Candle Making Basics

Golden candle group

So, you want to make your own candles? Candle making is a popular hobby today. If you have the proper equipment and tools, it's quite easy and far less expensive than purchasing candles from a candle, party or department store.

Essential Equipment and Tools

Melting System. Never use a microwave oven or direct heat to melt candle wax. The best and safest method, especially for a beginner, is to use a double boiler or a Presto Kitchen Kettle. Heres how to melt candle wax in a double boiler:

  • Fill the bottom pot of the double boiler 2/3 full of water.
  • Grate wax with an old cheese grater and place in the top pot.
  • Boil the water and allow the wax to melt.
  • Never leave a double boiler unattended when melting wax. Water evaporates quickly when boiling and the wax then becomes a fire hazard.

The best and safest method for melting candle wax is with a Presto Kitchen Kettle. These are available at most major departments stores and are thermostat controlled. This method prevents wax from becoming overheated.

Scales. Kitchen scales are great for measuring candle wax and other ingredients.

Thermometer. You'll need a thermometer to test the temperature of the melting candle wax. The thermometer should measure heat between 100 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. A candy thermometer works well.

Ladle. A stainless steel ladle is perfect for removing hot candle wax from the melting system.

Pouring cup. An old glass measuring cup is perfect to use to pour melted candle wax into the molds.

Wax. Use quality paraffin wax for best results when making candles. Do not use canning wax. Paraffin wax can be purchased at most craft stores.

Wicks. Wicks are available in a wide range of materials and sizes. The best wicks for candle making are braided cotton wicks that have been specially treated for quality burning. This type of wick gives your candle many more hours of burning life. Quality wicks can be purchased at most craft stores and they also come in candle making kits.

Dye. Dye comes in every hue of the rainbow. Only a small amount of dye has to be added for light colored candles. If you wish candles to be a darker color, add more dye. You can use dye to make candles that match your décor perfectly.

Never use crayons to color wax, as this type of wax will clog the wick. Candle dye is inexpensive and can be purchased at most craft and department stores that handle candle making supplies.

Molds. Candle molds are what determine the shape of your candles. They come in a variety of materials, shapes and sizes. Plastic candle molds are the least expensive but cannot tolerate wax that's been heated to more than 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Metal molds are expensive but last for years. They're sturdy and durable and can tolerate high wax temperatures. Most craft and candle supply stores carry a variety of candle molds, including novelty molds. You can also use household items, such as flower pots, baby food jars, coffee jars milk cartons and novelty jars. Use your imagination to find molds right in your own home.

Mold seal. Mold seal holds the wick in place when making pillar candles. This prevents the wax from escaping around the wick. If mold seal isn't available, use plumber's putty around the wick to keep melted wax from escaping.

Blow dryer. A blow dryer or heat gun can assist you in covering surface imperfections. They can also be used to preheat metal molds before pouring the wax. This gives the finished candle a glossy finish. A blow dryer is great for ridding gel candles of bubbles.

Once you have assembled all of the necessary candle making equipment and tools, melt the wax, set the wick and pour your first candle. The results will amaze you. Once you have perfected your candle making method, you will be able to make candles for every special occasion and holiday.