DIY: How to Make Your Own Candles

October 9, 2018

Hi, my name is Anastasia Cahill and I am addicted to candles. Any season, any weather, I will purchase candles and they will be burning in my home. If you're like me and love the comfort of candles, but aren't trying to break the bank in the process of feeding your need, this super simple DIY is perfect for you.

  

My little sister actually introduced me to candle making, and while her method definitely needed a little work, I had candles to burn for months after an hour DIY session with her. So, after a little adjusting and updating to her method, I'm here to share with you just hot to repurpose your old candles and make them into new ones for a fraction of the cost.

 

All of the supplies I used only cost me $37 and I made 10 candles using containers I already had. (And I had tons of supplies left over!) That's less than $4 a candle. Plus, you're repurposing something that probably would have ended up in the trash, and you end up with candles way more unique than the ones you can buy at a store. 

 

It took me around an hour to make all of my candles, but I was also taking pictures and notes, so it probably won't even take you that long. 

 

What You'll Need:

 

Containers - You can use leftover jars from candles, beauty products, wine glasses, plants, any container you can find as long as it's heat safe. (metal, clay, glass) 

Soy Wax - I used this 5lb bag, put you can get whatever size feels appropriate for the amount of containers you have. I made 10 small to medium sized candles with a 5lb bag for reference. Also remember that wax melts down, so even though it looks like a lot of wax, it's probably better to order too much than realize too late you don't have enough. 

Wicks - These are the ones I used and I loved them because they come with stickers to stick the wicks to the bottom of the container, and a tool to help you stabilize the wick while the wax hardens. 

Fragrance Oil / Essential Oil - You can pretty much find any scent you can dream of on Amazon. If you have a specific scent you love from a store, try googling the recipe, you'd be surprised how many you can find. I ordered this autumn kit from Amazon, and had left over oil for a my next DIY. This site is also a great source for unique pre-made scents.

Large Pot

Glass Bowl or Metal Pitcher

 

Optional: Dried flowers for decoration

 

Step One: Getting Wax out of Old Candles

 

If you're not using old candles, you can skip right to step 2. To get wax out of your old candle jars, I have found two methods that work best for me: freezing and melting.

 

 

To use the freezing method, simply place your candle jar in the freezer the night before and in the morning the wax should be easy to break out with a knife. If it's enough wax to reuse, you can add it to your new wax to be melted down. If it's a color, you probably want to melt it separately.

 

To use the melting method, you'll need to use the double boiler you will be creating to melt your wax in step 3. To do this, you're going to fill a large pot with a few inches of water and then place the glass bowl on top of it. Place your old candle in the glass bowl, and warm it over medium-high heat. After several minutes, the wax will begin to melt.

 

If you want to dispose of it, pour it into a box, container, etc. that you are going to throw away once the wax hardens. You definitely don't want hot wax in your sink or your garbage bag. 

 

If you want to reuse it, just add it to the glass bowl to be re-melted with your new wax. 

 

After you've removed all the wax, you'll need to scrap off the old wick with a knife. Some are more stubborn than others, but most will un-stick when the candle is heated. 

 

Step Two: Setting Your Wicks

 

Once you have clean jars, the next step will be putting your wicks down. If you use the same kit I did {linked here},  this will be super simple. Take the sticker off the paper, stick the wick to one end, and place the other end in the center of the container. If you're using a large container, feel free to use two or three wicks. I would recommend pushing on the sticker for a few seconds with either your finger or a knife just to make sure it is secure. 

 

 

Step Three: Melting the Wax

 

To melt the wax, you're going to fill a large pot with a few inches of water and then place a glass {or another heat safe} bowl on top of it. I have seen people use glass measuring cups and they put directly them in the water but when I tried this method I felt like the water evaporated too quick and it was kind of a disaster. Find what works best for you, but I personally wouldn't recommend that method.

 

 

Once you have created your double boiler, you're going to add your wax to the glass bowl, and heat it over medium-high heat. I melted my 5lbs of wax in two batches, and each time it took approximately ten minutes to melt, but this will vary depending on how much wax you have, so make sure you keep an eye on it. While the wax melts, just hang out, stir it periodically, give yourself a little facial in the steam, whatever your heart desires. 

 

Step Four: Adding Oils / Colors 

 

Once the wax is melted completely, it is time to add your oils and colors if you desire. I didn't color any of my candles this time, but in the past I have used food coloring. You can also use craft dye. 

 

If all of your candles are going to be the same scent, simply remove the melted wax from heat and give it a minute to cool down before adding your scent directly to the melting bowl.

 

 

The "recommended" ratio of oil to wax is 1oz of oil per 1lb of wax. I'll be honest and say I don't measure my oil, but I definitely don't use as much as the recommended amount and my candles still smell great. The oils I ordered are highly concentrated, but use the recommended amount as a guide and just find what works best for you. I typically just pour until the wax smells like I want it, which I realize is probably not as helpful as you would've hoped, but I'm not going to lie to you. 

 

If you want to create different scented candles with your wax {using oven mitts because the bowl will be super hot}, pour some of the wax into a glass measuring cup, and then add the oil. 

 

Step Five: Pouring the Wax 

 

If you haven't already, the first step is to transfer the wax from the bowl into a measuring cup or pitcher to make it easier to pour into your container. Be very careful doing this as the bowl will be hot and if you don't pour the wax slowly, you'll end up splashing hot wax, and nobody wants that. 

 

From here, simply pour wax into your container and secure your wick. I prefer to do this after pouring the wax, but it's up to you what you think works best. 

 

To secure your wick, either use the small metal gadget included with the wick pack, or you can get creative and use pencils or chopsticks to hold it still while the wax dries. 

 

Quick tip: If you want to add dried flowers to your candles, you put them on when the candle is about 75% dry. If you do it sooner, they will sink down and be all throughout the candle instead of on the top, so it's up to your personal preference! 

 

The candles typically take around 12 hours to completely cool. If you're impatient like me, you can put them in the fridge to speed up that cool time. If you spilled any wax on the outside of your jar during the pouring process, I find it's easier to wait until it cools to scrap it off so you don't have to worry about accidentally spilling your candle. 

 

 

I hope you loved this tutorial and if you have any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to leave me a message down below or shoot me an email at hello@anacahill.com. I'd love to see the pictures of your finished products, so leave them in the comments or send them to me or tag me on Instagram @ana_cahill!

 

 

Clean Up + Tips:

 

- Don't rush! Candle making can turn from a super relaxing to a messy, stressful experience if you're trying to rush it. It really doesn't take long to make them, but if you're moving too fast you tend to end up with spilled wax all over your kitchen, I would know. 

- To minimize the wax mess, I would recommend putting down paper towels where you'll be resting your stirring spoon and underneath where you'll be pouring the wax.

- If you spill any wax, try to wipe it up while it's still hot. If you don't, wax is simple enough to scrap off with a knife after the fact. 

- If you notice small holes in the tops your candles as they start to dry, don't panic. Personally, the holes don't bother me and they go away after the first burn so I don't even bother messing with them. If you're making the candle as a gift, or the holes just really drive you nuts, you can melt a little bit of additional wax and use it to fill the holes.

- Try to rinse your supplies as quickly as possible with hot water when you are done with them. This helps to melt off or at least loosen the bit of remaining wax before putting them in the dishwasher. 

 

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