DIY Homemade Candles (with natural lavender-rosemary scent)

How to make homemade DIY candles. A gift that family and friends will love. And they're easier than you think to make!

Be careful of the kombucha!

One little drink, a dabble in the fermented side of the healthy bubbly soda-alternative seems innocent, until that one little sip leads to another and another.  Very soon, that glass of kombucha, leads to bottles of tasty bacteria (the very best bacteria for a happy gut) in your fridge and all sorts of homemade DIY concoctions scattered across your kitchen counter.

Okay, so maybe kombucha isn’t that dangerous (I really hope you know that I’m joking). What started with a little dabbling in homemade kombucha and from-scratch food, led to a burning desire to make many of the products my family uses in our home and on our bodies.

The idea for making things like hand soap, foundation powder,  laundry detergent, and even my favorite bottle of lotion seemed impossible at the time and quite complicated. I started with one simple change, foundation powder, my first ever DIY. A little bit of cocoa powder, bentonite clay, arrowroot, and spices magically transformed my life. Suddenly, making-over my family’s products didn’t seem impossible or complicated.

That one little DIY (and another sip of kombucha), ignited a passion for finding more products I could start making at home: hand soap, laundry soap, dryer balls (thanks to contributor Kelly), lotion, facial astringent, bathroom cleaner, Swiffer wipes, glass cleaner, and the list could go on!

How to make homemade DIY candles. A gift that family and friends will love. And they're easier than you think to make!

Now, please understand, I don’t make everything at home. I’m the first to admit that I’m in no way perfect when it comes to this whole “homemade” life. In fact, even though I love my homemade laundry soap, there are times when buying laundry soap at the store is much easier due to a busy season in life.

But, with a little bit of planning and the right ingredients on hand (which I like to purchase in bulk), most of my simple DIYS take just minutes to make and last weeks, even months. Perfection is not my goal, simply a desire to simplify life and the products we use.

With the holiday season upon us, my desire to DIY our Christmas, has been fully enabled. In all reality, I know DIYing our entire gift list just isn’t practical right now. Yes, we will still purchase gifts for some of the people on our ever-growing list (a wonderful “problem” to have). But, I also want to provide a little touch of homemade for our family and friends.

For me, this means making simple DIYs which I know people will truly love and cherish: bath salts (a very popular request), homemade vanilla extract (another very popular request), homemade lotion, homemade cookies (a gift the kids can make), lip balm, and homemade candles.

How to make homemade DIY candles. A gift that family and friends will love. And they're easier than you think to make!

I get it. You were with me until I mentioned, “candles”, right? “I mean, really? Candles? That just sounds way too complicated? I thought this whole homemade thing was about simplicity?”

How to make homemade DIY candles. A gift that family and friends will love. And they're easier than you think to make!

Oh yes, my dear friend, it is! I’m here to tell you (and show you) that homemade candles 100% qualify as “simple.” Actually, they are beyond simple. Yes, they require a little bit of time (about 30 minutes), but the end result is a gift family and friends love…a homemade candle made with love and natural ingredients.

The most wonderful part about making homemade candles, is that you can use inexpensive mason jars (I purchase a pack of 12 for $8-9), drinking glasses (I like to find orange-juice-size glasses on clearance), clean baby food jars, tea cups, coffee cups, or little metal containers. There’s no limit to the scents and type of container you can use (okay, no plastic…so maybe there is a limit).

How to make homemade DIY candles. A gift that family and friends will love. And they're easier than you think to make!

So, let’s get started!

