Guys, I am so excited about sharing this project with you, because I have been wanting to make my own candles for what feels like eons. After doing some playing around and researching candle making I decided to start with simple beeswax candles. Beeswax burns cleaner than a lot of other waxes, even working to help clean the air in your home, and it has a natural color and fragrance that I really like. I will preface everything by saying that making candles is so much easier than you think. Since my first experiment I’ve since made two more batches of candles. In fact, our moms got homemade candles for Mother’s Day! You can make these as gifts, for stashing in about every room of your home, or for lining your dining room table for a bit of dinner party ambience. Seriously. Possibilities. Endless.
- Double-stick adhesive
- Essential oils (optional)
- Wax pouring pot
- Jars, metal tins or similar
Beeswax typically comes in 1 oz or 1 lb blocks – you can find it at local craft stores (like I did), but upon investigating I figured out the expensive way that it tends to be much cheaper if you buy it online. (Next time around I’m probably going to order mine here, but this first time around I got it at Michaels.) For reference, I purchased 3 pounds of wax, which made five of the smaller tart tin candles and three mason jar candles. No matter how large your block of wax is you’ll want to first cut it down into smaller chunks. This will allow it to melt much more efficiently.
Once your wax is in chunks, it’s time to start melting! Do this by using a double boiler. I opted to buy an actual wax pouring pot but you could use any heat-safe container and place it in a pot of water, then set the pot to boil. Keep in mind that the wax is going to be tough to clean out of whatever container you use (thus why I opted to buy the pouring pot) so you don’t want to use anything you aren’t ok with being permanently relegated to candle making. You want to use a thermometer in conjunction with your double boiler and melt the wax until it reaches about 145° – a little warmer is ok, but try not to exceed 175°. While it’s melting, you should be prepping your containers!
I played around a bit with different containers, but I found the cutest little tart tins and I just knew they had to be made into candles. I also made a few with mason jars and you could also experiment with any pretty glassware or tins you might already own, as long as it’s a material that can withstand the heat of the melted wax. (Which is why I knew tart tins and mason jars would work because both are designed to hold up to heat!) I opted to use pre-made wicks but you can also make your own. I liked the simplicity of the pre-made wicks though for this first go at it. You’ll need one wick per candle, which you’ll adhere to the bottom of your container using double-stick adhesive. Keep the wick long and hold it upright over your candle by wrapping the extra length around a skewer (or a pen or pencil…you get the idea) and propping the skewer up between two glasses or whatever else you have handy. Once your containers are prepped, place them on top of a sheet of parchment paper on a heat-resistant surface – I used a cutting board. (This just helps to protect your counters from the heat and any wax spills that may occur.)
Once the wax is melted, carefully pour it into your tins or jars, being careful not to splash it on the container or yourself. Don’t fill your containers completely – it looks nicer with a bit of extra room at the top! I found with larger candles (such as the mason jars) the wax shrink a bit as it cools so you’ll want to reserve a bit of unmelted wax so you can go back later, repeat the melting process and top off your candle with more wax so it looks nice and full. Then let the candles cool completely (overnight is best) and then trim your wicks so they’re roughly 1/2″ tall. And that’s it! You just made candles. And they’re awesome. (Truth. All of your friends will think so.)
If you’d like to scent your candles (which is completely optional because the beeswax has a really lovely natural fragrance that I personally really like) you’ll want to add fragrance by way of essential oils once the wax is melted but prior to removing it from the heat. I used NOW essential oils which I scored at a local organic market. Simply add about 1 gram of oil per 1lb of wax and give it a quick stir with a skewer. Again, do this while the wax is still over the heat, just prior to pouring it into your containers. You can add more or less depending on the level of fragrance you’d like and combine oils to suit your fragrance fancy. I made a few scented candles but kept most of them natural – the beeswax has a light honey smell that I find quite lovely.
And that’s it, gang! I hope you give this a try – you’ll be surprised how easy it is and how cool it feels to be all like, “Yeah, I just made candles.” Or maybe that’s just me. But either way, have fun and let me know if you give it a go!
[Design + styling by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion. | Photos by Alice G. Patterson.]
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