Making homemade candles as a business or hobby requires a few specific tools and supplies. Melting procedures vary by the type of wax or gel used, so follow the manufacturer’s melting instructions. Not only can homemade candles can be decorative and aromatic accents in your home, they can be thoughtful gift items as well.
A mold or a container is an important part of making candles. You can use commercially available molds and containers made of polyurethane, aluminum or silicone. You can also recycle household products such as coffee cans, canning jars or baby food jars to make candles. Prepare the mold with a release agent, such as silicone spray or powdered vegetable oil, before seating the wick and adding the hot candle wax. Silicone molds don't need a release agent.
Though beeswax is used for homemade candles, you can also use soy, vegetable or paraffin wax. Beeswax, soy and vegetable waxes are natural products. Paraffin, however, is a petroleum by-product.
Gel is another material used to make homemade candles. Melt the gel, according to the package instructions, and pour it into a container. You can also use nonflammable embeds in gel candles to add to the décor.
You can melt candle wax in a double boiler atop a stove or in a microwave. Beeswax must be melted in a double boiler, but other types of wax can be melted gradually in a microwave. Each container of wax provides melting instructions.
Wicks for making candles are available prewaxed in varying lengths. These wicks have metal plates crimped to one end to make standing the wick in the candle mold or container easier. One method of centering the candle in the mold or container involves taping the loose end of the wick to a pencil and placing the pencil over the rim of the candle mold. The metal end of the wick rests at the base of the candle mold or container.
Essential oils, which come in many fragrances, add natural scent to homemade candles. Mix in 5 drops or so of essential oil for every 2 cups of wax, after the wax is melted. Add more essential oil if you prefer a stronger scent. Commercial additives that prolong the fragrance are available from candlemaking supply retailers.
Commercial liquid dyes in may colors are available for making homemade candles. You can also use part of a crayon to add color to your candles. Mix the color into the wax as soon as it's melted before pouring the wax into the mold.
Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.