If you've ever wanted to create your own scented candles, you’re in luck! Making scented candles at home is a fun and rewarding activity that allows you to customise the fragrance and design to your liking. Whether you want to make candles for yourself or to give as a thoughtful perfect gift, here is a beginner's candle making guide to help you get started.
What you need to make scented candles at home
Making your own scented candles at home is a rewarding and enjoyable DIY project. With a few basic materials and the right techniques, you can easily create beautiful and fragrant candles that will fill your space with a soothing ambience. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced candle maker, follow these simple steps to create your own homemade scented candles.
Before you start, gather all the necessary materials. You will need candle wax (such as soy wax or beeswax), fragrance oils, candle wicks, containers (such as candle glass jars), a heat source (such as a double boiler or a pot of hot water), a thermometer, a stirring utensil, and any desired colourants or decorations
Start by selecting wax type you want to use. Popular options include a soy scented candle, beeswax, and coconut wax. Avoid using paraffin wax, as it releases more harmful chemicals than other alternatives when burned. If you want to craft vegan candles, then soy or coconut are decent choices.
Select the containers for your candles. Glass containers or aluminium tins are a popular choice. Make sure the containers are clean and dry before use.
Find a clean and well-ventilated area to work in. Cover your work surface with newspaper or a large sheet of plastic to catch any spills.
Equipment for candle making:
Here's a list of the essential equipment you'll need for candle making:
1. Cooker or heat source: You'll need a heat source to melt the wax. This can be a dedicated candle-making cooker or a stove burner. Avoid using a microwave as it may not let the wax burn consistently and evenly. If you don't have access to a hob, a microwave can be used but only melt in short bursts and check the temperature regularly.
2. Container for melting wax: A double boiler is commonly used for melting wax. Alternatively, you can create your own setup by placing a heatproof container, such as a glass jar or metal container, inside a larger pan filled with water.
3. Pouring jug: A pouring jug with a spout is necessary for transferring the melted wax into candle containers or moulds. Look for one with a handle for easy pouring. A metal jug with a plastic handle, protecting your hands from heat, is a popular choice.
4. Utensil for stirring wax: You'll need a utensil, such as a wooden spoon or spatula, to stir the wax while it melts and to distribute fragrance oils or colourants evenly.
5. Candle wicks: Choose high-quality candle wicks, hemp has a better scent throw but cotton is eco-friendly. Ensure they are the appropriate size for your container or mould. This will take trial and error, and could take up to 100 candles before you find the right one. Patience is key.
6. Thermometer: A candy thermometer or a dedicated candle-making thermometer is necessary to monitor the temperature of the melting wax accurately.
7. Chopsticks/pencils or pegs: These can be used to hold the wick in place and ensure it stays centred while pouring the hot wax.
8. Candle wick trimmer or scissors: These tools are essential for trimming the wick to the desired length before lighting the candle.
How to make homemade scented candles for beginners - simple instructions
1. Determine the amount of wax you'll need based on the size of the jar you plan to use. A general rule of thumb is to use one pound of wax for every 20-25 ounces of candle jar. You can also use an online calculator from a reputable website or pour dry unmelted wax into the container, weighing before and after to determine a guide of what you may need.
2. Choose your fragrance oils. These are essential for creating a pleasant scent in your wax candles. Select your favourite scents and experiment with different combinations to find the perfect aroma. Bear in mind, for essential oil candles, less is always more. Too much essential oil is dangerous in large quantities and any with lower flash points mean they could evaporate when added to the hot wax. Specifically curated candle fragrances are a great choice.
3. Begin by melting your wax. Learning how to melt soy wax or any other for candles is the first step. Use a double boiler or a heat-resistant container placed in a pot of hot water for indirect heat. Stir occasionally until the wax is completely melted.
4. While the wax is melting, prepare your candle glasses by securing the wick to the bottom with a glue dot or a small amount of melted wax.
5. Add fragrance and colour to the melted wax. Start with a few drops of fragrance oil and adjust to your liking. If desired, add dye chips or liquid dyes for a pop of colour. It's best to add colour dye - liquid or chip form - at a higher temperature so it melts evenly. Always follow the instructions for each individual fragrance oil, lower temperatures are best between 60-80C so that it doesn't evaporate.
