HOW TO MAKE CANDLES FROM HOME

illustration of attaching tabbed wicks to the bottom of empty candle containers

HOW TO MAKE CANDLES FROM YOUR KITCHEN

Making homemade candles can be a very rewarding experience. People decide to make, rather than buy, for several reasons. Many people enjoy doing crafts at home. Some people enjoy sharing the crafting experience with children that are old enough to engage in the process. Others like to make personally designed gifts for friends and we all delight in making our own personal spaces as relaxing and stress-free as possible.

If you appreciate candle light and /or aromatherapy, consider candle making. To help simplify the process for those who have no experience, I have written out the step-by-step instructions to candle making below. I believe this is the simplest method, with the least equipment needed.

Before I begin, let’s discuss the materials that you will need to have on hand. I recommend the use of a thermometer to let you know the temperature of the wax. I have researched some available products and you can find it here cheap.

Using a thermometer to test wax temperature.
picture of proper wax temperature testing with a thermometer

You can buy a double boiler for the wax melting. This is an option. Or you can just use a large pot for boiling the water and a smaller pot inside it for the wax. Some people prefer to purchase candle making kits. This is totally your choice. I found a link for one here.

If you choose not to go with the kits, in addition to the thermometer and melting pot, you will need wax and some wicks, along with whatever candle container you choose to employ. Popular choices are clear glass jars, such as Ball or Mason jars. See other blogs for ideas for decorating these containers, if you like. Almost anything you choose can be a candle container. Think about it. Old cookie tins and metal containers can be bought cheaply at thrift stores. Even old juice glasses can be candle containers.

Wax packages, tabbed wicks and jars for candle container use.
ideas for choosing materials you may need. Wax packages, tabbed wicks and glass jar containers for candle making.

The last thing you will need to decide is scented or unscented. This is a purely personal choice. Some people are problems with scented candles, due to allergies. If you are not plagued by this problem, I suggest adding your favorite essential oils to the mix.

HOW MUCH WAX WILL I NEED?

If you are a beginner at candle making, you might want to start with buying a pound of wax and melting 1 cup of the wax the first time. With this small amount of wax, be careful when adding oils for scents. The oils are usually strong and you won’t want to overdo it. Remember, you can always add more, but start with a small amount.

THE PROCEDURE

A picture of a woman melting wax for candle making in her kitchen.
An illustration of woman melting wax in preparation for pouring.

The first thing I recommend is to use old newspapers to coveer your work area. Spills can happen, so better to be prepared. If needed, this is the time to trim your wicks and decide on how to attach them in the candle. There are some suggestions here.

Idea for wick placement in glass containers
example of how to position wicks during the cooling stage of candle making.

Heart - shaped meta container candles with propped wicks.
heart – shaped metal container candles hardening with a propped wick.

Next, assemble your candle containers, along with your wicks. Begin to boil water in a large saucepan over medium heat. At this point, you could choose to buy a melting pot, or just use something metal from the kitchen. Be sure to know where the hot pads are. When the water boils, insert the melting pot with the wax into the boiling water. When the wax begins to melt, dip the ends of your wicks into the melted wax. Attach them to the bottoms of your containers. This way, by the time the wax melts, your wicks will be attached and steady.

Of course, some people prefer to use superglue to attach wicks. Others do not believe the wick should be attached directly to the bottom of the container. These people will buy wicks, cut them to desired length and wrap them around a pencil suspended over the top of the container to keep the wick in place.

Pouring melted wax into glass containers with wicks propped up
glass containers with propped up wicks being filled with melted wax.

The wick hangs down, still held up by the pencil while you pour your melted wax into containers. If you are a beginner, you could use a larger wick. They are more substantial than smaller wicks. These are best for homemade candles, anyway.

Either way you choose, the temperature of the melting wax should be below 170 degrees (F). This is where you need your thermometer.

Using a thermometer to test wax temperature.
picture of proper wax temperature testing with a thermometer

If you want your wax scented, the best time to add the oil is when the wax is almost all melted. Did you know scents can be homemade, too? Dried herbs and flowers combined with olive oil is a great way to naturally scent your wax. Essential oils you purchase are much stronger. Only a touch is recommended, half a teaspoon goes a long way with 8 ounces of wax.

