Make Easy Candles in 6 Steps
- Select a glass or tin container
- Secure the wick in the center
- Melt the container wax
- Add fragrance
- Pour the wax into the container
- Let the wax set up (cool) and trim the wick
Before you start – candle making can be messy. Cover your area with something protective like newspaper or plastic. I always wear an apron!
All candles require testing. I have included affiliate links to help you in your candle-making journey. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post via affiliate links to products or services associated with content in this article.
1. Select a container for candle making
A big advantage to learning how to make scented candles at home is having control over the container to match your decor. You can match your colors and pick fragrances.
Making candles at home costs less too! I upcycle and reuse yogurt jars. I have learned to make candles using glass jars from the Dollar Tree as well. That is the jar in the picture above.
Recently, I started making farmhouse dough bowl candles. Read the article “How to Make Dough Bowl Candles.”
The candle container is going to get hot. Select a heavy glass jar or a tin made for candles. I use canning jars from the grocery store (Walmart). They are usually the cheapest. Especially at the end of the canning season when they go on sale.
If you are using tins, make sure they are meant for candles. Some tins leak around the seams. Tins can be sealed for candle making with high-heat silicone.
Candles can also be made by pouring wax into a mold using a pillar wax or a parasoy blend designed to stand on its own. Often pillar or taper candles are made from a harder wax using paraffin. A pillar wax is a little different than container wax.
Learn more about making pillar candles.
The bonus to pillar candle making is the container or mold can be re-used several times reducing the cost to make a candle. The container is the second biggest expense in making candles.
2. Secure the wick in the center of the container
You can use candle wick-stickers or a hot glue dot on the bottom. I look straight over the jar and push the wick down on the bottom using a stick (or skewer).
You can secure the wick with a dot of wax, but it will come loose as soon as the heat from pouring the candle heats up the jar. This is good if you are making a candle or 2 for yourself at home.
Learning how to make scented candles that perform well relies on choosing the correct wick to match the candle container.
The wick used is relative to the container diameter. As an example, I use an HTP105 wick for an 8-ounce jelly canning jar that is 2.5 inches in diameter at the opening. If the container is a short 8-ounce jar but has an opening of 3.5 inches, I use an HTP125.
The bigger the opening the bigger the wick (as a guide). Most candle supply stores can recommend the wick size for the container you are using. This combination requires testing if you plan to make many candles or sell (or give) to family, friends, or the public.
Did I mention learning how to make candles at home makes great handmade gifts?
Caution: Burning the wrong size wick can result in a flame the size of a rocket! Using a wick that is too small can result in a candle that just will not burn correctly. The ideal wick and container combination produces a melt pool that allows the wick to burn at a rate that consumes the scented wax evenly.
Wick tunnels down inside the candle
- wick is too small
Flame is high
- wick is too long or not trimmed
Wick does not stay lit or flame is small
- wick is too small (or too much fragrance)
3. Melt the container candle wax
- For a smaller batch, 16 ounces, or less, I use a microwave-safe plastic container from the dollar store.
- Measure out 16 ounces of container wax (GB 464) and microwave in 60-second increments stirring in between.
- The wax should be transparent in color (not cloudy) before adding the fragrance.
- In larger batches, the average temperature for melted wax should be around 165-185 degrees.
- Do not overheat the wax.
- Avoid using glass to melt wax in the microwave. The glass absorbs heat and sometimes it takes more effort to heat the glass than it does to melt the wax.
Alternatively, you can melt wax in a can sitting in a pan of hot water. Getting water in the wax can result in a bad-looking candle and can also be a hazard. Water and wax do not mix well at all!
I have an article on a beginner’s guide to candle making equipment.
Melting wax over an open flame can catch fire resulting in serious burns. Always use caution when heating wax. This is not a good activity for kids and keep them away from pets.
4. Add fragrance to the container of soy candle wax
The fragrance is usually sold in 1-ounce, 2-ounce, 4-ounce, 8-ounce, and 16-ounce bottles.
Generally, the fragrance is added at a rate of 8-10% of the total for a container of soy candle wax. Candle math can get a little tricky.
I add 1.5 – 2.0 ounces to every 16 ounces of container wax. I have an entire article for a deeper explanation of how fragrance oil to add to candle wax.
For stronger fragrances like some florals, I add less (1.5 ounces). For some weaker fragrances like French Vanilla, I add more (2.0 ounces).
Since fragrance is the most expensive ingredient in candle making, I try to be more accurate with the larger batches. Often, I add a 2-ounce bottle to a pound (16 ounces) of container soy wax.
The fragrance is the most important to a candle and the most expensive. I only use fragrance oils from a candle supply store. I have used some from a hobby store and was disappointed.
Fragrance oils meant for anything other than candle making usually do not mix with the wax or will not burn or worse there just is no hot throw. I have been taught never to burn essential oils.
Making candles with essential oils takes more oil than fragrance oils and it has to be added just before the wax is poured into the candle vessels.
I have better success with fragrance oils. One exception is massage candles which is a specialty candle.
Cold throw – the aroma wax releases when it is just sitting.
Hot throw – the aroma wax release when it is hot from wax warmer or when lit from a candle flame’s melt pool.
5. Pour the melted candle wax into the candle containers
Before the candle wax cools, pour the melted wax into the candle container leaving about ½ inch from the top. This is straightforward except that you need something to keep the wick upright and standing straight in the middle of the container.
I use a popsicle stick with a hole drilled in the middle. You can also use a clothespin or 2 sticks on each side of the wick.
6. Trim the candle wick
After the candle wax is completely cooled, cut the wick down to about an ¼ inch height from the top of the candle wax. The wick should be trimmed after each use.
This helps to control the flame and prevent overheating the wax and having a flare-up. Some wicks curl up creating problems burning high or rolling back into the wax pool.
How to make candles at home and add more appeal to your candle
Candles can be colored to match your décor with candle dye either in liquid or dye chips. Add the colorant to the melted candle wax when it is hot and stir in before you add the fragrance.
Candles can also be made in a variety of containers if the container can withstand the heat. Keep in mind that you will be burning something. They should never be left unattended. Some glass containers are too thin and may break under heat.
I cannot end this without commenting that candles pose a fire risk and should never be left unattended. Candles should be kept away from anything flammable. They should not be used around kids or pets.
Do not put anything in the wax that is flammable. Glass breaks especially when changing from hot to cold quickly. Do not use containers that are cracked or look fragile. Error on the side of caution.
Making candles can be a fun and profitable side hobby. This instruction is meant for the occasional desire to craft a candle. Making candles for resale is a little more involved and can be a great business.
A start-up candle business only requires a little equipment and can grow into a business as big as you can imagine.
If you would like to start your own candle business, practice with this as a good starting point. I have several articles here to help you through.
Over the years I have done a ton of testing matching the correct wick with selected containers and different fragrances. I have tried several types of wax from 100% soy to gel.