Lighting our homes with the warm glow of candles has always been one of our favorite comforts. Around the turn of the century, candles went from being nice-to-have-around to the symbol of a luxurious lifestyle, thanks to the influx of branded scented candles. Scented candles also make a great gift. You might have received or gifted some of the most expensive candles on birthdays, graduation, anniversaries, or any other special occasion. These candles come in a beautiful jar and smell amazing. However, there have been many differing opinions on whether or not spending upwards of $50 is an appropriate amount on something that lasts a total of 80 hours. How would you feel if I tell you that you can make a whole batch of all-natural DIY candles with supplies purchased for the price of a few luxurious candles?
You might be thinking how DIY-ing your candle at home is supposed to be simple. It sounds far too complicated, doesn’t it? Candle making is both simple and complicated. It is a simple and low-cost project with minimal supplies and has plenty of room for your preferences and creativity to shine. Just melt, pour, and set! However, achieving the ideal results with the candle wax, wick size, and fragrance blend can be stressful.
Don’t sweat it because I am here to tell you the simplest and easiest way to make your DIY candle. Homemade candles are made from natural ingredients and non-toxic fragrances.
Yes, it takes some time, but the end product is a nice-smelling beautiful candle that makes lovely hostess gifts, care packages, and holiday gifts; you’ll never run out of eager recipients for your experiments!
Ready to make your first homemade scented candle? Let’s get started!
Ingredients to make a DIY candle
You’ll need some basic supplies to make your very own version of natural, scented candles. These include:
The best thing about making candles at home is you can get creative with using different types of containers to pour your candle wax. Old containers from candles, glass jars, mason jars, tin, ceramics, old mugs, pots, cups, etc. Anything can be repurposed into a beautiful candle, as long as the container is heat-safe or oven-safe. You can also buy new ones at your local market or thrift stores.
If you wish to use old candle jars, you need to get the wax in the bottom out of the jar. Simply place the jar in the freezer overnight, and the wax will pop right out!
Or you can fill the jar with boiling water. Make sure glass is heat-resistant to high temperatures, so it doesn’t break. The wax will lift to the top and float out of it easily. A little nudge with a fork might help if there remains some wax at the bottom.
You can re-use this wax as well when making your candles. Scrub the jar with liquid soap to get rid of soot marks (if any), and it is as good as new. I, too, had no idea cleaning the jars was an easy task until I tried these out!
The candle wick is an important element in DIY candle making. Know the right wick size with respect to the size of the glass jar or other containers. While a large wick might produce soot, a thin wick does not burn evenly.
Also, avoid lead wicks as they’re highly toxic. I always prefer to use a cotton or wooden wick for a clean, environment-friendly burn.
Gone are the days when people used conventional paraffin wax for making candles. People are becoming more conscious of the environmental impacts of their everyday actions and are motivated to switch to a cleaner, sustainable lifestyle. This includes everything, from changing your toothbrush to switching to plant-based compost. And when you are going to make all-natural candles at home, you cannot ignore the significance of natural waxes.
Paraffin wax is a fossil by-product. The manufacturing process is highly carbon-intensive. Also, it burns to produce toxic soot that contains many carcinogenic chemicals. Burning a paraffin candle frequently might be hazardous for your well-being.
There are many plant-and-animal-based alternatives available in the market. These include natural soy wax (non-GMO if available), coconut wax, and beeswax, all of these would make a beautiful candle. They offer a great scent throw and last longer, up to 80 hours. While the soy candle burns cleanest of all, beeswax burns slowly, giving off a beautiful warm glow. You can buy any candle flakes at your nearest store or order online.
Fragrance oils or essential oils are also important in candle making. Mix the oil in wax in the right amount at the right temperature. You can maintain your sustainability streak in this section as well by opting for a sustainable oil. The choice of coconut oil over palm oil is sustainable and economical.
Essential oils also serve the same purpose. Essential oils are primarily extracted from plants. Make sure you are using 100 percent pure essential oils which are free of perfume or synthetic chemicals. Avoid artificial fragrances unless necessary. Using an artificial scent gives you the strong possible dose of potentially unpleasant side effects.
Candle-melting container or a Crockpot
Once you have gathered all the main ingredients and have the right accessories (we will be discussing later), it is time to melt your wax flakes. You can use any heat-proof pot, oven-proof container, double-boiler, or Crockpot to melt your wax.
If you have decided to move forward with a crockpot, use a crockpot lining as well. You can order a crockpot liner online.
There are a few things that will be helpful when making candles. These include;
- A measuring cup to measure your wax flakes.
- A stirrer or a popsicle stick for mixing.
- Wick stickers to hold the wick in place at the bottom of the jar. If you are a DIY artist, you must have a glue gun at hand. You can use it to have a drop of glue and place a wick on it. Another economical option is a tape that works equally well.
- Scissors to trim the wick.
