Candles are extremely versatile – you can light them to make a cozy work environment, you can burn them during dinner with your sweetheart, and you can give them as thoughtful gifts to friends. There are many uses for candles and they’ve become a staple household décor item. With this easy step-by-step candle project, you can now make your own scented candles at home! Whether you’re craving to make a specific scent that you can’t find at the store or you’re looking to add some ambiance to your living room, follow the directions below to make dozens of candles for the same price as one store-bought candle.
Although there are many different types of candles and variations, this scented candle “recipe” works best for a container (mason jar, mug, etc.). With just a handful of supplies that can be bought at a craft store or online, you’ll easily be on your way to making your first batch. It takes about an hour to make these scented candles and has minimal clean up – it’s easy to wipe away wax while in liquid form and can be easily scraped off when hardened.
There are several types of wax: paraffin, beeswax, and soy. Paraffin is the traditional material for candle-making because of its low melting point. However, there is some controversy over the material due to South Carolina State University’s research on paraffin candles and how they release potentially harmful chemicals into the air. A more natural alternative is beeswax or soybean wax. Beeswax tend to burn longer than soy candles but has a harder time holding the fragrance oil. For this candle project, we used soy wax flakes since soy burns slower than paraffin, burns cleaner, and holds scents well.
It’s really up to you and your preference! While essential oils are more natural, fragrance oils smell stronger when added to the wax. Since you’ll need about 30 – 40 drops of essential oil for an 8-oz. candle, choosing a fragrance oil can be a cheaper option. For this project, we used a simple P & J Trading lavender fragrance oil. Once you get comfortable with making homemade candles, you can play around with mixing different scent combinations.
It depends on your style! Your scented candle container can range from specialty metal tins to repurposed food jars. A cheap and green option is to recycle your pasta sauce or jam jars by using them as candle containers. To remove the labels and glue, soak the jars in a bowl of hot, soapy water with a dash of baking soda. Voila! You’ve got the perfect scented candle container.
First, we’ll have to set up the double-boiler method. Take your saucepan, add water, and set your pouring pitcher with half a pound of wax inside the saucepan. The heated water will start melting the wax inside your pouring pitcher. Since the soy wax is already in flakes instead of a block, it will only take about 10 minutes to fully melt.
While your wax is melting, take this time to prepare your container. It’s important to attach the wick to the middle of the container so that it doesn’t move during the pouring process. If the wick isn’t set in the middle, the candle will have a hard time burning evenly.
There are a few different methods of attaching the bottom of the wick to its candle container. The first is to dip the metal bottom into the hot wax while it’s on the stove and let it stick to the bottom. This method doesn’t require any additional supplies than you already have, but the wick can come undone when you pour the full hot wax mixture inside. Another option--and the one we’re using--is using a double-sided sticker that attaches to the wick and the bottom of the container.
Once the wick is attached to the bottom, take your metal candle-wick holders (or two pencils, if you don’t have any) and align the wick in the center to keep it from fall to either side during the pouring process.
Let the soy wax cool a little before adding the fragrance oil. This is where it’s great to have a cooking thermometer. The optimal temperature to add fragrance oil is between 185 - 190 degrees.
For this project, you’ll want to use 15 ml of fragrance oil for the half-pound of wax. The general rule is one ounce of fragrance oil to one pound of wax. Stir in the fragrance with a wooden cooking spoon or spatula and get ready to pour in the scented wax into your prepared candle jar.
Once the wax cools to 120 - 140 degrees, slowly pour your scented wax into your container to avoid air bubbles. During the first pour make sure to leave a little bit of room at the top for a “\"top-off."
What typically happens is the wax separates from the glass container. After a few hours, you can do a second pour to fill in all the gaps, including the little sinkhole that may form in the center around the wick. You can generally wait about an hour or two before reheating the remaining wax to top off the candle.
After your scented candle is hardened, you can trim your wick to about a ¼ of an inch. If the wick is too short it won’t stay lit, and if it’s too long, the wick will burn too high.
Although it takes some time to perfect your candle recipe, it’s a fun project with lots of room to experiment -- add different colored wax, mix scents, try different sized wicks and containers and test the results!
After letting your candle cool for a full 24 hours, light your candle and enjoy its warm glow and sweet scent.