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How To Make Candles - For Fun And For Profit!

Author: Dianne Kumar

Book Series: Make It Yourself Series


1. Introduction

Have you always wanted to learn how to make candles? If so, then you are in the right place. My How To Make Candles Guide will teach you everything you need to know to get started with candle making.

It is such a fun and rewarding hobby. Who doesn't love beautiful candles to enhance the decor and ambiance of the home? You can make candles for you to enjoy and also to give away as gifts to friends and family members.

If you have been thinking about learning how to make candles for a while now, but you were hesitant that it would be too difficult or overwhelming to learn, you can stop worrying. As long as you follow the step-by-step approach that I teach you in this guide, you will find that learning how to make candles is not complicated or difficult to do. You just need to gather a few basic supplies together, take the necessary safety precautions, and then follow some simple directions to make your very first candles. From there it is just a matter of practice and experimenting to hone and expand your candle making skills.

I'm so happy that you have picked my guide and are ready to start learning how to make candles. Letís review the contents of this guide.

In my How To Make Candles Guide you will learn:

How to set up your workspace for making candles.

How to make simple candles. These projects are ideal for beginners and will provide you with a lot of practice and experience with making several different kinds of candles.

As you can see there is a lot to cover here, so let's get started with learning how to make candles!

2. Getting Started With Making Candles: Supplies And Workspace

Making candles is a very rewarding and enjoyable hobby. Soon you will be making beautiful works of art that you as well as your friends and family members can enjoy.

Fortunately, making candles isn't one of those expensive hobbies. The supplies and equipment that you will need are inexpensive. In some cases, you can even use items that you already have around the house. However, you do need to gather a few supplies together and set up a workspace. So, let's get started.

Candle Making Equipment

As I mentioned, you don't need to spend a lot of money to make candles. You may have some items that you need at home already. You can also find some equipment and supplies at garage sales and thrift stores or look for coupons in the newspaper. Even when you buy supplies new, most of them are not very expensive.

When you are first starting out making candles, just get the basic equipment and supplies. Then once you become experienced and plan to make candles on a regular basis, you can buy more items as you need them.

Heat Source

To make candles, you will basically be melting wax over heat. So the first thing you need is a heat source. Most people will just use their kitchen stove. You can use either an electric or gas stove. Some individuals do use a camping stove instead.

Don't try to melt wax in a microwave. You can't control the temperature and you might overheat the wax.

Melting Pot

This is what you will be melting your wax in. Wax heats up very quickly. When it gets too hot it can explode. That's why an indirect melting method should be used. So don't melt wax in a pot that is directly on a stove burner. You need some form of double boiler instead, where a small pot is inside a larger pot. Don't use your nice double boiler that you cook with. Instead, use an old set or buy a used one at a thrift store or yard sale. If you can't find a double boiler, you can prop up a smaller pot inside a bigger one. A trivet or tin cans may be used to prop up the smaller pot.

You may want to get a metal melting container that comes with a pour spout for pouring wax into molds. You can pick one up at a craft store.

Candle Molds

You have many options here, including molds you can buy at a craft store or home made ones that you make from household items. Again, start off small here. You can always expand your mold collection later. I will cover how to work with molds in an upcoming section of this guide.

Thermometer

There are special wax thermometers that you can buy at a craft store or online candle-making site. However, you can also use a cooking or candy-making thermometer. You just need to have a thermometer that registers temperatures from 110 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

It's very important to use a reliable thermometer when making candles. In fact, it's dangerous not to. Wax can heat up very quickly, and the only way to know if it's overheating is by looking at your thermometer.

Dipping Can

For dipping taper candles, you'll want to have a metal container. It can be purchased or you may use a can you have at home already. It just needs to be tall enough and wide enough for dipping wicks in.

Large Metal Spoon Or Ladle

This is for stirring the wax as it melts.

Optional Items

Kitchen Scale

Use this for weighing wax and additives used in your projects.

Craft Knife or Scissors

Candle Making Supplies

Wax, wicks, mold or wick sealer, releasing agent (mold release), wax glue for decorating candles and wick tabs for supporting wicks in container and votive candles. For decorating you might want to have wax dye on hand for adding color, along with synthetic scents and essential oils for adding scents to your candles.

Setting Up Your Candle Making Workspace

The best place for making candles is usually the kitchen since you will probably be using your stove to melt wax.

Choose a spot close to the stove that gives you plenty of workspace. You will want to have your entire candle-making supply set close by as well as space for setting your candles on. Have paper towels and potholders on hand. It's also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher.

Line up the kitchen counter top with wax paper or a sheet or drop cloth so that you don't have to spend hours trying to clean up wax. It's also a good idea to wear an apron to protect your clothes from getting wax on them.

3. How To Make Candles Safely

Hot wax is not something to take lightly. It is important to take the necessary safety precautions. Here are the main best practices you should follow for safe candle making:

Whenever you are pouring wax or taking the double boiler off the stove, wear thick potholders.

Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from any wax splashes.

When heating wax, you need to make sure it doesn't get too hot. If it does, it can combust and cause a fire. Don't ever leave wax unattended while it is melting. If you see smoke, turn the heat off immediately.

Never melt wax in a microwave or use direct heat. A double boiler should be used instead.