6. Stir the mixture using a wooden spoon to ensure the fragrance and colour are evenly distributed. Any unmixed fragrance oil is dangerous, as fragrances on their own are highly flammable. Therefore any pockets of unmixed oil could pose a fire risk when the candle is lit later on. Stir for at least two minutes to ensure it's mixed well.
7. Carefully pour the wax into your prepared candle glasses. Pour slowly and consistently. Avoid filling them all the way to the top, as it can cause overflow when the candle is lit. Try to leave 1-2cm from the rim of the container. If you're using silicone moulds used for free-standing pillar candles, you can fill up to the top line.
8. To stabilise the wick, use a popsicle stick or a wick stabiliser to hold it in place. Allow the candles to cool and harden completely before moving, as you could have an uneven top if you attempt to move them when they're not hard. Allow diy candles to cure for as long as possible, soy wax is at it's best after at least two weeks. Even when the candles are hard, they are still curing with the fragrance oil.
Now that your scented candles have hardened, trim the wick to approximately ¼ inch and remove any excess glue dots. Your homemade scented candles are now ready to be enjoyed or gifted. Get creative and experiment with different fragrances and designs to make each candle unique to your personal taste. Happy candle-making!
Feeling fruity? Our Watermelon Mojito soy candle will transport you to a sunny beach with a mocktail.
How much fragrance oil do you add to candles?
When it comes to different types of candles, the level of fragrance depends on the wax used, the size of the vessel and how strong you want it. But it's not as simple as adding more fragrance to make it smell better. Each type of wax - and manufacturer - has a limit on how much fragrance oil it can bond with. When you melt the wax, the molecules open and expand, offering extra room to absorb the scent and colour - if you're using dye. Therefore, just pouring in more fragrance oil doesn't mean it makes a better candle, it can actually cause the opposite.
Generally, the recommended load is between 3-10%, and it'll take experimenting - while following the manufacturer's instructions - to find the perfect balance.
If you have a 10-ounce or 30CL candle jar, and use a 5% fragrance load, you'd have 209.5g of wax to 10.5g of scent.
And if you're making an 8-ounce or 22CL container, and using the same amount, you'd need to measure out approximately 190.5g of wax to 9.5g of fragrance oil.
Full instructions for making candles - an in-depth guide
Step One: Melting your wax
Melting the wax is a crucial step in making scented candles. Different waxes have different melt points, and it is important to heat them to the recommended temperature ranges for optimal results. Here's how to melt your wax using the double-boiling method:
1. Fill a larger pan or cooker with about an inch of water and place it on a heat source, such as a stove burner, set to medium heat.
2. Take a heatproof container, such as a glass jar or metal container, and add your desired amount of wax flakes to it.
3. Place the container inside the larger pan, ensuring that the water level is lower than the top of the wax container.
4. As the water heats up, the wax will slowly start to melt. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon or spatula to help the process along.
5. Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the melting wax. The recommended temperature ranges will depend on the type of wax you are using. For example, soy wax typically melts between 120-180°F (49-82°C).
6. Once the wax has completely melted and reached the desired temperature, it is ready to be scented and poured into candle containers or moulds.
Remember, heating the wax slowly and steadily is important to prevent it from burning or overheating. The double-boiling method provides a gentle and controlled heat source for melting your wax, ensuring a successful candle-making process.
Step Two: Prepare your glasses
Before pouring the melted wax into your candle containers, it is important to properly clean and prepare them. This ensures that your scented candles will have a clean and professional look, and means no debris or dust will be in the finished product.
1. Wash the glasses: Start by washing your glasses in warm soapy water. This will help to remove any dust, dirt, or residue on the surface. Make sure to dry them thoroughly before proceeding to the next step.
