6 Easy Steps to Making Homemade Candles - Step-by-Step Instructions to Candle Making

Learn the basic techniques of homemade candles in 6 easy steps and start a new hobby. Candle making is fun, and our simple candle making instructions will have you making these candles in no time at all.

Once you have learned the basic skills of candle making you can easily make and decorate your own at a fraction of the price. Making candles is also a great idea for a cottage industry.

Tools and Equipment needed for Making Homemade Candles

You really don't need a lot of fancy equipment for candle making, although some of you who are going into this as a serious hobby may want to consider securing some sophisticated glue  kettles and wax pots from a craft shop. For the novice candle maker, most of tools and equipment you will ever need for your homemade candles can be found in your kitchen utensils.

Wax for Making Homemade Candles

Candles are made from a variety of waxes, including traditional beeswax. Paraffin wax, is the most expensive wax, but the easiest of the waxes to work with when making candles. It is available in large blocks which must be broken up into smaller pieces before melting, or it is also available in small clear or colored chips.

How much Wax do you Need to Make Homemade Candles?

If you were to make 6 candles, 9 inches in length, then you will need about 3 kg of wax. Therefore this will give you 3 pairs of candles.

Thermometers for Making Homemade Candles

A sturdy kitchen thermometer that you would usually use for candy making can be used. This is to make sure that the melted candle wax never heats up to more than 300 F (149 C).

One should keep an eye on the temperature of the candle wax not only from a safety aspect, but also because overheating of the wax causes the structure of the wax to be changed, which in turn, gives poor results.

Wicks for Making Homemade Candles

Candle wicks can be made from bleached stranded cotton soaked in boracic acid or bought ready-made from craft shops. Or you can take cheap candles, strip the wax and use the wicks.

It is important to choose the correct size wick for your homemade candle making. If you choose a wick that is too small, your candle will form a large pool of wax which will eventually extinguish the flame. If you have a wick that is too large, it will tend to smoke.

The size of the wick used depends on the candle mould. Usually, the thicker the candle, the thicker the wick. A small wick should be used for candles 2 inches or less in diameter. A medium wick thickness for candles 2-5 inches in diameter.  A large wick can be used for candles bigger than 5 inches in diameter.

Always dip the wick several times in wax before wicking. This is very important to do. If you don't the candle will burn enevenly and the candle will go out every 20 - 30 minutes which can be extremely annoying.

The best way to do the wicking is to tie the dipped wick to each end of the mould. With plastics, and some tins, cut a small hole in the bottom of the mould. Insert the wick, and tape it down with masking tape. This also adequately covers the small hole, so that no wax escapes.

At the top of the mould, tie the wick to a pencil or something similar, and put the the pencil across the top of the mould.

With certain moulds, you will no doubt have difficulties  using this method, and then really you just have to be creative trying to find out whatever works for you. That's half the fun of candle making. You really need to be creative sometimes!

Moulds for making Homemade Candles

Almost anything can be used as moulds for your candles. Again, you need to draw on your creativity. Free-form candles can be made from aluminum foil, sand, etc. and are lots of fun. Foil gives your candle some clean, sharp edges, an interesting texture and can be remoulded when warm to form any shape you like.

Buying expensive plastic moulds is really unnecessary when you have lots of household objects lying around that would work just as well.

Just remember, whatever you use that it will need to be oiled first otherwise you will be swearing and gnashing your teeth trying to release your candles from the moulds if you don't. You just need a thin layer of a salad oil, and use it very sparingly.

Wax for Making Homemade Candles

Always have your working area covered with newspaper as it is no fun cleaning up cold wax afterwards!. Never put hot wax into plastic containers as often the wax is so hot that it will end up melting your plastic moulds and you will have wax all over the work surface, the floor and probably you too! Rather wait for the wax to cool down before you start pouring.

Another no-no is to pour your wax straight from the melting pot. Always use a glass jug with a lip. This will allow you to control the wax flow and give you a better result.