Prepare your workspace ahead of time to make cleaning up spills easy.

How To Treat Burns

If burning wax does get onto your skin, place your affected body part in cool water. (Cold water should not be used because extreme temperatures can shock your skin).

If you suffer a burn that results in blistering, visit a care center or call your doctor.

Once the wax has cooled and hardened, peel it off gently and then treat the affected area like you would any other kind of burn. You can use aloe vera or a calamine lotion to help soothe your skin.

Cleaning Up Wax Spills

For wax spills on carpet or other areas of the house, wait for the wax to harden before attempting to clean up. If you don't, you are likely to just spread the wax around and make an even bigger mess. To speed the process up, you can rub an ice cube over the wax so that it cools faster.

A wooden spatula often works well for scraping off wax. When scraping, be careful to not scratch surfaces like counter tops and flooring.

If the wax spill is on clothing or carpet, scrape off as much of the wax as possible then cover with paper towels and iron to get rid of the remainder of the wax.

How To Extinguish A Fire

If any of the following things occur, turn your stove off immediately:

- The temperature of the wax is high (212 degrees Fahrenheit is the boiling point, so anything over that).

- The wax starts smoking.

- Any burning smells.

- Wax ignites and catches on fire.

Don't attempt to move a pan if there is a fire. You don't want to spill hot wax, spread a fire any further, or burn yourself.

Wax is oil. Therefore, don't ever pour water onto wax trying to put a fire out. The flames need to be smothered in order to get a fire under control. The best bet is to use a fire extinguisher. If you don't have one, then a metal lid, wet cloth or baking soda can be used.

Once a fire has been put out, make sure to let the pan cool down before touching it.

You shouldn't run into any problems as long as you follow the above safety precautions and don't let your wax get too hot. However, it's always good to be prepared and know what to do in the event of a burn, spill or fire due to candle wax.

4. How To Work With Wax

There is a lot more to making candles than simply going to purchase wax at the local craft store and then melting it and molding into the shape of a candle. You need to know what type of wax to use as well as how to manage it. In this section, I will show you how to work with wax. I will discuss the various types of wax you can use, how to select the best type for the candles you want to make, and how to actually work with wax effectively and safely.

Types Of Waxes For Candle Making

There are various types of waxes available for making candles. However, they are not all created equal. Some work better for some kinds of candles than others. Knowing what to look for will save you a lot of time and frustration. I will discuss the most common types of waxes for candle making in this section. When you get to the projects later in this guide, the type of wax to use for a certain project will be specified.

Paraffin Wax

Paraffin is petroleum-based wax. It's the most common kind of wax that is used to make candles. It's a good type of wax to start out with if you are a new candle maker. Paraffin wax is readily available, inexpensive and easy to dye. It has an odorless and colorless nature, which makes it easy for you to add your own aromas and scents to your candles.

Paraffin wax is available in various melting points that range from 104 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Different kinds of candles work best with certain melting points. As an example, container candles burning in containers should be made with paraffin wax of a low melting point, whereas candles that are moved from molds can be used with higher melting point paraffin wax.

Beeswax

This all-natural type of wax is another popular choice for candle making. When burned, candles made of beeswax emit a nice honey aroma. Beeswax comes in different colors and can be purchased in honeycomb sheets, beads or blocks.

Beeswax is easy to work with. It needs to be heated slowly, and you can even heat it using a hairdryer instead of the stove. Beeswax is more expensive than paraffin, but it is quite strong and features long burning times.

Gel Wax

This is a newer product that combines resin and mineral oil to create a jelly-like mixture. Most craft stores sell it. Gel wax is perfect for container candles. However, it can't be molded because it doesn't set hard. Gel wax burns longer than a majority of other kinds of wax candles and works well with embedding objects for decorative purposes.

Bead Wax

This wax comes in the shape of small beads. The wax doesn't need to be melted. All you do is pour bead wax into a container, add the wick and it's all done. It even comes in different colors. Because it doesn't need to be melted, bead wax is a good material for children to use in candle making projects.

Vegetable-Based Wax

There are also waxes available that are made out of soybeans and other vegetables bases. Advocates of these kinds of waxes claim they burn much cleaner and last longer than paraffin and other kinds of chemical-based waxes. It is best used for making container candles.

Applique Wax

This kind of wax is available in thin sheets and also several different colors. The sheets can be used for creating shapes in order to decorate candles. You just cut your shapes out and then press them onto your candles. You don't need any glue.

How To Determine How Much Wax Is Needed

Candles can be made using just about any kind of mold. The only restriction is you must be able to remove the candle from the mold. In order to determine how much wax is needed for your project, fill your mold up with water. Then measure the amount of liquid. As a rule of thumb, for every 3 to 5 ounces of water, approximately 3 ounces of wax (non-melted) will be needed. One package of wax is equivalent to approximately 2 1/3 cups or 10 to 20 ounces of melted wax. It's always best to melt a bit extra rather than too little wax.

How to Melt Wax

1) Determine how much wax is needed.

2) Put the wax into the top part of the double boiler or smaller pot inside a larger one.

3) Add water to the lower part of the double boiler or into the larger pot.

4) Bring water to rolling boil over medium heat.

Don't use high heat. Water that boils too hard might splash into the wax.