Let the wax cool for 2 or 3 minutes, then pour into your containers; reserve a small portion of the wax for later. Remember the pencil or metal pin trick for those wicks that need propping up. Now, you let the candles cool. Sometimes, the wax will separate from the container after cooling. If this happens, just use a little of the reserved melted wax and pour in to fill the gaps. You might need to reheat the wax.

Now, trim the tops of the wicks, if necessary. Enjoy your homemade candles.

IN SUMMARY

In this blog, I have attempted to explain the process of how to make candles from your home. The steps have been streamlined, illustrations added and guidance is provided every step of the way. All materials are discussed, as are some of the options available to the amateur chandler.

For example, glass containers have been described. These can come from anywhere, even thrift stores. Mason or Ball Jars are favorites. However, your containers can be old juice glasses, jelly jars and other glasses. Consider methods of adding interest to your candle holders by using a little paint or gold leaf to personalize or include designs.

According to the candle makers preference, paraffin wax is good and easy to work with. For those that prefer a natural candle, soy wax or beeswax is best.

I hope I have provided an easy to follow procedure for making your own candles from home. I would be delighted if any visitors left comments or criticism on the information provided here. Do you have a candle making experience to share? I would love to hear about it. We can communicate through the use of the comment box below. I respond within 24 hours, usually less. Thank you for reading.

MAKE YOUR OWN CANDLE HOLDERS

FOR THOSE WHO PREFER HOMEMADE CANDLE HOLDERS

I have found the perfect reference guide if you are a person who enjoys making your own candle holders. This publication is not new, but it is filled with homemade candle holder creation secrets that are startlingly easy to make while looking professional enough to give proudly as gifts.

The author of this book is a seasoned professional in the home decor industry. Gloria Nicol is the former “HOMES” department head at Good Housekeeping. She wrote (according to me) the definitive how-to guide when it comes to candles and their display.

The publication, The New Candle Book: Inspirational Ideas for Displaying, Using and Making Candles, formally cited below, is a treasure trove of information you never knew you needed.

“The immense potential for using and displaying candles in the home often goes unrealized…” Nicol states. Then, she proceeds to explain how to transform almost anything into a candle holder of great beauty. Her talent as a master crafts person is obvious.

The book is divided into four sections: The Introduction; Candle Style; Candle Making; and the very impressive Containers for Candles segments. I want to share one secret idea from each section of the book. This way, you can plainly see the value of this information.

By the way, the book has stunning photographs. Nicol partnered with a photographer who is renowned for her images employing only natural light while capturing textures and colors exquisitely.

The author presents so many creative ideas on each page, it is difficult to choose which to present to you. Have you ever considered storing candles in plain sight in such a way as to appear to be French Countryside Shabby Chic? No? You must check out page 15 of this book. The author simply makes a pile of cream colored tapers and ties the pile with a decorative ribbon. Store on the countertop or in a cupboard. This adds style to your room while being functional as well, keeping candles pretty until they are needed for use.

The book continues to enlighten and guide the reader to use candles and the holders you choose to display them in as reflections of your uniqueness. You know, I have researched home lifestyles enough to know that there is a trend forming lately. People are increasing the attractiveness and appeal of the private spaces in their homes to maximize the restfulness of the short hours we get to spend in these spaces.

For example, there is a growing trend in fashion and home decor to mood specific scents and even lingerie. One’s bath and bedroom can become the sensual Zen garden of your dreams!

LET’S TWIST AGAIN LIKE WE DID LAST SUMMER

TWISTED CANDLESTICKS
FLATTENED AND TWISTED CANDLES

Did you know that any taper candle can be heated until it twists? It’s true. You can make a twisted candle by employing just the right amount of heat until the candle is pliable. Then, just twist with your hands on each end of the taper. It’s tips like this one that begin to illustrate just how much expertise is contained in the book.

Have you ever considered turning an existing candle stick into one that has mirrored mosaics on it? It’s possible – and inexpensive to do following this book. Themed candle holders are explained in the book, also. Styles such as Byzantine and Provincial are illustrated in detail.

Candle collection ideas specifically for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are just some of the candle uses and decorations that begin with an ordinary soda can or dried leaf from nature. Even add a few drops of your favorite aroma and enjoy the sensuality. Every step along the way is clearly defined. Shopping lists of supplies are included.

