniques.

First, you need to measure out the wax that you will be using – whether it is soy, paraffin wax, gel or even beeswax.

Next you need to melt the wax. There are various ways to melt wax.  My favored method is to use a metal pitcher, especially designed for melting wax. You can also use a glass pyrex jug or other heatproof container.

To gauge how much wax you will need to melt for your candle, a good rule of thumb is that you need about double the volume of wax for whatever container you are using.

Heat up water in a saucepan, and melt the wax inside the metal pitcher inside the heated water. You only need about half a saucepan of water – don’t use too much.

As the wax is melting inside the container, stir it carefully to make sure there are no solid lumps of wax forming.  You can use a thermometer to keep track of the heat inside the heating container if you need to.  It is important not to overheat the wax. Usually heated wax needs to reach about 180 degrees.

If you are making fragrant candles, you will need to add fragrance to the melted wax. You can also add color here also if you are making colored candles. Do not add fragrance and color until the wax is completely melted, and stir well when added.

Attach the wicks to the containers that you are using.  You can either use a little bit of glue to attach the bottom metal circular part of the wick to the container, or use stickers that come with many candle making supplies.

Pour the wax into the container. This is the part where you should be the most careful. The wax is hot, so you want to make sure you don’t spill any on you which can cause burns.

 

Melted candle wax being poured into a glass jar.

 

Secure the wicks. Securing the wicks once the melted wax has been poured into the containers can be done in several different ways.  Some kits come with special metal wick clip holders that are placed over the top of the container that you are using and the wicks securely in place. 

Other ways to secure wicks include using a chopstick placed over the top of the container, with the wick wrapped around it.  You can also use wooden skewers, a pencil, or even a clothes peg to hold the wicks in place while the candle wax hardens and cools.

 

Wooden clothes peg securing a candle wick over a glass jar of melted candle wax.

Allow to cool and harden. The ideal time span to do this in is overnight – to ensure that everything has hardened and set well.

Cut the wicks to size. Make sure the candle is completely cooled and hardened before you do this.

What you should NOT do when Making Candles

One of the most important things about candle making is that you are using hot wax, which can easily burn you, so make sure you are being safe and careful when working with hot wax.

Don’t use too much water if you are boiling water to place a heating vessel into.  If you are using a saucepan for instance it should only be half full.

Do not try to freeze your candle or place it in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling and hardening final process. This can cause the wax to crack.

Don’t touch the wicks until your candle is completely hardened and set.  You can easily mess up the top surface of the wax candle by touching and moving the wicks before the wax is set and dried.

As above, don’t trim your wick until the wax is completely set and hardened.

Don’t overdo any fragrance that you use in your candles.  

Is it Cheaper to Make your own Candles?

Making your own candles at home is only cheaper than buying candles if you plan on making several candles.

Candle making supplies can be fairly expensive to purchase if you only plan on making one candle. But candle making supplies are really quite reasonably priced.  Don’t forget also that in addition to making candles for yourself, you can also make candles for others as gifts too.  Everyone loves candles!

If you are concerned about the expense when starting out candle making you may prefer to purchase a complete candle making kit. This will come with all the supplies you need, at one price for everything, and you also won’t have to source all those supplies separately.

candle making for beginners.

 

Making your own candles is incredibly fun and a great craft and hobby!  You can make candles for yourself and as gifts for others too! Here is all you need to know about candle making for beginners!

 

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