5) Heat the wax until it's melted.

As the water is boiling, be sure to check the bottom pot on occasion to ensure that there's still enough water covering two thirds of the smaller pot.

6) Check the temperature of the wax periodically using your thermometer.

Be very careful if the wax gets to the range of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the wax reaches its correct temperature (varies from project to project and type of wax used), it's done.

How To Pour Melted Wax

Cover the work surface first.

1) Apply a releasing agent, like silicone spray or vegetable oil, to the mold for easy removal of your candles from their molds.

2) Place the wick in the mold and then knot it.

3) Use mold sealer around the knotted wick.

4) Carefully pour wax into the mold.

Be sure to use potholders and grip the handle firmly. Smooth pouring is key. Stop approximately 1/2 inch from the top of mold.

Wax Additives

Using wax additives is more of an advanced technique that you might want to use after you're a more experienced candle maker, so I will only briefly mention them here.

Additives can be used to change the wax's crystalline structure and affect various attributes of a candle, like its burning time or appearance. If you have any issues such as burning problems, cracking or mottling, you may be able to use a wax additive to fix the problem. However, other factors may also be the problem, such as temperature, wick or wax issues.

Additives are either directly added to melted wax or melted separately and stirred into melted wax. Some of the most common additives include stearin, vybar and microcrystalline wax.

5. Working With Candles, Molds And Containers

When it comes to making candles, there are so many options available to you. In this section, I will be discussing different types of candles, along with various mold and container options that are available for your creations.

An Introduction To Candles

There are several different kinds of candles that you can make. So when you are coming up with a new candle-making project, the first thing you need to determine is the kind of candle you'd like to create. From there, you can figure out whether a mold or container is something that you need or want. Here are most common types of candles that you can make:

Taper Candles

These are slim, long candles that are very elegant and often found on fireplace mantels or dining room tables. There are taper molds that you can use. However, usually this kind of candle is hand dipped.

Pillar Candles

This type of candle is thick and sturdy. Pillars can be round, square, tall or short. Some pillar candles are quite large and have multiple wicks. Pillar candles are made using a mold. You can use a ready made mold or make one using a household item.

Container Candles

These candles stay in and burn inside the container that the hot wax was poured into to make the candle. So in other words, the container is the mold. You can be very creative when making container candles. So many different objects can be used for the container. You just have to make sure the container is heat resistant.

Votive Candles

These are small, short candles that are just 1 Ĺ ď in diameter and two or three inches tall. They get classified according to the amount of time they burn. A majority of votive candles are 15 or 10-hour candles.

Tea light Candles

The diameter is the same as for votive candles. However, they are only one inch tall. They can be put into tea light holders or placed in a container like a pot.

Hands-On Options

Many candles do need to have a mold to make them. However, not all do. You can make candles by rolling beeswax or handing tipping tapered ones. An easy candle-making project for beginners is to make a simple beeswax candle. All you need to do is take a sheet of beeswax, put the wick on the edge of the sheet, and then roll it into a cylinder shape for your first handmade candle.

To make a hand-dipped tapered candle, you just dip a wick into melted wax. Then you keep dipping the wick. Each time wax is layered onto the wick. You continue dipping until the candle is at your desired thickness. I will cover making both beeswax and hand-dipped tapered candles in an upcoming section of this guide.

Mold Options

A candle mold is simply an object that holds and shapes the wax to make the candle. There are multiple options available to you. There are many different molds available for sale. They come in all different sizes, shapes and styles. There are many molds available for making votive and pillar candles. You can find them in just about any craft store and also order them online.

You can also use objects around your house as candle molds. They just need to be heat resistant, and you need to be able to release the candle from the mold.

To make it easier for getting the candles out the mold, a mold release can be sprayed inside the mold. There is mold release and silicone spray that you can purchase or you can use vegetable oil.

Molds do not work well with beeswax or gel wax. Beeswax is very sticky and gel wax doesn't hold a shape.

If you are just starting out with candle making, the easiest thing to is use ready-made molds. They are made of different materials, including both reusable and disposable ones. You also have the choice of either rigid or flexible molds. Rigid molds are easier to use for beginners. Flexible molds are made out of latex or rubber. This allows you to manipulate and stretch them. More design options will be available to you. However, it can be tricky trying to remove the candle from this kind of mold.

Using Decorative Containers

Making decorative container candles can be so much fun. You can really get creative here. There are so many unique and beautiful objects that you can use for containers to hold your candles.

The container is the mold. It holds the wax in place after you pour it into the container. The one difference is that you don't remove the candle once its finished the way you do with a mold.

As long as the container is heat resistant and won't catch on fire, it should work just fine. Container candles can be decorated or designed so that they fit in with your decor. You can let your creative juices and artistic talent run free when it comes to creating beautiful container candles.

6. An Introduction To Wicks

There is more to candle wicks than meets the eye. The key is to choose the best wick for your candle that will allow it to burn clean and for a long time. In this section of the How To Make Candles Guide I will discuss the various types of wicks, along with how to choose the best wick for your candle, how to prime wicks and how to insert them into candles.

How Wicks Work

Choosing the right wick is what determines how long and well a candle burns. That's why it's important for you to have a good understanding of how wicks work first.

