Homemade candles can be customized and scented with lavender and rosemary to help relax and relieve stress. Find out how to make your own candles in this article (it’s so easy!), both scented and unscented, soy or beeswax.
Be careful of the kombucha!
One little drink, a dabble in the fermented side of the healthy soda-alternative, seems innocent until that one little sip leads to another and another. Very soon, that glass of kombucha leads to bottles in your fridge and all sorts of homemade DIY concoctions scattered across the kitchen counter.
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.
My first DIY ever was homemade foundation powder. That one little DIY (and another sip of kombucha), ignited a passion for finding more products I could start making at home: hand soap, homemade surface cleaner, dryer balls, lotion, facial astringent, bathroom cleaner, DIY floor cleaner, glass cleaner, and the list could go on!
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 many times when buying laundry soap at the store is much easier (here are my favorite brands).
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.
One of my favorite DIY products to make, particularly during the holidays, is homemade candles. I love to make homemade candles to add warmth and coziness to my home and also to gift. Homemade candles make a fantastic gift that everyone adores!
Along with candles, I also love making other simple DIYs which I know people will truly love and cherish: bath salts (a very popular request), homemade vanilla extract, homemade lotion, and lip balm.
Is it easy to make homemade candles?
I get it. You were with me until I mentioned, “candles”, right? “I mean, really? Candles? That just sounds way too complicated? I thought you were all about simplicity?”
If you have 20 minutes, you can make homemade candles! Candles are a beginner level DIY project: very easy to make. No DIY experience necessary! All you need is wax, a jar, a wick, a stove-top (or make homemade candles in slow-cooker). That’s it!
Whether you’re making candles for yourself or others, you’ll find the candle-making process simple and even therapeutic.
How do you make homemade candles at home?
To make candles you need:
- 4 cups of wax: either soy flakes or beeswax pellets.
- 2 -8 ounce heat-safe jars: mason jars, jam jars, etc. You can also use 4-ounce jars for smaller candles.
- 2 Wicks: I prefer wicks with a metal base. Like this.
- Small Cooking Pot and Glass or Metal Bowl: I prefer a glass measuring cup like this. Use these tools to create a double boiler and melt the wax safely.
- Dried Herbs or Essential Oils:Use these ingredients for naturally-scented candles. Fragrance oils may also be used for a stronger, longer-lasting scent, but most fragrance oils are not natural and may contain ingredients of concern.
How to make homemade candles, step-by-step
Once you have your ingredients and tools, you’ll need about 20 minutes to make one or multiple candles. Here’s how…
- Add water to a saucepan or pot, about 1/2 way full. Place a heat-safe bowl (glass or metal) either in the water or sitting on top of the pot (either way is safe). This creates a double boiler, which keeps the wax from coming into direct contact with the heat (which could cause the wax to burn).
- Add the soy flakes or beeswax pellets to the bowl. Turn the heat to medium-high, bringing the water in the saucepan to a lively simmer.
- Allow the wax to completely melt. This takes about 15 minutes (more or less).
- Once melted, place the 8-ounce mason jars on a towel (to protect your countertop) and dip the metal part of the wicks in the hot wax.
- Place the metal base of the wick on the bottom of each 8-ounce candle jar. Use a clothespin or mechanical pencil (the clip portion works well) to secure the wick, placing the pin or pencil on top of the jar.
- Pour the melted wax into the jars.
- Add essential oils, if desired, and any dried herbs, like lavender or rosemary.
- The wax will instantly begin to harden as it comes into contact with the cooler jar. Allow the candle to solidify fully. This takes about 20 minutes, or longer.
- It’s best to allow the candle to “cure” for a few days before use. But you want to burn it right away, you’re welcome to do so. It’s just best practice to let it cure/set for a few days before use.
How to scent homemade candles
If you want to add a scent to homemade candles, there are two main options: essential oils or fragrance oils.
- Essential oils or a blend of essential oils is the most natural homemade candle scent option. Essential oils aren’t as powerful as fragrance oils since they don’t have any chemicals added to make the scent stronger and longer lasting. I love lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, or grapefruit essential oil for a candle. Plant Therapy is one of my favorite brands to use.
- To make homemade candles smell stronger, fragrance oils are the strongest option. I can’t tell what goes into making fragrance oils, so if you go with this option you may want to call the company first and ask for a disclosure of ingredients.
- Dried herbs, like crushed roses, lavender, or rosemary, may also be used in a candle, with caution (keeping an eye on the candle when it’s burning), but they don’t provide as much fragrance as essential oils or fragrance oil. I’ve also seen candle makers use coffee beans, which is beautiful.
The Cost: Is it cheaper to make your own candles?
Yes, it is cheaper to make your own homemade candles, particularly if you want to use natural candles, made with the highest-quality ingredients like pure soy and beeswax and quality scents, like essential oils. Let’s take a closer look…
- A 16-ounce bag of beeswax costs about $13 and a 5-lb bag of soy flakes will cost about $20, making multiple candles.
- A large pack of candle wicks will cost about $10, making many candles.
- Many people already have a mason jar in their pantry or can use leftover jam jars.
- I recommend purchasing a glass measuring cup or bowl just for melting wax, as it will be impossible to clean the wax out of the jar once melted and cooled, so this will cost about $6-8.
