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How to make your own candles

June 14, 2010

My friend Robin has been bugging me for months to make candles with her so finally I gave in this weekend. 

As a kid I always had to save all the wax from burnt candles to make new candles from it and this has just kind of stuck with me as an old habit so I always have tons of wax sitting around.

This is what you will need:

  • Old candles or any bought wax
  • Wicks – you can buy these at any craft store – or you can reuse the ones that will come out from the candles when your wax melts (if you are using old candle wax) if they are long enough – wicks
  • Crayons for color – only Crayola works as far as I have noticed. Other crayons seem to have some make-up that prevents them from mixing with the wax
  • Containers that are waxed on the inside – like milk cartons – or glass jars if you don’t need to take the candle out – I often use orange or milk cartons and for smaller candles I use round, waxed mini cups
  • Tape
  • Chopsticks or any kind of stick you can tie or tape the wick to
  • Newspapers
  • Two pots – one large and one smaller – that you don’t intend to use for cooking – buy at the Salvation Army. Sort wax by color and then re-dye it with crayons by just dropping the crayons into the pot with the wax.

It is great to use the larger of the pots only for white wax and use the other pot to either melt the crayons or mix it with colored wax. This will be the pot you will pour from so if you are making white candles you may want to make these first. 

If you have older wax you are using sort them into piles of color categories.

Slowly melt the wax in a pot – with or without a crayon depending on your color preference.

While you wait for the wax to melt cut the wicks so they’ll fit in the containers – tape one end of the wick to the bottom of the container and tie or tape the other end to a chopstick that you lay across the top of the container.

Make sure you put double newspaper – or cardboard – on whatever surface you are working on so that you won’t get wax spills on everything (this one I learned by experience). 

Before pouring the wax estimate a small amount of wax to use afterwards. After you have poured the wax let it sit until the surface has solidified. Then poke a hole in the surface to let the air out and fill up with the remaining wax.

Leave the candles for about 24 hours – if they are very big give them 48 hours – so that they are dried all the way through. Then just peel them out of the cartons. If you are making very big candles you will need to put more than one wick. If you want fragrance add essential oils.

(To make tapers you would just tie the wick to a stick and dip them into the wax, let it dry solid and dip again until you are happy with its thickness.) 

And here is the final result. Robin is definitely the more fun of the two of us and braved out on all kinds of color combos. Can you guess which two candles are mine? (Please note if you make candles this big it is a good idea to use more than one wick). 
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