When I was a young boy, my father made and sold candles as an independent craftsman. Growing up around this profession gave me an appreciation for such a simple yet essential art. Ever since, having a candle (or two) burning in my home always brings me a sense of joy and serenity. However, with so much research about the toxicity of scented candles, I began experimenting with various homemade candle recipes in an attempt to make my own carcinogen-low and naturally scented candles. After much trial and error, here is my go-to recipe for homemade candles!
What You’ll Need
You may be surprised that making candles at home can be much more affordable than purchasing them premade. In addition, it’ll give you a chance to recycle some old jars or mugs. First, you’re going to need a small double boiler. If you don’t have one, you can improvise with a small pot of water and a metal mixing bowl on top.
Next, you’ll need your wax. While paraffin wax is the most popular, it can actually contain a significant amount of carcinogens in comparison to other waxes. For this reason, I choose to go with beeswax. While this is the more expensive option at around $10/lb, it’s worth the extra penny to avoid breathing in toxic fumes.
For this recipe, we will be making an enclosed candle, rather than a freestanding candle, so you’ll need to find a container for your candle. I’ve seen candles poured into so many different containers, from mason jars to small pails. However, I usually use 16-ounce mason jars so I can conveniently place them anywhere in the house.
When it comes to the scenting, choosing the proper brand and essential oil scent can be the difference between the perfect ambiance and aggravated allergies. Being particularly allergic to so many different things, I have found that avoiding floral scents like lavender is super important if you live in a house with allergy-prone individuals. As always, make sure to choose an essential oil brand that is organic and pure.
Lastly, you’ll need a wick, which can be purchased online or at your local arts and crafts store. Try to find one that has a small metal circle attached to the bottom, which will make it easier to set inside your candle.
Melting the Wax
This part should be done first so that you can set your wick while the wax is melting. Most wax comes in pellet form so that it is easier to melt. If you are using a stovetop, turn to medium-high and add water to the bottom of the double boiler. Once heated, pour your wax pellets into your double boiler, and watch as it begins to melt. Using a thermometer, ensure that the wax does not exceed 180 degrees. Continue to stir until the wax has melted completely. At this point, you’ll want to add your fragrances. While everyone has their own preference for fragrance strength, I usually use around 20-30 drops of my favorite essential oil blends for a 16oz candle. Experiment with the fragrances to find your own balance!
This part should be quick and easy. If you’re wick included a metal circle at the bottom that has a sticker to adhere to the bottom of your jar, attach the wick using the sticker and continue to the next step. However, if your wick only has the metal circle, you can dip the bottom into the melted wax and then adhere it to the bottom of your jar. Hold the wick in place until the wax has completely melted.
Now for the fun part! Before pouring, make sure your melted candle mix is around 130-140 degrees. While using one hand to keep the wick upright, begin slowly pouring your wax into the container. Fill it up to about halfway and then secure your wick by wrapping the top part around a pencil, resting on the edges of the container. Let this first half of the candle to cool before adding in the second half. Once you’ve completed the second half, let it rest for a few hours before lighting and enjoying the relaxing ambiance!