- A ladle to put the melted wax from the melting pot or crockpot into the glass jars. Hold the jar over the crockpot, so you don’t create any mess.
- A large sheet of paper to cover your workspace. This makes cleaning up a little easier.
- A wick-supporting accessory like a stick, pencil, straw, wooden skewers, or clothespin to hold the wick in the center of the melted wax in the container.
Step by step guide on how to make a DIY candle
Got all ingredients and accessories on your shelf? Good! Now let’s move forward with an easy step-by-step guide to make candles at home.
Weigh and melt the wax
The candle jar is thoroughly washed and dry. Let’s now work out the capacity of your jar. It is essential for determining how much wax do you need.
Place the melting pot or saucepan on the scale and zero it. Take the soy wax flakes and weigh the correct amount. Without getting into pesky mathematics calculations, just remember; it is 1:2. This means, for every 1 ounce (in volume) of fluid, you will need 2 ounces (in weight) of soy wax flakes.
Fill the large saucepan with water and boil it. Now, place the wax melting pot directly into the water; however, if you are using a heat-safe bowl, set it atop the pot. You can also use a crockpot with a liner inside.
Allow the wax to melt slowly with regular stirring. Use a stirrer or wooden stick. Be patient, as it would take some minutes before the wax melts completely. There may be small wax chunks left at the bottom that you can break up with a butter knife or a spoon.
Once it has fully melted, it will have a very high temperature, around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the wax to cool to 140-120 degrees Fahrenheit before pouring it into the jar.
Fix the wick and prepare the jar
Prepare the candle jar while you wait for the candle wax to cool. Either you have bought a new jar or repurposed your old container, make sure it is clean and dry because we are going to fix the wick.
For this purpose, choose the right-sized cotton wick. Measure the wick’s height by holding it next to the jar and add a few centimeters on both ends (top and bottom). If you have a wide-diameter container such as a bowl, you may want to use two or three evenly-spaced wicks to ensure the candle burns evenly.
Be careful with the measurements because if it is too big, it will produce soot. And if it is too small, it will not burn evenly to the edges of the candle.
Secure the wick to the bottom of the jar using wick stickers or tape. You can also use glue from a hot glue gun. It would be even easier if you could use wood wicks.
Once the wick has attached to the bottom, use straw and tapes to position and stabilize the wick taut and at the center. Simply cut a hole in the middle of a piece of masking tape, insert the top of the wick through the hole, and then attach the tape to each side of the container’s rim.
Add the fragrance to cooling wax
Your wax has cooled to a lower temperature; it is time to scent the candle. Weigh the fragrance into a small container before adding it to the wax. The calculations are again simple; 1 ounce fragrance per 1 pound of wax.
Try using 100 percent natural essential oils. By experimenting with multiple batches, you will find the right ratio for your senses. The artificial fragrance oils smell stronger than pure essential oils in melted wax.
Since we are making DIY candle scents at home, getting familiar with how fragrances work in a candle is necessary. We can categorize the candle fragrances as top notes, middle notes, and base notes.
Top notes set the stage. They are responsible for the first impression as soon as the candle comes out of the box. Middle notes or heart notes make most of the total candle scent. They are strong fragrances that are meant to last longer. Both top and heart notes blend in perfectly to strengthen the introductory scent. And, once they’ve evaporated, base notes come into play. The rich and smooth final notes will give you a lasting impression of the fragrance.
You can always buy essential oils from a nearby store or online. But, if you wish to create your ideal DIY candle scent at home, choose from our all-time favorite essential oils from each of the following categories; top notes, middle notes, and base notes. Most of these can be used either as top, middle, or base notes.
- Basil (also a middle note)
- Bergamot(also a middle note)
- Clary Sage (also a middle note)
- Lemongrass (also a middle note)
- Orange zest(also a middle note)
- Tea Tree (also a middle note)
- Black Pepper
- Chamomile (also a top note)
- Juniper Berry
- Lavender (also a top note)
- Balsam Peru
- Cassia (also a middle note)
- Ginger (can be used as a middle and top note)
- Jasmine (also a middle note)
- Rosewood (also a middle note)
Write down which oils you like from the top, middle, and base note lists, and then begin mixing until you get your ideal blend. Make sure you do an initial sniff, one more after 5 minutes, and another about 15 minutes later. This will give you the complete profile of top, base, and middle notes. By the way, what DIY candle scents would you choose? Let us know in the comments.
Keep track of how many drops you add from each fragrance oil into the wax. Do not add more than 30 drops each. Stir continuously while adding the essential oil or fragrance oil. Once done, pour the wax into its container, preferably glass or ceramics, as they don’t absorb the fragrance. Leave it to set for about 12 hours or overnight.
