If you ask us, there's a very strong case for learning how to make candles at home. A candle is such a simple thing, but for some reason, lighting one up can suddenly make us feel like we're sitting in the lap of luxury. Maybe it's the smell — or maybe it's the romantic glow — but we're all twitterpated over a nice, strong scented candle.
What we don't love is how frickin' expensive the things are! You're telling us it costs $30-plus for some wax and essential oils that are going to last about a week? Hard pass. Enter this easy candle tutorial. It's pretty much everything you you want in a store-bought candle, but the supplies aren't going to cost you an arm and a leg. And the end product is even better than the store-bought variety because you can personalize it with your favorite scents and colors. They're perfect for decorating your own home, and they make for great gifts too.
How to make scented candles
- Wax flakes
- Pre-waxed candle wicks
- Containers for candles
- Nontoxic crayon or candle color block
- Essential oils
- Glass container
- Saucepan or pot
- Skewers or chopsticks
Note: You’ll want to start off by cleaning your glass containers. Using regular dish soap will do the job; just make sure you dry them thoroughly when you’re done.
Step 1: Setting up your wicks
To set up the candlewicks in your containers, you’ll want to lay the metal piece flat against the bottom. Then, use your chopsticks/skewers to hold up the wicks, and tape the ends of the chopsticks to keep everything in place.
Step 2: Measuring the wax flakes
Measure out the amount of candle wax flakes you’ll need for each of your containers. The rule of thumb is two times the amount of wax flakes to fill each container.
Step 3: Melting the wax
Fill a saucepan with water to about the halfway mark. Place your measured amount of wax flakes in the glass container. Then place the glass container in the saucepan. Be sure the water level is low enough, so it won’t splash into the wax flakes when it starts to boil. Turn your stove on to medium-high, and use a metal spoon to stir occasionally.
Step 4: Adding color to your candles
This is an optional step. Your candles will come out a naturally milky white, but if you’d like to add a little color, you can use a nontoxic crayon or candle color block. I typically use 1/8-inch of red crayon per 16-ounces of wax flakes to get a soft pastel color. Want a brighter color? Use a little bit more, only adding color a bit at a time. Like food coloring, a small amount goes a long way. Simply melt your color along with your wax flakes. Warning: The color will look a lot brighter in the melted mixture but will turn a milky color as it cools.
Next Up: Add scent
Originally published December 2015. Updated November 2017.
Step 5: Add scent
Once all the wax is completely melted, remove the wax mixture from the stove. My rule of thumb is 10 drops of essential oil per 16 ounces of wax. It makes for a moderately scented candle. Use less or more depending on taste, and feel free to experiment and mix oils to create a scent of your own. Add the measured amount of essential oil to your wax mixture and give it a good stir to make sure it’s well mixed.
Step 6: Pouring the wax
Make sure your containers are in a good location where they won’t need to be moved for a few hours. Then slowly pour your melted wax mixture into your containers.
Step 7: Setting your candle
Allow 3 to 4 hours for your candles to cool and solidify. It’s best to let them solidify at room temperature, so the cooling process is gradual. This prevents cracks in the wax.