Types of Oils Used for Candle Fragrance & How to Use Them

ingredients for making scented candles

These days you’re not limited at all when it comes to candle fragrance oils. Candle making is a popular hobby and a booming industry worldwide, and scent manufacturers have not been slow to realize the potential for marketing different types of fragrance oils. Though there are many types of scents available, oils for candle fragrance fall into two categories.

Essential Oils

Essential oils, as the name indicates, are derived from real things in nature. Plants are harvested for their oils, fruits are pressed to obtain concentrated juices, roots are gathered for their properties, herbs are an excellent source of unusual fragrances, and bark and leaves from trees offer still more possibilities for attractive odors to enrich candles.

Essential oils are not used only in candle making. The oils are diffused in various ways for the purpose of aromatherapy. To this end, essential oils are used in bath preparations, massage oils, lighting, and inhalation devices. Anyone who prefers the natural approach or has an interest in aromatherapy will choose natural essential oils.

Fragrance Oils

Fragrance oils are the other type of oils used for candle making. These are made up of synthetic odors, mixed and blended to approximate any number of scents you recognize or perfumes you enjoy. Not all scents from nature can be obtained in the form of essential oils, and these are also provided through synthetic means in the form of fragrance oils.

Though these synthetic oils do not have healing properties, many believe essential oils do possess these, and their scents can linger in the air for longer. Synthetic fragrance oils can be cheaper to produce and buy than essential oils. They should not always be viewed as the poor alternative, though, as many candle fragrances can only be produced through synthesis.


For virtually every flower you can think of, there is an essential oil for adding a scent to your candles. Gardenia, golden rose, honeysuckle jasmine, hydrangea, lilac, plumeria, and sweet pea are just some of the fragrances available.

Essential oils from flowers and plants are especially beneficial from an aromatherapy point of view, and many candle makers like to experiment by mixing different scents together to create new and interesting aromas.

flowers in candle making kit


Renowned for their healing properties, herbs are a great source of essential oils for candles. Herbs to choose from when it comes to candle scents include basil, mint, moss, arrowroot, chive, oregano, fennel, lavender, lemon balm, marjoram, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, and verbena.

Sweets and Desserts

Synthetic fragrance oils are able to approximate the scents of many of your favorite sweets and desserts, so that with candles, you can fill the room with luscious aromas. Desserts to choose from for fragrance include banana nut bread, brown sugar and fig, buttered rum, chocolate fudge, chocolate chip cookie, chocolate milk, cinnamon buns, crème brulee, and pecan pie.


For anyone who appreciates a fine perfume, synthetic fragrance oils will provide a great many aromas to please. Virtually the entire range of perfumes is catered for in candle fragrances, with musk being one popular choice among consumers. Other, lighter fragrances suit more refined palates and there’s really no end to what can be created.

Summer Scents

If you are looking to make a competitive collection of homemade candles, either to give as gifts, use around the house, or sell on the craft market, you might want to look at creating great summer scents for attracting customers who are adding aromatic candles to a beach-house or other summer vacation spot, or just changing their interior home accents for the summer season.

It might seem like a detail, but crafting good seasonal scents can help you corner more of the market in a small craft business, or give you better results with homemade craft items.

Getting some of the best summer scents into your candle collection means looking at all of the themes and ideas that people commonly associate with the summer season. Using some of these excellent recommendations from seasoned candle makers, you can craft those special scented candles with wax, paraffin, and a few other basic elements.

Beach Scented Candles

One great summer idea for candles is a beach or island scent. Some pros are close-lipped about exactly how they make “tropical or “beach” scents, but the coconut scent is an old standby for creating a tropical aroma. Think about blending in other elements that give your beach scent a lighter effect.

Seasonal Fruits

setup for making lemon scented candles

Another way to give your candles a seasonal theme is with some very familiar smells associated with the fruits of summer. A watermelon candle is often considered part of a summer theme, and some pros recommend lime as another similar option. Either of these can be blended into a unique summer scent that will help you make more out of your DIY aromatics.

Spring and Summer Flowers

Another strategy for summer is to base your candle aromas on specific seasonal blooms. Whether it’s hibiscus, lilacs, jasmine, or marigolds, these light, floral notes can really jazz up your seasonal array of candles.

Linen Scent

Other candlemakers use a kind of “clean linen” theme for some of the lighter aromas that buyers associate with summer scents. Think about adding some of the smells and essences of natural cleaners that incorporate floral or fresh odors into a candle design.

