Want to make beautiful, natural candles to burn in your home or gift to family and friends but don’t want to spend hours on a DIY project? Here’s how to make the most beautiful homemade candles using simple ingredients in just 20 minutes (with both scented and unscented options)!
In this blog, I’m outlining the exact steps you’ll need to successfully make beautiful jar candles at home. If you’d like to make taper candles, follow this guide.
My DIY Candle Experience
My first DIY ever was homemade foundation powder. That one little DIY project ignited a passion for making my own cleaning and beauty products…
- hand soap
- laundry soap
- homemade surface cleaner
- body butter
- bathroom cleaner
- DIY floor cleaner
- glass cleaner
- and the list goes on…
One of my favorite DIY products to make is candles using soy wax or beeswax.
I’ve been making homemade candles for years now and they’ve quickly become the #1 requested homemade gift that we give out during the holiday season. I love adding natural candles to my home, both for the cozy ambiance and scent.
- To make your jar candles, you’ll need 20 minutes, a jar, wax (beeswax or soy), a wick, a pot, essential oil or fragrance oil for a scent, and a stove-top (or make homemade candles in slow-cooker).
- This recipe makes 2 candles, but you can easily double or triple the amounts to make 4-6 candles simultaneously (or more).
- Add essential oils or fragrance oil to make scented candles. Or go all-natural and skip the scent.
- This is a beginner-level DIY project! Whether you’re making candles for yourself or others, you’ll find the process simple and therapeutic.
- If you have kids at home, this is a great project for them to get involved with. My kids love making handmade candles for their teachers.
Before You Get Started: What You’ll Need
This recipe is a great starting point. Use the recipe (just wax and wicks) and customize with your favorite scents (I love to combine rosemary and lavender essential oils) or go all natural with no added scents.
- 4 cups of wax: either soy wax flakes or beeswax pellets
- 2 wicks: Wicks with a metal base are the easiest to work with. I have no experience with wooden wicks.
- (OPTIONAL) 1 teaspoon dried herbs, 60 drops essential oils, or fragrance oils: For naturally-scented candles. Fragrance oils have a stronger, longer-lasting scent, but most fragrance oils are not natural. Essential oils have a very subtle scent. And dried herbs, like dried lavender or dried rosemary, may be used for decoration.
- Small cooking pot/saucepan: You’ll fill this pot with water to make a double boiler. The wax will not come into contact with this pot, so use what you have in the kitchen.
- Wax melting pot: Such as a medium-size glass mixing bowl, metal mixing bowl, tall glass measuring cup, or candle pourer. You’ll never be able to use this pot for anything other than candle making, as the wax will adhere to the pot and be difficult to scrape off and remove.
- 2 8-ounce heat-safe jars: mason jars, glass jam jars, tin cans, tea cups, etc. Or use 4 4-ounce jars for smaller candles. Any kind of high-rimmed, heat-proof jar will work for candle making.
- 2 clothespins or mechanical pencils: For keeping the tall wicks upright in the jars.
- 2 washcloths or small towels: This isn’t required. Insulting the outside of the candle jar with a towel can prevent the wax from cooling too fast which may cause shrinkage and cracks at the top of the candle.
- 1 wooden skewer, popsicle stick, or chopstick: Also not required, unless adding a fragrance. For stirring the fragrance into the melted wax. Use something you can toss (or purposely reuse for candle-making) as wax will adhere to this utensil.
How to Make Homemade Candles: Step-by-Step Guide
Once you have your ingredients and tools, you’ll need about 20 minutes to make the candles.
You’ll find a printable version of the ingredients and instructions at the end of this article. Here’s my step-by-step guide with photos to guide you…
- Step 1: Add water to the saucepan/pot, about 1/2 way full. Place your heat-safe bowl, tall glass measuring cup, or candle pourer either in the water or sitting on top of the water-filled pot (either way is safe). This is called the double boiler method, which keeps the wax out of direct contact with the heat source and avoids burning the wax.
- Step 2: Add the soy flakes or beeswax pellets to the bowl. Then turn the heat to medium-high, bringing the water in the pot/saucepan to a lively simmer.
- Step 3: Allow the wax to completely melt. This takes about 15 minutes (more or less). Soy wax melts much faster, beeswax pellets take a bit longer.
- Step 4: Once melted, place the candle jars on a towel (to protect your countertop) and dip the metal part of each candle wick in the hot wax.
- Step 5: Place the metal base of the wick at the bottom of each 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 to keep the wick upright.
- Step 6: Pour the melted wax into the jars.
- Step 7: For a scented candle, add drops of natural essential oils, candle fragrance oil (according to the package), or any dried herbs (like dried lavender or dried rosemary). The wax will instantly begin to harden as it comes in contact with the jar. Let the wax cool and solidify. This takes about 20 minutes, or longer.
How to Make Scented Candles With Essential Oils or Fragrance Oil
If you want to add a scent to homemade candles, follow the recipe above and add the scent during Step 7. There are two main options for adding scent to the candles: essential oils or fragrance oils.
- Essential oils or a blend of essential oils is the most natural option. Essential oils aren’t as powerful as fragrance oils. I love lavender, eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint, or grapefruit essential oil for a candle. I use about 60 drops of essential oil per candle. Learn more about using essential oils.