Here is another tip or two for you from the book I’m getting to know as my bible. Make candle holders from used food tins. Make a habit of saving and collecting cookie tins and jelly jars. You can paint your own color scheme in a pretty pattern to make them stand out in your decor. It’s easy to do with the hints in this book.

I have never considered myself a crafty person. I cannot draw a straight line. But, I am overjoyed to find this book, written by a truly-gifted craft person. It makes it simple for me to display and use my candles to my heart’s content. Remember, using candles and holders in groups of two, three or four adds drama and beauty to your decor.

OK, one last tip. The author advises us that a little gold leaf paint goes a long way when painted on the inside of a cleaned out coconut shell. You wind up with a gilded candle container! Even instructions for making and using papier-mache for candle holders is explained and recipes given!

The making of copper sconces to hold candles is completely explained. All materials are accessible through craft stores and other retail outlets. Templates for designs are included also.

IN SUMMARY

I have written this blog to review the publication, The New Candle Book, written by Gloria Nicol. It attempts to showcase the creative talents of the author, while acknowledging the artistry of photographer, Debbie Patterson.

In my humble opinion, this book should be required reading for anyone who has ever been drawn to candlelight and inexpensive beauty. By breaking the subject of the book into four sections, the author’s expertise on each aspect of candles is revealed.

As someone with absolutely no craft ability, I must state that this book made it possible for me to proudly display my budding artistic ability while allowing me more enjoyment of my passion – candles.

This website is always under construction. I would love it if readers were to return back to the site to review future blogs. And, please, don’t be afraid to communicate. I invite all readers with any comments, criticisms or questions to leave me a note in the comment box that follows this post.

All communication will be answered within 24 hours. Thank you for reading. Please be advised that we serve as an affiliate marketer. It is possible for us to make a commission ( at no increased cost to you!) if you should purchase anything through use of this site. Thank you.

CITATION
Nicol, Gloria (1995), The New Candle Book: inspirational ideas for displaying, using and making candles, Hodder & Stoughton, Anness Pulbishing, Ltd., ISBN number: 0-7336-0085-9

CANDLE CRAFT IDEAS – GEL CANDLE EMBEDS OF ALL KINDS!

HOW TO WORK WITH GEL CANDLES AND THEIR EMBEDS

I’m aware of many readers and our shared love of candlelight. Even the flame of a dollar store candle is drawn to the human eye. Some people enjoy crafting gel candles at home. If you are one of these people, you might already know about gel candles. However, I was a candle lover who just learned about them and their beauty and versatility. It’s an easy craft and a great way to become known and loved for your crafty candle gifts!

Gel, when melted, is transparent. This means you can add other elements to the gel (besides fragrance and color) that appear in the candle. Anyone with a little imagination can envision gel candles that contain glass, ceramic and other non-flammable items displayed in them.

I don’t recommend making gel candles unless you’ve done it before or you are willing to pay close attention to safety precautions that come with the gel. The gel seen above comes in hard form. I like this gel, but you’ll have to work at getting it out of the container.

Melting the gel will take time. Patience is very important! You must keep the gel at the recommended temperatures in the directions. It is recommended that one keep a large supply of baking soda on hand (for putting out fires) and a spare fire extinguisher, available here:

It’s very important to watch the temperature of the melting gel. It must be kept at a low heat and melt slowly, because gel has a flashpoint temperature at which it will burst into flames. The melting gel can do this very quickly. It is NOT recommended you leave the room or become impatient during the procedure. It requires patience and attention to detail.


Stir the melting gel with a metal utensil, the gel could melt plastic spoons – but it will NOT ignite a paper towel you rest your metal spoon on.

Precaution: The gel will need time to melt properly at the low temperatures required by the manufacturer’s instructions. I would suggest not even taking a quick phone call while you are engaged in this process: It is surprisingly easy to become distracted and it only takes a second or two for disaster to strike.

Once the gel is melted and removed from the heat source, it will cool very quickly – so quickly, in fact, that if you intend to pour multiple candles from one melt, it is recommended that you place the gel back on the heat to test after each pour – gel can cool 50 degrees in the time it takes to pour one gel candle!

