How to make candles at home
Make your own beautiful candles for the holiday season.
December brings the holiday season, and with it, parties in abundance. When invited to a holiday party, I'm never sure if the proper etiquette is to bring a gift. It's nice to be prepared, though, just in case, and homemade gifts are always thoughtful. Wine, chocolate, and candles are all wonderful hostess gifts – and by learning how to make candles, you can add that homemade touch.
There are several different types of candles you can make, but it's best to learn the basics first. Here is a very easy homemade candle craft project.
Empty concentrated orange juice cans for molds
Newspaper or an old tablecloth
Clean coffee can
Crayons for color
Thick cotton string
Essential oils for fragrance
Pencil or straw
1. Spread the newspaper or tablecloth on your work surface. Spilled wax can be very hard to clean off of kitchen counters and table surfaces.
2. Coat the inside of your molds with vegetable oil for easy removal after your candles have set.
3. Set up your double boiler by filling your large saucepan with a few inches of water. Place the empty coffee can inside the pan, and turn the burner on high. If you have so much water that your coffee can is floating, pour some out. It will still bounce around a bit until you put the wax into it.
4. While the water is heating up, measure your paraffin wax. You will need about ¼ pound of wax for each orange juice container. Cut the wax into large chunks, and place them in the coffee can. Stir the wax as it melts.
5. Peel the paper off of a few crayons of the desired color, breaking them into small pieces. Add these to the wax when it's almost completely melted, and stir to mix the color thoroughly.
6. Cut lengths of string for your wicks. Each wick will need to be about three inches longer than the orange juice container. After cutting the wicks, soak them in a small amount of essential oil for fragrance. Dip the wicks into the melted wax and then lay them straight on wax paper to harden.
7. Remove your coffee can of melted wax from the saucepan. Use an oven mitt to prevent burns. Very carefully pour the wax into the molds, leaving a small amount of space at the top.
8. Insert the wick into the center of the candle. You can tell when you've reached the bottom of your candle by how much wick you have left – if you have more than three inches, you need to insert it farther. Wrap the top two inches of wick around the pencil or straw and lay it across the top of the orange juice container. This will help keep your wick straight as your candle hardens.
9. Allow your candles to cool and completely harden for at least a day. You may be tempted to remove them from their molds early, but it takes a long time for the wax to completely harden to the center.
10. Remove your candles by upending the molds and tapping lightly. If the candle is stubborn and doesn't slide free, immerse the mold in hot water for a few seconds. This will soften the wax enough to allow it to come free.
You have now learned how to make candles – and will have some wonderful gifts to keep on hand for the next time you are invited to a holiday party.