DIY Homemade Candles
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups* soy flakes (where to buy), I don't recommend soy when it comes to diet, but I have no issue with using soy for making candles. If you're concerned, you can use beeswax, however, it's much more expensive and can be harder to work with for setting candles.
  • 2 wicks with a metal base (where to buy)
  • 20-30 drops each per candle: lavender essential oil (where to buy) and rosemary essential oil (where to buy), you can also create your own custom scents with your favorite oils.
  • 2 jars (glass or metal)
  • ¼ - ½ tsp dried rosemary, per candle (optional)
  • ¼ - ½ tsp dried lavender buds, per candle (optional)
  • 1 double-broiler, or a large glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water
  • Skewer, chop-stick, or a utensil for stirring the wax in the jar
  • 2 large clothespins
  • 2 washcloths or small towels (one for each jar). This isn't mandatory, but helps the wax from cooling too fast which can cause shrinkage and cracks.
Instructions
  1. In a double-broiler (or large glass bowl on top of a pot filled with 1 cup of water), bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and add the soy flakes. Stir the soy flakes every minute, until they are reduced to a liquid. This process can take 5 minutes.
  2. Once the soy is liquified, turn off the heat and dip the metal ends of the wicks into the wax. Place the ends in the center of each candle jar, pressing the metal ends down with a skewer or chop-stick until set. The wax acts like glue, securing the metal end at the bottom of the candle jar.
  3. Once the metal end is set in the wax, gently straighten the wick and secure it at the mouth of the jar with a clothespin (resting on the jar).
  4. Very gently, pour the wax (it helps to use a bowl or measuring cup designed for pouring liquids), into each jar. Add the essential oils to the wax (this is done to avoid burning the oils during the cooking process). I add 15 drops of each oil on each side of the jar. If desired, add the teaspoon each of dried herb. Using the skewer or chopstick, gently stir the wax, essential oils, and herbs (if using).
  5. Wrap the jars in the dry washcloths, to prevent the wax from cooling too fast and shrinking or cracking. (This step isn't mandatory, but helps if you're concerned about cracks.)
  6. Let the candles sit for 24 hours, until fully set. Once set, remove the clothespins and washcloths, and trim the top of the wicks to 1 inch.
Notes
*4 cups of soy flakes will make 2- 8 ounce candles. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. Simply add the 4 cups of soy flakes to your double-broiler. As the 4 cups begins to liquify, add more soy flakes as desired. You’ll also need more jars, essential oil, wicks, towels, and dried herbs (if using).
The “where to buy” links provide links to the actual products I use. As always, I recommend shopping around online and at local stores for the best prices and products you love. Find my favorite DIY ingredients and tools, here.

How to make homemade DIY candles. A gift that family and friends will love. And they're easier than you think to make!

More DIYs You May Like:

 Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix (without refined sugar or milk powder)

DIY Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

How to make homemade lotion without coconut oil

 How to Make Homemade Ultra-Moisturizing Lotion (without coconut oil)

homemade vanilla extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract  

 

DIY Homemade Candles (with natural lavender-rosemary scent)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 cups* soy flakes (where to buy), I don't recommend soy when it comes to diet, but I have no issue with using soy for making candles. If you're concerned, you can use beeswax, however, it's much more expensive and can be harder to work with for setting candles.
  • 2 wicks with a metal base (where to buy), I find the metal base is easy to work with and set.
  • 30 drops each per candle: lavender essential oil (where to buy) and rosemary essential oil (where to buy), you can also create your own custom scents with your favorite oils.
  • 2 jars*
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, per candle (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds, per candle (optional)
  • 1 double-broiler, or a large glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water
  • skewer, chop-stick, or a utensil for stirring the wax in the jar
  • 2 large clothespins
  • 2 washcloths or small towels (one for each jar). This isn't mandatory, but helps the wax from cooling too fast which can cause shrinkage and cracks .
Instructions
  1. In a double-broiler (or large glass bowl on top of a pot filled with 1 cup of water), bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat, and add the soy flakes. Stir the soy flakes every minute, until they are reduced to a liquid. This process can take 5 minutes.
  2. Once the soy is liquified, turn off the heat, and dip the metal ends of the wicks into the wax. Place the ends in the center of each candle jar, pressing the metal ends down with a skewer or chop-stick until set. The wax acts like glue, securing the metal end at the bottom of the candle jar.
  3. Once the metal end is set in the wax, gently straighten the wick and secure it at the mouth of the jar with a clothespin (resting on the jar).
  4. Very gently, pour the wax (it helps to use a bowl or measuring cup designed for pouring liquids), into each jar. Add the essential oils to the wax (this is done to avoid burning the oils during the cooking process). I add 15 drops of each oil on each side of the jar. If desired, add the teaspoon each of dried herb. Using the skewer or chopstick, gently stir the wax, essential oils, and herbs (if using).
  5. Wrap the jars in the dry washcloths, to prevent the wax from cooling too fast and shrinking or cracking. (This step isn't mandatory, but helps if you're concerned about cracks.)
  6. Let the candles sit for 24 hours, until fully set. Once set, remove the clothespins and washcloths, and trim the top of the wicks to 1 inch.
 
