Learn How to Make

How to Make Candles

lit candle photo

Candle making can be a fun hobby, and one the children can participate in, with appropriate adult supervision. You can go as high tech as getting all your supplies at a craft store, or making do with what you have at home.

First, you'll choose a mold. This can be a metal one from the store, or a milk carton, cut to whatever height you want. For children, a shorter candle is best to start with, and easier for them to insert things like shells into the partly cooled wax.

Spray the inside of your mold or carton with silicone, or give it a light wipe with vegetable oil. Cut a wick that is 2-3" longer than the mold, attach a tab, and stick the tab in the center of the mold's bottom, with a bit of melted wax. Lay a piece of doweling or a chopstick across the top of the mold and wind or tape the remaining wick around that. Make sure it is straight and centered.

Wax is flammable at high temperatures, and while you can successfully melt it and make candles without a candy thermometer, using one will show you the optimum temperatures for pouring, which is the melting point of 130-150F, although metal molds can withstand the higher temperatures of 180-200F.

To figure out how much wax you'll need, pour water into the mold, mark the desired level with a pen, empty the mold and dry it thoroughly.

Break the wax into chunks, or pare it off and it will melt faster. Either melt your wax in the top of a double boiler pan, or make your own, by melting the wax in a coffee can placed inside a pot of water that is half full. When using a can, it will have a tendency to float on the water. Make sure the pot is not so shallow that the can tips over and falls out, spilling hot wax. Keep baking soda on hand for fire prevention.

Tip your mold a bit, so that you can pour wax down the inside, and fill to within an inch of your desired level. Keep wax hot enough to stay melted, and watch as the mold cools, since most wax will sink in towards the center, and need topping up.

Candles can be colored with commercial dyes, or crayons. Scenting is as simple as a few drops of essential oils, or vanilla.

How to Make Soy Candles
Many people who enjoy exercising their creativity by making candles, are discovering the joys of making them from soy wax instead of the traditional paraffin. The key attraction is that soy wax can be cleaned up with plain soap and water, with no scraping off the upper half of your double boiler. In fact, all your utensils can be safely run through a cycle in the dishwasher when you're done.

Canning Jar Candles
These candles are easy to make. You don't even need to melt any wax. Learn how to make these simple candles and give them as gifts yearround.

Gel Candles
Only a few steps and even less ingredients. This simple candle is quite easy to make.