Tuesday, 23 April 2013

DIY: How To Make Candles!

I am a bit crazed when it comes to candles- I can't just burn one or two, I have to light every single one I own, which is usually about 8 or 9. So that's why I decided to start making my own- it saves me money & it's also really fun & easy. I still like buying candles, & I buy lots of cheap jar candles from places like Dunelm Mill or B&M Bargains (well classy like), and the occasional Yankee Candle, but they are too expensive for me to buy all the time, and I wouldn't even consider buying Diptyque or Jo Malone because I can't be trusted to burn them responsibly. Making your own candles is a good way to use up leftover wax from candles you've bought too- which I like because I feel like I am getting my money's worth.

To make a couple of candles you will need:

- A couple of smallish holders- I use everything from old jam jars, to teacups, to milk jugs. You don't want anything too big.
- Wax chips. I use soy wax chips from this ebay seller. I have bought from them a couple of times & had no issues & they are good value for money.
- Pre-waxed & pre-tabbed candle wicks. I use these because they just make life a million times easier. I get mine here.
- Wooden skewers. These will be your wick stabilisers- tape two together at both ends and you can use them to clamp your wick in place and hold it up straight.
- You will also need an old, clean saucepan you don't mind melting wax in.


- Fragrance oil of your choice & candle dye. You can get both of these on eBay fairly cheap.
- Or fragranced wax melts & bits of old candle. These are good if you are just starting & also less messy.
(I used a combination of both in the candles I made in this DIY.)

Firstly, prep your containers with the wick in place to make sure you're ready to go. Set them on a tea towel or something similar on the bench or surface you are going to be letting them cool on. You don't want to touch them too much once you have poured them, so it's best to be ready before hand.

Then, start melting your wax on a high heat in the saucepan on the hob. Be careful not to splash yourself with hot wax! I speak from experience, when I first started candle making I burned my hand pretty badly attempting to move a candle I had just poured so it can be very dangerous. My tip is to not melt all your wax at once, melt it in portions. I use a measuring cup, so once I have almost melted 2 cups, I take it off the heat. The melted wax will help melt anything that remains unmelted. Then I add more wax chips to the melted wax and give it a stir with a wooden spoon- I'll put it back on the heat if I think it needs it, but never for very long. The idea is that the wax never gets too hot, it only needs to be just melted.

If you are using up old bits of wax or fragranced wax melts, chop them up a bit first & add them to the melted wax. If you want to use fragrance or dye, add them once all the wax has melted. Candle dye is very strong so you usually only need a tiny bit to colour your wax. For these I used one tiny drop each of blue & red dye because I wanted a pale lavender colour. I used lemon & lavender scented wax melts, and leftover bits from old vanilla candles for fragrance. Fragrance oils vary in strength. Usually with the cheaper ones (that I buy, ha) you need a tablespoon per candle for a decent smell.

Also, for these candles I used roughly 3-4 cups of wax. If you have some melted wax left over you can pour it into a jar or container & just use it next time.

Then pour your wax (very carefully!) into your prepared containers & let them cool! (I added a bit of superfine glitter to make them extra fancy).

Because the candles are little they normally don't take long to cool, about an hour or so, and you can light them as soon as they have. And that's it! Super easy :)

Home-made candles make great presents too- people are normally really thrilled & impressed that you've made them something so unique. You could personalise them too, by getting inexpensive white teacups & drawing something personal on with a sharpie, like this tutorial at A Beautiful Mess.

Happy candle making! I really hope you do try this one because it is really fun & seeing your finished candle is so fulfilling. Plus, if like me, you are obsessed with lighting lots of candles it will save you a ton of money!