Candle-making has been around for centuries. It is an art that has survived the test of time and is still a very popular craft project today. There are a few things to consider when attempting this craft, including the type of candle, type of wax, and the materials to use.
Types of Candles
First things first. There are three main types of candles: pillar candles, container candles, and votive candles. Pillar candles require hard wax, because they are not formed in a container and are free-standing. Container candles are the most popular type of candles and are the easiest for beginners to make. Votive candles are small in size and are typically placed into a container when burning. They are commonly used at weddings and in places of worship.
Types of Wax
Before you run out to the nearest craft supply store and buy a giant slab of beeswax, you should consider the type of candles you are making and also the type of wax that would best benefit your project. There are several types of wax to consider when making your own candles. Some are more popular than others for different reasons. Candle wax comes in different blends and melting points; you should also think about factors like price, allergies, and burning time.
Paraffin candle wax is the least expensive type of wax on the market. These days, it is less commonly used because it is a product of crude oil and there are more natural and eco-friendly options available. Paraffin candles have also become less popular because they often produce soot and smoke when you burn them. Paraffin wax is great for small candles like votives, rather than pillars, for example. It melts quickly and can be easily colored and scented. All-natural and chemical free, beeswax is a byproduct of the honey-making process, and because of this has a naturally sweet fragrance. More expensive than paraffin, it can be purchased in blocks or slabs. It is a dripless wax that is popular with those with allergies, sinus problems, or asthma. A drawback of beeswax, however, is that it does not retain color or scent very well. Other all-natural options are palm wax and soy wax. Natural palm wax is long-burning, smokeless, and the most expensive. It is great for pillar candles. Soy wax is made from soy beans and is also clean and slow-burning.
Last, but definitely not least, is recycled wax. Recycled wax is what you get when you combine old candles and upcycle them into a new and useful candle. Making your own recycled wax candle is a great way to reduce, reuse, and recycle. More on making recycled candles later. First, here is how to make your own candles.
Making Your Own Candles
You can make your own candles with equipment you already have in your home, including a stove, saucepan, glass measuring cup, newspaper, towels, and pencil. You will need to purchase wax, candle wicks, molds, fragrance oil, oil-based dye, and a container. To make pillar candles, I recommend reusing a wax-lined container like a small milk or juice carton. Once you decide on the type of wax, break it up into small chunks. Here’s a quick guide to the amount of wax you will need.
Protect your work surface with newspaper and keep a damp towel handy for messes. Fill a large saucepan with approximately two inches of water. Make sure the glass measuring cup will fit into the saucepan. Place the chunks of wax into the glass measuring cup and place the measuring cup into the saucepan. Turn the heat on high to boil the water. The wax will slowly melt. If desired, stir in essential oils to scent the candle wax. Next, stir in small drops of dye until you reach the desired color.
To mold your candles, you can use several types of containers that can withstand heat, like metal, glass, or porcelain. Consider reusing items around the house like recycled sauce jars or teacups. Place the wick in the center of your mold or container. Use a drop of melted wax to adhere the wick to the bottom. Loop the end of the wick around a pencil. Rest the pencil across the top of the container, place the container on a flat surface, and hold it steady while pouring in the liquid wax. Allow the wax to cool for several hours or even overnight. If you are using a juice or milk carton to make pillar candles, tear away the carton carefully. Cut the wick so that there are approximately one and a half to two inches sticking out of the candle.
Making New Candles Out of Old Candles
When recycling and combining old candles to make new ones, choose scents and colors that blend well together. This process is very similar to making your own candles from scratch, however you need to break the old candles up into small chunks with a knife and cutting board. You can reuse the old candle jars, as well.
To remove candle wax from glass, you’ll need: used glass candle containers, boiling water, a plastic utensil, a paper towel, and warm soap and water. Don’t worry about the label and soot. First, boil water in a tea kettle and pour it into your container. Wait until the remaining wax floats to the surface and the water cools. This takes approximately 45 minutes. Next, using your plastic utensil, scrape the wax and wick base onto a paper towel and discard. To remove the label and soot, soak the container in warm soapy water and gently scrub until it is clean.
After you make your candles, consider embellishing the container by making your own personal label or adding a ribbon and a gift tag. Candles make lovely homemade gifts for any holiday or occasion. They bring warmth and comfort to a room and give the house a fresh scent.