how to make your first candle

How to Make Your First Candle | Step-By-Step Instructions

If you’re new to making candles, the process can feel daunting. There is a lot to learn, but you don’t need to become an expert before you’re ready to pour your first candle. Sometimes the best way to learn is simply to get your hands on some candle making supplies and start experimenting to see what works for you.

With the huge variety of candle supplies available, you might be wondering where to even begin. That’s why we wanted to make this easy tutorial for pouring your first candle. It includes a shopping list for all the candle making supplies you will need, as well as detailed steps for making a candle from start to finish. We hope this tutorial shows you how much fun you can have making candles!

Supplies You Need to Make Your First Candle

Making candles at home requires a few tools. You might already have some of these supplies at home. 

Before diving into your kitchen drawers, it’s important to know that any supplies you use to make candles should be used exclusively for making candles (or other crafts) going forward. For example, you can use a kitchen thermometer to make candles, but we don’t recommend using that same thermometer again for cooking, even if you wash it well. This is especially important for any plastic or silicone kitchen tools.

tools and supplies for making candlesYou’ll likely need to buy a variety of candle making tools when you first get started. Fortunately, a lot of these tools are reusable, and you can use them each time you make candles! Here are the tools you need to make your first candle:

  1. A melting pot or pouring pitcher to melt your wax. We recommend getting a metal pouring pitcher to melt your wax. This tool can be put into a pot of water to create a double boiler that you heat on the stove top. Some candle makers will also place their metal pouring pitchers directly onto a burner or hot plate. However, to prolong the life of your pouring pitcher, we recommend using the double-boiler method. There are also wax melting pots designed just for making candles, but these are more of an investment.
  2. A whisk or spatula for stirring your wax. A mini nylon whisk is great if you’re melting a small amount of wax. We also have a large nylon whisk that’s great for larger batches. Any silicone spatula will also work well.
  3. A thermometer for temping your wax. Temperature is important when making candles. You can use a digital thermometer, a probe thermometer or a dial thermometer to check the temp of your wax. Each type of thermometer has its benefits, so choose whichever design you like best.
  4. Wick bars to hold your wick in place. Many candle making tutorials will tell you to use a popsicle stick or other similar tool to hold your wick in place. However, this method can be ineffective, which is very frustrating when you’re a beginner. We recommend using either a wick stabilizing bar or a bow tie wick bar to hold your wick in place. These metal tools are completely reusable, and have notches that keep your wick straight and centered. They’re a must-have!
  5. Glue dots for securing your wick. Glue dots are super-sticky dots that attach your wick to the bottom of the container. They keep your wick from floating away or bending when you pour the wax, which is important for keeping the wick straight and centered.
  6. Straight edge cutter for cutting wax. If you’re working with a slab of wax, you will want a cutting tool to slice the wax into smaller pieces. This makes it easier to weigh the wax, and smaller pieces will also melt faster. You’ll also want a cutting board when cutting wax.
  7. Scale for weighing your ingredients. When making candles, it’s highly recommended that you measure ingredients by weight rather than volume. You may also want to have a plate or bowl to put your wax in when weighing it. This helps keep your scale clean.
  8. Measuring cup or beaker for measuring fragrance oil. Measuring beakers are handy for measuring fragrance because they have a pouring spout. Although beakers have measurement lines too, fragrances should be weighed in grams or ounces on a scale rather than in fluid ounces or tablespoons. This is because fragrances oils can have different densities – meaning that some take up more room than others. This difference might be negligible if you’re making a single candle. However, it’s good to get in the habit of weighing your fragrance oils, as this is far more accurate for large batches.
  9. Nitrile gloves. It helps to wear gloves while making candles, as handling wax and fragrance oils can be messy.
  10. Fragrance oil for scenting your candle. You can make an unscented candle, but chances are, you probably want your candle to be scented. We have 425+ different candle fragrances to choose from, and they’re all suitable for making candles! You might be wondering if you can make candles with essential oils, but this is something we don’t recommend. Essential oils do not perform nearly as well as fragrance oils, and oftentimes do not have a strong scent – or any scent at all – when burned in a candle. Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are specifically formulated to deliver a strong scent throw.
  11. Candle wax. There are lots of different candle waxes to choose from, so this is a matter of personal preference. Soy and coconut wax blends are good options for container candles. If you want to make a 100% soy candle, choose our soy flakes. If you want a coconut wax blend, you can choose from options like EC-26 (coconut/soy blend), CB2 (coconut/soy/paraffin blend) or Ceda Serica (coconut/apricot blend). Note that these are all container wax blends. They are not suitable for making pillar candles.
  12. Candle wicks. There are also numerous types of wicks to choose from. The type and size of wick you choose depends on factors such as the type of wax and container you are using. Refer to our candle wicking guide for help choosing a wick.
  13. Candle containers. Unless you’re using 100% paraffin wax or 100% beeswax (or any pillar wax blend), you will need to use containers. Glass jars, candle tins, ceramic vessels and other similar containers are all suitable. As long as your candle is properly wicked (i.e. you’re not using a wick that burns too hot), plastic candle votives are suitable too. You can upcycle various types of containers to make candles – however, the container must be heat-tolerant, non-flammable and non-porous. Any container you use should also be reasonably thick and sturdy. We’re all for recycling and upcycling, but it is dangerous to use a container that does not meet these requirements.
  14. Wick trimming scissors. Most candle wicks are 6” in length, which is longer than you need for most containers. Before you burn your candle, you will need to trim the wick to a safe length (approx. 1/4”). Our wick trimmers are great for doing this.