A wick is comprised of multiple pieces of cotton string. Boric acid is used to treat them and then the pieces of cotton string are braided together to form a wick. The threads or strings are called plies.

The wick draws on melted wax from the candle to keep it burning. When you light a candle, the heat travels down into the wax and melts it. Then the wick sucks the melted wax up in order for the candle to continue burning. When melted wax isn't used at the correct pace, you don't have the right wick for the candle.

Types of Wicks

Wicks come in many different sizes and shapes, but all of them have braided plies. The spaces inside the braided wick are what draw liquefied wax to the flame to provide the candle with a steady fuel source. When the wick is the right size for the candle, then it will burn clean and for a long time.

There are three main kinds of wicks:

Flat-braided wicks. The number of piles in this type of wick varies. The more plies that a wick has, the thicker it is. Thicker wicks are used with larger candles. For example a medium-sized candle will tend to use a 24-ply or 30-ply wick.

Square-braided wicks. You will need to use the numbering system and recommendations by the manufacturer to determine what size to use, since number of plies is not indicated.

Cored wicks are comprised of plies that are braided around a paper, cotton or metal core. This core keeps the wick standing up straight. These wicks usually are labeled small, medium or large. They usually are attached to a tab on the bottom of the candle. They work well with container candles.

How To Match A Wick To A Candle

If you choose well, the wick will consume the melted wax at the right pace. What this means is that the wax won't all drip off the candle. This will leave enough wax for the flame to continue for a long time.

Here are some general guidelines to help you choose the best wick for your candles:

Flat braided wick are best used for taper candles.

Square braided wicks work well with pillar, beeswax and other kinds of large candles.

Metal-cored candles work especially well with container, votive, tea light and gel candles.

The size of the wick is mainly determined by the diameter of your candle.

In general, wider candles need thicker wicks. For candles up to an inch in diameter, a 20 ply or extra small wick is usually best. For a 1-2 inch diameter candle, use 24 ply or small wicks, for 2-3 inches go with 30 ply or medium wicks, for 3-4 inches choose a 36 ply or large wick and for 4 or more inches select a 40+ ply or extra large wicks. Use multiple wicks for very large candles with 5-inch or more diameters.

In terms of length, your wick should be about 4-6 inches longer than a pillar candle and 1/2 to 1 inch longer for votive candles. This gives you plenty of length to secure the wick on top and knot it on the bottom.

Warning: Do Not Use Lead-Cored Wicks

Lead can cause serious health hazards. We all know about the dangers of lead-based paint. Unfortunately, there are also lead-cored wicks that can let off dangerous toxins. U.S. manufacturers do not make lead-cored wicks any more. However, some foreign companies still import candles with lead-core wicks.

To check to make sure you don't have any candles in your home with lead wicks or buy any in the future, there is an easy test you can do. Take out a sheet of plain white paper. Rub the unburned wick tip onto the paper. If a light gray mark appears on the paper, it has a lead core and you should not buy or use the candle. Metal core and zinc-cored wicks made in the U.S. are safe and don't contain lead. Just be careful about buying candles that were not made in the United States.

How To Prime Wicks

Primed wicks are wicks that have been soaked thoroughly in wax. Priming helps with the combustion process and makes the wicks stronger.

You want to use a primed wick unless you are making hand-dipped taper candles (the process primes the wicks) or when you are making gel candles.

You can purchase wicks unprimed or primed. Priming wicks isn't hard to do. Just put wax in the double boiler and melt it to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Fold the wicks in half and dip them into the melted wax. Leave them there for 5 minutes or so. Then straighten the wicks and let them dry.

How To Attach Tabs To Wicks

Tabbed wicks have metal tabs (or bases) attached to the bottom of them. The tabs help the wicks stay upright. You can buy pre-tabbed wicks or you can add them using a pair of pliers to secure the tab around the wick.

How To Add A Wick To A Candle

Once you have chosen the right wick, it's time to insert it into the candle mold. There is usually a hole on the bottom of the mold for threading the wick into the candle. Thread the wick through the hole and pull the wick up to the top so that it is tight. Then tie it to the wick rod. Apply mold sealer over the wick hole to prevent wax from leaking from the mold. Once this is done you can pour wax into the mold.

7. How To Make Simple Candles

In this section, I will go over some simple candle making projects to help you get started. I will discuss how to make a molded candle, container candle, hand dipped tapper handles and rolled beeswax candle.

Simple Molded Candle

One great thing about molded candles is the same basic technique can be used for making different kinds of candles. No matter what kind of mold you use, the steps are still basically the same. So you can end up with very different looking candles, but still use the same process.

After you have selected the mold that you want to use, the next thing you need to do is determine the amount of wax you need to use. As discussed in a previous section, you can pour water in the mold to see how much water that is. You need approximately 3 ounces of wax (non-melted) for every 3 1/2 ounces of water or 1 pound of wax per 2 cups of water.

You also need to select a wick. See the earlier section in this guide on wicks for help. Okay, now you are ready to make your candle.

1) Melt the wax to the temperature specified on the package of wax, or if you aren't sure what temperature to use, go for 190 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintain this temperature for around a half an hour.

2) Spray the mold with vegetable spray, silicone spray or some other type of mold release. This will make it easier to get the candle out of the mold.

