How To Make Scented Candles At Home
If you love bespoke home accessories, making scented candles at home might be a DIY activity you want to add to your wheelhouse.
High-quality candles can be expensive, so making your own is an excellent way to give your wallet a break. But how do you do it, and what do you need?
You need wax, wicks, and essential oils to make scented candles at home. Old mason jars or similar heat-resistant containers are perfect for holding your candle.
Use something disposable to stir your wax and anchor the wick. You can also get candle-making kits that have everything you need.
Making candles at home isn’t rocket science, and once you do it a few times, you’ll find it’s an easy DIY project. It’s a great way to create homemade gifts and add a personal touch to your home.
Your first step is to gather your supplies.
What Do You Need To Make Scented Candles?
You can find candle-making kits online and at craft supply stores. These kits will typically come with the basics to create your candles, like wax, wicks, and a wick-centering device. However, you can also gather everything you need separately.
You’ll need the following items to make scented candles at home.
1. Candle Wax
You can find different types of candle wax, including beeswax, paraffin, soy, and wax blends. Paraffin is the most popular and inexpensive, but soy is clean-burning and won’t produce as much soot. Beeswax is natural but expensive and doesn’t tend to hold fragrances as well as paraffin and soy.
2. Pot Or Double Boiler
A regular pot will work, but the melted wax could potentially ruin it if it sticks. If you don’t have a double boiler, use a heat-resistant glass or metal bowl over a saucepan holding one to two inches of simmering water.
3. Glass Jars Or Heat-Safe Containers
Old mason jars are a great option and seem to be something everyone has lying around the house. But if you prefer something more decorative, make sure it can handle the heat.
You can also repurpose old candle holders (clean them and remove old wax first).
4. Candle Wicks
Wicks also come in various materials. A candle wick should come with a flat metal disc at the bottom that will help keep it in place.
5. Additional Candle-Making Supplies
You’ll also need a wick trimmer or scissors, a disposable wooden stirrer (spare chopsticks work well), and a wick-centering tool. If you don’t have a wick-centering device, you can use chopsticks or a pencil and tape.
Finally, you need whichever essential oils you prefer for your fragrance.
A Step-by-Step Guide To Making Scented Candles At Home
Once you have all your supplies, you’re ready to make your candles.
Step One: Measure The Wax
Before you start melting the wax flakes, measure your candle container to determine how much you’ll need. The easiest way to do it is to simply fill the jar with the wax flakes up to where you want the top of your candle to be.
Dump the flakes into your pot or double boiler and repeat the process. When you melt the wax flakes, they’ll take up about half the space they did unmelted. Therefore, using twice as many flakes will ensure you get the amount you need for your candle.
According to Lone Star Candle Supply, you can determine the amount of candle wax you need using the estimation of 20 ounces volume per pound of wax. Therefore, if you’re making four 10 oz candles, you need 40 ounces of volume (10 x 4).
Divide 40 by 20 to determine you’ll need 2 pounds of wax.
Step Two: Melt The Wax
Melt the candle wax in a double boiler over low to medium heat. Start with the lower temperature and adjust to medium if the wax isn’t melting well. The process should only take a few minutes.
Stir the wax as it melts to keep the temperature even, and watch closely to make sure the wax doesn’t burn. Remember to use a wooden stirring device, preferably one you can toss, so you don’t need to deal with any clean-up hassle.
(Those chopsticks you get with your take-out come in really handy for this.)
Step Three: Add Scent To Wax
Once the wax melts thoroughly, add the essential oils. How much oil you need depends on the amount of wax and the potency of the oils.
However, a general rule of thumb is approximately one ounce of oil per 16 ounces of wax.
Make notes of how many drops of oil you use so you can adjust as needed for your next candle. As you create more DIY candles, you’ll perfect your ratios and discover what works best for you and your specific supplies.
Step Four: Anchor The Wick In Container
Make sure your jar or container is clean. Use a bit of melted wax to stick the flat metal disc of the wick to the inside bottom center of the jar. Hold it in place until the wax sets and the wick is stable.
Use a wick-centering device to keep the wick upright and centered. You can also lay two chopsticks across the top of the jar with the wick in the middle.
Or place a chopstick or pencil across the top and tape the wick in place.
Step Five: Pour Wax
Once you get the wick steady and in the center of the container, carefully pour the wax into the jar. You may want to wear an oven mitt to avoid hot wax splashing onto your hand.
Step Six: Let Your Candle Set
After pouring the wax into your containers, leave them alone. Let the wax set and cool. It usually takes a few hours, or you can let them sit overnight.
Step Seven: Trim The Candle Wick
The final step after your newly made candle is set, is to trim the wick. It’s important to trim candle wicks before burning for the first time (even store-bought ones). Trim the wick to about ¼” using scissors or a wick trimmer.
If you fail to trim the wick, it can cause several problems. A wick that’s too long can lead to a hotter and bigger flame, which isn’t safe. It also creates more soot and can lead to tunneling (when the candle’s center burns down and leaves a raised edge).
How To Make Scented Candles Without Essential Oils
If you want a scented candle but don’t have essential oils or prefer not to use them, you have options. You can use various extracts like vanilla, orange, or lavender to add fragrance to your homemade candles.
You can also use finely chopped tea leaves or herbs.
However, make sure you know exactly what you’re putting into your candle. Avoid potentially flammable or toxic ingredients. Also, avoid using things like potpourri in candles.
Potpourri contains a mix of various materials. It can be hard to know exactly what’s in the mix, leading to unsafe burning conditions.
How To Make Candles Without Wax
It is possible to make candles without candle wax. Instead of wax, some people use vegetable shortening, various cooking oils, or melted crayons.
Avoid These Common Candle-Making Mistakes
To make scented candles at home like a pro, avoid these common mistakes.
- Using a wick that’s too short. Start with wicks taller than your jar or container. Remember, you’ll trim them to the appropriate length once your candle is complete.
- Forgetting to anchor and center your wick correctly. If you fail to set the wick properly, it will burn unevenly and can ruin your candle.
- Failing to cover your work surface when you pour your wax. You really don’t want wax getting over everything. Cover surfaces with newspaper for easy clean-up.
- Pouring leftover wax down the drain. Don’t do it unless you want to repair or replace your drain line. Instead, you can freeze the wax and scrape it into the trash. Or, for an environmentally friendly solution, reuse candle wax for various projects.
A Final Look At DIY Scented Candles
Making candles at home is easy and only takes a few supplies. Or use a candle-making kit if you really want to simplify things.
Prepare a heat-resistant container or jar by ensuring it’s clean and centering and anchoring the wick. Measure your wax, melt it in a double boiler over low-medium heat, and add your fragrance of choice. Then pour it into the jar.
Your homemade candle will set after a few hours; then, you can trim the wick to ¼” and enjoy.
Making scented candles can be a hobby, a side hustle, or a way to personalize your home or make gifts for loved ones.
Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.
More by Stacy Randall