how to make candles at home

How to Make Candles at Home

Making candles at home is a fun hobby that anyone can learn how to do! With candles soaring in popularity over the past few years, you might be wondering how you can make them yourself. We’ve got you covered with all the tips and information you need to make your own amazing handmade candles at home.

Is it hard to make candles?

Many people want to make candles but feel overwhelmed by the process. Making candles can be complicated, but anyone can learn how!

Here are the basic steps for making your own candles at home:

  1. Choose what type of candle you want to make.
  2. Gather your candle making supplies.
  3. Choose a fragrance & color.
  4. Prepare your ingredients and pour your candle.
  5. Let your candle cure.
  6. Test your candle.

We'll go over what each step means below so you can start preparing candles with confidence.

Choose a Candle Type

If you’ve seen a candle in the store that you loved, chances are, you can make your own version of it at home! With the right equipment and ingredients, you can make essentially any type of candle yourself. Here are a few of the most popular types of candles you can make at home:

  • Container candles are any candle made in a jar, tin, or ceramic vessel. These are usually the easiest to make, so they're a good choice for beginners.
  • Tea light candles are also beginner-friendly. As the smallest of all container candles, tea lights are a good choice for learning about the candle making process.
  • Votive candles are a bit larger than tea lights. You typically make votives in small glass containers, but some people use molds instead.
  • Pillar candles are freestanding candles made from hard wax - usually paraffin. You typically need a special mold to make pillar candles, so these can be a little more complicated for beginners.
  • Taper candles are similar to pillars, but they are much narrower. These are the candles you typically see in table settings with candle holders.

These are just the basic types. Head to our blog on the different types of candles for even more ideas.

What kind of candle should I choose? As a beginner, we recommend making a container candle for your first project. Container candles are the easiest to control and there are numerous options for jars. On top of that, you don't need special molds or tools for making them like you do for pillars.

Gather Your Supplies & Ingredients

After choosing a type of candle, you will need to get your supplies together. As a beginner, it can feel overwhelming to buy supplies. Here are the basic tools you need:

  • A wick.
  • Candle wax.
  • A container.
  • A wax melting pot.
  • Wax cutting tool & cutting board.
  • A thermometer for checking the temperature of your wax. 
  • A scale for weighing your ingredients.
  • Glue dots for adhering your wicks. 
  • A wick stabilizing bar or a bow tie wick bar for keeping your wick straight and centered.
  • Whisk for stirring your ingredients. 
  • Measuring cup for weighing your fragrance. 
  • Gloves.

Check out our comprehensive post on candle supplies to learn more about these tools. Shop all these supplies and tools in our Candle Supply collection!

Choosing a wax and wick is usually the most challenging part. We recommend reading How to Choose a Candle Wick if you are unsure where to start with wicking. Our Wick Size Chart is a helpful resource for picking a wick based on the size of your container. And lastly, we have a guide that compares all the different types of candle wicks for assistance choosing a type.

Choose a Fragrance & Color

If you’re interested in making your own candles at home, chances are, you want to make candles that smell good. However, there’s also nothing wrong with making an unscented candle. In fact, some people who make tea light candles or taper candles will make unscented candles on purpose.

Container candles, on the other hand, are almost always scented. The fragrance you choose is usually the most defining feature of your candle. If you plan on making candles to sell, the scents you choose will be the thing your customers remember most.

We have hundreds of fragrance oils to choose from, and there’s no wrong answer when picking a scent. If you’ve never bought fragrance oils before, trying a fragrance sample pack is a good way to get a feel for the types of scents you like. 

To make colorful candles, you will need candle dye. We don’t recommend mica, glitter or other powdered colorants for making candles because it can clog the wick. Many beginner candle tutorials recommend using crayons or food coloring. However, these are not ideal for making candles.

Head to our blog to learn more about why you should only use candle dye as a colorant.

Prepare Your Candles

Now that you have all the supplies you need, it's time to start mixing your ingredients and pouring your candles. Before starting this step, read our post on fragrance load to determine how much scent to use. You may also want to review our blog on how much wax to use if you aren't sure what will fit in your container.

  1. Prepare your container by attaching a wick to the bottom with a glue dot.
  2. Secure the wick in place with a wick centering bar or similar tool.
  3. Use your wax pouring pitcher to create a double boiler and melt your wax. Be sure to follow the instructions for the wax you are using. If using soy wax, do not heat it over 185 degrees F.
  4. When the wax is at the right temperature, add your fragrance.
  5. Pour the wax into your prepared container, filling it to about 1/4 to 1/2" from the top.
  6. Let the candle cool completely before moving it. Once cool, you may trim the wick to ¼”

Need more help with the process? Read our step-by-step tutorial for an in-depth guide on making candles. This post goes beyond the basics to walk you through every step in the process. You'll also find a recipe for making your first candle if you aren't confident doing your own calculations. We also recommend checking out our candle making safety tips for beginners.

Let Your Candle Cure

Burning your candle right away is temping. However, candle wax will continue hardening after you pour it. Allow the candle to cure for at least 1-2 weeks before burning it.

Testing Homemade Candles

Testing candles is a process where you light your candle to see if it burns correctly. Testing ensures that your wick is an appropriate size and that your candle smells and burns the way you want it to.

When making handmade candles at home for the first time, there will be some trial and error. Getting the perfect wick size on the first try isn't always possible. Our Guide to Testing Candles is a great resource to read through so you know what to look for.

Testing candles is not everyone's favorite thing to do. However, it's important whether you’re making them for yourself or for other people. Each time you make a candle with a new wax, fragrance, container, or wick, you should test the candle to make sure it burns safely.

More Resources for Making Candles at Home

The candle making world is full of false information, which makes it much more difficult for beginners to feel confident. We're here to tell you that anyone can make candles as long as they have the right information!

If you're looking for more tips, check out Candle Making 101, which includes all our best resources.

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