Candles make excellent gifts, especially for Christmas as a hostess gift or gift exchange item. They are also easy to make with just a few basic supplies. Learn how to make homemade candles by following this simple tutorial for beginners.
Hubby and I made candles for our backyard patio when we had one at our previous house. It was our first candlemaking experience and I have to say, it’s hard to go wrong. You need quite a few supplies, but for about $20, I was able to get everything I needed to make dozens of candles.
A note if you are working with kids. This wax gets hot, so although kids can help, this isn’t a project they can do without close supervision. What they can do is add the colors. Use a few old, broken crayons and mix it up for a truly unique gift.
- paraffin wax
You can also use soy, but I’ve never tried it. I bought a ridiculously huge chunk of wax, like 10 pounds. I really only needed about a pound or two.
- candle wicks
I like the kind with a sticky bottom so that it stays in place while you pour the hot wax. Sometimes you can find the stickies sold separately. You need the wicks to be taller than the jars you will be making the candles in.
- wax pitcher
You might be tempted to skip this and just melt the wax in a kitchen pot since it the wax is food safe, but don’t. You will be cleaning that pot forever. I bought a special wax pitcher at Michael’s (with a coupon, making it like $5) and the wax doesn’t really stick to it.
- candle containers
I use canning jars because I have a zillion and I needed something that could hold up outdoors. Anything glass and/or heat-safe will work, including teacups and coffee mugs.
- skewer or chopstick
- wooden spoon
- crayons (optional)
- candle scents (optional)
- Note: There are scents made specifically for candlemaking. I haven’t tried using essentials oils. EO’s burn differently, so they might smell burned or burn at a quicker rate than your candle.
Making candles is kind of like stir-fry. You spend most of your time getting everything prepared and just a little time actually throwing it all together.
Clean and dry the jars you’ll be pouring the candles into. Peel the backing off of the wick and stick it in the center of the jar. Place the chopstick (or whatever) across the top of the jar and use the clothespin to hold the top of the wick in place. This keeps the wick from getting knocked down or sideways while the wax is setting.
If you are using crayons to color the wax, go ahead and peel the paper off and break them up. A little bit goes a long way and you probably will need less than half of a crayon for each batch.
Use an Exacto knife to scrape small pieces of the wax off of the block into the wax pitcher. You could use a grater, but unless you are making a lot of candles, you probably don’t want to buy one just for this. (Don’t use your kitchen one. You’ll be washing it forever.)
Place the pitcher on the stove top and heat it over a low setting. You do not want it to boil, only melt.
When the wax is mostly melted, add the crayons if you are using them and stir. There aren’t really any measurements to follow. Since crayons are mostly wax, you won’t mess up the mixture if you add more or less. For my first ones, I didn’t add color and they dried the same color as the wax originally was.
When the wax is ready to pour, it will be liquid and clear.
Add just a drop or two of scents, if you like. A little goes a long way. Too much of this will mess up your mixture and it won’t set properly.
Slowly pour the wax into the jar. Leave about an inch of space at the top. You can re-melt the wax in the pitcher as needed. Allow the wax to cool completely, several hours or overnight. After the wax is set, remove the chopstick and clothespin. Trim the wick to about half an inch.
This is part of my 12 weeks of handmade Christmas gifts series. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the other posts in the series for more creative gift ideas.