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How to Make Your Own Candles (& Save a Ton of Cash)

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
  • Tape
  • Stove
  • Scissors


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

DIY scented candles: Setting up your wicks
Image: Eileen Chow/SheKnows

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.

More: DIY Homemade Bath Bombs in Six Easy Steps

Step 2: Measuring the wax flakes

DIY scented candles: Measuring wax flakes
Image: Eileen Chow/SheKnows

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

DIY scented candles: Melting wax
Image: Eileen Chow/SheKnows

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

DIY scented candles: Add color to your candle
Image: Eileen Chow/SheKnows

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.

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