3) Cut a primed wick 2 inches longer than the height of the candle. Insert the wick into the mold.

4) Once the wax is at the right temperature, you can add additives, scent or color if you wish.

If you are using a rigid mold, it's a good idea to add a 10 percent dose of Stearin. It helps to shrink the wax, which makes it easier to get the candle out of the mold. If you are using a flexible mold, use vybar instead.

5) Remove the wax from its heating source and then smoothly and slowly pour it into the mold.

6) After a couple of minutes, tap the side of the mold gently to remove any potential air bubbles.

7) As the wax is cooling, poke a few holes in the wax surrounding the wick in order to release tension. This will help prevent the wax from pulling the wick off center.

8) If necessary reheat some extra wax to pour into any holes that might have shown up as the wax was cooling.

9) Before repouring, be sure the wax has cooled almost completely.

Once the candle has cooled down completely, it's time to take it out of its mold.

Finally use a craft knife to level the bottom of your candle and trim the wick. Wipe any excess wax off the candle with a cloth or paper towel. Congratulations! You've made your first candle.

Container Candle

Making container candles can be a lot of fun. You can find all different types of containers to use, and decorate them to your heart's desire.

To make a container candle, the process is basically the same as making a candle with a mold. The container is your mold. The main difference is you don't want to add stearin to the wax because you want it to adhere to the container, since the candle isn't removed.

Hand Dipped Taper Candles

Dipping candles is pretty easy to do. The hardest part is just making sure you wait for the wax to completely cool down in between dips. You can make several tapers at the same time so that you dip in rotation instead of having to wait. However, you might want to wait until you get used to the process first.

It is a fairly straightforward process. You melt your wax, then dip both ends of your wick in the wax. Let the wick cool and then repeat the process 20-30 times until the candle is the width that you desire. Most taper candles are slim with diameters of approximately 1/2 inch.

1) Determine the height of your taper candle. Add a few inches so that the wick sticks out, then double that amount and add another 4 inches.

Normally to make taper candles you dip them in pairs, however only one wick is used. To make 6-inch tall tapers, add on 2 inches for a total of 8 inches. Then double that for 16 inches and add another 4 inches for a total of 20 inches. So you will cut a 20-inch wick to make two 6-inch taper candles.

2) Tie a weight to both ends of the wick to keep it straight and submerged as you are dipping. The weights are removed later after the wick is sufficiently strong to remain straight on its own.

3) Melt The Wax

When dipping candles, usually paraffin wax is used or a mixture of paraffin and beeswax. You should also add a 10 percent dose of Stearin. Double the wax you think you will need to ensure you have plenty of wax for dipping in.

A good temperature for dipping is 160-170 degrees Fahrenheit.

4) Pour wax into the dipping can

The dipping can needs to be tall enough for accommodating the size candles you are making. The dipping can needs to be almost full to allow you to dip close to the top of the wick. To keep the dipping can full, you will need to continue to add wax to it.

5) Dip the wick into the melted wax

Dip the wick as deep as you can until there are just a few inches of wick that remains un-dipped. The wick should only be in the wax for a second. Dip the wick in and smoothly remove it to prevent the wax from blobbing.

The first dip actually primes the wick, so it can be submerged in the wax longer.

If the taper appears to be bumpy, then the wax isn't hot enough.

If the wax doesn't build up on the wick, then the wax is too hot.

If in between dips the wax doesn't firm up enough, you need to allow it to cool for a longer period of time in between dipping.

6) Put the wicks on a rack to cool.

It takes about 3 minutes for the wax to cool.

7) Repeat Step 5 and Step 6 until the candle is the desired diameter.

You may need to dip the candle 20-30 times to get the right diameter.

8) Let the taper candles cool down for a couple of hours and then trim the wick to approximately 1/4 inch.

Score the base of the candle to fit into your candleholder. Most candleholders have a 7/8-inch diameter on the bottom.

Beeswax Candle

To make a simple beeswax candle, all you need to do is roll a sheet of beeswax into a candle. This is a great project for beginners and also young children, since you don't have to worry about hot wax. Beeswax is very sticky, however.

You want the beeswax at room temperature when rolling the candle. In addition to sheets of beeswax, you also need to have a primed wick. Here is how to make a rolled beeswax candle:

1) Cut the primed wick to 3/4 inch longer than how tall the finished candle is going to be.

Regular beeswax sheets are 8 inches by 16 inches, so the candle will be round 8 inches in height. Therefore, the wick should be around 8 3/4 inches.

2) Lay the sheet of beeswax onto a hard and flat surface. Place the wick on the edge of the sheet.

3) Apply pressure, firmly and smoothly, while rolling the sheet around the wick. Keep rolling to form the beeswax into the shape of cylinder.

Be sure to roll straight so that edges align and tight enough so that air is trapped between the layers.

To create a square candle, use a hard object to flatten side while you are rolling. To create a shorter candle, you can cut the sheet of beeswax before rolling it.

4) Once you get to the end of your first sheet of beeswax, you then need to attach another sheet by pinching the edges of the sheets firmly together. Then keep rolling. Use as many sheets as you need until your candle is the diameter that you want.