Palm Oils

If your candles lack that summery presence, one neat trick is to use palm oils to simulate the kinds of vegetation smells in some summer paradise spots. A palm frond scent can add a summer note to your candle recipe.

Drink Scents

Another idea for summer candles: add tons of the smells in popular summer cocktails. This might appeal to a more specific set of customers, but it’s another arrow in your quiver for incorporating summer fun into your products.

candle with coffee and anise

Other Infused Mixes

Infused oils and vinegars for dipping and topping have become increasingly popular for use as hors d'oeuvres and as complements to bread courses. Fairly new to the culinary mainstream and home entertaining, dipping oils and dipping vinegar are lighter and less filling than most cream-based dips.

Dipping oils and vinegar, or "infused" oils and vinegars are similar to salad dressings, in that they are based on quality, great-tasting oils or vinegar (or both) with herbs, spices, or vegetable bits for flavor. Infused recipes, particularly infused oil recipes, contain a higher percentage of oil or vinegar than most salad dressings.

It is the oil that gives the recipe weight for dipping. Infused vinegar solutions are used more often as a spritz, marinade, or topping for vegetables.

Safety Concerns with Infused Mixes

When making infused dipping oils at home, food safety is the greatest concern. Oil by itself cannot grow bacteria, but herbs and vegetable pieces containing water mixed into dipping oils can.

The botulinum organism can grow in food sources containing even trace amounts of water and cause botulism. For this reason, blending and storing infused dipping oils without refrigeration is not recommended.

Since botulinum needs water to grow, anything that does not contain water cannot host botulinum toxins. Herbs, garlic, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and many other ingredients that make delicious dipping oil ingredients should theoretically be safe to add to oils if these ingredients have been completely dried in a food dehydrator or by some other means of food dehydration.

The difficulty in a home kitchen environment is ensuring that the food is completely dry and without any trace of water whatsoever. Still, dipping oil blends make fabulous gifts for holidays, house warming, and more.

The threat of botulism contaminating your homemade oils is real and should not be ignored. However, there are ways to make oil and vinegar preparations at home that can be used promptly or given as gifts. For the absolute safest route—a little creativity is called for.

If you’re mixing oils to use as hors d'oeuvres or for immediate home use, botulism is of little concern. Even fresh herbs and ingredients can be used for a mix that will be consumed immediately.

Mix your infused oils according to recipe instructions and store in the refrigerator. Mixing a day ahead of time gives the ingredients extra time for the flavors to blend while remaining safely refrigerated to prevent bacteria growth. Homemade infused oils are safely stored for one to two weeks.

Alternative Infused Oil Gift Idea: Turn Your Gift Into a Pre-Made DIY

A great alternative to infusing an oil as a gift is to give a bottle of good quality oil accompanied with a packet of premixed dried ingredients and mixing instructions.

Like oils infused for use at your home, the herb and oil mixes will be safe if mixed by the recipient before use with the instruction to store in the refrigerator.

Now the gift can be transported in a gift basket or gift bag without the need for refrigeration.

Be sure to add a recipe tag detailing simple mixing instructions and, most importantly, safe handling (i.e., "For safety's sake, please mix herbs and oils when you plan to consume them and store in the refrigerator until served. Discard unused oil after one to two weeks").

Between using dried ingredients and safe handling practices (refrigeration), you’re following safe food handling standards.

While it’s unlikely that well dried ingredients would pose a threat anyway, delaying the introduction to the oil and refrigerating gains an added layer of safety.

Prepare Homemade Infused Vinegar

Homemade-infused vinegar is generally considered safe. Vinegar naturally cures foods and prevents the growth of bacteria like botulinum toxins.

Generally 5% or higher vinegar solutions are adequate to ensure food safety. These solutions are what is commonly sold in grocery stores, and higher solutions are available through specialty and restaurant suppliers.

For added safety—only mix vinegar with dried herbs, spices, garlic, and vegetable bits.

homemade vinegars

Gifting an Oil and Vinegar Infusion

Many dipping mixtures are combinations of vinegar and oils with herbs and additional ingredients. Despite the antibacterial properties of vinegar, it's still safer to give items separately to be mixed prior to use, as oil and vinegar separate, and herbs may settle in the oil and potentially grow bacteria.

The practical meaning of this is to err on the side of caution, and do not give a premade mix of oil, vinegar, and additives unless going directly from your refrigerator to theirs and consumed within two weeks.