In addition to the supplies above, you might find a few other tools to be useful. Plastic pipettes are helpful for transferring small amounts of fragrance neatly. If you’re pouring fragrance, you may also enjoy using our yorker dispenser caps or bottle pourer caps. Both of these caps are compatible with containers requiring a 24/410 top (this includes most 4oz and 8oz bottles).

You might also like using a bell snuffer to extinguish your candle after testing it. Bell snuffers allow you to put out a flame without accidentally blowing wax out of the melt pool. They’re available in four colors to match our wick trimmers.

If you are selling or gifting your candles, make sure you pick up some candle warning labels. These labels include instructions for burning a candle safely. They’re a must-have if you are giving your candles to anyone else to use.

Finally, a heat gun can be a very helpful tool when making candles. You can use a heat gun to pre-warm your container before pouring the wax. They’re also handy for re-melting the top of your candle to smooth out minor imperfections and melt drips of wax that may have gotten on the inside of the container.

How to Make a Candle with Step-By-Step Instructions

Now that you have all the supplies to make your first candle, it’s time to get started! The process of making a candle involves these basic steps:

  1. Preparing your container with a wick.
  2. Weighing your ingredients.
  3. Melting the wax.
  4. Adding the fragrance oil.
  5. Pouring the melted wax into the container.
  6. Letting the candle cure.

We’ll go over all of these steps in detail so you can make a candle with confidence.

There are many different types of wax, containers, wicks and fragrances to choose from. The process will vary depending on the type of candle you want to make.

For the sake of this tutorial, we will explain how to make a candle in a Libbey Status Jar, which is one of the most popular (and therefore most widely-available) candlemaking jars you can use. If you choose this type of container, you can use the same supplies and follow the same steps outlined in the tutorial.

Note: If you don’t have a Status Jar, you may substitute another 3” diameter glass candle jar that holds approximately 12 fl oz of water.

If you use a different type of container or wax, you may need to adjust the type and size of wick you choose. Remember you can refer to our candle wicking guide to choose an appropriate wick based on your container and wax.

This tutorial teaches you how to make one candle. You can adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly if you want to make a larger batch.

For this tutorial, you will need the following supplies & ingredients:

* Note: This wax has a natural, creamy white appearance. The yellow wax color shown in the video is due to the fragrance used (Energy Fragrance Oil).

** Note: Numerous types/sizes of wicks would be suitable for this project. We simply chose an Ultra Core Wick for the sake of this tutorial. See our Candle Wick Chart for more wicking suggestions.

Video Tutorial

Ready to get started? Watch this quick video to help you make your first candle! Each step is explained in more detail in the written tutorial below.

Here is everything you need to do to make your first candle:

Part 1: Preparing Your Container

  1. If needed, clean your candle container with soap and water, then let it dry completely. It’s important that the jar is free from any dust and residue.
  2. Once the jar is dry, open your roll of glue dots and grab an Ultra Core 2.000 wick. Stick the wick tab onto one of the dots. Peel the glue dot off the sheet by pulling on the wick tab (not the wick itself).
  3. Optional: Use a heat gun to briefly warm the inside of the container. This can help the glue dot adhere if the container is cold/you’re working in a cold room.
  4. Center the wick tab in the bottom of your container and press down on the tab to make the glue adhere.
  5. Grab your bow tie wick bar. Slide the wick into the notch on the wick centering bar, positioning the bar so that the grooves fit into the container. The wick bar should hold the wick snugly so that the wick is straight and doesn’t sag.