DIY Homemade Candles (with natural lavender-rosemary scent)
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups* soy flakes (where to buy), I don't recommend soy when it comes to diet, but I have no issue with using soy for making candles. If you're concerned, you can use beeswax, however, it's much more expensive and can be harder to work with for setting candles.
  • 2 wicks with a metal base (where to buy), I find the metal base is easy to work with and set.
  • 30 drops each per candle: lavender essential oil (where to buy) and rosemary essential oil (where to buy), you can also create your own custom scents with your favorite oils.
  • 2 jars*
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, per candle (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried lavender buds, per candle (optional)
  • 1 double-broiler, or a large glass bowl on top of a pot of boiling water
  • skewer, chop-stick, or a utensil for stirring the wax in the jar
  • 2 large clothespins
  • 2 washcloths or small towels (one for each jar). This isn't mandatory, but helps the wax from cooling too fast which can cause shrinkage and cracks .
Instructions
  1. In a double-broiler (or large glass bowl on top of a pot filled with 1 cup of water), bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat, and add the soy flakes. Stir the soy flakes every minute, until they are reduced to a liquid. This process can take 5 minutes.
  2. Once the soy is liquified, turn off the heat, and dip the metal ends of the wicks into the wax. Place the ends in the center of each candle jar, pressing the metal ends down with a skewer or chop-stick until set. The wax acts like glue, securing the metal end at the bottom of the candle jar.
  3. Once the metal end is set in the wax, gently straighten the wick and secure it at the mouth of the jar with a clothespin (resting on the jar).
  4. Very gently, pour the wax (it helps to use a bowl or measuring cup designed for pouring liquids), into each jar. Add the essential oils to the wax (this is done to avoid burning the oils during the cooking process). I add 15 drops of each oil on each side of the jar. If desired, add the teaspoon each of dried herb. Using the skewer or chopstick, gently stir the wax, essential oils, and herbs (if using).
  5. Wrap the jars in the dry washcloths, to prevent the wax from cooling too fast and shrinking or cracking. (This step isn't mandatory, but helps if you're concerned about cracks.)
  6. Let the candles sit for 24 hours, until fully set. Once set, remove the clothespins and washcloths, and trim the top of the wicks to 1 inch.
Notes
The “where to buy” links provide links to the actual products I use. As always, I recommend shopping around online and at local stores for the best prices and products you love. Find my favorite DIY ingredients and tools, here.
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54 Comments

  • Emma says:

    Can’t wait to try this! A few questions:

    1) is there any concern that the dried rosemary or lavender could catch on fire?
    2) could you stick the container you are using straight into the water (still creating a double broiler), side stepping the need to dirty another dish and pour the liquid wax into the candle?
    3) have you found the EO actually scent your room or just the candle?

