Have you ever wanted to make your own candles, but you are not sure where to start learning about candle making? That's totally understandable as there are so many candle making choices you have in terms of ingredients, wicks, candle holders/jars, scents, colorants and other things.
But we are here to share the candle making supplies you may want to consider (for enjoyment or for a candle business), why you may want to consider them and what their many benefits are. This is the perfect place to start.
The Quick History of Candle Making
Candle making is an ancient art that has been practiced for thousands of years. The first candles were made by the ancient Egyptians, who used rushes soaked in animal fat as wicks.
Here is the whole history of candles.
Today, candles are made using a variety of materials, including beeswax, paraffin wax, soy wax and other waxes, and they come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They are used for a wide range of purposes, including lighting, fragrance, and relaxation and are fun and easy to make yourself.
Why Make Your Own Candles
There are several reasons why you may want to make your own candles:
- It can be a fun and creative hobby.
- It allows you to customize your candles to your liking, such as choosing your own fragrances and colors.
- It can be more cost-effective than buying pre-made candles.
- You can make natural and environmentally-friendly candles using pure beeswax or soy wax.
- You can create unique gifts for friends and family.
Overall, candle making can be a really enjoyable activity for people who like crafting and being creative.
We personally like to make our own candles as we are beekeepers and have our own beeswax on hand, but we also like to live as naturally as possible and try to make what we can from scratch to avoid chemicals in our food and in the air.
We are going to share the DIY candle making advice and supplies with you including:
- Fragrance Oils
With these, you can make your own candles with ingredients that work best for you and your family.
Let's get into the fun of candle making.
Candle Making Supplies
Here are the supplies you need for making homemade candles:
1. CANDLE WAXES
There are three main candle wax options you can use to make candles with:
- 100% real, pure beeswax
Yes, there are other waxes to consider such as coconut wax, bayberry wax and palm wax, but we are not including those in our list today for several reasons. We are focusing on the most popular, ethically-sourced waxes for candle making that will be easy to purchase, use and work with.
Beeswax is a natural wax produced by bees. It is a popular choice for candle making because it burns cleanly and has a natural, pleasant smell. It is our number one choice because we are beekeepers, but that doesn't mean that it is difficult for you to get your hands on natural beeswax, and here is how.
We talk about this topic in our article Where To Buy Beeswax Directly From Beekeepers where we say how important it is, when making beeswax products, to find a high quality, pure beeswax.
In order to find a true, pure beeswax, you should first know:
- where it is coming from (the location)
- who is selling it (is it direct from a farmer or beekeepers)
- and if it is pure
You certainly do not want to buy a beeswax product that has been mixed with another type of wax, or one that has been bleached or who knows what else.
Here is a family who sells their beeswax online. We have personally worked with their beeswax and it is a really great, pure product that we recommend.
We also list other beekeepers who sell online in our article if you want to look into other recommended beeswax sellers:
Paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct that is widely used in candle making, and because it is a petroleum byproduct, it is not the most eco-friendly option.
It is relatively inexpensive though, and therefore is a very popular choice among candle makers, especially those who are selling their candles and are wanting to have cost-effective materials for their products.
Here is a video from the product listing for paraffin wax we recommend on Amazon:
Paraffin is also one of the most popular mediums as it can hold fragrance oils very well, if you are really wanting to showcase your favorite scent.
Soy wax is made from soy beans, which is a more eco-friendly option.
Soy wax is a nice, slow burning wax so the benefit to making candles with it is that the candle will last longer. However, there are a few complaints by candle makers that this wax can be a bit difficult to work with at times, and that it is temperamental to temperature differences.
Also if you are looking to have a scented candle, soy wax just doesn't hold scent as well as other mediums.
We would recommend using soy wax in a blend to get the beneficial qualities of an eco-friendly product with a gentle, slow burn.
Candle Waxes: THE DIFFERENCES
There are pros and cons to each type of wax for candle making
Beeswax is a natural product that has a subtle, soft honey scent. It is a hard wax and will be yellow in color.
Paraffin is not very eco friendly, but is inexpensive and will hold the scent well if you want to add fragrance oils
Soy is a slow burning wax that is eco friendly, but can be a bit harder to work with and has a hard time holding fragrance.
Candle Waxes: BLENDING
Many people like to blend their wax to get some of the benefits of each. For example, you may want to consider blending paraffin with a different wax if you want the scent to be more prominent but don't like paraffin wax.
In candle making, wax blends refer to mixtures of two or more types of wax. Some common wax blends used in candle making include:
- Paraffin and beeswax: This blend combines the affordability, scent holding properties and ease of use of paraffin wax with the natural and environmentally friendly properties of beeswax.
- Soy and beeswax: This blend combines the slow burn and environmental benefits of soy wax with the natural fragrance and structure of hard beeswax.
In general, a good starting point for a blend of paraffin and beeswax or a soy and beeswax blend, is to use equal parts of each, but you may need to adjust the ratio depending on the specific properties you want the candle to have.
