Making Candles 101


Candle making is a fun and fulfilling activity that anyone can enjoy. Whether you like to make scented candles, tea lights, or ornamental pieces, candle making is a great hobby to do at home. Although it sounds complicated, getting started with candle making is surprisingly easy. All you need are some supplies and some basic instructions on how to work with the material. In this overview of candle making basics, we will discuss what materials and equipment you need as well as the various steps involved in creating your own finished candles.

Materials & Equipment: To get started in candle making, you will first need to gather all of the necessary supplies and materials needed for the project. This includes wax pellets or sheets of wax, wicks with metal bases, different types of containers or molds for shaping your candles, melting pots for melting the wax down into liquid form, thermometers for monitoring temperature as it relates to working with hot wax, dye for adding color to your candles and essential oils if desired for scent. You may also want to purchase glue dots or wick stickers to help secure wicks securely in container candles or wire cutters and tweezers specifically designed to help hold wicks in place; these items may be optional but they can be quite helpful if you plan on doing more advanced projects such as tealight candles or layered designs. Additionally, some people like to accessorize their workspace with items such as stands or block sanders which are used to remove air bubbles from poured molds after cooling; however these accessories may be optional depending on your budget and experience level with candle making.

Process: Once you have gathered all of the necessary items needed for candle making it’s time to start building! Candle building begins by choosing a type of molding material (containers/molds) based off what kind of design you want your finished product look like either solid colors or layered designs; measure out how much wax will be needed by weight then start melting down the pellets/sheets over medium heat until melted. From here add dyes (if any) into melted wax mixture allow a few minutes before transferring mixture into pre-measured containers/molds and securing wick bases firmly into place using glue dots (optional) while keeping container center straight and balanced allowing space between container walls so wax can move when cooling is complete attach other end of wick using wire cutters (optional) while allowing enough slack length allowing easy adjusting positions throughout process finishing up with exclusive decoration pieces (optional). Cooling occurs slowly over time at 16 hours where product should have hardened structure ready removal from molds/containers; use hands apply pressure pushing construction straight downward popping out finished products ready show off friends family alike!

Wax Basics

Candlemaking with the traditional method involves more than just melting some wax and pouring it into a container. Candles are made from a variety of different waxes that can produce vastly different effects. Depending on the type of wax used, you can create everything from soft, delicate pillars to hard votives. Here’s a brief overview of the main types of wax used in candle making:

Paraffin Wax: Paraffin is probably the most commonly used type of wax for candlemaking and it has been around since 1850. Paraffin comes in a range of densities and will hold any type of dye or fragrance without losing its shape. It has good adhesion properties and is relatively affordable when compared to other types of wax.

Soy Wax: An increasingly popular choice due to its natural origin, soy wax is made from hydrogenated soybean oil through a process called “hydrogenation”. This vegetable-based wax produces clean burning candles with a low melting point, which makes them ideal for use in containers and molds as well as for hand-dipped tapers. Soy also has excellent scent retention which is why many candlemakers prefer it over other types of wax.

Beeswax: Considered by many to be the finest quality type of natural candle wax available, beeswax has been used for centuries in the craft of candlemaking. With its soft honeycomb yellow color and pleasant smell, this pure material provides beautiful candles that burn long with minimal smoke or debris and emit no soot whatsoever. On the downside, beeswax is expensive compared to other types and needs to be blended with another form in order to obtain satisfactory results when poured into containers or molds.

Gel Wax: Gel candle making is a relatively new concept that involves using specialized gel formulas instead of traditional liquid paraffinwax when creating classic designs like pillars or votives. The resulting product can offer unique artistic designs thanks to the crystal-clear look and large temperature resistance range offered by gel waxes -it will remain liquid until reaching temperatures around 200 degrees Fahrenheit before producing astonishingly bright colors which last for up to about 500 hours with no soot formation at all!