2. Attach the wick: To secure the wick in place, you have a few options. One method is to use a wick sticker or glue dot, which is a small adhesive dot that sticks to the bottom of the wick and holds it in place. Simply press the wick onto the glue dot and then stick it to the bottom centre of the glass. Alternatively, you can use a wick-centring tool to keep the wick centred as you pour the wax. Another option is to dip the wick sustainer into the molten wax and then press it firmly onto the bottom of the glass.
By preparing your glasses properly, you will ensure that the wick remains centred and secure throughout the candle-making process. This will result in a more even burn and a better overall appearance for your homemade scented candles.
A handmade candle that has an uneven wick, that are either wonky or not in the centre, will lead to uneven melting when lit later on. This can cause issues with one side of the glass or container getting too hot, causing black rim and soot, or worse, cracking in the glass. It'll leave a wax residue on the other side, which can't be melted fully, leaving waste residue.
Try our handmade Goji Berry & Blood Orange soy candle if you love citrus scents.
Step Three: Adding Fragrance
Adding fragrance to your scented candles is a crucial step in achieving the perfect aromatic atmosphere. However, this step is completely up to personal choice. Some choose to leave out scents due to allergies and opt for a natural scent. Follow these steps to ensure your DIY candles smell amazing:
1. Melt the wax: Start by melting your chosen candle wax in a heat-safe container according to the package instructions. Use a double boiler or a microwave for melting, making sure to handle the hot wax with care.
2. Prepare the fragrance oil: Select your favourite fragrance oil or essential oil blend for your candles. It is recommended to use up to 10% fragrance oil in relation to the amount of wax used. This will ensure a strong and pleasant scent without overpowering the candle.
3. Cool the wax: Allow the melted wax to cool down to around 65°C (150°F). This temperature is ideal for blending the synthetic fragrance oil, as it prevents the heat from evaporating the scent.
4. Pour and stir: Slowly pour the fragrance oil into the cooled wax. Stir the mixture gently and continuously to ensure the fragrance is evenly distributed throughout the wax. Stirring also helps prevent the fragrance oil from separating or settling at the bottom of the candle.
5. Blend thoroughly: Continue stirring for a few minutes, making sure the fragrance oil is fully incorporated into the wax. This will ensure a consistent and strong scent throughout the candle and enhance the overall fragrance throw when the candle is burned.
Remember, different fragrance oils have varying strengths, so it's important to experiment and adjust the amount accordingly to achieve the desired scent intensity. Enjoy the process of creating your own unique scented candles with your favourite fragrances to elevate the ambience of any space.
Step Four: Adding Colour
Adding colour to your scented candles can elevate their appearance and make them even more attractive. Again, it's a personal preference on whether you want a coloured candle. If you leave it, soy and paraffin wax tend to have a slight cream or pale yellow colour naturally. Beeswax candles have a golden colour.
1. Choose the method: There are two common methods to add colour to candle wax - using dye chips or liquid dye. Dye chips come in various colours and are easy to use, while liquid dye allows for more precise colour control.
2. Prepare the dye: If using dye chips, open the bag and add a few chips to the melted wax. Stir the mixture until the chips are completely dissolved and the colour is evenly distributed. For liquid dye, add a few drops at a time, stirring well after each addition until you achieve the desired colour.
3. Adjust for different waxes: It's important to note that different types of waxes may require different amounts of dye to achieve the desired colour. For example, vegetable waxes generally require a higher loading of dye compared to paraffin wax. Follow the instructions provided by the dye manufacturer or experiment with small batches to find the right balance for your specific wax.
4. Test and adjust: To ensure the colour is to your liking, you can test a small amount of the coloured wax by pouring it into a heat-safe container and allowing it to cool. Or allow a few drops of wax to drip onto a plain kitchen paper towel. If the colour appears too light, add more dye. If it's too dark, add more uncoloured wax.
Remember to handle coloured wax with care as it may stain surfaces and fabrics.
Step Five: Stabilise the wick
Ensuring that your wick stays centred and upright during the candle-making process is crucial for a successful and even burn.
1. Before pouring the melted wax into your chosen container, place two Popsicle sticks horizontally across the top of the jar, with a small gap between them. You can also use a clothing peg or two pencils.
