Learn the basic
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
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 300º F (149º 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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Handmade Dipping Candles
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
- supporting stick to hold the finished candles
- sharp knife
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 160º F (71º C). Make sure that you keep
the temperature as constant as possible.
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.
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.
you want a smooth
finish raise the temperature of the molten
wax to 180º F (82º C) for the final dipping. Trim the bases so that
are level, and then hang up your candles on the wooden stick to dry.
want your candles to be glossy, plunge them into cold water
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
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.
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