Creating the Wick of Your Candle

Choosing the size of your candle wick is an important step in making candles. Different wick sizes carry different properties that can impact the size, burn time, smoke and scent throw of your candle. When selecting a wick for your candle, the general rule of thumb is to choose a diameter that corresponds to the diameter of your container or the amount of wax being used. Thinner wicks will create a smaller flame and produce less smoke, while thicker wicks will result in a larger, brighter flame and generally have a faster melt pool formation while burning down. Be sure to use a wick with a paper braid core as it helps keep it straight in the wax. You should also select one certified for use in candles as non-certified options may produce more smoke than desired and contain toxic ingredients.

Candle Making Supplies Oakland

Choosing Your Candlemaking Container

Candlemaking is a fun and rewarding experience. Before getting started, one of the most important decisions to make is determining what type of candle container you will use in your project. There are many options available for candle containers, including metal tin containers, ceramic and glass containers, wooden jugs, and jars.

Each type of container has its own unique benefits that should be considered when making your choice. Metal tins are generally lightweight and convenient to store while they require minimal setup time. Ceramic and glass containers are more attractive and can be used as decorative pieces in any room of the home. Wooden jugs bring an old-world charm to the design but their capacity demands careful consideration when calculating the amount of wax needed for filling them up. Finally, jars can give your candles a modern twist while staying within budget.

No matter which option you choose, make sure that the container is properly sealed to prevent leaks. Additionally, it’s recommended that your chosen candidate is heat-resistant so you don’t have to worry about it cracking due to extreme temperatures when melting wax or pouring hot liquid into it. Lastly, select a container shape that best fits your creative vision and enhances the look of your candle once completed!

Choosing the Right Fragrance Oils

When it comes to making candles, one of the most important elements is fragrance. Quality scent oils are necessary for candle-making and can make a difference between a pleasant smelling candle and one that is overpowering or simply not fragrant at all. Here are some tips for choosing the right fragrance oils for your candles:

1. Consider the type of wax you are using as different waxes may react differently to certain scent oils. Natural waxes such as soy and beeswax tend to be more translucent, while paraffin wax may cause strong scents to become overpowering when these two types of waxes are mixed with essential oil blends.

2. Research which scents pair well together in order to create layered fragrances in your candles. Floral scents like lavender and rose go well together while citrus notes like orange and lemon balance each other out nicely.

3. Choose quality essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances if possible, as these will provide a stronger, longer lasting scent within your candle without being too overwhelming or unnatural smelling.

4. Try adding 1/2 teaspoon (or up to 1/4 cup) of scent oil per each pound of melted wax for optimal fragrance power and calculate a ratio of 1/4 teaspoon (or up to 1 tablespoon) per 12 ounces or 454 grams of normal melting point wax depending on personal preference for strength of scent desired.

5. Allow your candles ample time to cure after pouring the liquid wax into molds before burning them ” this helps the scent bind with the molten wax without any evaporation occurring during this process so that they will retain their maximum aroma when burned later on down the road!

Adding Coloring to Your Candles

One exciting aspect of making candles is the ability to choose your color combinations. There are endless possibilities when it comes to coloring your candles, and this method of customization can be essential in taking your final product from plain to amazing! Here are a few tips for adding color that will help make sure you get the best result possible.

Before adding any pigment to the wax, it is important to ensure the wax has reached at least the manufacturer’s recommended pouring temperature. If not, then there can be a variety of issues with the finished candle like bubbling, poor adhesion of the wicks, and discoloration.

Mixing colors is a great way to create unique shades that can be used as part of an overall design plan or color scheme within one candle. Whether you are just combining two adjacent primaries or attempting something more complex involving multiple pigments, pay attention to how they interact before you pour them into their containers. Subtle changes in hue may occur when mixed together and this knowledge can save you time when reworking any mistakes down the road.

When using liquid dyes or pigments in candles, it is important not to use too much since excess dye may cause significant discoloration of both containers and surfaces around them after burning. A little definitely goes a long way for most pigments – so start slow and steady until you have created your desired shade! Additionally, be mindful of any colorant used in combination with other additives as this could also have an effect on its strength and vibrancy.

Melting and Pouring Techniques

The best way to melt and pour wax for making high-quality candles is through a double boiler method. This involves putting your wax into an outer container that you fill partly with water, then choosing an inner container to put the wax in. Simply place the inner container inside the outer one and turn on your heat source, such as a hotplate, bringing it up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Once melted, start by pouring some of the wax into your wick-tabbed containers and trimming the wick down once it has been fully filled. Make sure to properly ventilate the room during this process, as molten wax is highly flammable.