Part 2: Weighing Your Ingredients

  1. Set your scale on a flat surface. Place a plate or other container on the scale to keep it clean while weighing your wax (optional).
  2. Turn on the scale and tare it to zero. Set the measurement unit to ounces.
  3. Place a 3 oz measuring beaker on the scale and tare it to zero.
  4. Weigh out 1 oz of fragrance oil in the beaker. Carefully set the fragrance aside for later. Note: This is a 10% fragrance load, which is a good amount to start with. If you want a candle that smells stronger, you may add up to a 12% fragrance load. However, you do not want to exceed 12%, as the wax cannot successfully hold more than this amount. Read more about fragrance loads here.
  5. Use a straight edge cutting tool to slice off a few pieces of your EC-26 wax.
  6. Weigh out 10 oz of wax on the scale. Set aside for later.

Part 3: Melting Your Wax & Adding Fragrance

  1. If using a metal pouring pitcher to melt your wax, place the 10 oz of wax into the pitcher. Next, fill a medium sauce pan about half full with water. Place the metal pouring pitcher into the water bath. You now have a double boiler. Begin warming the pan using a hot plate or stove top on high heat.
  2. If using a wax melting pot instead, simply add the wax to the melt pot and turn it on. If your melting pot has options for different temperatures, set the dial to 200 degrees F.
  3. Use your whisk or spatula to stir the wax as it melts. Have your thermometer ready to check the temperature of the wax.
  4. When the wax reaches 200 degrees F, add the 1 oz of fragrance that you weighed earlier. Stir for about 30 seconds.
  5. Turn off the stove/melt pot to allow the wax to start cooling down. We will be letting the wax cool to approximately 150 degrees F before pouring the candle. You can remove the pan from the heat and place it on a potholder/trivet. Stirring the wax will help it cool faster.
  6. If you are using a wax melting pot, you can transfer the melted wax into a metal pouring pitcher at this time – this will make it easier to pour into your candle container.

Part 4: Pouring Your Candle

  1. Place your candle container on a flat surface and make sure the wick bar is keeping the wick centered.
  2. Optional: You may use the heat gun to pre-warm your candle container. If you are in a cold room, you may find that this helps with glass adhesion. However, it is not always necessary. This wax has excellent glass adhesion.
  3. Once the wax has cooled to approximately 150 degrees F, pour the wax into the container. If you pour too hot, it may cause the glue dot to detach, or it may cause the wax coating to melt off the wick – causing it to sag.

Note: The ideal pouring temperature for a candle can vary depending on the ambient temperature in your workspace. We recommend pouring at 150 degrees F as a general rule/starting point. If you are in a cold room, your candle may develop a sinkhole as it cools. This is because the surface of the wax will set up quickly in a cold room, while the wax inside the candle continues to contract as it cools. Lowering your pour temperature by 5-10 degrees may help, or you may try increasing the temperature of the room while you are working on candles.

  1. Let the candle sit undisturbed until the wax is completely solidified.
  2. Once the candle has cooled, you may remove the wick bar and cut the wick to ¼ inch with your wick trimming scissors.
  3. If needed, briefly point a heat gun at the surface of the wax to smooth out any imperfections.
  4. Last but not least, remember to attach a candle warning label if you are giving your candle to anyone else to burn.

That’s it! You’ve just successfully poured your first candle. Although you might be excited to burn it right away, we recommend letting the candle cure for about 2 weeks before you light it.

Curing a candle is as simple as letting it sit there undisturbed. Although the wax may appear hard once it cools, it actually continues to harden over time. If you begin burning the candle when the wax is too soft, the wick may not perform in the way it should (e.g. it may burn too hot).

Curing a candle also allows the fragrance oil molecules to spread out more evenly in the wax as it hardens. This improves its scent throw – giving you a stronger smelling candle!

NorthWood is not responsible for any projects you make with our supplies or tutorials. If you plan on selling candles you make with our tutorials, please test your final result to ensure it burns as expected. We do not guarantee the results of any project you make with our tutorials.

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