I’ve always rotated between hobbies, art projects, crafts, on and on and on. I started making candles a couple years ago and I LOVE IT. I purged our personal care and household products of chemicals 3 years ago and during that process, I realized how toxic the candles I was burning were! Eeek.
To date, the process has been so-so trial and error but I’m finally at a place where I’ve got a bit of a system down and I’m not spilling wax all over my kitchen every time. I decided to share some of the info I’ve learned and the products that I wish I knew about in the beginning.
First, you want to decide what type of candle you want/need. You can collect containers and make container candles or pillar candles which are open flames. You can use these supplies for each type, then we can get into the details for them specifically;
- Wax! (Soy for containers, Paraffin for pillars)
- Double boiler pitcher (I ruined many a stock pot in the beginning, this one’s a must!)
- Wick stabilizers
- Fragrance – this is your choice. I like this natural vanilla essential oil because my goal is chemical free. But there are all sorts of concentrated candle fragrance on the market if you want to fill your whole house with scent!
Container candles are where I started because I thought they would be easier, but really both types have their quirks. Soy wax has a lower melting point and burns more evening in containers. Paraffin wax has a higher melting point and helps pillar candles keep their shape instead of melting all over your table.
You can also buy a candle making kit, to cover all your bases — but I like to order the pieces so I can order organic and chemical free waxes/fragrances.
- Choosing your container(s) – I usually collect glass containers or reuse things like mason jars etc. I do like these metal containers if you would rather start small (may make the learning curve less steep).
- Melt the wax – (SOY for containers), I do this on low and if you use a low temp there is no need to stir, don’t let the wax boil, just be patient. 🙂 I don’t typically measure… the wax can be melted and remelted so if I don’t use it all then I save it for the next batch.
- Prep your containers – While the wax melts prepare whichever contain you chose. You can set up your wick at this point, but it will need to be adjusted after you pour the wax anyway. Depending o the container depth I’ll wait to add the wick until after I pour the wax. Use the wick stabilizers to do this, the wick will not stand up on its own because it is coated in wax itself, which melts when you pour the hot melted wax.
- Adding fragrance – if you are adding fragrance add it to the wax right before you pour it into the container. If you add it too early the fragrance will burn off and it will be wasted.
- Carefully pour the wax – I have had many wax disasters and it’s so tough to clean up. I suggest pouring over a cookie sheet. Any dripped wax on the cookie sheet can be easily removed later (check the end of the post for this hack!)
- Let it cool – After you pour, let it sit where it is until it cools to the point you can see the wax solidifying. Once this happens the container can be moved to the refrigerator to cool overnight.
Pillar Candles (my personal favorite)
- The process for Pillar Candles is the same! BUT use a pillar mold instead of a container.
- The mold will have a small hole in the bottom to string wick through like this, or you can use the wicks with the metal bottom and trim the metal piece off once the candle has cooled and you’re ready to remove the candle.
- You’ll still need to use the wick stabilizers to rest on the sides of the pillar mold
- Melt Paraffin Wax
- Set up Pillar Mold
- Add fragrance to wax
Okay… so an important hack. Maybe I’m just a mess, but I have had a couple major spills when pouring wax. If/when you spill, DO NOT try to wipe it up — wait for it to harden, put ice cubes on the area to help it harden, then use a butter knife to pry it off the surface. Along with this, if you spill on your cookie sheet, you can put the entire thing in the freezer and it will help the wax easily pry off. Use old towels if you lay them down on your cookie sheet because getting wax out of certain fabrics are near impossible.
Let me know if you have questions! It’s such a fun thing to have candles around your house that you made! My husband always quotes The Office when I’m making them (Candles by Jan), haha. Good luck!