    Thanks!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Emma,

      Here are some answers :).
      1/ I was concerned about the burning this at first too. After many batches with the rosemary and lavender, I haven’t had any issues. I just add a small amount (the teaspoon recommended), so the jar isn’t overpowered by little herb pieces. If you have a spice grinder, you can grind the herbs. I’ve also done this to prevent large pieces in the candle. Either way, you’ll be safe, at least from all my experiences :). You can also try adding dry fine dried orange peels, if going for an orange-scented candle (Frontier makes a great product).
      2/I’ve never tried that before. If you try, let me know! I wonder about the wicks not setting in the jar which could be difficult to work with, due to the constant heat.
      3/The candle alone doesn’t have scent. The herbs add a beautiful appearance and a slight scent. I find the essential oils really do help to add a wonderful fragrance to a room and candle. When I first started making candles, I didn’t think the oils did much, until I walked out of the house (and immediately) came back in. The wonderful smell from the candle was very apparent :). Experiment with any oils you have. I think peppermint also makes a wonderful oil scent, along with vanilla and orange!

      • Kimberly says:

        I love to make all sorts of homemade things myself, including candles. I did make a candle with lavender buds in it. Once. It was fine until it wasn’t. The buds caught fire and the flames were truly scary.
        Just be careful and keep an eye on things.

  • Gail Gonzales says:

    Dear Kristin –
    Does the rosemary have to be dried? I have some leftover rosemary in my fridge – which is not dried – which I would love to use for this. Thanks!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Gail, I was concerned about fresh rosemary “going bad,” but my husband seemed to think the fresh rosemary would be preserved in the wax. I haven’t tried using fresh rosemary, but it may work? If you try it, let me know.

  • Gail Gonzales says:

    Hi there – I actual did some internet research and everyone has the same thoughts as your husband as far as the rosemary molding if it’s fresh instead of dried! I’m going to hang the rosemary up to dry and go that route! Thanks so much – this is a great post! I love your site!

  • Brenda Scott says:

    I love love this! In fact I am getting an order together of what I need to make for Christmas gifts!

    Question: How many drops do you get from one bottle of the Aura Cacia essential oil you have the link to? I am making 6-8 candles and wonder how many bottles to order?

    Thank you….will place order as soon as I hear from you!
    {Merry Christmas!}

  • Shelly says:

    Hey there, I can’t wait to make this candle but I do habe a question. How many “4 cups” are in a 10 pound bag of soy flakes?

    Thanks
    Shelly

  • Bethany says:

    My mom always used to keep the cardboard juice cans from concentrate for this purpose! Once the wax sets, just cut the cardboard off and you have a free-standing pillar candle! Even more frugal, and you get to show off all those lavender buds and rosemary leaves a little more. I also like to tie a bit of ribbon, raffia, or jute around the naked candle, but some burlap would be cute too.
    Love the recipe, want to try it soon with beeswax!

  • Sabrina says:

    Oh I love this idea, they look so beautiful. I had wanted to try and make candles when the candle-in-a-teacup craze was raging, though never quite got round to it. I am definitely going to give this a go before the mason jar craze finishes!

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Sabrina (Wolves in London)

  • Tomasina says:

    Im need to make about 36 of these. I am assuming that I just multiply the recipe by 13 and use two double boilers. any helpful hints?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Tomasina, I’ve never made 36 candles with this recipe, but I’m sure it can be multiplied to make as many candles as you may need. You’ll need a very large pot/double broiler to melt enough soy for 36 candles. Let me know how it goes!

  • Tomasina says:

    My dried lavendar just flaoted to the top, will htey eventually distribute or do I need to stir it again once it starts to set?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Tomasina, This is pretty normal. There should be a decent amount of lavender mixed throughout the candle, but some of it will also float to the top. I find this actually helps with additional fragrance when the candles burn. Just always watch the candles when you’re burning them. Since there are herbs in the candles, I don’t advise leaving them to burn without supervision (as with any candle).

  • angela says:

    can’t believe how easy it is to make candles. wish i had figured this out years ago 🙂 love the rosemary/lavender combination too. thank you for your wonderful recipes

  • Deena says:

    Hi
    I was wondering if you have tips to keeping lavender/rosemary from falling apart?
    When I try to keep them as a whole sprig, the leaves seem to fall off easily.