Clean your candlemaking implements as soon as possible after finishing. Put them all on foil in a very low-heat oven and leave the door open. The wax will melt and drip onto the foil. When they look clean, remove them and carefully without burning yourself, dry the utensils with a dry cloth. Then wash them again in warm soapy water. It takes a while but worth it in the end. By doing it this way you won't get too much wax down your drains which is not only better for the environment, but also for your drains which can easily become blocked.

Wax Dyes for Making Homemade Candles

You can make such pretty colors for your homemade candles, and special wax soluble dyes can be bought from craft shops. They are usually sold as sold discs. Always read the manufacturer's instructions before adding dye.

Remember, the more dye you add the more intense the color to your candle. When your candle dries the color will darken. If you want your candles to have pastel colors then you will need not add a small amount of wax whitener to your melted wax.

Scents for Making Homemade Candles

Scents should be added just before pouring your candle wax into their moulds. Don't be too heavy handed with the scents as it make cause an unpleasant stink. Not what you may have had in mind at all!

Dipping Cans for Making Homemade Candles

If you wish, you can buy a special dipping can for candle making from your craft stores. This is a tall, smooth-sided cylindrical can that is used in making the traditional dipping candles. However, you can make do with something the equivalent at home, as long as it is tall, straight and thin, heatproof and is at least 1 inch deeper than than the length of the candle required.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make Dipping Candles

homemade dipping candles

Handmade Dipping Candles Drying

Making dipping candles is the most traditional and basic way of making candles. The best way of recognizing candles made in this way is the tapered end. The long wicks are dipped in a container of wax very carefully, the first coat stiffening the wax and the subsequent coats building up the width of the candle.

You will need the following to make 3 pairs of matching candles:

  • 3 kg paraffin wax or beeswax
  • wax dye
  • 3 x 22 inch lengths of 1/3 inch candle wick
  • 10 inch tall dipping can
  • saucepan of water to hold the dipping can
  • thermometer
  • supporting stick to hold the finished candles
  • sharp knife

Step 1. Mix the wax with the required amount of dye, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Put the melted wax into the dripping can and place in a pot of simmering water. Place the thermometer in the wax and bring the molten wax to 160 F (71 C). Make sure that you keep the temperature as constant as possible.

Step 2: Holding the wick in one hand, fold it over your finger so that the 2 ends meet and you have the center. Now holding the center, dip the wick ends into the dipping can leaving just a little of the wick which you are holding bear. Remove after about a minute, and pull both ends taut until the wax hardens. Your wicks should be straight. You can now start building your candle.

Step 3: Continue dipping the wicks into the wax allowing a few minutes between each dipping to allow the wax to harden. You can make the candles a thick or as thin as you like. As the wax builds up, layer after layer, the familiar tapering shape will begin to emerge.

Step 4: If you want a smooth finish raise the temperature of the molten wax to 180 F (82 C) for the final dipping. Trim the bases so that they are level, and then hang up your candles on the wooden stick to dry.

Candle Making Tip: If you want your candles to be glossy, plunge them into cold water immediately after the last dipping in wax.

Finishing off your Handmade Candles

Don't be disappointed if you find your candles with imperfections after you have taken them out of the moulds. This happends more times than not and is totally normal.  Where there are cavities you can fill the holes with some leftover wax.  If there are other imperfections that might need more than this, get out the grater or a paring knife and work on the area.

You can also cover blemishes with odds and ends of coloured wax from another batch of candles. With some strategically placed dots of colored wax you have a new look, or and embossed design will make others think that you had planned the candle to look like this all along!

Homemade Ice Candles

Making ice candles are really beautiful and very unusual to make, and fun too as you never know what you are going to end up with.  You can buy ordinary household candles for this project and place it in a mould. A milk or juice carton will work well for this.

Fill the carton with ice-cubes for about 3 inches. Then pour colored wax over the ice. Let it set slightly, then put more ice-cubes over the wax, and pour more wax over the ice. Change the color for a more effective result.

Repeat this process until the ice and wax reaches the wick of the core candle. Let it set for 8 hours, remove from the mould, making sure that you have no water-pockets, and you have an incredibly good-looking candle!

Video on Basic Candle Making