However, you can create a safe gift basket of breads, a bottle of olive (or another) oil and a previously mixed infused vinegar (again, with mixing and handling instructions).

Mixing Your Infused Oil and Vinegar

Safety aside, what should go into a great tasting infused oil or vinegar recipe? A Web search will return enough recipe results to get you started, or experiment with flavors to create your own. Some require heating, others simple mixing. Heating helps blend and intensify flavors, but so too will combining ingredients a day or so ahead of time.

Oil and vinegar recipes range from the very simple to very complex.

Try a very basic dried-roasted garlic as a delicious gift or serving option. Add sun dried tomato bits, roasted red pepper, thyme, parsley, or oregano to a garlic oil or vinegar.

Start with one or two of your favorite ingredients and expand from there. Think along the lines of salad dressings and sandwich oils.

Basic Ratios for Making Infusions

To get you on your way, use herbs in equal measurements.

One-half teaspoon of one or more dried herbs to one half cup oil or vinegar. Increase or decrease any given ingredient to taste.

Gift Presentation

Infused vinegar and dipping oil make tasty hors d' oeuvres, welcome alternative bread courses, and fabulous gifts. Dried herb packets and unmixed ingredients attractively combined for gift baskets are the safest for gift giving.

For gift presentation, build an attractive gift basket. Include a bottle of oil and separate herb packets with instructions for mixing, and if desired, vinegar or infused vinegar. This is enough to give by itself and allows total package preparation ahead of time. For a larger gift, include cheeses and a loaf or two of fresh, crusty bread for dipping.

Wrap the gift basket with cellophane for security if desired.

With a little understanding of food safety, infused vinegar and dipping oils are safe and attractive gifts to give. Everyone on your list or in your home will appreciate this unique and delicious gift as an added component to their meals.

Wall Sconce

A candle wall sconce is one of the more distinctive decorative wall-mounted fixtures. This type of sconce adds a bit of class and antiquity to dark and narrow hallways and small dark rooms.

The sconce grips the wall and in olden times used to hold candles until the invention of gas lamps later on. The first ever lamp holder dates back to the fourteenth century, and its basic parts can still be seen in modern candle wall sconces.

Today, candle wall sconces are designed and used for decorative and aesthetic purposes rather than lighting. They provide an alternative solution for wall hangings while adding an artistic touch. Nowadays, the styles of the candle wall sconce are more stylish and grand.

You'll find many variations on the traditional candle sconce. Some of the common materials used to create a sconce are iron, wood, and crystal. Depending on your room type, you can also choose from styles of rustic, classic, and casual candle sconces.

When choosing the type of wall sconce to decorate your room, you are also presented with the problem of how to correctly hang them. Below are some tips and tricks when hanging the candle wall sconce.

Choose the Right Area

Before attaching the wall sconce, look for the best area that matches its style and size. Mark the section where you want to mount it. Use a masking tape or any marker to note the holes of the sconce to the wall.

This will later be your guide when drilling the holes for the screws. The technique here is to mark each area carefully and ensure that all the wall sconces align with each other.

The marking will help you prevent errors when estimating the dimensions of the area where you want the sconce installed. The appropriate length of the candle wall sconce from the floor should be at five feet and six inches. The length between the sconce and floor will depend on the actual room height. Room furniture and décor should also be considered.

Mark Your Holes

Be sure to mark your drill holes with a pencil; be sure the holes are positioned so the sconce will hang level. Drill starter holes with a screwdriver and check that the holes are smaller than the actual screws. This is to hold the screw tighter and prevent it from loosening.

Choose Sconces with Easy Install Features

Candle wall sconces designed today are easily attachable to the wall. Most models hang like picture frames. Choose the style of candle wall sconce that has this kind of attachable feature for easy installment. Before fully inserting the wall sconce permanently on your wall, check the balance and alignment of each. Otherwise, you would have to repeat the process.

The candle sconce creates an ambiance that easily lights up the darkest portions of your room. Installing them is the hardest part of the activity so find the model that has features of easy mounting and set-up. If you need an extra hand, ask a family member to help you out.


Essential oils are a great way to make your home smell great. Using them to create candles can be a great way to bring those smells and a nice decor piece into your home. They can also make great gifts.

If you don't want to make candles, a DIY potpourri is another example of something you can do to make your home sell nice, and give out as a gift.