How To Make Candles

Candles come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and there are as many techniques for making them as there are colors and scents to choose from. Making a simple wax candle isn't difficult at all, but does take some patience and care in order to achieve a perfect result. Follow these instructions to make a basic candle from a mold.

What you'll need:

  • Kitchen scale
  • Double boiler
  • Pencil, chopstick, or other straight, thin object to hold the wick in place
  • Thermometer (a candy thermometer is fine)
  • Metal spoons
  • Candle wax (high-quality wax is easier to work with and will give better results)
  • Candle wick (appropriate for the size of candle you're making - check package notes and instructions to be certain)
  • Mold sealant
  • Candle mold
  • Fragrance oil (specifically for candles, with a high flash point)
  • Candle dye (solid, liquid, or powdered)

How to make a basic candle:

  1. Figure out how much wax you will need for your mold. To do this, fill your mold with water and measure it. As a general rule of thumb, 3 ounces of wax by weight is needed for every 3 1/2 ounces of water by volume. Cut the wax for your project, and weigh it to be sure you have enough.

  • Make sure your mold is clean and free of dust. Feed the wick through the small hole in the bottom of the mold and seal the bottom hole with mold seal. Pull the wick up straight and secure it by wrapping the top around the pencil, then lay the pencil horizontally across the top of the mold.
  • Place the wax in the top of the double boiler. Fill the bottom of the double boiler about 1/3 full with water, and put it on the stove. Put the pot with the wax in the bottom pot and bring the water to a gentle boil. Place the thermometer in the pot with the wax.
  • Allow the wax to melt, without stirring, until it reaches between 180 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The wax will be clear and liquid.
  • Add your color and scent. With both, start off with a small amount and gradually add more until the color and strength of scent are reached. Stir these additions into the wax very gently so as not to incorporate too many bubbles.
  • Pour the scented and colored wax into your prepared mold, being careful to avoid the pencil. Save some of the wax in the pan, because you will have to do another pour before unmolding your candle.
  • Before the wax actually begins to set, tap the sides firmly (but not so hard as to splash the wax) to release air bubbles. As the wax starts to set and form a skin on top, poke a few holes into the wax to further allow the air to escape as it cools.
  • When your candle is completely cool (can take several hours), it will have shrunk. Remelt the leftover wax in the double boiler (or, if there isn't any left, melt some fresh wax and scent/color it as before) and top up the candle mold.
  • Let the candle set completely for the second time. Unmold your candle by turning it upside down and tapping the bottom of the mold. If this doesn't work, you can put the candle and mold into the freezer for up to 30 minutes and try again.
  • Once your candle is removed from the mold, you can buff any lumpy or jagged edges around the top with a soft cloth if necessary. Your candle is now ready to enjoy!
    If you prefer to make container candles (candles in a glass or ceramic jar or container), follow the basic instructions for melting, scenting, and coloring your wax. Pick up some pre-tabbed wicks, and secure the wick in the center of the container using a bit of melted wax. Then pour your wax into the container and let it set. You may need to do a second pour, depending on the size of your container.
    Candle making is a fun and very addictive hobby. Once you get started, you'll want to learn more and more to make new and innovative candles. This is only the beginning!


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