How to Make Your Own Candles

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Wax pellets
2 pots
Wick holders
Glass jars
Fragrance oil
Candle dye/Crayons (optional)

Making your own candles might seem a little medieval. After all, isn't that what stores are for? But there is something incredibly satisfying about making your own candles, and they happen to make amazing gifts, too. You'll be surprised by how easy it is to create your own candles with different colors, scents, and sizes, and you'll be able to impress lots of people with your great skills.

Step 1 - Choose Your Wax Base

A trio of beeswax against a rustic wood background.

Begin by deciding what kind of candle maker you are, and pick the base for your candles. Paraffin is the most common candle ingredient, and it's still the most common for commercial candles. However, it is petroleum-based, and that's a big drawback for some. Beeswax is another popular option and it's easy to work with, but it's also an animal by-product. You can always go with soy-based candles instead, a third option that has started to become more popular in recent years. All these different wax materials can be purchased in pellet form at craft stores. The pellets are made specifically for people who like to DIY their own candles.

Step 2 - Prep Your Work Area

Candle making can get a little messy, so you want to clear off some counter space and cover it with craft paper, newspaper, or a drop cloth. This is your dedicated work space, and all your tools and materials should stay contained within this area.

Step 3 - Melt the Wax

Use a classic double-boiler method to melt the wax using indirect heat. Place a large pot of water on the stove, and a smaller pot of water with the wax in it down inside this first pot. As the water in the bottom pot boils, the wax will melt so you can start making candles.

Step 4 - Prep Your Container

You want to pour your melted wax into mason jars or decorative glass jars; otherwise, all you've got is a pile of wax. Take the lids off your jars and get the wicks ready. First, attach the wick to the metal wick holder and cut the wick so that it's about three inches longer than the height of the glass jar. Dip the metal wick holder into the melted wax, and place it on the inside bottom of your glass jar.

Step 5 - Add the Fragrance

Add a few drops of your fragrance oil to the melted wax a little bit at a time until you get the desired aroma strength. As another option, you can add color to your candle at this time. Candle color is available both in liquid and wax form, so you can add drops of color or throw colorized pellets into the pot. Add color slowly until you get the desired shade. If you want an easier color option, cut up some wax-based crayons and use them to add colors to your candles.

Step 6 - Remove the Wax from the Heat

Remove the melted wax from the heat and allow it to stand for just a couple of minutes. You want it to cool down just a little bit before you begin pouring it in your jars.

Step 7 - Pour the Wax into the Jar

Melted wax being poured into a glass jar with a candle wick.

Pour your melted wax into your glass jar. Pour slowly and carefully to avoid splashing hot wax on your counter or yourself.

Step 8 - Set the Wick

Take a writing utensil and wrap the top end of the wick around it. Place the utensil across the top of the jar. This will keep the wick upright so that the candle cools and hardens around it properly, with the wick rising vertically from the center.

Step 9 - Let the Candles Cool

Let the wax cool. As it does, your candle will shrink. Top it off so you get a more professional-looking final product, and let it cool again. If you're making pillar candles, now is the time to remove the candle from the mold. This can be tricky. Just go slowly, and those candles will come out of the mold if you work carefully.