    Any ideas?

    TIA.

  • Francine Harris says:

    Hi Kristin, I made your rosemary/lavender soy candles for the first time today. I used the dried rosemary in mine but someone said that the rosemary may catch fire when the candle burns. Can you advise on this? The candle is for a gift and I don’t want them to get hurt.
    Thank you!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Francine, I haven’t had any issues with dried rosemary or lavender catching on fire (fresh is a different story), but I would advise attaching a note that the candle should only burn under supervision to prevent any accidents. This is a smart precaution with any candle, particularly one that contains dried materials (herbs). I hope your recipient loves the gift :).

  • Jicsi says:

    Oooh, these look absolutely lovely!
    Someone mentioned in the comments above about the tea-cup candle craze! I made a whole bunch of teacup candles a couple of Christmases ago but I used a kit then and haven’t made any candles since. These look really fun to do so I might have to give them a go!

    The last time I made candles though I found that once they had set the kind of “dipped” in the middle where the wick was and needed topping up. Do these do that?

  • Charms says:

    Hey Kristin.love everything you do.thank you for the for lovely recipe and all the information.i’m looking into starting my own candles but I’m not so sure on which wax to go for.i was looking for something that is environmentally friendly.your advice is much appreciated.tia

  • Janet says:

    Kristin, thank you for this great and easy recipe. I found with the four cups of soy flakes, it only filled one mason jar, so if using masons you might want to increase the amount of flakes. Also had some trouble keeping the wick in place with the clothespins. Any other ideas of how to keep that rascally wick in place?
    My candles came out great, however!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Janet, I’m so glad you enjoyed making the candles.

      Yea, the wicks are tricky! My best advice is to dip the wick in the wax, then press it down in the bottom of the jar. Holding the wick down and even adding an extra few drops (or even a couple of teaspoons) of wax over the wick base should help set the wick before clipping the top with the clothespin.

  • Karen says:

    Hi, These candles look wonderful! Tell me, do they liquefy when burning?
    Thanks so much!
    Karen

  • Tania says:

    Just started making my own candles this fall so it was fun to come across this post while looking for ideas! In my experience tho … it is much easier and neater to add the essential oil to the wax after it’s melted BUT before it’s poured into the containers. The candles themselves seem to set up “smoother” that way and I read somewhere that somehow adding the oils to the melted wax before it’s poured and letting it cool a bit somehow makes the wax “capture” the scent better. Don’t know if that part is true but it’s definitely much neater than adding oil to the wax once it’s in the jar since I can never keep the wick straight when stirring the oil in that way 🙂 Anyway will definitely try out your idea to add lavender and rosemary leaves to my next batch!

  • Kay says:

    Hey Kristin! I’m looking forward to making these soon, and love the tags you have tied to them. Would you be willing to send a link for printing them? Thanks so much!
    Kat

  • Emily says:

    I am thinkning of making these for gifts for the Holidays but wondered how many candles come from a pound of wax?

  • Cass says:

    I was hoping to use pint mason jars for these candles, but I’m worried about the wicks. Have you had any problem with the large wicks from Candle Science (the ones you link above) not being long enough/producing too large a flame for such a small opening? This is my first time making them and I’d rather not smoke up everyone’s house for Christmas.

    Thanks!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Cass, I just measured one of the wicks (I just bought more for Christmas :)) against a pint-size mason jar and the wick is just tall enough to fit the jar with a safe amount of extra wick on top. I believe there are a couple of pint-size mason jar options: wide mouth and then the traditional smaller mouth jars. I would probably go with the wide mouth jars just to be safe. The flame may leave a bit of black soot on the jars.

  • Kate says:

    Hi
    I just made these candles. I noticed that a few of them dried with holes and cracks. Can I melt wax and just fill the cracks and holes? Do you know why this happened?