Pour the Candle and burn
When the wax has reached the required temperature, ladle the melted wax into your candle jar. Be careful not to get the wax on the tape or wick. Pour slowly to avoid creating air pockets, which can cause the finished candle’s surface to look uneven. Place melted wax jars on a tray somewhere they won’t be knocked. Allow the scented candles to cool for at least 24 hours before burning. Wrap the dry washcloths around the jars to keep the wax from cooling too quickly, shrinking, or cracking. Once the wax solidifies, remove the tapes and washcloths, and trim the wick close to the wax, about one-fourth inch.
Get creative with your DIY candle
Transform your plain white candles by adding sparkling glitters or Lavender or Rosemary springs into them. While the glitters and sprinkles give your candle a fancy look, flowers and dried herbs add to the fragrance and ambiance. Colorful sprinkles would give your candle the perfect pastry vibes with a candy aroma. These aesthetically sweet-smelling candles would make the ideal gift for your kids on their birthdays. You can also customize the jars of your candles by painting them or adding beads and laces as per your liking. So, let’s create what appeals to our senses most!
Add glitters and sprinkles to your DIY candle
Play out your creativity on homemade candles with rainbow-colored shimmers and sprinkles. Follow the basic steps to pomp up your candles.
- Select the candle size of your choice to coat, like a small votive candle, tall taper candle, pillar candle, or a large container candle.
- Mask the candle with tape to create your desired pattern or protect any region you don’t want to add items. Cut the tape in any pattern; linear, zigzag, spiral, or crisscross. Fold the ends of the tape to make a small tab. Do not tape if you want to cover the whole jar in glitter.
- Apply glue or adhesive spray on the unmasked areas and coat it in glitters or sprinkles. Allow it to dry. Once dry, give it a second coat of glue for the perfect sticking of the glitters or sprinkles.
- You can also use double-sided tape. Carve out your unique designs onto tape, peel off the tape backing from one side and wrap it around the candle jar wrinkle-free. Now, remove the other side of the tape and roll the candle in sprinkles or glitter powder spread on the flat surface.
- You can always apply another coat of glitters/sprinkles if the candle seems to have empty patches.
- Once the candle has dried, remove the tapes and extra glitters or sprinkles slowly. Don’t peel it off abruptly, as you might remove the glitters/sprinkles as well.
- Now, fix the glitters/sprinkle with a transparent spray-on sealer, and let it set as well.
- You can also mix the glitter in the cooling wax for excellent finishing. Make sure the wax is not too hot; otherwise, the glitter will clog the wick.
Add flowers and herbs to your DIY candle
Adding a few fresh flowers or dried herbs petals might turn your simple candle into an Aromatherapy candle. You can choose from our popular Aromatherapy picks such as Chamomile, Lavender, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Mint, and Lemon or Orange zest. Infuse these ingredients in your candle wax to increase the scent throw of your candles and create a peaceful ambiance. You can also create intricate patterns and layers with floral springs and dried herbs in a transparent jar. Thus, make a perfect gift for your loved ones on special occasions.
These candles are highly organic and inexpensive. When mixed in soy wax or beeswax, they burn clean with a warm glow in an environment-friendly manner. Smelling an all-natural scented candle would help relax your nerves and anxiety.
Follow the steps to beautify your candles with colorful flowers and dried herbs.
- Select the candle jar of the desired size, and candle wax flakes of your choice Soy wax and Beeswax are highly preferable.
- Melt the candle wax flakes in the heat-safe saucepan on a water bath (as discussed above). When the wax has melted completely, take it off the flame and allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile, fix the wick to the bottom of your container with tape or hot glue.
- As the wax cools, add a few drops of lavender or rosemary essential oil to scent the candle.
- Once the wick has settled, pour the warm wax into the jar. It shouldn’t be hot as it can damage petals.
- Add a few petals of flowers or dried herbs in different colors to candle wax and allow it to cool. Place some more in the middle layer and then at the top to create an aesthetically beautiful, layered floral candle.
A few things to remember:
- Always choose a natural plant-or-animal-derived wax. And pure essential oils to make sure your candles burn sustainably.
- Use a cotton wick or a wooden wick instead of the lead wick.
- Safety first! Make sure your glass container is heat-proof before adding boiling water or hot wax to it.
- If you are using tapes, cut them in small sizes, so they are not visible.
- Use at least two clothespins to hold the wick in the middle and skewers to press the wick to the bottom.
- Burn your candle long enough to make sure it burns evenly to the edges to avoid tunneling.
- Keep the wick trimmed to one-fourth inches to avoid mushrooming of the candle.
- Use paper towels to wipe any excess wax off the stirrer, thermometer, and inside and sides of the melting pot, candle jar, and workspace.
- Keep the candles away from drafts, children, pets, and anything combustible. Always place the candle on a flat, stable surface.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
Candle-making is a great project to come back to as you tweak your ratios and create favorite scent blends. Keep in mind that it may take some experimentation to achieve the perfectly smooth candle top or fragrance intensity. Each batch along the way will almost certainly result in something beautiful. Enjoy the learning and testing process, and stay warm!