If you want to do a paraffin and soy wax blend for a slow burning candle that holds fragrance, aim for 2 parts soy and 3 parts paraffin for a candle poured into a jar or container.
You can also adjust the blend by preference, which is nice. We recommend taking notes as you go to get the perfect blend for you and your candle making in the future.
There are several benefits to using a wax melter for candle making:
- Speed: Melting wax can be a time-consuming process, especially if you are working with large quantities of wax. A wax melter can melt wax much faster than heating it on a stovetop, which can save you a lot of time and effort.
- Temperature control: A wax melter allows you to melt wax at a consistent, controlled temperature. This is important because wax can burn if it gets too hot, and if it is not hot enough, it may not fully melt and incorporate properly with the fragrance oil.
- Safety: A wax melter is a safer option than melting wax on a stovetop, as there is no open flame or hot surface that you need to worry about. This makes it a good choice for candle makers, especially those who are new to the craft.
- Ease of use: Using a wax melter is easy. You just need to add the wax, turn it on, and wait for it to melt. This makes it a convenient choice for those who don't want to spend a lot of time melting wax and it won't overheat or burn it either.
- Cleanup: Cleaning up after melting wax can be a messy and time-consuming process. A melter typically has a removable liner or pot that makes it easy to pour the melted wax and clean up afterwards.
This wax melter is perfect for beeswax, paraffin and soy and is great for small candle making jobs, and can hold up to 14lbs of wax if you want to make bigger candle orders.
It also has a really convenient spout you can control to pour the melted wax out of and is a really great price. We recommend checking it out.
2. CANDLE WICKS
The next material you will need are candle wicks for your candle making.
There is actually quite a lot to consider in terms of candle wicks: which wax are you using? Are you using essential oils or colors? What size is the container you will be pouring into? Do your wicks need to be pre-waxed?
Let's make this really easy:
- Pre-waxed candle wicks are easiest to work with and will perform best unless you want a wood wick.
- Wicks come pre-tabbed or on a spool so you can trim to your desired length (but you will need to tab them yourself - tab means hold them in place) TIP: Buying wicks that are pre-tabbed will save you time and stress, especially if you are just starting or are making many at once.
- Wicks come in hemp, braided cotton, flat cotton and wood among some other materials.
- Wood wicks will work for any kind of candle and are a really great place to start.
If you are looking for wood wicks, we have a shop that we highly recommend as you can get a small bulk order, and choose either whisper quiet wood wicks or crackling wicks that sound like a quiet fireplace.
These specific candle wicks are made from 100% natural wood from native, sappy fruit trees and sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified mills sustainably farmed in the US.
You'll also want to grab a wooden wick trimmer as well so your wicks fit your containers perfectly.
3. CANDLE FRANGRANCE OILS
To make a perfectly scented candle, you will need to know how much and what kind of fragrance oil to add. This is called the fragrance load.
The amount of fragrance oil should be 10% or less than the total volume of your candle.
5-10% fragrance load is the usual recommendation for scented candles. If you choose to use soy, it may take a bit more fragrance than the other waxes. A fragrance load of 12% is more suitable for soy.
The best essential oils for candle making are premium, natural/organic oils.
For every 8 ounces of melted wax, you will need 1 ounce of whichever scented oils you choose.
You will also want to choose essential oils that have a high flash point, above 150 degrees. If you use an essential oil that does not have a high flash point, it will evaporate upon heating and you will not have much scent.
This is why people often choose fragrance oils over essential oils - they have higher flash points and therefore may prove to retain a better fragrance load. We personally prefer to keep it natural and use pure, organic essential oils, but the choice is up to you!
4. CANDLE JARS
You could endlessly shop for different shapes and sizes of containers, but we always like to recommend good old, glass Mason jars. They come in many different sizes, and are readily available on Amazon so they can be at your doorstep right away.
If you are interested in different shapes of containers, we recommend shopping right here:
You can also use wooden dough bowls to make those gorgeous, multi-wicked candles in, here is a resource for those bowls:
Dough Bowls For Candles
Here is an example of candles poured into a wooden dough bowl by Red Barn Candles. Aren't these gorgeous?
5. CANDLE LABELS
If you want to make your own labels, we love using the Avery brand labels that you can edit yourself and print right from your printer.
We love the kraft paper labels (we most often use these on our honey from our backyard hives), but there are many options.
Alternatively, you can have bulk labels made for you and sent to your home from a label maker.
So here is the shopping list from our items above for you to choose from:
Candle Making Supplies QUICK SHOPPING LIST:
Labels (Do It Yourself)
Labels (Bulk purchase, made for you)
We hope you found this article helpful and that you now know all about candle making and of the supplies you need for candles or for your candle business. As you work and gain experience, you will develop preferences and great results through and find the right waxes, scents and jars just for you.
The best starting place for candle making is with the proper products and knowledge. So again, we recommend keeping notes of what you use and try, and how the results were in your own candle making journey.
Candle making is one of the best hobbies in our opinion, and once you have the basics down, there is nothing stopping you from experimenting with your candle making supplies.
Here are some other articles you may be interested in reading:
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