Make candles at home on a small scale with a few basic supplies and equipment. Container candles are easy and less expensive to make than to buy, and are a welcome gift. Candle containers and left over wax can be reused. Unusual containers give candles an extra special decorative touch. I have been making candles for our church for 2 years, and have learned what works and what doesn’t. Use these tips for a happy candle making experience.
SAFETY NOTE: Use of glass containers as described here is only for soy wax with a low melting point and a high flash point. Never subject glassware of any kind to direct heat, never use on a burner. A double boiler can work, but I have found it to be very inefficient.
Choosing Jars and Other Containers for Candles
Metal tins, tea or coffee cups, and heat resistant glass jars make great containers for candles. Boutiques sell candles in interestingly shaped containers that can be reused. Discount stores and yard sales can yield suitable glassware or cups for candles. Look for heavy glass without nicks and cracks. Use only glassware that doesn’t narrow at the top because a narrow top doesn’t allow enough air in, or let heat out.
Buy Candle Supplies Online
Lower prices and greater variety make purchasing supplies online a better alternative to buying in craft stores. Beginning candle makers need to purchase the following from a candle supply site:
- Soy wax – this comes in 8 lb.or 50 lb. units, and is in flake form, eliminating the need to break up a large chunk of wax. The 8 lb. size is perfect for home use.
- Wicks – these can be purchased in a 10 yard piece or a 100 yard spool. There are many types of wicks: look for wicks recommended for containers and for soy wax. It’s better to buy a roll of wick so that it can be cut into whatever length is required.
- Wick clips – these are important for anchoring the wick to the bottom of the container and keeping the flame from burning all the way down to the glass. These are very inexpensive and can be purchased both in small and large quantities.
Other supplies for making container candles:
- Container to melt wax – a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup is ideal both for melting and pouring the wax. Dedicate it to wax only, don’t use it for both food and wax.
- Scissors to cut the wicks
- Pliers to assemble the wicks
- An old sheet pan for baking
- Gloves – I prefer heavy gloves to oven mitts
- Glue dots
- craft sticks
- clothespins or bulldog clips
How to Make Soy Candles
Thread the wick clips onto the length of wick. Crimp the top of the clips to the wick with pliers and cut the wick at the bottom of the clip. Fasten the wick to the center of the container with a glue dot. Some containers may need more than one wick. Be sure the wicks are properly spaced and not too close to the glass. Keep the wicks upright and straight by clipping them to a craft stick.
Fill the measuring cup with wax, and melt in a maximum 250°F oven on the baking sheet. The melting point for soy wax is below 200°F, and it will melt in a 200°F oven, but it will take longer. When completely melted, stir in any color or scent desired. Let the wax cool somewhat before pouring. This will prevent what looks like wet spots between the glass and the wax so the color will be even, not splotchy. The time will vary, depending on the temperature of the room. A thermometer is helpful, but not necessary.
Leave the candles in place until completely cooled, unclip and trim the wicks to about 1/4″. Using newspaper in the bottom of the baking sheet and under the candles makes cleaning up dripped wax as easy as throwing out the paper.
Making candles at home with soy wax is fun, easy, safe, and cheaper than buying candles. Find unusual containers to make special gifts for friends, colleagues, and to give as hostess gifts. Brighten your home as well. Another type of candles that make great gifts are made with ice.