How to Make Your Own Scented Candles

photo by stevencunio

This guest post from Bailey Harris is a step-by-step tutorial to making your own scented candles. I’ve never tried it, but it sounds like a nice project to try now and put away for affordable, personal holiday gifts.

People love giving their homes a wonderful scent. Many products exist nowadays to do this, but scented candles remain the most popular. They come in just about every color and scent imaginable. Candles can also give your home a nice, relaxing atmosphere. Although many brands and types of scented candles exist, none are very budget-friendly. Some also contain questionable ingredients. Fortunately, scented candles can be made at home, provided you have the right supplies. You will love creating custom candles exactly suited for you while you save money in the process.

Supplies

Obviously, wax is the number one thing you need to create homemade scented candles. Candle wax primarily comes in three types. You will need to choose from ordinary paraffin wax, increasingly popular soy wax, or beeswax. Try to purchase wax that is broken down into pieces.

Next, you will need some fragrance to make your candles smell good. Essential oils are a good choice since they mix well with wax. You can purchase essential oils from many herb, health, or natural food stores. If you wish to add color to your candles, wax color chips are available in tons of colors.

Once you have your wax, colors, and fragrances chosen, you will need a double boiler to melt and mix your candles in. For a simple double boiler, place a smaller pot or tin bowl in a larger pot of water. You will also need wicks, a metal or plastic stirring object, a candy thermometer that reaches up to 300 degrees, and molds for your candles. Pencils and super glue are also helpful items to have on hand to aid in wick placement. It is also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency.

Instructions

Choose a non-crowded space for your candle making. Covering this area with newspaper is helpful to avoid damaging any surfaces. Place your molds on the newspaper so they are in place when your wax is ready to be poured. If you don’t have actual candle molds, you can use items that you have around the house. Clean soup cans, waxed milk cartons, Pringles cans, and muffin tins are perfect for making pillar candles. If your homemade mold does not have a waxy interior, you can spray the inside with nonstick cooking spray.

To make wick placement easier, put a very tiny drop of super glue in the bottom center of your mold. Attach your wick to the bottom of the mold, then tie the other end to the middle of a pencil and balance the pencil on top of the mold. Once your molds are ready, you can begin to melt your wax.

For beginners, a pound of wax is a good amount to start with and will yield one larger candle or a few smaller candles, depending on mold size. If the wax is not already broken into smaller pieces, you can do this with a small hammer. Place your wax pieces in the double boiler, making sure the water is not high enough to come in contact with the wax. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat so no splashing takes place. Stir the wax gently with your metal or plastic stirrer. Periodically check the temperature using the candy thermometer, making sure the temperature stays below 175 degrees.

When the wax is completely melted, turn the temperature to low. Now you will add the color and fragrance to the wax. Add color chips and stir gently until your desired color is achieved. Next, you will want to add about one ounce of fragrance oil per pound of wax. This will give you a richly scented candle that makes your home smell wonderful. When the melted wax is colored and fragranced, be sure to turn off the heat source. Now it is time to pour your wax into the molds.

Slowly pour the wax into the molds, being careful not to spill wax or move the wick. The slower you pour the wax, the less air bubbles in your candles. When the molds are full, you can tap the sides of the mold to release any air bubbles. When the wax begins to cool, it may dip down a bit in the middle. You can add more liquid wax to even out your candle if necessary. Allow the candles to cool for at least six hours, depending on the size.

Now you are ready to remove the candles from their molds. If made properly with quality molds, candles should slip out easily when inverted. Once removed, your candles are ready to burn. It is a good idea to trim the top of the wick to about ½ inch tall. This allows the candle to burn evenly and prevents too much smoke from entering the air.

Although making scented candles is a process, once you make them on your own you will see it is actually pretty simple. Being able to customize your candles and experiment with different colors and scents is rewarding and fun. It can also be much cheaper to make your own scented candles than to buy them. A scented pillar candle can cost $15 to $20 to buy; an entire 10-pound block of wax can be purchased for less than $15. The money you save will be an added bonus, and your home will smell amazing.

Guest post from Bailey Harris, who writes for the free homeowners insurance guide.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob May 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

A hint from a candle friend of mine…
Try using an old Crock Pot to melt your wax. Many are available at thrift store.

Reply

Jo March 20, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Great post! I love candles but hate paying exorbitant prices. Definitely going to have a go at making them. Thanks!

Reply

phillip September 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Great info and tutorial n making your own candles. Thanks for sharing.

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Nikki October 9, 2012 at 1:27 am

when we made candles at school to color them we chopped up some crayons and put a little bit in make the color nice and bright.

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Jeni October 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Great idea! I can’t wait to make candles with my sister-in-law this weekend. I love the crayon idea to help with the colors! If these turn out right, holidays are right around the corner and every woman in my family loves candles.

Reply

Rick Higgins November 17, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I got great ideas from your site.I didn’t realize how easy it can be.
Thanks tons and also the comments did inspire me.One question though.
Can food coloring be used for the making of candles?

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sharon December 3, 2012 at 3:33 pm

have used coloured cheap wax crayons very successfully-just made bright purple candles

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sharon December 3, 2012 at 3:35 pm

food colouring is not suitable as it tends to separate.a third of a red crayon and a third of a blue have just dyed two very large candles a lovely bright purple

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sharon December 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

empty pringles tubes make good large pillar candles

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Kiki January 3, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Can you use an old glass candle votive for the mold and just leave it in there? As your new candle?
Thanks!

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Kjenkins January 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm

you know cool-aid mix if you get them and put them in the wax you can prbablly use it for color and scent do you think it will work

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Kjenkins January 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm

can i melt a old unscented candle spoon the wick out add the scent and reuse the wick would be a lot easier cause i have tons of unscented candles i just through away please write back soon want to use it as a birthday gift birthday coming up soon

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jack January 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm

well i just got scented candles today at yankee candle and they came with care instructions that say after you’ve used half to throw it away and i usually burn through vanilla candles haha get it burn but any ways can you save them up since its white wax and add color and new scent

Reply

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It was practical. Keep on posting!

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