    Thank you!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Kate, The cracking is generally caused by the candles cooling too fast. This is common when the candles are placed on granite or other cooler counter-tops, and the solution is usually to insulate the outside of the jars with a towel. The cracking is more of a cosmetic issue, so they will still burn beautifully! I think your idea to melt some extra wax to fill the cracks should work great!

  • Casey says:

    Hi there!

    First of all, thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it’s great. I decided to make these for Christmas gifts this year, and everyone has absolutely loved them… and now I have the fever to make EVERYTHING 😀

    With some of the candles I made, the wicks become loose and start moving around once I pour the wax into the jars… but it doesn’t happen every time. I’m wondering if you have any insight into this? Am I not allowing the “glue wax” enough time to dry with the wick, or is it just that the wax is just so hot, it’s melted the “glue wax” again?

    Thanks in advance:)

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Casey,

      That’s so great! I’m so glad everyone loved the homemade candles. I made a bunch of candles for our family this year, too.

      I’ve experienced the same issue with the wicks wiggling around after the wax has been poured. I’ve found this is caused when I don’t allow the wick to set long enough. If you allow about 10 minutes for the wicks to set in the wax and jar, the problem should be resolved. I’ll make note of this in the recipe, too.

  • nazli says:

    I enjoyed the recipe and the simplicity- the result was aesthetically very pleasing. The only downside was that the candles we made aren’t very fragrant. We stirred in 30 plus drops of essential oil in each vessel after adding the wax (most were 16 oz or less) of Eucalyptus, Lemon or Lavender. While not an exact measurement, I figure that “drops” are pretty universal. I used essential oils that are meant for aromatic diffusers, could that be it? I have some candle science oils coming.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated. We are going to go heavier on the drops but am wondering if there are any additional pointers.

    They LOOK great and it was a fun project! Looking forward to round 2.
    Thanks in advance!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Nazli, Yes, the scent of these candles isn’t very strong, especially compared to a store-bought candle. There are fragrances made specifically for candles, so they produce a very strong end product. However, I’m not sure about the ingredients used to make these scents. This is probably the best option for a strong scent, particularly if you can find a more natural version.

  • Katelan says:

    Hello! What size mason jars would you suggest?

  • Mariana says:

    Can i use paraffin to make this candles? i found it easier cause ive worked with it before

  • Carla Rosebrook says:

    Yes, you can use paraffin to make these candles! I have used paraffin for all candle making over the years. The hardest part is chopping the wax into melting size because the wax comes in big slabs.
    For melting, you can use large soup cans with a pour spout crimped into the top with pliers, and use the double boiler. Wax has a low flash fire temperature and should be melted over an electric burner, not open flame like gas or propane. I’ve never had this happen, just don’t boil wax! Each soup can can have a different scent and color as you want.
    I have not used herbs as fragrance, but I think this is a splendid way to avoid artificial fragrances at a lower cost than essential oils.
    I’ve used manufactured tin candle molds which have a small hole at the bottom to knot/tape the wick on the bottom of the mold. You can buy wax-free cotton wicks with out the metal tab by poking a hole in the bottom of milk cartons or frozen juice cans. Cover the hole and wick with masking tape to prevent the melted wax from running out.
    To ensure the wick is straight tie it tightly to a pencil, and rest the pencil on the top of the mold. The prep work is worth the results! When the candles are finished, I have a hard time giving them away…because they are all unique.
    Wax will sink down as it cools, so reserving some melted wax to ‘top-off’ the candle is a good idea.
    You can melt the wax from old candles over again, but the mixed fragrances are not so pleasing. Melting wax is totally Messy! Cover your counter tops and expect your stove top area to get dripped on.
    This blog has put me in the candle-making mode so I need to scurry out to plan some spring and summer gifts.
    Are soy flakes more natural? I’ve never tried them.
    Best of luck with your creativity and happy romantic evenings!

  • Jessica says:

    I absolutely love the smell of cilantro and am wondering if you could make these with cilantro. Any thoughts?

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