5) Trim the wick

Before lighting the candle, wait one day at least to ensure the beeswax is room temperature so that it doesn't break.

8. How To Add Scent And Color To Candles

There are many things you can do to enhance your homemade candles. In this section I will be covering how to add scent and color to your candles.

How To Add Color To Your Candles

Adding color to your candles can be a lot of fun. It's also pretty easy to do. It just adds one extra step to your candle making process.

The most common way to color your candles is to use dye. You can use a liquid or solid wax dye. They are both oil-soluble, which is important when you are adding color to candles. The dye will stain your clothes and skin, so be careful and wear rubber gloves.

For beeswax candles, you just purchase it in colored sheets. For gel and paraffin candles, you can use the same kinds of dyes. Liquid dye is the best type to use. Liquid dye comes in a bottle. All you need to do is squeeze a couple of drops in your melted wax.

How To Blend Your Colors

It can be difficult to dye the wax so that it is the exact color that you want. This process does take some practice. However, it is fairly easy to find primary colors such as blue, yellow and red. You might be able to find other dye colors as well.

If you can't find the exact color you were looking for, you can blend different colors together. However, don't use too much dye since this can adversely affect how well your candle burns.

To make a certain color darker, you can add a small dab of black dye. For a lighter shade of the color, add less of the dye. Also keep in mind that the color of the cooled wax will be a slightly different shade than it was in hot wax form, so you might need to experiment a bit.

How To Dye Candle Wax

1. Melt wax for your candles like you normally do.

2. Once the wax is at 190 degrees Fahrenheit, stir the dye into the wax.

Continue to stir until there aren't any more streaks. However, don't over stir as this can add air bubbles to the wax.

3. Pour the wax into your candle mold as usual.

Instead of adding color you can also buy pre-dyed wax instead.

If you are dipping candles, dye is just added to the wax as above.

You can also add an extra layer of color to a plain candle by dipping it into dyed wax.

If you do end up with a color you especially like, be sure to write down the color and how much wax and dye you used so that you can use your recipe again when you want to.

How To Add Scent To Your Candles

You can add fragrance to candles in several different ways. However an oil-based fragrance needs to be used. Alcohol-based and water-based fragrances don't mix when added to hot wax. They just evaporate.

Here are the most common methods you can use to add scents to candles.

Candle Fragrances

These are synthetic scents that are manufactured to be used for scenting wax. They are sometimes called fragrance oils or candle perfumes. They come in both solid and liquid forms.

Essential Oils

Unfortunately, most essential oils don't work very well with candles. Quite often, the wick gets clogged by the oil, which makes it harder for the candle to burn properly. Sometimes, the scent just doesn't make it through the process.

Some of the more popular aromatherapy scents or essential oils that you can try to use with candles include chamomile, citronella, lavender and rose.

Adding Scents

It isn't hard to add scent to your candles. It just adds one extra step to your candle making process. Here are a couple of important points to keep in mind:

Be sure not to add too much scent. This can mottle the wax (add white splotches), or you can have soot, smoke or oil coming out of the candle. As a rule of thumb, use around 1/2 teaspoon of scent for each pound of wax.

Be sure to add the scent in last. If added too early to the wax, the scent may all evaporate.

There are two different ways you can add scent to candles:

1. Add the scent to the wax right before pouring the wax into the container or mold.

2. Soak the wick of the candle into the fragrance before priming it.

This is the best method to use when adding essential oils. The fragrance will last longer. However, it could affect the burning qualities of the candle.

How the scent is added to the melted wax will depend on what form the fragrance is in:

Liquid scent can just be stirred into the melted wax. You need around one ounce of fragrant oil for every pound of wax.

Powdered scents should be dissolved into melted stearin. Then add this to the melted wax.

Solid scents come in blocks or squares. All you need to do is break off what you need and add it to the melted wax.

9. How To Decorate Your Candles

There are so many ways you can decorate your candles. Get ready to have a lot of fun as we explore several different candle-decorating methods in this section of the guide.

Applique

This technique involves attaching wax shapes to the exterior of your candles. You can create intricate designs or just use simple shapes like circles. You can buy pre-cut wax shapes or you can make your own.

If you are using pre-cut ones, you just remove the paper on the back of the shape and attach it to a candle.

To make wax shapes on your own:

1) Pour melted wax onto an old cookie sheet or oiled board. Wait for the wax to cool down so that it is still soft enough to work with it but somewhat firm as well.

2) Cut your shape out.

You can use a cake decorator or cookie cutter.

3) Gently press your shape to the candle. Apply firm pressure once the shape is in the right place.

4) Keep cutting and attaching shapes to the candle as desired.

If the wax gets too cool, you might need to re-melt it.

Embedding Items Into Candles

You can also embed objects such as shells, flowers and marbles into candles to create very interesting and artistic effects. Gel candles work really well with embedded objects, but you can do this with paraffin wax candles as well. Keep these points in mind when choosing items to embed into a candle:

Only select nonflammable items.

Clean your items before embedding them.

Don't place any items too close to the candlewick.

There are two different ways you can embed objects into a candle. It depends on where the items will be and what kind of objects they are.