When melted down, the wax should be mixed and stirred while still at its melting point to ensure all ingredients are mixed evenly. This will help keep your candles looking uniformly smooth across their surfaces rather than having any lumps or unevenness. After you have mixed it thoroughly, be sure to adhere to all safety precautions as you pour it into whatever containers you are using for molding your candles. Be sure not to overfill containers so that when your candle cools down there is enough room for contraction and even better burn quality. To get a smoother surface after pouring, use a dent proof stick made of food grade plastic or wooden dowels that can be coated in oil first so the sticks won’t stick to the cooled candle wax surface. Lastly, once poured and cooled down completely, trim away any excess wick from each completed candle before burning them in accordance to health and safety regulations for fire prevention.

Candle Workshop

Saving Your Work and Finishing Touches

It’s important to make sure that all of your candles are finished properly, so that each one looks great and lasts a long time. An easy way to ensure this is by saving your work regularly as you go along. Most candle-making projects require several layers and it can be easy to forget certain steps when things get too busy. Keeping each step saved separately will help you stay organized and avoid mishaps.

When applying waxes and colors, use gentle heat or natural outdoor temperatures to produce an even coverage. Resist the urge to rush through the process or add too much wax at once, as this could lead to problems like dripping or uneven texture when the candle sets. For better results, start in one corner and work your way outwards while evenly distributing the wax ” this ensures a consistent finish without any telltale dotty shapes from quick touches!

Also, remember that patience is key when making candles. It may take some practice before you’re able to create professional quality results every time, but with dedication and experimentation, you’ll soon be producing perfect results. Don’t forget to allow each layer ample time for setting up before adding on the next – rushing through can lead to bubbles or lumps in the final result. Once your candle has been finished, store it in an airtight container until needed – this helps protect it from dirt or moisture damage that could occur if left out in the open for too long. Finally, enjoy the fruits of your labor by proudly displaying your beautiful creations!

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Making candles can be a great and rewarding project, but it can sometimes result in mistakes that make the process more difficult than expected. Fortunately, if you encounter any issues during candle making, there are ways to troubleshoot and fix them.

One common issue is wick misalignment. If your wick is not centered in the candle, it can cause an uneven burn or won’t stay lit. To avoid this problem, make sure to stick the wick down before pouring in the melted wax. Additionally, use a stabilizing solution to hold the wick in place while your candle cools and solidifies. You can also purchase pre-tabbed wicks made specifically for candle-making projects.

Another common issue is sinking wax. If your melted wax sinks in towards the center of your candle after cooling, you likely have too little scent or colorant added to your mixture. Make sure that your wax has had enough time to fully cool before adding any additional ingredients – if it’s still too hot, they will sink down as well! To ensure a proper adhesion of scent and colorant particles to the inner surface of your candle container, try adding either some beeswax or other harder waxes like soy or paraffin into your mixture when melting it initially.

Lastly, another issue could be cracking wax on top of candles once cooled, most likely from over-pouring originally (sometimes called “flooding”). To fix this problem you need to let containers completely cool before trimming off excess wax with a sharp knife and remelting it for future use. If wax pools around the base of the container are unavoidable then topping up with extra spoonfuls may be required just prior to adding final decoration such as labels or ribbons/twine etc – this should hold everything firmly within place so that no cracks appear further down the line when handling them later on!

No matter what kind of mistakes happen during candle making, troubleshooting them yourself will help keep you on track with crafting beautiful homemade candles!


Making candles doesn’t have to be a laborious, daunting task. With the proper materials and some guidance, even novice candle-makers can achieve professional results. In fact, no matter your skill level or experience with working with wax and dyes, making candles is not only easy ” it’s also enjoyable. Now that you have an understanding of the basics of making candles, you can experiment and have fun creative with different tools and techniques to find the perfect style for your next project. Whether you’re personalizing handmade gifts or simply wanting to create a special atmosphere in your home; the possibilities are endless with candle-making. Make new discoveries and practice until all your candles are beautiful ” safe ” creations!

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