In this candle making guide, I’ll show you the basics of how to make candles at home. Be sure to grab up all the candle making tools you need first!
- Please see my candle making tools tutorial for a list of the tools you’ll need.
- Gather Your Supplies – Get out all the candle making supplies you need first. For this project we’re going to make 10 Votive Candles so you need 10 votive molds, 10 votive wick pins, pillar wax, coloring, fragrance, melting/pouring pot, saucepan to make double boiler, thermometer, and scale.
- Prepare The Wax – Measure out the wax you need. Below is a table for reference to determine how much wax you’ll need. For this project you’ll need approximately 2 lbs. of wax.
- Place Wick Pins – Set the wick pins into each of the candle molds to be ready for later. Don’t spray with the mold release yet.
- Prepare Double Boiler – Depending on what type of double boiler you decided to go with, this step will be different. If you’re going with the step that I prefer, using the pouring pitcher inside the saucepan, then do the following:
- Place a medium sized pot onto the stove.
- Fill with about and inch of water.
- Place the pouring pitcher into the pot with the wax already in it.
- Note: There should always be some water in the pot, however, it shouldn’t be too much to cause the pitchers to float around. The weight of the pitcher and the wax inside it should stop this from happening.
- Melt The Wax – Now heat the wax until it is completely liquid and looks like water. Sometimes it helps speed up the process if you stir along the way. It can take 1-2 hours for the wax to completely melt, depending on how much wax you’re using. Feel free to do something else while you’re waiting, just keep an eye on it that it doesn’t boil over. I also like to adjust the tempurature along the way to keep the water hot, but not boiling just to prevent it from boiling over. the pot.
When the wax is entirely melted and is only liquid with no chunks or pieces in it at all, continue on to the next step.
- Add Coloring – This is an optional step if you’d like your candles to have some color to them. Depending on the type of coloring you’ve chosen, this step will be slightly different. Follow the directions on the packaging of the coloring you bought for the amount of wax you are using.
As with anything, add more for darker coloring and less for lighter. Also be sure to add more if you are making a soy candle because soy wax doesn’t soak in coloring as well as paraffin. Keep in mind that the color will be dramatically lighter when it dries than it is when it’s liquid.
For my project, I am using blue and only putting 3 drops in 2 lbs. of wax because I want to get a lighter blue color.
- Add Fragrance – This is also an optional step if you’d like your candles to smell pretty. How much you add will also depend on the fragrance you have purchased. Some fragrances are much more potent, and don’t need as much added. Take a look at the fragrance you purchased for more information.
As I said above with the coloring, for a stronger scent, add more, for a lighter scent, add less. If you are using soy wax, then add more because it doesn’t soak up fragrance as well as paraffin. It is also good to look at the fragrance you are purchasing to see how compatible it is with soy wax.
Since spring is coming up, I decided to go with a scent I got from CandleScience.com called “Rain Water”. It’s definately a Spring-ish scent!
- Finish Preparing Your Molds – To finish off preparing your molds for the wax, coat them with your mold release (or cooking spray).
- Cool The Wax Slightly – Each type of candle has a different ideal pouring temperature. For votives, 175°F is ideal. Take the melting pot out of the pot with water and set it on a stove burner that isn’t on. Just let it sit there to cool.
Put your thermometer on the side of the pouring pot (don’t touch the sides of it with your hands!). When the wax is around 175°F then it is ready to pour. It doesn’t have to be exact, but between 170°F and 180°F is good for votives. Here is a quick referance to how hot your wax should be for pouring various types of candles.
- Tealights – Approx. 130°F
- Votives – Approx. 175°F
- Pillars – Approx. 175°F – 180°F
- Containers – Approx. 190°F
- Pour The Wax – When the wax has cooled to the ideal temperature based on what type of candle it is, it is ready to be poured. For a cleaner pour, tilt the mold or container slightly toward the pitcher. Pour the wax all the way to the top of the mold until it is just at the top. If you have a wick pin or wick in the candle, be sure to keep it centered when/after pouring. If you spill any on the counter or floor, scrape it up and put it back into the pouring pot with the remaining wax (you can re-melt it and use it for the second pour).
- Second Pour – Because the wax will concave naturally, it is necessary to heat up the remaining wax and pour over the candles once mostly dry in order to make the tops as rounded/flat as possible.
Set a timer on the stove for about one hour, this will allow the candles to dry enough for the second pour. Once you only have about 10 minutes left, heat up the remaining wax just like you did above (put in the saucepan with water).
Once the remaining was is completely liquid again, place the timer in (like above) and when it is at a temperature of 175°F – 185°F pour over the candles to the top of the mold. Some people prefer to make the second pour 10°-15° higher than the first pour; it is really all about preferance though.
- Removing The Candle From The Mold – After the candle has completely hardened, you can remove it from the mold. Be patient and careful while doing this for the best results in the end.
Turn the mold upside down and tap the bottom of the mold to release the candle. Then take the wick pin in your fingers and gently (as not to break up the wax in the center of the candle) wiggle the wick pin until it pulls out the candle. If you used a mold release then it should come out pretty easily.
If the candle will now come out of the mold then place the mold into a bucket of very hot water for a couple seconds. This will melt the outer part of the candle, allowing it to come free of the mold and release.
- Placing Wicks – After you’ve removed the wick pins, place the pre-tabbed wick in it and be sure to push it all the way in to secure it.
- Enjoy Your Candle! – The funnest part of candle making! Enjoy your candle and learn from the experience. If you plan to make candles often, then keep a log of your candle making recipes to find the perfect blend. Now you can make candles every season and it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run as well.
That’s all there is to it. Stay tuned for more in depth tutorials on each of the steps above, various techniques to make your candles better, etc. If you have any suggestions, questions, or comments, please feel free to post them here