With the first method, the object is placed on the bottom of the container before the wax is added. You mainly use this technique with gel candles. After the wax is added, you make your candle as usual. For heavy objects, they don't need to be glued down. However, with a container candle, epoxy glue can be used to keep items in place. Just put some glue over the bottom of the item and press it to the bottom of the container.

The second method is to add the wax first and then put in your embedded objects. With this method, you make you candle as usual. However, don't allow it to completely cool down. Instead, wait for a 1/2-inch film to form on the top. This happens in approximately 10 minutes. Next cut a hole in your candle wax. Use a spoon to cut the soft wax into the center of the melting pot. Add the items you want to embed in positions you want them to be in. Re-melt the wax and then re-pour it into the hole. Your embedded items will appear to float inside the candle.

Paint Designs On Candles

This is another nice decorative touch that you can add to candles. Your designs can be as intricate or as simple as you want them to be. You can add designs like pumpkins or snowflakes for holiday-themed candles.

Normally you will want to use acrylic paints. These water-based paints can be purchased at a craft store. Fortunately, they are very easy to use and work with.

Here are a few tips to help you with painting your candles:

Add a bit of dish soap to the acrylic paint. This will help the paint stick to the candle better.

Don't use too much paint. If you use too much, it could affect the burning qualities of the candle since paint doesn't burn the same way that wax does.

Be careful not to smudge the paint as you are handling the candle.

Start out with simple designs and get some practice in before taking on more intricate ones.

How To Paint Candles

1) Put dots on your candle to indicate where you want your design to be. This will help ensure that your design is spaced evenly over the candle. If you are just painting one simple design, you might not need to do this.

2) Paint the design on the candle. If you are going to layer designs or color, make sure each coat dries before you add the next color or layer.

3) After the coat of paint has dried, paint on the next color or layer.

4) After you have finished painting, allow the candle to dry for four hours at least before you burn it.

Sponge Painting Candles

Candles can be sponge painted to give them a textured effect. The irregular surface of the sponge can give a candle a very interesting and artistic appearance.

Be sure to take note of the tips providing in the Painting Candles portion of this section because the advice applies to sponge painting as well.

Here is how to sponge paint a candle:

1) Get out a foam plate and squeeze acrylic paint onto it.

2) Dampen a sponge and dip it into the paint.

3) Use your sponge to dab the entire surface of the candle.

4) To add another color, first wait until the paint is dry. Then repeat the process in steps 1 through 3.

5) Before burning the candle, wait until the paint has completely dried.

Embossing Candles

Embossing refers to a raised pattern that is on a surface.

There are several different methods you can use to emboss candles:

Purchase a mold with pre-made lines in it.

Attach your design using waterproof glue on the mold before pouring the candle wax.

Score lines in the interior of the mold.

Make an insert in the mold using corrugated cardboard.

Draw on the candle using a glue gun.

Stamping Candles

To have the same pattern reoccur on a candle, then you might want to stamp it with paint. Most craft stores have a wide variety of stamps for you to choose from.

Since the surface of a candle is curved, you have to roll the stamp side to side in order for the whole image to appear on the surface of the candle. If you press too hard, you might smudge the paint, so you do need to be careful.

To Stamp A Candle:

1) Place paint onto the stamp.

You might want to use a brush so you don't get too much paint on the stamp.

2) Stamp the candle.

3) Let the candle dry before lighting.

Use Stencils To Decorate Candles

A stencil is a cutout shape that gets traced and painted. There are many different kinds of stencils available at craft stores. Just remember that the stencil you choose needs to be flexible since you'll need to be able to wrap it around the curved surface of your candle.

To fill the stencil in, you can use stencil paint, acrylic paint, wax paste or spray paint. Make sure the wick is protected. If paint gets on it, the candle might not burn.

How To Stencil A Candle:

1) Tightly attach the stencil to the candle.

Make sure to wrap the stencil as tight as you can around the surface of the candle so that the design turns out right. Spray adhesive or masking tape can be used.

2) Paint the stencil's cutout sections.

3) Take the stencil off.

4) Clean the paint off of the stencil and move it to another location if desired.

5) Make sure the candle completely dries before you burn it.

10. Advanced Candle Making Projects

In this section I will be covering some advanced candle making projects you can try once you have a little experience under your belt.

Over dipping Candles

This refers to the process where an additional coat of hard wax is added to a molded or dipped candle. This technique can be used for changing the color of a candle or to add other decorative finishes.

Over dipping candles allow you to:

Mask errors. You can over dip candles to improve their surfaces if there are any blemishes.

Add color to candles by dipping the candle into colored wax.

Give a candle a finished and shiny appearance.

Protect the candle by providing it with a harder surface.

Attach decorative effects to candles.

You should use paraffin wax along with a 10 percent of microcrystalline when over dipping candles.

1) Determine the amount of wax that is needed. There needs to be enough wax to cover the entire candle when you dip it. You can use water to get a good measurement.

2) Dry off the dripping can and candle.

3) Melt your wax. Add dye if you want to change the color of the candle.

4) Warm up the candle.

5) Transfer melted wax to your dipping can if necessary.

6) Slowly and steadily dip the candle into the wax. You can use pliers to hold the candle by its wick.

7) Allow the candle to cool. For a thicker layer, you can dip the candle again.

8) Dip the candle in cold water for a shiny finish.

