I’m a candle addict. I love to have a scented candle burning all the time, but that gets to be expensive and sometimes I’m snowed in. So about six months ago, I bought the stuff to start making my own candles. I’m a visual, hands-on learner, though, and I kept waiting for someone to magically show up to teach me. Or I was procrastinating about trying something new. Either way, I’m not sure why I was scared of making candles–it’s easy! Especially if you make container candles. And, I finally did! All by myself. Which means–so can you!
How to make Container Candles:
What you need to get started–
a double boiler (or facsimile)
wick assemblies and tacky wax
You can make container candles out of various types of wax, such as soy, gel, paraffin, or specially prepared “container” wax. I’m using container wax here.
Start by preparing your containers–you can use anything that will withstand heat. I have plenty of glass canning jars with lids to seal and retain scent for the candles I won’t use right away. You can buy pre-waxed wire wicks, which make wicking easy. Put a dab of “Tacky Wax” on the bottom and it will make the wick stick to the bottom of your jar nicely so you don’t have to worry about it moving around when you’re pouring the wax.
I don’t have a double boiler, plus I wanted to melt my wax directly in the pouring pitcher (cuz it’s handy). I used a medium-size stainless steel pot as a base pot. Three wide-mouth canning rings fit just right in the bottom, creating a makeshift trivet or rack to set my pouring pitcher on. (Heating wax over direct heat can cause overheating and, possibly, a fire. Don’t do it!)
Pour water inside the base pot and heat the wax to the degree directed for your specific wax (for container wax, 180 degrees).
Monitor the temperature with a thermometer. (A candy or cheesemaking thermometer will do.) When the wax reaches its pouring temperature, add candle dye, which comes in liquid or solid form. (The dye package will direct how much to use for its specific formulation.) If you’re using solid dye, cut it up before adding it so that it will melt faster.
After the dye is mixed in, turn off the heat and quickly add the scent. You can use one scent or a combination to create custom scents. I used combinations to make cinnamon-spice and snickerdoodle.
It’s fun to play with dyes and scents, and you can make your candle scent as strong as you like by adding more scent. You can also alter the color by adding more or less dye (or even mixing dyes). I didn’t like how light my candles came out in the first batch using the recommended amount of dye. I used double for the next batch.
Pour the wax into the containers (reserving about a cup of wax for topping off later), being careful to keep your wicks centered.
You may need to support the wicks. I used knives positioned across the tops to keep the wicks in place until the wax set.
Let cool for 30-45 minutes. Reheat reserved wax to pouring temperature then top off the candles.
Allow candles to cool for a couple of hours, then top off again. Repeat as necessary
Trim the wicks and you’re ready to light candles!
This is one of those things like making my own laundry detergent or making homemade vanilla where, once I did it, I realized I’ll never buy candles from the store again. Making container candles is quick (outside of cooling time–actual worktime to create the candles is minimal), it’s easy, it’s cheaper than storebought, and it’s fun! (My favorite combination!)
I can’t wait to play with more dyes and scents and make more candles! (I played a little here making one with a lighter color on the bottom of the candle and darker color on top–but I was just experimenting. I’ve got a lot of practicing to do!)
You? You ever made candles? If not, are you thinking of trying it now?