The temperature of the gel at pour time affects how many ( or how few) bubbles you get in your finished candle. The hotter the gel, the more bubbles will occur. If you prefer your gel candles without bubbles, then place the candle in a 175 degree (F) oven. Once it melts, you can stir the bubbles out.


One appealing aspect of gel candle making is the different effects that can be achieved by experimenting with the bubbly aspect of the gel. It lends itself to different textures.

I grew to be attracted to gel candles because of their aability to be unique. Gel candles can be made with many things embedded in the gel. This creates stunning effects when poured into transparent holders like bell jars, champagne flutes, beer mugs, brandy snifters and jam and jelly jars, to name just a few.

Even martini glasses ( straight up!) can be used to hold gel candles: for a great effect, place an wax embed shaped like an olive in the bottom of the glass. Place a toothpick on the side, secured with tape and add a wick – voila! You have a martini glass gel candle for a gift, party favor or your own enjoyment.


I became involved thinking about all the things that could be used to personalize or just decorate any gel creation: glass beads, non-flammable fabric, pictures even small metal objects can be used to create a gel candle. All you need to do is suspend the bead, shell or other object with sewing thread. Wind the thread around a pencil several times, then susepend the pencil over the top of the container when pouring melted gel. The object will appear “suspended” in the completed candle.

WICKS NEEDED FOR GEL CANDLE MAKING

For use in gel candles, zinc-cored wicks or wax coated wicks are the best choice. They burn well and are stiff enough to be inserted into a poured gel candle. NEVER USE PAPER WICKS IN GEL CANDLES!

Tabbed wicks are those that have a metal tab glued to the bottom of the wick. These are great for use in gel candles. They are also easily available:

If you choose not to use tabbed wicks, the wick you make should never reach down to the bottom of the holder. Always be sure to leave 1/2″ gap between the bottom of the candle holder and the end of the wick, if not tabbed. If you use tabbed wicks, the tab will protect the bottom of the chosen candle holder.

Wick maintenance is vital when one burns a gel candle, If the wick, before being lit, is longer than 1/4″ from the top of the candle, you must trim the wick. Burning a wick that is too long will cause soot to gather at the top of your chosen candle holder. Always trim the wick, before lighting the candle each time, because you don’t want burned wick to get into the beauty of the gel or its’ container. Soot and burned candle wick will greatly diminish the candle’s attractiveness and negatively affect the beauty of the candle light. To extinguish, always use a candle snuffer::

Gel can be fragranced by adding 1 or 2 drops of your favorite essential oil into the melted gel. You can add color to your candles by adding any dye that is safe for wax candle making. NEVER USE FOOD COLORING IN GEL CANDLE MAKING.

Remember there are wax embeds that can be added to gel candles to create special effects. Colored sand can be layered with melted gel for special designs. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

If you are ever dissatisfied with the results of a gel candle that you have made, remember that the candle can always be placed in an oven at 175 degrees (F) or 79 degrees (C) for several hours until melted down completely. Gel is completely recyclable. Just add the unused gel back in with the hardened stuff in the container you bought it in.

IN SUMMARY

I hope you all try your hand at gel candle making. It is not difficult and with just a little patience, attention to detail and creativity, you can find yourself able to customize candles for yourself and your friends.

Think of the things you could use in a transparent candle, scented or unscented. Colored marbles, ceramic and glass ornaments can be displayed in the gel, as well as soda or beer bottle caps – jewelry or other small pieces (spare nuts and bolts – for the man in your life!) can be suspended with sewing thread and embedded in your candles. Even wax embeds, in the shape of food, are available, as discussed above.

Use chunks of lightly colored wax embeds at the bottom of a gel candle. Gel candles can be poured into all types of glass and other, transparent containers. Control bubbles by placing embeds in a small amount of melted gel in a shallow glass, before placing in your candle design. Allow the embed to bubble, thus reducing the bubbling upon placement in the candle gel.

I hope you all communicate with me. I would love to hear about your experiments and crafts gone wild with transparent gel candles. My site is always under construction, so check back regularly for new blogs. Please be sure to leave any comments also. Thanks for reading!

CITATION/BIBLIOGRAPHY
Rankin, Chris (2001), Gel Candles; Creative and Beautiful Candles to Make, Lark Books, ISBN 1-57990-216-2