- To make homemade candles smell stronger, fragrance oils are the strongest scent option. I can’t tell what goes into making fragrance oils just by reading the ingredient list, so if you go with this option you may want to call the company first and ask for a disclosure of ingredients. Use the brand’s recommended dosage amount on the package when adding fragrance oils.
- 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 much fragrance. I’ve also seen candle makers use coffee beans as well.
How to Prevent Problems With DIY Candles
- It’s best to allow the candle to “cure” for 24 hours before use. Just let the candle rest before use, which allows the wax time to fully harden. But if you want to burn it right away, you’re welcome to do so.
- Once the wax is solid, trim the wicks down to about 1 inch.
- If there are any cracks or tunneling in the wax, melt a bit more wax and fill in the cracks with the wax. The candles are still usable with tunneling or cracks in the wax; it’s just a cosmetic issue.
- To prevent the wax from tunneling the first time you burn the candles, burn the candle long enough so there’s liquid across entire the top before extinguishing.
- What’s the best kind of wax to use for homemade candles? Paraffin wax is a common wax used to make candles; however, it’s derived from petroleum and not the best natural product. Soy wax and beeswax are both natural waxes that are inexpensive and easy to find. Both soy candles and beeswax candles are slow-burning. Soy holds fragrance better than beeswax. But beeswax has its own honey scent, which many folks (including myself) find appealing.
- Can you reuse old candle jars to make homemade candles? Yes, you can! It’s a great way to save money. Place the used candle jars in the freezer. After a couple of days, remove the jars and gently scrape out the old wax and wick. Or, leave the old wax and just remove the wick, since you’ll be re-pouring new wax overtop anyway.
- The wax cracked on top of my candles. What can I do? Melt a bit more wax and fill in the cracks with the wax. The candles are still usable with tunneling or cracks in the wax; it’s just a cosmetic issue.
Conclusion: 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.
- A 16-ounce bag of beeswax costs about $13 and a 5-lb bag of soy flakes costs about $20. Both options will make multiple candles. 2 cups of wax = 1 8-ounce candle.
- Candle wicks will cost about $10, making many candles. You only need 1 wick per jar.
- Use leftover jars. Use extra mason jars, leftover jam or candle jars, or thrifted tea cups.
- Purchase a tall glass measuring cup, heat-safe mixing bowl, or candle pourer just for melting the wax, as it will be impossible to clean the wax out of the jar once melted and cooled. Reuse this container each time you make candles. This will cost about $6-10.
- Essential oils or fragrance oils vary in price. Fragrance oils are the cheaper options, essential oils can be more expensive. But you can use essential oils to make other cleaning and beauty products.
Even with a $20-30 investment, you can make many homemade candles! If you’ve checked the price of natural candles lately, you know that’s a deal. Plus, you’ll be able to say “I did this!” and impress your friends and family (priceless).
So tell me, what do you think? Will you try making your own candles, or do you prefer store-bought candles?
Give this candle recipe a try and tell me what you think and how you decide to customize your candles!
Homemade Candles Recipe
- 1 small cooking pot/saucepan
- 1 wax melting cup such as: a medium-size glass bowl or metal bowl, tall glass measuring cup, or candle pourer
- 2 8-ounce jars such as: glass mason jars, jam jars, tin cans, tea cups, etc. Or use 4 4-ounce jars for smaller candles.
- 2 clothespins or mechanical pencils
- 2 small washcloths OPTIONAL, but helpful for insulating the jars to keep the wax from cracking while it cools
- 1 skewer or chopstick OPTIONAL, if adding fragrance to stir and combine the fragrance and wax
- Add water to the saucepan/pot, about 1/2 way full. Place your heat-safe bowl, tall glass measuring cup, or candle pourer either in the water or sitting on top of the water-filled pot (either way is safe). This is called the double boiler method, which keeps the wax out of direct contact with the heat source and avoids burning the wax.
- Add the soy flakes or beeswax pellets to the bowl. Then 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). Soy wax melts much faster, beeswax pellets take a bit longer to melt.
- Once the wax has melted, turn off the heat and dip the metal ends of the wicks in the hot wax. Place the wick ends in the center of each candle jar, pressing the metal ends down with a skewer or chop-stick until set at the base of the jar. The wax acts like glue, securing the metal end at the bottom of the candle jar.
- Gently straighten the wick and secure it at the mouth of the jar with a clothespin or the clip on a mechanical pencil (resting the pencil or clothespin on the top of the jar).
- Gently pour the wax into each jar. Place a towel (or parchment paper) underneath the jars to protect your countertop.
- To make scented candles, add the essential oil or candle fragrance oil to the wax. If desired, add a teaspoon of dried herbs. For fragrance oil, follow the instructions on the bottle for amount recommended. Using the skewer or chopstick, gently stir the candle to combine the fragrance and wax.
- Wrap the jars in the 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 melted wax overtop to fill the crack.
- The candles will take about 30 minutes to fully set. But I recommend letting the candles rest for 24 hours. This rest time allows the candles time to cure before burning, giving you the best results!
- Once set, remove the clothespins and washcloths, and trim the top of the wicks to 1 inch. The candles are now ready to use and enjoy!