- Essential oils will vary in price.
Even with say $30 of an initial investment, you can make many multiple homemade candles! If you’ve checked the price of natural soy or beeswax candles lately, you know that’s pretty darn good.
The recipe I’m sharing below is a great base that you can customize to make your own candles! I suggest lavender and rosemary for a scent, but you don’t need to use these scents. Use the base recipe (just wax and wicks) and customize according to your scent preference or go all natural with no scents.
Give this candle recipe a try and tell me what you think and how you decide to customize your candles!
DIY Homemade Candles
- large glass measuring or metal bowl or glass bowl
- 4 cups soy flakes or beeswax pellets
- 2 wicks with a metal base
- 20-30 drops lavender essential oil (or essential oil of choice)
- 20-30 drops rosemary essential oil (or essential oil of choice)
- 3/8 tsp dried rosemary per candle (or skip this!)
- 3/8 tsp dried lavender per candle (or skip this!)
- 2 jars glass or metal
- skewer chop-stick, or a utensil for stirring the wax in the jar
- 2 large clothespins
- 2 washcloths or small towels. This isn't mandatory but helps the wax from cooling too fast which can cause shrinkage and cracks., one for each jar
- In a double-boiler (or make a double boilers by placing large glass bowl on top of a saucepan or pot filled with 1 cup of water, about 1/2 way full), bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, reduce the heat and add the soy flakes (or beeswax pellets). Stir the soy flakes every minute, until they are reduced to a liquid. This process can take 5-10 minutes for soy flakes and 20 minutes for beeswax.
- 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.
- 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).
- Very gently, pour the wax (it helps to use a bowl or measuring cup designed for pouring liquids), into each jar (place a towel underneath the jars to protect your countertop). 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).
- 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 which are purely cosmetic and can be fixed if they occur by adding more wax overtop to fill the crack.)
- 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.
I’m interested in making these for my wedding favours and I have just a few questions.
1) Will adding more essential oils ruin the candle?
2) I have quite a bit of beeswax but not enough to make the amount of candles that I need, could I mix it in with the soy wax and follow the recipe as listed? or will it mess it up?
Hey Emma, What a great wedding favour gift! To answer your questions: 1. You can add more essential oil without ruining the candle. Another option is to add a fragrance oil, found at craft stores and online, as you won’t need as much and the scent will be stronger. 2. You can safely mix beeswax and soy to make a candle. Congrats on your upcoming wedding!
What kind of wick would you recommend?
Hey Susan, I like these: https://amzn.to/3fRVqkT Any wick with a metal dish is perfect!
Does this candle recipe call for coconut oil?
No, the recipe is listed above :).
Hi, thanks for the insightful article above on making homemade candles. My partner and I are trying to do the same, but it seems the hot throw isn’t quite that strong… We are using pure essential oils only (no fragrance) to keep things all natural. What do you recommend?
Using essential oils will never produce a strong scent like a synthetic fragrance.
I am trying to make a candle for my grandmother’s birthday and I was wondering where we could buy the soy flakes.
Can we even make it? If so can you please let me know.
You can buy them on Amazon.
Do you recommend using wooden wicks? If so, where can they be found?
Hi there, its preference. You totally could, Amazon sells them.
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at making candles. With being quarantined, I think it’s the perfect time to try!
I agree! Share with us how it worked for you!
Listed below are simple steps using which you can make your own homemade scented candle:
Start by preparing a clean and flat surface covered with a newspaper or towel
Second measure the amount of wax required to fill the container
Start melting the wax by pouring it into the double boiler
Add the fragrance oil and stir for few seconds, it will provide an exquisite floral smell
Attache a wick to the bottom of the container before you start to pour the melted wax
Use chopsticks to secure the wick so that it remains centered until the wax solidifies
Wait for few seconds, once the temperature reaches 140 Degrees pour the wax into the container
Hey Julia, Thanks for sharing your method.
I’ve been wanting to make a candle as a gift for my mom. Thank you for this tutorial!
Wow, this homemade candle is made by love. So love this lable, add to my gift list.
Hi – the link to the wax flakes doesn’t seem to be working, which brand do you recommend? Also, are the dried herbs mostly for appearance or do they add to the scent at all?
The herbs are more for appearance. Here’s the wax I purchased: http://amzn.to/2EYjMoE
Thank you so much Kristin! I will not do the coconut oil then. I really appreciate your time and expertise. ☺
Can you tell me a good oil/wax ratio for a stand alone bees wax candle? All the recipes I am finding are for containers.
Thank you for your help as am just learning about how to make candles.
Hey Pat, Do you mean essential oil to wax ratio?
No, I am seeing recipes calling for 1/2 cup coconut oil per 1 pound bees wax as the bees wax burns too hot by itself? Will this make the wax too soft to make a stand alone candle?
Hey Pat, I don’t dilute my beeswax with coconut oil. I’ve seen recipes that do this, but I haven’t found a reason/need to do that. If you want to go this route, I’m not sure about a good oil to beeswax ratio.
this is fantastic. I’m using this recipe tonight!
I made candles using your double-boiler method with a friend last weekend, and they turned out great! Everyone we showed them to loved them. Will definitely be making more. I loved using soy wax, it makes for pretty candles.