How to Make a Candle

Three Methods:Making a Candle in a JarMaking a Pillar CandleCreating a Vegetable Shortening Candle

Candles are handy for power outages, great for romantic evenings, complement any dinner table, and create a warm and cozy ambiance. Making your own candles is a fun do-it-yourself activity that you can do to create unique and customized gifts, holiday accents, or decorations. Candles are extremely versatile and provide you with many options in terms of color, scent, shape, size, and style. You can even make a candle out of vegetable shortening in a pinch, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different waxes, aromas, and styles.

Method 1
Making a Candle in a Jar

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    Choose a wax. There are a few wax options for making candles, and beeswax, soy, and paraffin are among the most popular. Beeswax candles are a natural air purifier, but the wax has a high melting point and must be mixed half and half with an oil, such as palm, to lower the melting point.[1]
    • Soy is a great vegetable wax option for candles, and is readily available online or at craft stores.
    • Paraffin wax is a traditional choice for candles, but paraffin is a petroleum product and can contribute to poor air quality.
    • Another option is using leftover wax from other candles. Store the wax from candles you burn until you have enough to make a new candle.
    • Two cups (227.5grams) of wax will yield an eight-ounce candle.[2]
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    Gather your supplies. Along with your wax, you will also need a wick, jar, double boiler, and a clean, dry towel. For a scented or colored candle, you’ll also need dye and fragrance.
    • Be sure to buy lead-free wicks. If your wick isn’t attached to a metal base (called a tab or sustainer), be sure to purchase one separately.
    • For the jar, you can use a recycled candle jar, mason jar, cleaned out glass jar from the kitchen (like a salsa jar), [3] or even an old metal tin.
    • You’ll also need something to stir the wax and secure the wick tab in place, such as a spoon, chopstick, or skewer. You can also use a clothespin or pencil to secure the wick in place while the candle sets.
    • For scented candles, you can either use your favorite essential oils or fragrance oil. For colored candles, you can purchase dye chips, blocks, or liquid.[4] Scents and dyes can be found at most craft stores or candle suppliers.
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    Melt the wax. Fill the bottom of the double boiler with about an inch (2.5 cm) of water. Place the top portion of the double boiler in position and put in your wax. Heat it over medium heat.
    • If your wax came in a large block, cut it into smaller chunks before melting it.
    • Always use the double boiler method to melt wax, and never try to melt the wax faster at a higher temperature. Wax has a low flash point and can catch fire.[5]
    • If you don’t have a double boiler, you can place a large, heat-safe glass bowl on top of a metal saucepan and use it as the top portion of the double boiler.
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    Stiffen the wick. As the wax melts, hold the wick by the base and dip the wick in and out of the wax quickly.[6] Straighten the wick and allow the wax to dry. This will keep the wick straight and make it easier to position in the bottom of the candle jar.
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    Secure the wick in place in the jar. Dip the base of the wick into the wax, pull it out, and then position the wick base in the bottom center of your candle jar. Use a spoon handle, chopstick, or skewer to press it down until the wax dries, holding the wick in place.[7]
    • Lay a clothespin, chopstick, pencil, or skewer across the rim of the candle jar. If you’re using a clothespin, simply clamp the wick into place so it is straight and centered. If you’re using a chopstick, wrap the excess wick around the chopstick to keep it in place, straight, and centered.
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    Color the wax. Stir the wax every so often as it melts. As it’s continuing to melt, chop your dye block or chips into small chunks (if you’re using them). Consult the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how much to use based on the amount and type of wax you’re using.
    • Once all the wax has fully melted and it’s become a clear liquid, remove it from the heat. Add in the dye and stir until the dye has melted and been dispersed evenly throughout the wax.
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    Add fragrance. Once your wax is off the heat and dyed, allow it to cool for 20 to 30 minutes before pouring your candle or adding fragrance. This will prevent the wax from cracking down the center of the candle, and prevent the fragrance from burning off.[8]
    • For an eight-ounce candle, add about 10 to 15 drops of fragrance and stir to evenly distribute the oil.[9]
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    Pour the candle. Pour the wax into the jar, making sure you don’t pour wax all over the top of the wick. Fill the jar, leaving about one-quarter inch of space between the top of the wax and rim of the jar (this may not be necessary if you don’t have that much wax). Wrap the jar with the clean towel. This will prevent the wax from cooling too quickly, and prevent the candle from shrinking and cracking.[10]
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    Let the candle cure. Let the candle set for about 24 hours. This will give the wax time to fully dry, and give the dye and fragrance time to bind with the wax.
    • Once your candle has cured, remove the towel, remove the clothespin, and trim the excess wick to one-half inch.[11]