2. Take the wick and position it between the Popsicle sticks, ensuring that it rests in the centre of the container. The sticks will act as a support to keep the wick straight and prevent it from moving as you pour the wax.
3. Gently press down on the Popsicle sticks to secure them in place and keep the wick taut.
Alternatively, if you don't have Popsicle sticks on hand, you can use other items like chopsticks, pencils, or butter knives to stabilize the wick. However, it's important to be cautious when using these alternatives as they may absorb or drip wax if they come into contact with it.
By properly stabilising the wick, you'll ensure that it remains centred and upright as the candle sets, resulting in an even burn and a beautifully crafted scented candle.
Remember to remove the Popsicle sticks or other stabilising items before lighting the candle.
Step Six: Pouring
Pouring the melted wax into the candle jars is a crucial step in the candle-making process. Here's how you can ensure a smooth and successful pour:
1. Once your wax has melted to the desired consistency, carefully transfer it to a pouring container. This can be a heat-safe jug or pitcher specifically designed for candle-making.
2. Place your candle jars on a heat-resistant surface, such as a silicone mat or a towel. This will protect your work area from any spills or heat damage.
3. Slowly pour the melted wax into the candle jars, making sure to pour in a controlled and steady manner. This helps to prevent the formation of air bubbles and ensures an even fill.
4. To avoid any wastage, pour any leftover wax back into the heating container for future use. This will save you money and ensure that no wax goes to waste.
5. It's important to leave approximately 1cm of space from the top of the jar. This allows room for the wick and prevents the wax from overflowing once it starts to burn.
6. Take care not to overfill the jars, as this can cause spillage once the candle is lit. A gentle and controlled pour will help to avoid any messy accidents.
If you need to unwind, our Lavender & Fresh Laundry soy candle will help you relax after a long day.
Tips for making scented candles
Making scented candles at home can be a fun and rewarding activity. To ensure the best results, it's important to follow a few key tips and practices.
When making scented candles, it's crucial to use a non-food container for mixing wax. This is because certain fragrance oils can react with plastic or other materials, affecting the quality of the candle.
Monitor the temperature. Use a candy thermometer to ensure that the wax reaches the desired temperature. Different types of wax have different melting points, so it's important to follow the instructions specific to the wax you are using.
To preserve the scent of your homemade candles, cover them when they are not in use. This will help prevent the scent from dissipating and ensure that you can enjoy the fragrance for longer.
Best scents for candles
When it comes to choosing scents for your homemade candles, there are many options to consider. However, some scents have become perennial favourites among candle enthusiasts. Lavender soy candles, with its calming and soothing properties, is often chosen for relaxation and stress relief.
Cinnamon, with its warm and spicy aroma, is perfect for creating a cosy and inviting atmosphere. Peppermint, known for its refreshing and invigorating qualities, is a popular choice for creating a revitalising ambience. Citrus scents, such as orange, lemongrass and lime, and grapefruit, are often used to uplift moods and bring a burst of freshness to any space.
Finally, vanilla, with its sweet and comforting fragrance, is a classic choice for creating a warm and inviting ambience. Then there are fruity aromas, like watermelon or goji berry and blood orange.
Common mistakes to avoid in candle making
Cutting wicks too short: Cutting the wicks shorter than the height of the jar can cause the candle to tunnel and burn unevenly. Ensure that the wick is trimmed to a proper length so that it reaches the edge of the container.
Inadequate wick anchoring: Properly securing the wick with anchors is crucial to prevent it from moving or floating while the candle is being poured. Use wick tabs or glue dots to hold the wick in place at the bottom of the container.
Pouring wax directly into jars: Pouring hot wax directly into the glass container can cause it to crack or shatter due to the sudden change in temperature. Following the above advice to pour the wax at the right temperature as per the manufacturer's guidelines will help. Another way to avoid this, preheat the jars in a warm water bath before pouring the melted wax or using a heat gun.
Disposing of leftover wax improperly: It's important to handle leftover wax responsibly and avoid pouring it down the drain. Dispose of excess wax in a bin or save it for future projects.
Shop our range of luxury soy candles, handmade right here in the UK.