Buying scented candles can be very expensive, especially strong ones that retain their smell. Making a pillar candle at home costs no more than a few dollars and you can custom make it with any scents and colors you like. It can be time consuming, and it can be dangerous if the proper safety measures are not followed, but the results are something that will fill you with pride. Here's how to make them:
- Gather the necessary items and supplies.
- First, you will need some wax. Paraffin wax is easy to find and is good in just about any type of candle. Paraffin can be found at the grocery store under the name Gulf Wax. You can also get candle making wax that's made with soy.
- You will also need a pouring pot, which is just a metal pot with a handle that you will melt the wax in.
- Have a wax or candy thermometer handy.
- Candle-making requires wicking.
- If you want your wax to have color, then you need to have either a liquid color, a powder, or chip color, which is a solid pigment chip.
- Choose a mold to shape the candle. Hobby stores carry all of this equipment, as do most Wal-Marts. Ebay is a good place to buy supplies as well, as they are much cheaper than what you will find in a store.
- Finally, you need a scent! Scent comes in a couple different forms -- liquid and solid. Liquid is more difficult to use, but it is much stronger and will linger longer.
- Choose your design. Candles can be made in just about any shape, from balls to long, skinny tapers. There are also complicated molds in every shape imaginable. The easiest shape is a pillar candle, which is a thick cylinder that is flat at the top and bottom. This is a sturdy shape that will sit steadily anywhere and has a long burn time. Pillar molds are easy to find in the aforementioned places, while it can take more time and effort to find more complex shapes.
- Find a heat source. You will need heat to melt the wax, and it should be a safe source that is easy to clean. The heat source will end up with wax on it, so many people don't like to use the stove. When using a pouring pot, there are usually a few drops that will run down the pot after the wax has been poured. This stays liquid for awhile, but eventually dries onto the surface. It is not a good idea to try to wipe the liquid wax while it is still hot, as there is a good chance of getting some fingers burned. If you use a thick cloth towel to try to clean it up each time it is poured, the towel will be completely ruined, as wax does not wash out of fabric. It is best to simply plan for the wax that will build up as it is poured, and try to pour as gently as you can to limit the amount that drips. A hot plate is a good source, as it is easy to scrape wax from the surface, and it can be used in any room that is convenient.
- Melt the wax. For a typical pillar candle, you will need at least a pound. This recipe will be for one pound, and if you are making a larger candle, simply proportionally increase the ingredients. Place the wax in the pouring pot, and clip the thermometer onto the side. Let it melt, but don't let the temperature go past about 300 degrees. Wax catches fire at about 375 degrees, and it is best to stay well under that threshold while keeping it a liquid.
- Color the wax. If you have decided on a color, add the color to the liquid and stir. The color can be a liquid, powder, or chip color, which is a solid pigment chip. The latter is by far the easiest to use and is very effective in coloring wax. For one pound, use one full diamond chip if that is what you have. If you have a long block of solid color, break off about one fourth of the block for a nice, rich color. If you are looking for a more pastel shade, use about half of these amounts. You can stir the mixture with anything you like, or you can just slosh the pot gently to mix the wax and color.
- Add the fragrance. If you are using a liquid scent, add about one ounce for a strong, richly scented candle. Or add less for a more subtle outcome. If you are using a solid one, read the instructions as to how much is needed for one pound of wax. Stir or slosh the pot.
- Ready the mold. If the mold has a wick hole at the bottom, affix the wick in the hole according to the directions. Some molds come with a putty or adhesive to help hold it in place. Once the wick has been placed in the hole, tie the top of the wick around something, such as a long spoon, or a stick. The item will then be laid across the top, keeping the wick straight.
- Pour the wax slowly into the mold. The more slowly and carefully you pour it, the fewer air bubbles there will be. When all of it is poured, gently tap the side of the mold to release any bubbles.
- Let the wax cool for a little while, checking back often to make sure it is cooling evenly. Most candles will sink a little in the middle as the wax hardens, so more wax will probably need to be poured into the middle to even it out. If it is a very large candle, this will need to be repeated several times.
- Take it out. Once the candle is completely cooled and hardened, which could take as long as a day depending on the size, take it out of the mold. Pillar molds are very slightly sloped so that the wax will not get stuck, and the sides are smooth, allowing it to slide out easily. It will come out with two ends of wick sticking out. The part of the wick that was affixed to the bottom of the mold is the top of the candle. Trim it to about half an inch long, and cut the wick off the other side.
You candle is finished! Display it proudly. Now that you know how to make candles, you can try all different sizes and shapes. These instructions can help you create fun, personal gift ideas. Add a ribbon or a fun bobble to your handmade candles to personalize them.