Cracked Candles

Candles with a cracked appearance provide a very interesting and artistic look. The way to achieve this is to alternate between freezing and over dipping the candle.

To crack a candle:

1) Freeze the candle for a couple of hours.

2) Over dip the candle in hot wax

3) Over dip again one or two more times to completely cover the candle.

4) Place the dipped candle onto wax paper. Put in into the freezer again for two hours or until you have the amount of cracks that you want to have.

Layered Candles

These are candles with two or more layers of different colors. The different colored layers of wax are poured into a mold to create a candle with stripes.

To create layered candles do the following:

1) Divide the wax into separate melting pots.

2) Melt the wax, along with the dye and additive of choice.

3) As the wax is melting, prepare the mold and wick.

4) Pour the first wax layer into the mold.

5) Once the first layer has cooled, the second wax layer can be added.

6) Continue adding as many layers of wax as you wish.

7) Take the candle out of the mold once it has cooled down.

Multi-Wick Candles

You can achieve this affect by making a large candle and then simply adding multiple wicks to it. Five wicks are the most you should ever add to a candle.

1) Melt the wax and prepare your mold.

2) Put the main wick into the middle of the mold.

3) Space out additional wicks from the center and outside edge.

4) Pour the wax and then allow the multi-candle to completely cool down before using it.

These are just a few of the advanced techniques you can use to produce some very interesting and artistic effects with your candles. Combined with the previous section on simple candle projects, this should give you plenty of different things to try and experiment with in your beginning candle making efforts.

11. How To Diagnose And Correct Candle Problems

In a perfect world, all of the candles that you make would burn properly and look fantastic. However, since this isn't a perfect world, you may run into problems with your candles from time to time. I will cover some of the more common candle problems in this section, along with advice on how to correct them.

Candle Appearance Problems

If you have a candle that doesn't look quite right, take heart. Most candle appearance problems can be fixed, or you can at least figure out what happened so that you don't make the same mistake again.

Leaning pillar candles can be caused by not storing the candles flat. To fix this, you can try to warm the bent candles and then roll them on an even surface. Then be sure to store them properly in the future.

If you have a bent wick on your hands, you need to be sure that you straighten the candlewick in between every dip.

Chips and nicks in candles are usually caused from not being careful enough when moving or storing candles. To prevent this from happening again, wrap your candles in tissue paper and store properly.

If you have candles with bubbles, these are pockets of air that are trapped inside a candle. This usually is the result of pouring wax too quickly. Next time, be sure to pour the wax more slowly.

If a candle has cracks, bumps or lumps, the candle either cooled too quickly or the wax was too cold at the time you re-dipped the candle.

Candle Burning Problems

If a wick is too small for the size of the candle, wax pools are likely to form and then either extinguish the burning wick or drip down the side of the candle. If the wick is too big, there won't be enough wax to fuel the flame, and the candle will flicker or smoke.

If a candle is burning right down the middle and leaves a hole, this is usually due to using a wick that is too small for the wax's melting point. Next time, use either a larger wick or wax that has a lower melting point.

Dripping Candle

A dripping candle can be a big problem. It means the candle isn't burning correctly and could also potentially ruin your carpet or furnishings.

This could be caused by the candle being in a draft. If that's the case, all you need to do is move the candle. However, if that doesn't help, then the wick might be too small for the size of the candle. If this is true, then the wick isn't able to make use of all the melted wax and it drips down the side of the candle instead.

The melting point of the wax that was used may also be too low for the kind of candle you made. This can result in it premature melting, which leads to dripping.

No matter what the cause is, usually the best thing to do is to re-melt the candle and start over.

Low Flame

If a candle doesn't burn as brightly as you want it to, there are several things that could be wrong:

The wick is too loose, too short or too small. Trying using a different size wick.

A coloring agent you use has clogged the wick.

The melting point of the wax is too high.

Too much stearin or another additive was used.

Too big a flame basically means the opposite causes of what I just discussed. In most cases, a smaller wick should be used the next time.

Smoking Candles

This is usually a sign that the wick is too big for the candle. You can try trimming the wick to see if that helps. Or just use a smaller wick the next time.

Sputtering Candles

If you have a flickering instead of steady flame, the wick is probably damp. Allow the wick to completely dry out before using it again.

12. Conclusion

Congratulations! You have finished reading my How To Make Candles Guide. You now have all the basic knowledge that you need to get started with candle making. You also can use this guide as a reference source anytime you need a refresher on a certain aspect of making candles.

So what should you do next? Start making candles of course! Honestly, if you want to become a good candle maker, then you need to put all that you learned into action. The best way to make beautiful candles is to practice, practice, and practice. Gather some basic supplies together and start on some of the simple projects that I described in Section 7 of this guide. Experiment with some of the decorative techniques, and then move on and try out some of the advanced projects as well.

Another important thing to do is to take notes on what worked and what didn't work for you. If a candle doesn't turn out like you had hoped it would, use the advice in Section 11 and try to diagnose, and if possible, correct the problem. You can learn a lot from your mistakes, so don't let them discourage you.

I sincerely hope you have as much fun making candles as I do. Keep practicing and try different techniques. Pretty soon you will have a house full of beautiful candles, and your friends and relatives will too. Best wishes on your candle-making journey.