Method 2
Making a Pillar Candle

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    Gather your supplies. Most of the supplies you need to make a pillar candle will be the same as what you used for a candle in a jar. The main difference is that because a pillar candle stands alone, you will need a mold instead of a jar. A proper candle mold is ideal, but you can also use:
    • An old juice box or milk carton with the top cut off. Be sure to clean it with soap and water before reusing it as a candle mold.
    • A clean, empty juice tin
    • A muffin tin (to make votive candles)
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    Prepare your wax. Melt the wax in the double boiler. When it is fully melted, add the dye. After 20 minutes, add your fragrance. For a natural wax candle that isn’t dyed or scented, just set the wax aside for 20 to 30 minutes to cool.
    • You can determine how much wax you need based on the size of the jar you’re using.
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    Prepare your wick. For a proper candle mold that has a hole in the bottom, thread the wick through the hole, then insert and tighten the wick screw. Apply putty to seal the hole and prevent wax from dripping out.[12]
    • With a DIY mold, dip the wick in wax to straighten it, then dip the base in the wax so you can glue it to the center base of the mold. Use a chopstick to press the wick tab into place.
    • For either mold type, keep the top of the wick in place with a clothespin or by wrapping it around a chopstick sitting across the mold rim.
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    Pour the candle. When the wax is ready and the wick in place, pour the wax into the mold. Leave a half-inch space at the top of the mold. Allow the wax to cool to a semi-solid state, then poke four relief holes around the wick with the chopstick.
    • These will allow air to escape, and prevent cracking. Allow the wax to cool to room temperature.
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    Fill the holes. In the double boiler, reheat the remaining wax to a liquid state again. When it has completely liquefied and is good and hot, pour the wax into the top of the mold to fill the relief holes. Allow the candle to cool and cure.
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    Remove the candle from the mold. When the candle has set and cooled, it should slide out of the mold easily. In the event that it doesn’t come out, refrigerate the candle for 15 minutes, then try again.[13] Trim the wick to one-half inch.

Method 3
Creating a Vegetable Shortening Candle

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    Gather your supplies. A makeshift DIY candle can be created using vegetable shortening, crayons for color, essential oil for aroma, and an old candle jar or mason jar.[14]
    • Be sure to remove the paper from the crayons before using them.
    • You will also need a double boiler and spoon.
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    Melt your shortening. In a double boiler on medium heat, heat the shortening until it is completely liquid. Remove it from the heat.
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    Add your color and scent. Chop your crayon of choice into small pieces. When the shortening is still hot, add the crayon and stir until the color has saturated the shortening. Allow the shortening to cool for about 10 minutes, then add your fragrance of choice.
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    Prepare the wick and pour the candle. Prepare the wick like you did for the candle in a jar. When the shortening is ready, pour it into your jar, leaving about an inch of head space at the top. Let the shortening cool to room temperature and set.


  • Do not refrigerate a candle to make it cool faster, as this will cause shrinkage and cracking.


  • Never try to extinguish a wax fire with water. Only use a proper fire extinguisher, baking soda, or sand.
  • Don't pour wax down your sink as it will clog the pipes.
  • Crayons contain dyes and impurities that will likely cause your candle to burn unevenly and sputter.[15]

Article Info

Categories: Candle Making